David Frum is bashing conservative Republicans again – this time for playing hardball with President Obama and using the debt ceiling deadline as blackmail to get what they want. Frum writes in a CNN.com op-ed that the GOP demand for "total surrender" by the president on the debt ceiling debate gives him "horrible flashbacks" to the party's staunch opposition to the health care bill – which failed – in what he deemed the conservatives' "Waterloo."
What details are jumping out at Frum to make him believe that the president is so utterly reasonable and Republicans are reckless in this debate?
First, he seems to bend over backwards to extol Obama's munificence, listing the president's "startling moves" in making concessions on Medicare and Social Security, and large spending cuts to boot.
Then he lays Obama's offer side-by-side with the Republican refusal to agree on any sort of tax increases without offsetting cuts, and thus kindles his outrage against the GOP. "Obama offered Republicans a lot of spending cuts if only they would move even slightly to meet him," Frum writes, narrating what he believes to be the real behind-closed-doors story.
Frum is only guessing, but with his investigative glasses he thinks Obama is being generous and Republicans are being radically stubborn, instead of the Republican spin that President Obama and the Democrats are inconsistent in their offers.
"But it would be remarkable, wouldn't it, for a president to say on TV that he was willing to do something as unpopular as raise the Medicare age – and then say in secret: Nah, I'll do the popular thing instead. Wouldn't you expect the behavior to be the other way around?" he asks.
So this is Frum's belief: he is willing to trust Obama on this one and leave the crazy Republicans out in the dark with the coyotes – namely by dogging them with accusations of using "dangerous tactics" and living by "taboos" such as "negotiation is not allowed."
To read Frum's entire piece, click here.