The Corner

Politics & Policy

Frum and ‘Trumpocracy’

I first met David Frum in the mid-’90s, when he wrote for The Weekly Standard. I enjoyed talking with him, immensely. I likened him to a cocktail-lounge pianist with a wide, wide repertoire: “Play ‘Misty,’” you can say to the cocktail pianist. “Play ‘Blue Skies.’” “Play ‘Nola.’” And he does. Similarly, you could toss out requests to David: “What about term limits?” “What about the flat tax versus the retail-sales tax?” “What about intervention in the Balkans?” And he would give you several angles, along with his own conclusion.

I have never really stopped talking with David, or reading him. He wrote here at NR. He and WFB were friends, and mutual admirers. David is now a senior editor at The Atlantic. Whether I agree or disagree with him, I always find his arguments something to reckon with. And one does.

The latest of his books is Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic. And David is my latest guest on Q&A (here). We talk, needless to say, about Trump, the GOP, conservatives, America, and the world. The “ocracy” in “Trumpocracy” is more important than the man, says David. He is focusing on what he regards as a big problem in the American system, regardless of the current president.

Obviously, David Frum is not the cup of tea of today’s Right, nor is it his. But life is long, times change, and alliances shift. Years ago — for example, in his 2007 book Comeback — David was sounding themes about conservatism’s relationship with American society — especially those “left behind” — that crashed like thunder in 2016. He was anti-“GOPe,” you might say, before the term cropped up on Twitter.

Anyway, a stimulating conversation, this Q&A (again, here). See what you think.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Strzok by a Farce

An investigation is one of two things: a search for the truth, or a farce. The House is conducting a farce. That fact was on full display during ten hours of testimony by Peter Strzok, the logorrheic lawman who steered the FBI’s Clinton-emails and Trump–Russia probes. The principal question before the ... Read More
Elections

Democrats Are Dumping Moderates

The activist base of the Democratic party is lurching left fast enough that everyone should pay attention. Activists matter because their turnout in low-turnout primaries and caucuses almost propelled leftist Bernie Sanders to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated New ... Read More
Film & TV

Stalin at the Movies

Toward the end of The Death of Stalin, two Communist Party bosses size up Joseph Stalin’s immediate successor, Georgy Malenkov. “Can we trust him?” one asks. “Can you ever really trust a weak man?” his comrade answers. Good question. Last week brought the news that the head of Shambhala ... Read More
World

‘The Warning Lights Are Blinking Red Again’

One of President Trump’s outstanding appointments has been Dan Coats, his director of national intelligence. Coats is a former House member, former senator, and former ambassador to Germany. He is a Hoosier (i.e., from Indiana). Whether he plays basketball, I don’t know. At Wheaton College, he played soccer. ... Read More