A swing voter swings, or decides not to - Macleans.ca

A swing voter swings, or decides not to


After a prolonged apostasy caused by his inability to take Sarah Palin seriously, David Frum is voting for McCain, and explains why. It would have been surprising if he hadn’t, but it’s a little surprising this way too.

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A swing voter swings, or decides not to

  1. THAT was the best he could come up with? At least 8 of those are really, really bad reasons.

  2. Though I agree with Mr. Frum that “Barack Obama wears a black skin”, on point 6) I wonder if Republican supporters were worried about the danger to “prosperity and freedom” if after the 2000 election there was a potential for the combination of a Republican president, a Republican Senate, a Republican House… then again maybe he speaks from experience.

    I like Mr. Frum though. Seems like a nice guy. Didn’t he used to write for the National Post? Or does he still?

  3. Isn’t he a former speechwriter for Robert Mugabe?

  4. B.C., David used to write for the Post, stopped, and now he does again, which shows a becoming ability to get over grudges. I have often admired his writing since he left his White House job, even if we often disagree.

  5. Entirely predictable that Frum, like his Republican comrades, does not recognise the contradiction between points 10 and 9 — less government, svp, but as long as that does not include a smaller Department of Defense.

  6. The department of defense is an a list priority for a president. One of the few they actually control without vetoes.

    No surprise that a president would use it to flex his power.

    Domestic policy must clear the other houses. Look for Obama to learn quickly what presidents can and cant do.

  7. Ah yes, noted American David Frum spends a month pleading with viewers/readers in him home country (America) to pay attention to him by saying mildly controversial things (by American conservative standards), then explains that he’s supporting just who you figued he’d support all along. Dog bites American man.

    Is there any war apologist whose prose Paul Wells doesn’t find enchanting? You know, besides Michael Ignatieff.

  8. Yes.

  9. It’s not clear to me why an intelligent reader would take anything written by David Frum seriously anymore. Neo-cons of his ilk have been so catastrophically wrong in the last few years that they would be laughable if their influence wasn’t so damaging to the U.S., and to the world.

  10. M-J,

    Within the next ten years, a resurgent Russia will will lay claim to much of what Canadians consider their birthright in the north. We, by choice, have rendered ourselves unable to do anything but whine about it. There is only one organization which can stop this, and if you believe it is the UN, please give me the name of your dealer.

  11. If I remember correctly, Frum has among his contributions to the worst US presidency ever the scare slogan ‘Axis of Evil.’ He’s right up there with Colin Powell for shameless catapulting of propaganda.

  12. D: If you continue to use the words catastrophic and neo often enough, you might even convince somebody. Try neo-catastrophic, you neo-liberal.

  13. birthright?

  14. John D:“birthright?”

    birthright:A right, possession, or privilege that is one’s due by birth.(loosely, citizenship) Pretty clear John D. When I first gained cognisance, and looked at a map of Canada, one of my first reactions was Wow! That’s ours! I don’t like the idea that someone, M. Putin, for example, may decide to lop off the top 1,000 km or so, how about you?

  15. Right, Peter. Because putting a cute little Russian flag on the floor of the ocean at the north pole is an obvious prelude to a full scale Russian invasion of the Canadian Arctic islands. Or were you perusing continental shelf maps between diaper changes in those early days?

    And let’s just assume such a ludicrous event occured, you know, for fun. What makes you think that the United States, which currently doesn’t recognize our claim to the arctic seaways either, would come to our aid by defending our sovereignty of the far north at the cost of undoubtedly great numbers of soldiers and dollars only to say, “well there you go buddy….here’s your frozen islands back….do with them as you please.”

  16. Russia is arguing for the ocean floor (because there might be oil up there). The USA is arguing for a public right of way–much like one of the canals (Suez or Panama). NOBODY is arguing against Canadian Sovereignty of the LAND.

    But Hazzard, do remember that’s exactly what the U.S. did after they built an early warning system. And also a pipeline. I can easily see them defending our interest of the LAND in exchange for a public right of way through the Northwest Passage. Not that, again, anyone is arguing about the land.

  17. Hazzard,

    You don’t need to invade what is virtually uninhabited, and absolutely undefended. If the Russians decide to drill for oil on the arctic ocean, who is to stop them? We have no warships capable, so we will either ask the US for help, and hope they decide that it is in their interest to do so, or, we watch.

  18. and yet Frum was pasting McCain recently. Me thinks he is setting himself up for the return to the fold, since he has had a falling out with the Bushies.

    Frum has seemed more sensible lately, not that McCain is a bad choice, just the wrong time for him I suspect (surprises have been known to happen). So once again I think Frum is seeking rapproachment with the GOP so he can be part of the rebuilding process.

