The Purge Continues

Two posts ago I wrote, “I’m not sure what it will take to regain a sane GOP.  More people like David Frum would help.”


Well looks like it is going to get worse before it gets better for the mainstream conservative movement. Frum was pushed out of the American Enterprise Institute:

I have been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute since 2003. At lunch today, AEI President Arthur Brooks and I came to a termination of that relationship.

He’s criticized Rush, Palin, and the current Republican Party in order to improve it – unacceptable, I guess. Bruce Bartlett had a similar experience at the National Center for Policy Analysis. I don’t really understand what is driving the conservative movement to such extremes – anything Obama does is evil to them even if they supported it before he did. Bartlett reveals:

Since, he is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI “scholars” on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do.

The huge losses to the Republican Party that the Bush administration and the recessing economy caused may very well have given the GOP the wrong lesson. Almost all moderate Republicans lost their seats, leaving only the hard right wing in control. Doubling down and listening to Rove doesn’t seem rational. Frum probably had it right that the Republican Party needs to recognize that talk-radio and Fox News don’t have the GOP’s interests at heart – they want ratings. 

Anyone have any theories? My feeling is that a sluggish economy led to a growing populist movement which is fed by ratings hungry right-wing media along with the loss of the liberal and moderate Republicans in the legislature.  The most active potential Republican voters are also the most extreme so any politically minded politician has to crater to those sentiments. But do think-tanks like AEI really need to tailor their messages to this movement? They have no elections or ratings to worry about – aren’t they non-profit? Are their donors that swept up with the rest of the paranoid right? 

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