Here’s hoping that we have at last seen the end of this ugly insinuation that there is something less than fully American about the black president with the exotic name....
The success of the bin Laden operation is a great moment for the United States – and not only for the United States.
But it is also a deservedly bad moment for some of the destructive forces in American public life: for those who have substituted for ordinary politics a sustained campaign to brand President Obama as an outsider, as un-American, as non-American.
Genuinely incomprehensible to me is why more conservatives cannot see what Frum sees: that the GOP's scandalous drumbeat of the president as "Other" is, in both the short term and long, the single most self-destructive strategy available to it.
I suppose from a purely cynical, altogether ruthless and even coldly pragmatic point of view, had the right's unsubtle campaign of Obama-qua-Kenyan or terrorist-friendly Mau Mau shown itself to be effective in the pursuit of electoral alienation among any group other than its numerically shrinking and squalid base, then a legitimate case could be made for it. Politics is, after all, war, and disinformation campaigns are part and parcel of its accepted ordnance. Yet there's no evidence that its strategy was accomplishing anything other than making the right look remarkably foolish: a still-dragging economy and higher gas prices were taking a toll on Obama's approval ratings; the right's unsubtleness was not.
The objection will be raised that the GOP's 2012 presidential candidate must first win the nomination by running the diseased gauntlet of Republican primaries: that he or she will win the nomination only by feeding the ravenous base, thus he or she has no route but the scandalous one. Again, myopia. Whoever wins the nomination in 2012 is already a historical footnote. The real winner will (could) be whatever Republican candidate comes along, this year or next, who denounces such scurrility in GOP politics and thereby primes himself for the 2016 nomination; by which time, it is to be hoped, anyway, the conservative base will have learned its unforgettable lesson of 2012 and will have re-expanded to conservative normality. Such an Eisenhower-Rockefeller re-expansion would permit this visionary Republican to then campaign on a platform of sanity-- and perhaps, even, to have a shot at victory.
For now, though, the GOP seems to be hopelessly mired in the suicidal muck, grabbing at every sick, opportunistic plaything that appears shiny. It has lost its soul, its every reason for being. It has become merely a plague on both the nation and itself. Yet what is most astounding is that not one of its "luminaries" is willing to see the irrevocable darkness ahead -- as David Frum so clearly has -- and make some attempt to change course.