  19. “It would have been surprising if he hadn’t, but it’s a little surprising this way too.”

    Frum’s list for why he’s voting McCain is pretty weak tea, I must say. It just goes to show how odd McCain’s Repub primary win was because few proper conservatives like him and/or his policies.

    I think Frum had to come out and support McCain because his career is still somewhat dependent on the goodwill of other repubs. Frum was one of the leaders in the get rid of Harriet Miers movement and I’m sure he wouldn’t want to come across as an apostate.

    As an aside, I wonder if Obama’s coal comments that were revealed over the weekend will make much of a difference. Coal is big in a few of the swing states in the east and they could make a big difference if they all swing to McCain at the last minute.

  20. Jenn – A fairly big difference between building a defence warning system and defending the sovereignty of a foreign nation’s (even an ally) land or continental shelf from invading drill rigs. Even a pipeline in many ways. Both of these provide the benefit to the USA without requiring a constant manned presence at the physical installation. And the USA didn’t build the early warning system, walk away and simply ask that we let them know if anything funny happens over Russia way.

  21. Peter – did you honestly look at a map and think the entire Arctic Ocean was Canada’s? Russia hasn’t even come close to threatening to drill an oil well in the Canadian Arctic? ARe you expecting them to drill in amongst “our” islands where we’ve already drilled and discovered oil and gas reserves? And even if they had the nerve to encroach onto the North American side of the Arctic Ocean, the Americans will defend Alaskan waters regardless. I just think it’s a lot of scare-mongering of the most ridiculous kind to suggest that Russia will make a play for the entire Arctic. Continental shelf arguments can be pretty weak if you ask me.

    Besides, should something like this occur we can always reconsile with the Danes and defend our mutual interest in the uninhabitable, frozen north!

  22. Conflict over resources wouldn’t be full fledged war. Most likely the Canadian coast guard (if it was big enough) would keep bringing in Russian ships, taking their cargo and sending them home. If it happened enough, other countries would simply give up trying because it wouldn’t be profitable enough.

  23. David Frum is often attributed with the “Axis of Evil” quote. He claims what he actually come up with was “Axis of Hate” and that was modified by someone higher up. I think the “Axis of Hate” was probably a pretty accurate designation for the countries involved.

  24. I am astonished that a cheerleader for a discredited philosophy and a disgraced regime still has the temerity to volunteer his opinion on anything. He is ridiculous.

  25. David Frum’s mother would be rolling over in shame

  26. In other news …

    Rock band gets stoned.
    Population growth due to more births than deaths.
    Motherhood popular with families.

  27. On Frum’s point 10 “10) No elected official in American life has contributed more to the security of the nation than John McCain.” – this is if you believe that pre-emptively attacking Iraq was the right thing to do.

    Points 9,8,6,4, and 2 are based on conservative ideology – they are true but they don’t offer any insight.

    Although I wold say that point 2 (free-trade) ought to span the politial spectrum and I agree wholeheartedly with McCain’s position.

    On point 7, “McCain is more pragmatic and more open to compromise” – this actually might be true – I don’t know – but I think Obama listens more before making up his mind.

    Neither point 3 or point 1 are relevant.

    Point 5 is true and is a fair point.

    If I were a conservative like David Frum, I’d vote for McCain too. He’s a pretty good candidate.

  28. Yes granny

    Poor Barbara Frum must be rolling almost continuously

    Just like some enlightened Americans had to move to Canada for a more comfortable milieu, David belongs in Bush/McCain country… (Hopefully a place to remember but will no longer exist and Frum becomes ideologically stateless!)

  29. Can somebody explain the difference between David Frum and Michael Ignatieff? IMHO, both have spent most of their careers seeking the approval and affirmation of the American and British elites. Both are essentially neoimperialist sycophants.

    When Harper became disillusioned with the Mulroney Conservatives at the height of their power, he went into the wilderness to help rebuild the conservative movement in the country. He didn’t hang around London and Washington and Boston writing apologias for Western neoimperialism and torture.

  30. Who says Obama had it easy? You try coming from a poor family and becoming the first black President of the Harvard Law Society – and graduating at the top of your class.

    No, he was never tortured. Yes – what McCain went through was astonishing and I respect it tremendously.

    But I don’t think it makes him a better President than Obama!

    And yes! Choosing Palin — is a terrific reason for NOT voting for McCain. It says one helluva a lot about his character and judgement.

    As for the rest of his points… just watch Fox News.

