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Calvin Freiburger

What David Frum Has in Common w/ Tiger Woods

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Posted on March 30 2010 9:31 am
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.
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By Joe Carter

When the Tiger Woods scandal broke the initial reaction divided people into two groups: those who asked, “Would he get dumped by his wife?” and those who asked “Would he get dumped by his endorsement sponsors?”In Washington, D.C., most people were interested in the latter. Family breakups are sad, of course. But the potential loss of status and money that results from losing a sponsor? Now that’s a tragedy.

The Beltway is obsessed with connections and endorsements—who you are is shaped by who is willing to be associated with you. When a Washington celebrity (or what passes for celebrity in the town) is dropped by a sponsor, it is assumed to portend deep rifts within political factions. A prime example is the case of pundit and former speechwriter David Frum. For the past few days his ouster from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has been the topic du jour of the political media and blogosphere.

When AEI, one of the premier conservative think-tanks in D.C., asked Frum to remain a fellow sans pay, he resigned. Because he had recently written that refusal of Republicans to compromise on health reform marked a generational “Waterloo,” it was assumed by Frum and many of his fellow pundits that had been pushed out by AEI for being critical of the GOP.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time Frum has criticized Republicans and/or conservatives. For the past few years the failing of conservatives (at least the ones that disagree with him) has been one of his chief preoccupations. As he once wrote, “We all have our vices, and yes, I have always had a tendency toward deviationism.” Indeed he does. Frum is the type of “conservative” that believes we should embrace abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and the carbon tax. If AEI had decided that he had deviated a bit too far to represent their mission, they would have been warranted in pushing him out the door.

But it doesn’t appear that AEI was trying to get rid of him, and least not completely. Something more banal, and yet more interesting since it sheds light on Beltway thinking, seems to be going on.

Read the rest at First Things.

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