David Frum was one of George W Bush's speechwriters, who memorably recounts hearing, on his first visit to the Bush White House, one senior staffer ask another why they hadn't been at that morning's prayer breakfast. Since leaving the employ of the former president, Frum has maintained a profile as a stimulating Republican political commentator and thinker, but his latest article, for 'New York' magazine, reveals the depths of his despair about the direction the GOP is now heading in. He is particularly scathing about the Tea Party movement:
The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing—but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn. But Cain’s gaffe on Libya or Perry’s brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership. They are indicators of a crisis of followership. The tea party never demanded knowledge or concern for governance, and so of course it never got them.