Still at It: David Frum Takes Shot at the Club for Growth

June 13th, 2010 2:29 PM

It's called "Left, Right and Center," which claims to be a "civilized yet provocative antidote to the screaming talking heads that dominate political debate." But there's not a whole lot of truth in advertising for KCRW Santa Monica's radio program, which is also podcasted on the Internet.

The show normally features Robert Scheer, editor of the left-wing investigative Web site and a former Los Angeles Times columnist, representing the left. Matt Miller, a former Clintonista and senior fellow at the left-wing Center for American Progress represents the so-called center. And former Washington Times editorial page editor and visiting senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation usually represents the right. And for whatever reason, HuffPo editor Arianna Huffington is included to represent what they call the "independent progressive blogosphere," as if that is somehow different from the "left."

For the June 11 edition of this show, both Blankley and Miller were away and replaced with David Frum, a recently terminated fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, representing the "right" and Lawrence O'Donnell, of MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" fill-in fame, representing the "center." And it was on the broadcast Frum used the platform to take a shot at the Club for Growth.

"The Club for Growth is nicknamed amongst some Republicans, ‘The Club for Electing Democrats' because what it does is it has all these primary challenges," Frum said. "And either it bleeds existing incumbents or else it opens the way to the election, to the nomination of a less electable Republican and the loss of the district to the Democrats."

If that were indeed the case, should Club for Growth President and Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey be trailing his Democratic opponent Rep. Joe Sestek? That's not the case according to three out of four polls posted on Real Clear Politics (the outlier poll being the Daily Kos' poll). But Frum goes on to make another point - that the unions, by playing more of a role in particular campaigns, are straight out the Club for Growth playbook.

"So it is fascinating to me for the unions to decide we're going to be ‘The Club for Electing Republicans' on the Democratic side," he continued. "It is always worth remembering there is not symmetry here. The Republican base is actually bigger than the Democratic base. But a third of the country identifies as conservative, that's not a majority."

And according to Frum, since the conservative base is larger, the $10 million big labor used in Arkansas in the Blanche Lincoln-Bill Halter race for the Democratic nomination was spent in vain.

"But only a fifth of the country identifies as liberal," Frum said. "That's even farther from a majority. I think a lot of Democrats in a lot of places, who come October are going to be hungry for that $10 million that is not going to be there for them."