Sliding Further Down the Path of Irrelevance

Now would be a good time as any to re-visit this David Frum column from about a year ago:

Republicans heading for a bloodbath in Florida.

Well, I suppose if Frum meant that the Republicans would be the one administering the bloodbath, he was right on the money.  Alas, I don’t think that’s what he meant.

Now that Republicans, led by an array of conservative candidates, have enjoyed their most successful election in 80+ years, Frum and his acolytes must be fairly chastened.

Yeah right.  FrumForum contributor Andrew Pavelyev writes that the blame for the failure of the GOP to re-capture the Senate lies in the successful campaign of men like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

While a lot has already been said about throwing away winnable Senate seats in Delaware,Colorado and Nevada, the blame for that failure lies not only with the losing anti-establishment candidates but also with the victorious ones – such as Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. I pointed out before that anti-establishment campaigns might have a negative impact on other races. While as a rule establishment candidates (from Charlie Crist on one end of the country to Lisa Murkowski on the other) were perfectly capable of winning without any out-of-state financial support, the Republican primary voters who rejected them for no good reason often refused to put their money where their mouth was and to adequately finance the candidates they had just nominated. Thus a lot of outside resources had to be diverted from other – often better – uses. I believe it is obscene that in a year when many liberal Democrats (such as Barbara Boxer) were vulnerable for the first – and probably last! – time in their political careers the GOP spent a fortune on ads trashing Republican governor Charlie Crist and Republican senator Lisa Murkowski. Now please excuse me for a moment while I fantasize about what could have been if Dino Rossi’s campaign had had another million dollars…

Ladies and gentlemen, the perfect distillation of the Establishment bubble.  If only Marco Rubio been a good boy and allowed Charlie Crist to just have the nomination, that would have somehow enabled Barabara Boxer to lose.

There are just so many things wrong with this, none the least of which is the fable that any of the losing candidates was underfunded.  Sharon Angle raised in excess of $20 million overall, and Carly Fiorina raised in excess of $17 million.  It wasn’t money, or a lack of it, that caused these defeats.  In the same state that Fiorina ran in there was a GOP gubernatorial candidate that spent over $140 million and lost to a candidate every bit as liberal as Barbara Boxer.  It seems to me that Boxer’s re-election can primarily be pinned on the leftist nature of the state.

What Pavelyev also fails to consider is the candidacies of individuals like Paul, Rubio, and others created an excitement within the Republican party that would not have materialized had guys like Crist, Bennet, Trey Grayson and other establishment picks been the party nominees.  In fact how many millions more was Sharon Angle able to raise because she was riding a wave of excitement within GOP ranks? If Marco Rubio and Rand Paul been good little sheepdogs like the folks at FrumForum wanted, the money they wound up raising wouldn’t have gone to other candidates – it more likely would have just stayed in the donors’s pockets.

But this faulty bit of logic is really nothing more than a transparent effort to deflect criticism against the Frumites.  They all predicted that the GOP was headed towards extinction unless it embraced a more moderate agenda.  For the most part the opposite happened, and the result is an electoral “bloodbath” the likes of which none of us has ever seen in our lifetime – just not the one anticipated by Frum and his ilk.

One would think the Frumites would be at least a little self-reflective after Tuesday’s events, but instead they seem intent on entrenching themselves further in their own little irrelevant part of the political world.  What a sad way for Frum to go out.

5 Responses to Sliding Further Down the Path of Irrelevance

  • Pinky says:

    Delightful Frum column. (What an odd combination of words.) “These answers have gained Rubio little traction among Florida voters, where he trails Crist badly in all demographic categories.” What Frum failed to foresee is, well, everything.

    The fact is, candidates like O’Donnell and Paul saved the party. A year ago people were discussing whether the Tea Party movement would become associated with the GOP, become a third party, or endorse D’s and R’s as they saw fit. The health care vote and the tea party’s GOP primary wins cemented them, if not in the GOP, then outside the Democratic Party. Tuesday’s results drove the last fiscally-moderate Dems out of office.

  • I very much enjoy reading predictive commentary right after it has turned out to be horribly wrong. The political ones are great, though I want to frame Peter King’s column last year predicting the Saints as the 21st best team last year.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    I know “close only counts in horseshoes,” and a loss is still a loss whether it’s by 0.1 percent or 20 percent, but still, the mere fact that allegedly unelectable “fringe” Tea Party candidates like Angle came close enough to seriously threaten allegedly unbeatable candidates like Reid ought to give Democrats everywhere pause. The Tea Party is certainly not going away any time soon, not even in areas where they lost.

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