Quote of the Day: David Frum On Attacks On RNC Chair Michael Steele
The political Quote of the Day comes from conservative writer David Frum, who is a high profile Republican critic of conservative radio talk show hosts and America’s often exclusionary talk radio political culture. On GOPer attacks on RNC Chair Michael Steele:
During an appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Frum, who served as an adviser to President Bush, was asked whether Steele’s view on abortion — as exhibited during a GQ interview published this week — was acceptable under the tent of the GOP.
“It should represent a view within the Republican Party,” he replied. “It should be permissible to say such a thing. I speak as a Republican: we need Michael Steele. He’s exciting. He’s warm. He has a marvelous TV presence. That’s the face that our party should be presenting to the country and we need to support him. And the very fact that he is opening up, talking to constituencies that need to be reached — these are valuable and fresh things. And I’m sick about the kind of level of attack he’s taking. Because we need him.”
Later in the program, Frum argued that Steele’s appeal was far more than just racial or political superficiality.
“He’s not a black face, he’s just a different face,” he said. “We need different kinds of people. It isn’t ‘you put a black face on the party and you get black voters.’ You put a different face there … His knocking down the walls is saying we can have a wider discussion within the Republican Party than we’ve allowed ourselves.”
Frum’s comments underscore a divide in the GOP between conservatives more anchored in the baby boomer style of politics, which divides the world into sharply defined “us versus them” groups, and some in younger generations — who scratch their heads at partisan or ideological litmus tests that demonize and try to marginalize those who don’t pass the tests. His reaction also reflects the ongoing battle over whether the GOP will become a bigger tent or demand special credentials from those who want to enter into it.