On Sunday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted a blog post by David Frum, the former Bush Administration speechwriter, because Frum argued that health care reform would be the GOP’s “waterloo”–“their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.” On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal editorialized that Frum—“the media’s go-to basher of fellow Republicans”–was “peddling bad revisionist history that would have been even worse politics.” On Thursday, Frum had lunch with his employer, Arthur Brooks, who is president of the American Enterprise Institute.
Frum says Brooks asked him to take on an unpaid role at AEI. Frum says he declined, effectively ending his employment with the conservative think tank, which also employs former Vice President Dick Cheney. I caught up with Frum after the meeting. “Arthur Brooks insisted that this had nothing to do with my writings,” Frum said, adding that Brooks also did not challenge Frum’s fealty to AEI’s three core principles, which are described on the AEI website as, “expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise.”
An AEI spokeswoman, Veronique Rodman, sends over this statement: “While AEI makes it a practice not to discuss personnel matters, I can say that David Frum is an original thinker and a friend to many at AEI. We are pleased to have welcomed him as a colleague for seven years, and his decision to leave in no way diminishes our respect for him.”
So it goes. Is the timing a coincidence? Hard to tell. I guess one can take Arthur Brooks at his word. Or not.
As a disclosure, Frum is an occasional columnist for TIME.