Perhaps David Frum is jealous of all the media adoration Kathleen Parker now receives. Knowing he would be challenged on other media outlets, as he was previously on Mark Levin’s radio show, Frum appeared with MSNBC's Chris Matthews tonight. He talked about his recent column in Newsweek titled on the magazine's cover as "A Conservative's Case Against Rush Limbaugh."
Appearing on Hardball to plug his anti-Limbaugh Newsweek article denotes that Frum knew he would be addressing not only the Obama White House but also the mainly liberal fans of MSNBC.
If Frum was truly interested in endearing his article to a right of center audience, obviously, he would have been all over Fox News before he went to MSNBC. Just the fact that Frum wrote his piece in Newsweek and not a conservative publication will make conservatives wonder if Frum will do a political 180 a la Arianna Huffington.
Matthews jumped on the opportunity to prod Frum to say (or at least imply) that Limbaugh is a racist. (My emphasis added throughout) :
MATTHEWS: Do you think he's got a race problem?
FRUM: He sometimes talks that way.
MATTHEWS: Lean over grab your ankles... that thing.
FRUM: Sometimes, he talks that way. I don’t know whether it’s conscious or...but I went through how many times between inauguration day and the present that he’s made a comment about President Obama being invulnerable to criticism because of his race. I found five instances…one a week. That’s sort of a lot.
It seems as if Frum is more than happy to elaborate on Limbaugh’s so-called "race problem." Matthews jumps in with the Donovan McNabb brouhaha over Limbaugh, while Frum cedes Matthews.
MATTHEWS: There’s sort of a nag he does. Like he does that about Donovan McNabb…the Eagle quarterback, like he’s only given praise, because he’s black.
FRUM: That’s one time.
MATTEWS: He plays this sort of weird…
FRUM: As we all know, I’ve said on-air things I wish hadn't said thirty seconds later.
You mean like just now, Mr. Frum, or will you proudly proclaim later that you were pretty much calling Limbaugh a racist on MSNBC? Such an exchange is amusing right before Frum later complains that the GOP has “this image of being a party that’s unsympathetic to minorities.”
MATTHEWS: Yeah, I know, we all make mistakes, but there’s a theme there. He’s like saying, ‘Don’t give the guy a break.’ It’s almost like he’s benefiting from some quota system. Barack Obama won the election against a guy. He didn’t get any appointment here.
FRUM: Whatever is in his head, I don’t know. This is not…this is ,again, dangerous. The Republican Party has this image of being a party that’s unsympathetic to minorities, and Michael Steele works fiendishly in order to overcome that negative image.
Here’s a clue for Mr. Frum and others like him. When he trashes Limbaugh, he is essentially insulting millions of people who share Limbaugh’s sentiment. Frum is attacking a large segment of the GOP, while claiming he is trying to help. If this is Frum’s idea of helping the Republican Party, many will not want to see what his idea is for hurting the GOP.
Excited he is able to add another token squish as a probable program regular, Matthews demands that Frum not apologize over the Newsweek article.
MATTHEWS: Well, you know what I said when I came out here, David. You have changed your life with this article. You will be the man that shot Liberty Valance. You will be the guy that took on Rush Limbaugh. Just don’t apologize.
For those not acquainted with western movie classics, Liberty Valance is the title character of a 1962 western film. Valance, played by Lee Marvin, is a criminal who terrorizes the town folk and is killed in a shootout. This is a predictable comparison coming from Matthews, but Frum, once again, wilts.
FRUM: I’m going to be the face under (inaudible)
MATTHEWS: Do me a favor. Don’t apologize. You’re a journalist... you don’t have to. You can make mistakes, but just don’t do that thing. Anyway... thanks, David Frum. Congratulations, you’ve written an article. You’re a literary politician at least.
Matthews is unapologetically proclaiming that it’s okay for journalists to make mistakes so long as a liberal agenda is delivered to the audience. Apparently, Frum is delivering just that message.
Cross Posted at Picketlines.org
Update: Movie reference corrected