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Why I Employ a Double Standard for Sarah Palin and David Frum

Posted on May 11 2010 10:00 pm
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Is NewsReal Blog contributor John Guardiano a hypocrite for bashing Sarah Palin while defending David Frum?

My friend David Forsmark calls me a hypocrite. Well, he’s kinder and more charitable than that. He doesn’t use that exact word, but that’s what he means. I live in a “glass house,” he says. I criticize Sarah Palin for being insufficiently conservative. And yet, David notes, I heartily support that scourge and bane of the Right, David Frum.

How do I plead? Guilty! Because I do, indeed, hold Sarah Palin to a different and more exacting standard than I do David Frum, and here’s why:

Sarah Palin and David Frum fulfill different roles in the conservative movement. Palin is a political leader who aspires to lead the conservative movement and perhaps even hold high political office herself one day. David Frum, by contrast, has no such illusions about himself.

Indeed, David will never hold high political office, and he doesn’t aspire to do so. David is a public intellectual who aspires to shake up and modernize the conservative movement through intellectually provocative writing and analysis.

That said, David could use more of Palin’s softer, gentler and more diplomatic touch. Palin, meanwhile, could use more of David’s substantive analytical prowess and insight.

In any case, I am more willing to indulge David’s heresies (or deviations from conservative orthodoxy) because the conservative movement urgently needs fresh thinking, which public intellectuals like David provide.

But I am far less willing to indulge Palin’s abandonment of conservative positions because her deviations stem from a lack of thought and philosophical grounding. And yet, Palin aspires to lead the conservative movement.

Moreover, as I noted in my two posts, there are a number of things about Palin — including her endorsement of John McCain, her support of a “windfall profits” tax, her advocacy of more money for the education bureaucracy, her use of leftwing populist rhetoric, and her bashing of so-called predatory lenders — that demonstrate she is not yet an authentic or mature conservative.

So it’s not just Palin’s endorsement of Carly Fiorina that’s at issue. In fact, as I observed in my post yesterday, Palin’s endorsement of Fiorina may be of no cause for concern. However, anyone who is troubled by this endorsement — because they view Fiorina as a faux conservative — shouldn’t be surprised given that Palin herself really isn’t all that conservative.

And I’m sure that when my friend David Forsmark takes the time to carefully review Palin’s public pronouncements and public record, he’ll come to this same inescapable conclusion.

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