  31. Frumster missed the real reason Johnny Mac has the “right stuff” to be prez. …. he is the only one who will protect the interests of the small minority that makes up the wealthiest people in the U.S.
    Only he will cut their taxes. Because they are a minority, Obama treats them with the disdain most minorities are subject to. No one stands up to the special interest group, The Middle Class, like Johnny Mac will. And he , my friends, is ready for the fight, he’s been a fighter all his life. There is still a lot of fight left in him. And he’s been a maverick almost as long as James Garner!!
    Of course he has a vested interest in protecting the wealthy minority ….. his bootlegger heiress daughter …. er…I mean wife. He my friends will keep his eyes upon the ball ..

  32. “You try coming from a poor family and becoming the first black President of the Harvard Law Society”

    Hello, affirmative action, making things easy.

    “and graduating at the top of your class”

    Um, not quite.

    He had a B- average at prep school in Hawaii.

    He has not released his Harvard or Columbia records.

    Per the Wall Street Journal September 11, 2008, “Obama’s Lost Years,” Obama graduated from Columbia University (to which he transferred after his first two years at Occidental College in California), with a degree in Political Science without honors, so had a GPA less than a 3.3. “Columbia GPA is unreleased but what is known is he graduated Magna cum Laude from Harvard Law so he was in the top 10% of his class.”

  33. sf: “Hello, affirmative action, making things easy.”

    What’s the emoticon for “racist BS”?

  34. David Frum is a decent writer, and IMO has been providing an intellectually honest viewpoint during these past few months – especially compared to some of the frothers and minutiae-maniacs at the National Review. Admits when he makes mistakes too, which isn’t all that common.

    Plus, every now and then – more _then_ these days – he post a _David’s Bookshelf_ review of recently read fiction/non-fiction that is usually quite detailed and generally well done.

  35. Jack M

    What’s the definition of a racist? A liberal losing an argument.

    “I’d also like to add one personal note, in response to the letter from Mr. Jim Chen which was published in the October 26 issue of the RECORD, and which articulated broad objections to the Review’s general affirmative action policy. I respect Mr. Chen’s personal concern over the possible stigmatizing effects of affirmative action, and do not question the depth or sincerity of his feelings. I must say, however, that as someone who has undoubtedly benefited from affirmative action programs during my academic career, and as someone who may have benefited from the Law Review’s affirmative action policy when I was selected to join the Review last year, I have not personally felt stigmatized either within the broader law school community or as a staff member of the Review.”

    Barack Obama, Nov 1990, Harvard Law Record

  36. Yeah, that’s really all there is to racism, isn’t there, jwl? Just a pithy reactionary unwitticism, that’s all it is. You can go back to sleep now.

    The point of the affirmative action programs was to get talented black people like Obama into things like Harvard Law so they could show their potential and contribute to society. Formerly, as the slightest whiff of history – that’s history with an H – it was somehow difficult for black people to go to Harvard – not quite sure why – something to do with something. Anyway, you can look it up.

  37. No Jack, the point of affirmative action is to allow easier access (lower admission standards) to university based on skin colour and other physical or ethnic characteristics. Affirmative action, by definition, is racism.

  38. Barack Obama had a very comfortable upbringing, and even went to prep school, and his academic and extracurricular performance at Columbia did not qualify him for Harvard. Without affirmative action, he would not have been in Harvard or the Harvard Law Review. You can call that whatever you like, except false, because it is a fact.

  39. No sf, racism is not just discrimination based on race, it is malevolence based on race. Sorry to have to break it to you, but you’re not really a victim of racism. But I’d be glad to help you sob.

    Back in the real world, affirmative action for schooling is based on the idea that talent does not equal training. In other words, if the USA was going to take advantage of its black intellectual talent, it was going to have to make up for the deficiencies of lower-level education (often owing, you guessed it! to racism – real racism, I should say) by allowing easier access to high-end education. And you know what? Obama is proof positive that it worked like a charm.

  40. I love your naivité, sf, that you think admission to Harvard Law is based on academic performance. Only someone who could never have gone there could have that kind of delusion.

  41. //Barack Obama had a very comfortable upbringing, and even went to prep school, and his academic and extracurricular performance at Columbia did not qualify him for Harvard. Without affirmative action, he would not have been in Harvard or the Harvard Law Review. You can call that whatever you like, except false, because it is a fact.//

    Would John McCain have gotten into Annapolis without preferences based on which family he belonged to? And McCain graduated next to the bottom of his class in Annapolis.

  42. Jack, I have no idea why you decided to make this about me, because I have never applied to Harvard, nor have I been affected by affirmative action. Why do you feel the need to make this ad hominem?

