GOP Commentator David Frum Loses Job After Criticizing Party
Updated 1:49 p.m. Eastern Time Friday
David Frum, who wrote a widely-circulated blog post Sunday suggesting passage of the health care bill amounted to "Waterloo" for the Republican Party, has apparently been forced out of his fellowship at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
Frum (pictured at right, with Joe Lockhart) posted a resignation letter on his blog following a conversation with AEI President Arthur Brooks announcing that his position 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," Frum wrote in the letter to Brooks. "I have had many fruitful years at the American Enterprise Institute, and I do regret this abrupt and unexpected conclusion of our relationship."
In the Waterloo post, Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote that the GOP and conservatives "suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s."
"A huge part of the blame for today's disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves," he wrote. "At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing."
On Tuesday, the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page hammered Frum for his "argument that if only Republicans had negotiated with Democrats, they could have somehow made the bill less awful than it is."
"Mr. Frum now makes his living as the media's go-to basher of fellow Republicans, which is a stock Beltway role. But he's peddling bad revisionist history that would have been even worse politics," wrote the newspaper.
Frum, who has criticized Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, told the Washington Post that "there was no suggestion by AEI" that he was being forced out because of the Waterloo post, though he declined to discuss why he had been let go.
UPDATE: Frum told Greg Sargent that Brooks said he "welcomed and celebrated" Frum's Waterloo post and that Brooks said he was asking Frum to leave AEI because "these are hard times." Frum said Brooks offered him the opportunity to keep writing for AEI, though without compensation.
UPDATE 2: In an interview with Politico, Frum blamed donor pressure following the "Waterloo" column for his ouster from the job, reportedly worth $100,000 per year.
"There's a lot about the story I don't really understand," he said. "But the core of the story is the kind of economic pressure that intellectual conservatives are under. AEI represents the best of the conservative world. Arthur Brooks is a brilliant man, and his books are fantastic. But the elite isn't leading anymore. It's trapped. Partly because of the desperate economic situation in the country, what were once the leading institutions of conservatism are constrained. I think Arthur took no pleasure in this. I think he was embarrassed. I think he would have avoided it if he possibly could, but he couldn't."
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