August 18, 2009
Today brings the sad news that Robert Novak has died. Novak was a great reporter, a proponent of the foreign policy Colonel McCormick used to advocate in the Chicago Tribune, and the author of a great and revealing memoir on the ways of Washington, The Prince of Darkness. He was also the target of Canadian carpetbagger David Frum, who listed Novak among the “Unpatriotic Conservatives” who were defying Frum by refusing to go along with the Iraq War. Turns out that the skeptics were right, but NR has never apologized for running Frum’s screed on the front page. Still, the memory of Frum’s unrepudiated smear is the source of some obvious embarrassment on the day of Novak’s passing. Six years ago Beltway apparatchik Mark Krikorian was singing Frum’s praises, while sheepishly suggesting that “lumping Bob Novak with Sam Francis might have been painting with too broad a brush.” (Sam’s lack of patriotism was obvious to Krikorian). Today, after Frum has been kicked out of the NR tree house, Krikorian is a bit more bold, describing Novak as a “patriot.” And even Frum seems a tad embarrassed, writing at his own website that “Robert Novak for all his faults was never an unpatriotic American” and that “today is as good a time as any to correct” the impression that Frum had called Novak unpatriotic. (Of course, the better time would have been while Novak was still alive, but Frum has no doubt been busy these past six and half years).
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