    It does not take a math degree to realize, that when there are a fixed number of spots, and you lower standards for one group, then there will be some rejected with superior qualifications than some of those accepted. Now you can qualify this anyway you like, but certainly some would consider it malevolent to those who were rejected because of the program.

    However, it’s funny you are tightening the decision of racism now, when a moment ago, uttering the mere fact that affirmative action allowed Barack to attend Harvard, uttering that fact qualified me for the label of racist. It seems you are rather loose with the definition as it suits you. A racist is anyone who disagrees with a liberal, as JWL has said, there really is no firm definition of the word.

    And maybe you could specify exactly how Barack’s training was inadequate for Harvard? I thought that’s what prep schools were for. Similarly, you’d think attending one ivy league school as an undergrad might be sufficient training to qualify for another. Or am I being racist? It’s so hard to tell.

    Frankly, I guarantee you that if Harvard did not use academic performance as an entry criterion, then Harvard would not have quite the same reputation that it does. So, are you saying that money, connections and skin colour are the only Harvard entrance criteria? I suspect academics is occasionally considered. Academics and extracurriculars seemed to be the two most valuable assets that eventually led a high school colleague of mine to become Harvard valedictorian. But what would he know?

  43. “Frankly, I guarantee you that if Harvard did not use academic performance as an entry criterion, then Harvard would not have quite the same reputation that it does.”

    Of course it’s one criterion among others, but they judge on the basis of the total package. That’s why ivy league colleges in the States are so full of do-good undergraduates running around starting chess clubs (or striving to end Third World hunger, etc.). The interview is also vital, and it’s in the interview that things like background and class come through. What affirmative action did was to say that having a black American background was an asset instead of a liability.

    What is racist – in effect if not in intent – about your original sideswipe jibe about Obama’s Harvard Law success being the result of affirmative action is that it is belittling of Obama’s achievement; obviously the implication was that his success was handed to him. This overlooks the considerable prejudice every black American faces in white-dominated institutions, especially those “liberal” ones like Academe where the prejudice is buried deep.

    My congratulations on your having once had a friend who once was Harvard valedictorian. Clearly I misjudged you.

  44. More ad-hominems. How typical.

    No, it was not belittling, it was the truth. I chose to correct an individual who mistakenly characterized Barack’s academic record as stellar, when in fact, his undergraduate experience was good, yet insufficient to qualify for Harvard without the assistance of affirmative action. There is no sideswipe, no matter how you attempt to credibly define the word sideswipe.

    Now, here is webster’s definition of racism:
    “racial prejudice or discrimination”

    Here is the definition of discriminating:
    “making a distinction”

    and prejudice:
    “preconceived judgment or opinion”

    Now, I repeat, affirmative action is, by definition, racism.

    By the way, notice the absence of the world malevolent, or any such synonym.

    Now, it seems to me, having attending prep school on the island if Hawaii and being an undergrad at Columbia (both of which have sizeable populations of non-whites, BTW), Barack might have already had a distinct advantage over the vast majority of other Americansof any background to qualify for Harvard Law, including most individuals of a non-black background. But if you say he needed the assistance of elitist bureaucrats to succeed, then so be it.

  45. “More ad-hominems. How typical.”

    The ad hominem is fully justified (though it’s rather an ad personam since, of course, you lurk behind the mask), since it’s related to the point you’re making.

    The anti-affirmative action position pretends that everything would be tickety-boo, Just, and Pure – i.e Fair – if the playing field were just nice and level. But anybody who’s actually played on that field knows that it’s neither level nor skewed, it’s completely up in the air, every man for himself, etc. For someone like yourself to be sitting on the sidelines imagining that somewhere up there merit is being justly rewarded is either pathetic or comical. Meanwhile you crack open the “anti-elitist” rhetoric so as to . . . defend pre-AA Harvard Law.

    I’m very impressed that you know how to look words up online. The next step is to think what they signify. You can look up ‘signify’ while you’re at it.

    “Barack might have already had a distinct advantage over the vast majority of other Americans of any background to qualify for Harvard Law, including most individuals of a non-black background. But if you say he needed the assistance of elitist bureaucrats to succeed, then so be it.”

    Dude, you really have no idea how the system works. He was competing only against other people from Ivy League schools. You don’t forward your application to Harvard Law from Oklahoma State. Jesus.

  46. Jack, really, you should look around yourself, you are in a hole, stop digging.

  47. Thanks for the smarm, Peter.

  48. Wow, Frum’s really trying hard there, is he not? (Sarah Palin doesn’t know much about policy, but I think she “can learn.”)

    Couldn’t he just have said, “I’m voting Republican, because I’m a conservative,” and saved nearly tying himself into knots?