David Frum is concerned about the tiger some in the GOP are now riding. His defense of Cass Sunstein is very well put:
The newest target is Cass Sunstein, confirmed yesterday by the Senate as director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget.
For more about Sunstein, see Tim Mak’s adjoining report. Bottom line: For those who champion free competitive markets, Cass Sunstein is about the best possible choice to be hoped for from a Democratic administration.
I arrive at this opinion through first hand knowledge. I studied in one of Cass Sunstein’s seminars at Harvard Law School, and witnessed for two hours per week the fair play of his mind. But it’s not only my opinion. It’s the opinion of: Chris DeMuth, past president of the American Enterprise Institute; of the Wall Street Journal editorial page; and of the editors of Cato’s Regulation magazine. And while Republican-appointed judges like Chief Justice John Roberts and Court of Appeals Judge Michael McConnell cannot properly express a view, I’d wager dollars-to-doughnuts they too support Sunstein: after all, he endorsed both of them.
Nor is it only American conservatives who admire Sunstein. British Conservative Party leader David Cameron has approvingly quoted Sunstein’s latest book, Nudge (co-authored with University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler).
Indeed, Cameron has recommended Sunstein’s work so forcefully that the left-leaning British newspaper The Guardian sardonically calls Nudge, Cameron’s “favorite American import.”
So how is it that this man so admired by economic conservatives worldwide, this market-oriented economist, this endorser of Republican Supreme Court nominees, and – by the way – this constitutional scholar who has endorsed the Heller case expanding Second Amendment gun rights – how could he of all the 10,000 political appointees of the Obama administration become a demon figure to Fox TV’s new star?
and on Beck:
Glenn Beck is not the first to make a pleasant living for himself by reckless defamation. We have seen his kind before in American journalism and American politics, and the good news is that their careers never last long. But the bad news is that while their careers do last, such people do terrible damage.
Glenn Greenwald rightly points out that the influence of wacky extremists on the GOP isn’t a new phenomenon. Pres Clinton was under a constant barrage of insane allegations throughout his presidency. These allegations were at best ignored and at worst endorsed by the GOP, but never condemned.
Update II (9.14.2009)
Peter Wallsten reports that other prominent members of the GOP also fear that the paranoid conspiracy theorists are taking over the party and pushing it to the extreme.
Update III (9.14.2009)
Both Maureen Dowd at the NYT and TNC at the Atlantic argue that although it is true that Democratic presidents always had to deal with fringe wackos, in the case of Obama race IS a factor. Not the only factor but a factor that shouldn’t be dismissed.