Monday, September 07, 2009

David Frum and the delicate art of the political obituary

R. S. McCain’s favorite neocon wrote a typically self-aggrandizing piece on the Sen. Edward Kennedy. I’m not surprised that he said nice things about the senator. Decent people try to say nice things about the recent dead.

What was nauseating about Frum’s comments was the preening, boastful attempt to show that David Frum is better than us.

Is there a more inappropriate place for name dropping than in an obituary?

Frum also chose to praise Kennedy in an odd way. He disdained the politics and praised the man’s inner character:
Not all chapters of his life revealed it equally, but the senator was a big soul, and in his last years, he lived his bigness fully.

Really. A big soul. The kind of big soul that liked Chappaquiddick jokes?

Steyn is the only corrective for such bilge.

We are enjoined not to speak ill of the dead. But, when an entire nation or, at any rate, its “mainstream” media culture declines to speak the truth about the dead, we are certainly entitled to speak ill of such false eulogists.

As I said, I have no problem with trying to say nice things about the dead. Frum, however, is not always so generous. While he strained to praise Kennedy, he was notably ambivalent about the conservative Jesse Helms.

I have been thinking a great deal about the North Carolinian since his death, and like many conservatives, my thoughts toward him are mixed. He was on the wrong side of the greatest domestic moral challenge of the past half century - and on the right side of the greatest international challenge: a Paul Robeson in reverse.

Apparently, Jesse Helms did not have a big soul. Or maybe Jesse just isn’t the kind of name you drop when you want to impress David Frum’s friends.

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