David Frum: Breitbart: Second Thoughts (Did Frum call the GOP Nazis?)
Did Frum compare the GOP (his own party still one supposes) Nazi like? Read below. Let me know what you think…..
Breitbart: Second Thoughts
by David Frum Mar 2, 2013 7:45 AM EST
One year after the death of Andrew Breitbart, I am hearing again from many of his admirers, protesting the obituary I wrote at the time. Mickey Kaus yesterday retweeted a piece of his own from 2012, the bulk of which constitutes a reply to me.
Rereading my obituary a year later, I wouldn’t change a word of it. My obituary was respectful of the sorrow of Breitbart’s family and friends. It paid due tribute to his abilities and qualities. And otherwise: it told the truth about a man who was an important figure of his times, who did shape the world we live in.
Yet I will say this one thing:
In any political conflict between extremists and non-extremists, the non-extremists start with one serious disadvantage. They tend to be conflict-averse. Moderate-minded people tend naturally to be people of moderate temperament. When they encounter rage, hate, and paranoia, they flinch. Extremists, on the other hand, delight in conflict. Simply by being louder and nastier, they bully the non-extremists into silence, acquiescence, or exit. Which happens to be the recent history of the Republican party.
What America needs now, and what the Republican party most especially needs, are moderate-minded people who are also tough-minded - who won’t be shrieked down and who won’t be intimidated. “Civility” cannot mean: you yell, I yield. Conservatives deplore those old-line 1960s liberals who shriveled up when challenged by student radicals and Black Power militants. Well, now it’s happening in our house, and it is we who are being tested: Do we dare confront our own radicals? It’s not enough to have greater wisdom, greater tolerance, and greater patriotism if you don’t also muster courage, endurance, and will to win. Otherwise, you’re playing by Weimar rules.
[Destro: Weimar rules? As in Weimar Republic and how it dealt with the Nazis? Did Frum call the Republicans “Nazi like” in behavior?]
OK read on —-snip——
Yet perhaps Breitbart’s most consequential innovation was his invention of a new kind of culture war. Until recently, the phrase “culture war” mainly described the political struggle over religion and sexuality. When Pat Buchanan declared a “culture war” from the rostrum of the Republican convention in 1992, he specifically cited abortion, gay rights, pornography, prayer in schools, and women in combat as the outstanding issues.
Those were not the issues that much interested Andrew Breitbart. On gay rights, he held almost the polar opposite view of Buchanan’s in 1992.
In fact, it’s hard even to use the word “issues” in connection with Andrew Breitbart. He may have used the words “left” and “right,” but it’s hard to imagine what he ever meant by those words. He waged a culture war minus the “culture,” as a pure struggle between personalities. Hence his intense focus on President Obama: only by hating a particular political man could Breitbart bring any order to his fundamentally apolitical emotions.
Because President Obama was black, and because Breitbart believed in using every and any weapon at hand, Breitbart’s politics did inevitably become racially coded. Breitbart’s memory will always be linked to his defamation of Shirley Sherrod and his attempt to make a national scandal out of back payments to black farmers: the story he always called “Pigford” with self-conscious resonance.
And this is where it becomes difficult to honor the Roman injunction to speak no ill of the dead. It’s difficult for me to assess Breitbart’s impact upon American media and American politics as anything other than poisonous. When one of the leading media figures of the day achieves his success by his giddy disdain for truth and fairness—when one of our leading political figures offers to his admirers a politics inflamed by rage and devoid of ideas—how to withhold a profoundly negative judgment on his life and career?
Especially when that career was so representative of his times?
We live in a time of political and media demagoguery unparalleled since the 19th century. Many of our most important public figures have gained their influence and power by inciting and exploiting the ugliest of passions—by manipulating fears and prejudices—by serving up falsehoods as reported truth. In time these figures will one by one die. What are we to say of this cohort, this group, this generation? That their mothers loved them? That their families are bereaved? That their fans admired them and their employees treated generously by them? Public figures are inescapably judged by their public actions. When those public actions are poisonous, the obituary cannot be pleasant reading.
PS: I always assumed Breitbart (who did not hold conservative opinions on many issue) did what he did for the money on behalf of the “GOP noise machine”. He was in my opinion a mercenary. A political soldier of fortune doing hits for the GOP noise machine. I don’t know how this GOP noise machine is set up - is it decentralized or highly centralized but as someone from a marketing and background I notice how almost all the right wing radio hosts talk about the exact same agenda each day as if they all received the same talking point memo. And if you run a noise machine you need “noise” fuel for the machine. Manufactured outrages can be talked about and thus, I felt, Breitbart would create the noise that would fuel the machine. That was how he made his money.