Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Frum Here to Eternity

David Frum came on the Rachel Maddow Show last night and thought he could walk all over her with oblique insults. I transcribed some of the exchange below, but it was beautiful to watch her politely confront him and then watch him retreat from his words as he grew increasingly uncomfortable (notice how he bizarrely starts leaning in toward the camera near the end).

Maddow: You said, "Those who press this William Ayers line of attack are whipping Republicans and conservatives into a fury that's going to be very hard to calm after November."

What do you mean by that in that word "fury"?

Frum: I think you were talking through much of the show about the matter of tone in our politics. And yet we are seeing an intensification of some of the ugliness in tone that has been a feature of American politics in the past eight years and the show unfortunately is itself an example of that problem with its heavy sarcasm and its sneering and disregard for a lot of the substantive issues that are important. I'd hate to see the Republican Party continue this cycle...[blah blah blah...something about doing some serious rebuilding of the GOP in an intelligent way]...and we're all going to have to do better than we've been doing, including in the last forty minutes.

Maddow:Do you think that my tone on this show is equivalent to people calling Barack Obama someone who pals around with terrorists, people yelling from the audience from McCain/Palin rallies "Bomb Obama!", "Kill him!", "Off with his head!", "Traitor!" — are you accusing me of an equivalence in tone?

Frum:I don't think that's an important question.

Setting aside the ludicrous claim that Rachel's show has heavy sarcasm and a sneering disregard of substantive issues, I find it kind of fascinating that Frum does indeed make the false equivalence between Rachel and the McCain campaign (remember, Frum said they were whipping people into a fury —does that really sound like Rachel Maddow?), then tries to sort of worm out of it, even going so far as to admit that she had "brought up a good point" earlier in the show. I think Rachel's argument would have been stronger if she hadn't focused on what rally attendees have said (although her point is perfectly valid), and simply used the absolute smears coming from the McCain campaign itself.

Interesting, isn't it, that a former Bush 43 speech writer is suddenly concerned with the tone of politics in America now that a Democrat is poised to win the White House? Can you say crocodile tears? I knew you could.

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