David Frum, head of the conservative web site New Majority, has declared war on Glenn Beck, accusing the Fox host of working only "for himself" and wounding the Republican cause. David Horowitz, a fellow conservative, slashed back in Beck's defense, saying Frum was the one stoking an ideological civil war, and that Republicans are better off with one Beck than with 10,000 of Frum's ilk. Their skirmish played out over four posts:
On Whether Glenn Beck Is Hurting the GOP
Frum: "Beck is working for himself - and he chooses his targets according to his own scheme of priorities...We conservatives are submitting our movement to some of the most unscrupulous people in American life. This submission disgraces conservatism, discredits Republicans, and damages the country. It's beyond time for conservatives who know better to join us at NewMajority in emancipating ourselves from leadership by the most stupid, the most cynical, and the most truthless."
Horowitz: "My real quarrel with Frum is that he denigrates Beck ("mob rule" indeed) and expresses the hope that Beck will soon be gone. This is more than over the top on Frum's part. It is a betrayal of the conservative cause (much as his unseemly attack on Limbaugh was, too). Without voices like Beck's and Limbaugh's -- and Ann Coulter's for that matter -- the conservative cause and the cause of this country would be hugely damaged. On the other hand, if Frum's website were to fold, nobody would notice...I would rather have Glenn Beck out there fighting for our side than 10,000 David Frums who think that appeasing lefitists will make them think well of us"
On Whether It's Worth Distorting the Truth to Win
Frum: "Horowitz agrees that Beck's attack on Sunstein was false. Yet that falsehood does not worry Horowitz. The country is "under assault." (As the broadcaster Mark Levin has said, President Obama is "literally at war" with the American people.) In a war, truth must yield to the imperatives of victory. Any conservative qualms about the untruth of Beck's defamation of Sunstein amounts to "appeasement" - an appeasement that will end with the left decapitating the right. This is the language and logic of Leninism."
Horowitz: "It's not that I don't worry about mistakes people make on our side -- I worry greatly about David's mistake in regard to Beck -- but I believe it's important to correct people who are fighting for our freedoms in a somewhat gentler way than one should correct people who are on the other side of these battles...Let me pause for a moment here to say that I resent David's use of the term "Leninist" to describe me. That is not an accident. It's a term my enemies on the left use with great frequency in order to exculpate themselves from their romance with Leninism and demonize me at the same time and I don't appreciate David's picking it up (particularly when he is on a crusade to purge conservatives who disagree with him from the conservative movement). I did not in my original criticism of David say that truth didn't matter, nor do I think that. What I said was that the lengths to which he went to demonize and anathematize Beck were objectionable. I do think truth matters."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.