Some of the most interesting election aftermath analysis is coming from seasoned conservatives with a broader view of the sweep of history, and nobody since Nov. 6 has laid this out with more panoramic vision than David Frum. In this CNN excerpt from his larger explanation of why Romney lost, Frum dismantles the notion perpetrated by many on Fox News, and Mitt Romney himself, that America is now lost to entitlement "takers.''
"America is not a society divided between "makers'' and "takers.'' Instead, almost all of us proceed through a life cycle where we sometimes make and sometimes take, as we pass from schooling to employment to retirement. The line between "making" and "taking'' is not a racial line. The biggest government program we have, Medicare, benefits a population that is 85 percent white...The United States did not vote for socialism. It could not do so, because neither party offers socialism. Both parties champion a free enterprise economy cushioned by a certain amount of soical insurance. The Democrats (mostly) want more social insurance; the Republicans want less. National politics is a contest to move the line of scrimmage, in a game where where there's no such thing as a forward pass, only a straight charge ahead at the defensive line (and) whatever you think of the Obama record, it's worth keeping in mind that by any measure, free enterprise has been winning the game for a long, long time to this point."
Frum then describes in some detail 50 years of movement away from government regulation and high marginal federal income tax rates, which happened under Democrats and Republicans. He notes that Marxism was still a live intellectual force in the early 1960s and is now in complete retreat and disrespute internationally. Frum doesen't get into the most important underlying fact of all: the alleged "makers" in the top 1 percent (or 5 percent or 10 percent) have "taken'' almost all the growth in the economy over the last decade and now have a greater share of income and wealth than at any time since the Depression.
Finally, Frum harshly chastises the racial animosity implied in some post-election commentary and his points remind me of the more embracing brand of Republican philosophy that prevailed in Minnesota from our early statehood under Abraham Lincoln (can't wait to see the movie), through Govs. John S. Pillsbury, Harold Stassen and Arne Carlson.
"To assume from the start that only certain ethnicities will contribute, and that others aspire only to grab, is not only ugly prejudice; it is also self-destructive delusion. People of all backgrounds want to create, save and contribute to society. A party of the center-right should make them all feel at home, regardless of how they pronounce their last name, the complexion of their skin or the way in which they express love and build family...We need more sensible conservatives. As for the feeble conservatives, they should take a couple of aspirin and then stay quietly indoors until the temper has subsided and they are ready to say and do something useful again.