David Frum ‘Terminated’ By Major Conservative Think Tank



Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum has resigned from the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, Frum announced on his Web site Thursday afternoon — a move which suggests the conservative movement has cut ties with Frum over the straight talk he has been providing all week.

[UPDATE: Frum tells Greg Sargent he and AEI parted ways over money, not ideology — they offered him the chance to continue on at a salary of zero — and that his criticisms of the Republican Party were "welcomed and celebrated" at the conservative think tank.]

Following the passage of health care reform in the House, Frum made waves with a column for CNN.com declaring that health care had proven to been "Waterloo" for the GOP, not for Obama as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) infamously suggested. Republican lawmakers quickly dismissed Frum, a prominent reformist conservative, as a mere "former staffer."

Then Frum said on "Nightline" that the Republican Party's lockstep with the Fox News attack machine has hurt the party, and that "we're discovering we work for Fox." That may have been the last straw for AEI.

"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," Frum wrote on his Web site. The full text of his "resignation" letter is below:

Dear Arthur,

This will memorialize our conversation at lunch today. Effective immediately, my position as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute is terminated. I appreciate the consideration that delays my emptying of my office until after my return from travel next week. Premises will be vacated no later than April 9.

I have had many fruitful years at the American Enterprise Institute, and I do regret this abrupt and unexpected conclusion of our relationship.


Very truly yours,
David Frum

While Frum has been willing to speak out on Republican failings, he's hardly become a liberal since leaving the Bush White House. In a column published Wednesday night, he recommended that Obama either ignore the issue of immigration reform or encourage "self-deportation."

But the conservative movement has a tendency to excommunicate anyone who breaks ranks, says Bruce Bartlett, who was fired by the National Center for Policy Analysis, another right-wing think tank, for writing a book critical of Bush policies. "In the years since, I have lost a great many friends and been shunned by conservative society in Washington, D.C," Bartlett wrote in the wake of Frum's resignation.

Bartlett, who served as a domestic policy aide for Ronald Reagan and a deputy assistant Treasury secretary under the first President Bush, claimed Frum told him privately a few months ago that conservatives on AEI's payroll had been "ordered" not to speak to the media about health care reform "because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do." Frum himself certainly violated that order.

[UPDATE: Supporting Bartlett's claim, Paul Krugman points out that a 2003 health reform proposal from the Heritage Foundation, a think tank considered more right-wing than AEI, looks a lot like the bill Obama just signed.]


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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Snowy
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 16:55:00

    I think it's time a lot more true conservatives stood up to be counted, and dissociated themselves from the ravings of Limbaugh and Beck. At the end of the day, the things that unite us are far greater than the things that divide us. The more the GOP departs from that basic truth, the more they will be marginalised in the political process.


  2. Syrin from Wasilla
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 17:24:00

    I agree with you about the dissociating one's self from Limbaugh, Bech and Palin. But, the GOP has been hijacked by these types. I wished it were the Frum's or the Parker's or Noonan's that are being emulated…..


  3. Snowy
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 17:40:00

    I wished it were the Frum's or the Parker's or Noonan's that are being emulated….. I suppose it all depends on how successful the extreme right is at the ballot box. They may be successful in the short term, but in the longer term I believe Frum and co will prevail. I hope so, anyway.


  4. ken
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 17:45:00

    november will spend the end of this socialist take over off america,and the tea party is still just a newborn[luckly se didn't get aborted] this movement will be redefining politics for the next hundred years.we all know what direction socialist governments head towards……since obama became president they have nationalized over 51% of the american economy,when do americans stand up.


  5. Snowy
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 17:51:00



  6. ken
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 18:27:00

    hey look at that the hot air finnaly came out of him……..here is a list of the members of congress that have signed on to the socialist international, this poison needs to be cut out of this country.


  7. Syrin from Wasilla
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 18:31:00

    I concur….


  8. Alaska Pride
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 19:46:00

    Yeah Screw the sick and uninsured!God bless!


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