The ouster also came one day after a harsh Wall Street Journal editorial about the former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, which said that he "now makes his living as the media's go-to basher of fellow Republicans" and accused him of "peddling bad revisionist history."
Frum made clear in a letter to AEI President Arthur Brooks that his departure after seven years at the conservative think tank was not voluntary. "I have had many fruitful years at the American Enterprise Institute," he wrote, "and I do regret this abrupt and unexpected conclusion of our relationship." AEI did not comment immediately.
In a brief interview, Frum said "there was no suggestion by AEI" that his sharp criticism of the GOP's health-care strategy was the reason for his dismissal. He declined to say what Brooks had told him.
"They invited me to remain associated with AEI on a non-salaried basis," Frum said, and he declined.
On his Web site, FrumForum, he wrote Sunday that when Congress approved President Obama's health-care plan, conservatives and Republicans "suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s."
"A huge part of the blame for today's disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.
"At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama's Waterloo -- just as healthcare was [Bill] Clinton's in 1994. . . .
"This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none."
Frum has long been a contrarian conservative. He emerged as a harsh critic of Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign and resigned from the National Review after Obama was elected. "I think a little more distance can help everybody do a better job of keeping their temper," he said then. "I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated."
Frum has also been at war with much of the talk-radio right. He wrote a Newsweek cover article last year lambasting Rush Limbaugh, calling the host a "walking stereotype of self-indulgence -- exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party."
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