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Michelle Malkin: Pragmatist in a Foxhole

Along with Michael Brendan Dougherty, I recommend Ben Domenech’s insightful take on the role reversal of movement conservatives and Beltway conservatives.

I have a small gripe, though, about Domenech’s gripe about GOP elites’ griping.

He writes:

Professional concern troll David Frum, who spent most of the primary season telling liberals why conservatives were never going to suck it up and go for Romney, now seems very concerned that they have.  Michelle Malkin, who could be taking the wood to Romney on a daily basis for his infidelity to the immigration hardline, has morphed into a loyal soldier …

If I may, I think Domenech’s take here is unfair to Frum and overly generous toward Malkin. Dougherty aptly brings up the example of the Tea Party’s pragmatic embrace of Sen. Scott Brown; sure, they thought, he’s a squish — but we have a rare shot at flipping Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. We can live with a squish!

Frum has more or less taken the same tack with Romney’s candidacy all along. Not, to be sure, that Mitt Romney need be as squishy as Scott Brown. (He used to be, and at least in part because of the same Bay State contextual reasons — but table that thought for now). Frum can certainly chime in on his own behalf, but if I’ve been paying enough attention, it seems to me that he believes the Romney candidacy doomed itself by 1) wedding itself to the unpopular Ryan budget; 2) abandoning its original 59-point economic plan in order to make room for supply-side tax cuts that never will be enacted; 3) outflanking Rick Perry on immigration and thereby kissing off any prayer of winning Hispanics; and 4) tying itself in an impossible knot over the individual mandate and Romneycare.

We can argue about each of these points. The point is, from the point of view of “professional concern troll” David Frum, the fatal damage to Romney’s run for the White House was inflicted months ago, and at the behest of people like Malkin. To describe her, now, just weeks before the election, when it’s probably too late, as a “loyal foot soldier” is faintly absurd.

Look: I’m no fan of Romney’s, obviously. And there was a time when it seemed to me that Frum’s Romney boosterism read like Jennifer Rubin’s does now. But the idea that Tea Party conservatives are suddenly praiseworthy pragmatists — come on, Ben.

about the author

Scott Galupo is a freelance writer living in Arlington, Va. In addition to contributing to The American Conservative, he writes for TheWeek.com and reviews live music for The Washington Post. He was formerly a staff writer for The Washington Times and worked on Capitol Hill. He lives with his wife and two children and writes about politics to support his guitar habit.

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