David J. Frum (born 1960) is a Canadian-born conservative and journalist active in the both US and Canadian political arenas. A former economic speechwriter for President George W. Bush, he is also the author of the first "insider" book about the Bush presidency. His editorial columns have appeared in a variety of Canadian and American magazines and newspapers.
At age 14 he was a campaign volunteer for a socialist candidate, taking an hour-long bus/subway/bus ride each way to and from the campaign office in western Toronto. He would read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago, a paperback edition his mother had given him. "My campaign colleagues jeered at the book — and by the end of the campaign, any lingering interest I might have had in the political left had vanished like yesterday’s smoke.
He graduated from the University of Toronto Schools in 1978 where he was the School Captain. He then attended Yale University in 1982 where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts. While at Yale he was in the Directed Studies program, a type of "great books" course. He went on to Harvard Law School in 1987. Frum has described one of his study methods while at law school:
He served as an editor on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal from 1989 until 1992, and then as a columnist for Forbes magazine in 1992-94. From 1994 through 2000 he was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research.
Following the election of George W. Bush in 2000, Frum was appointed to a position within the White House. Still a Canadian citizen, he was one of the few foreign nationals working within the Bush White House. He served as Special Assistant to the U.S. President for Economic Speechwriting from January 2001 to February 2002. He filed for naturalization and took the oath for citizenship on September 11, 2007 .
Frum strongly supported John Roberts, George W. Bush's nominee for Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. However, like many conservatives, he opposed the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, on the grounds that she was insufficiently qualified for the post, as well as insufficiently conservative.
David Frum now speaks on behalf of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, as well as the Fraser Institute, a like minded think tank based in Canada. On October 11, 2007, Frum announced on his blog that he was joining Rudolph Giuliani's presidential campaign as a senior foreign policy adviser.
In January 2003, he released The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush, the first insider account of the Bush presidency. Frum is widely cited as having authored the phrase "axis of evil," which he discusses in his book. In fact, though, his original phrasing was "axis of hatred". As the title suggests, Frum also discusses how the events of September 11, 2001 redefined the country and the President. Frum writes, "George W. Bush was hardly the obvious man for the job. But by a very strange fate, he turned out to be, of all unlikely things, the right man."
Frum's latest book, An End to Evil, was co-written with Richard Perle. It provided a defense of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and advocated regime change in Iran and Syria. Furthermore, it called for a tougher policy with North Korea, as well as advocating a tougher U.S. stance against Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations in order to "win the war on terror" (the book's by-line). Fareed Zakaria critiqued it in a New York Times Sunday Book Review essay, writing that "To transform the world, you do actually need to engage in it."
Frum writes a weekly column for Canada's National Post newspaper and is a commentator for American Public Radio's "Marketplace." His writings appear frequently in the New York Times, Italy's Il Foglio, and the Daily Telegraph. He also writes a blog, David Frum's Diary at the National Review Online Web site.
On abortion, Frum has stated that he "is not pro-life" and "think[s] abortion ought to be legal in the first trimester and generally illegal thereafter", but believes in state-by-state regulations on the matter.
Frum has been a consistent and vocal critic of Republican presidential candidate John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate on the ground that Palin is unqualified to assume the presidency. Speaking of Palin's performance during the campaign, Frum has stated, "I think she has pretty thoroughly -- and probably irretrievably -- proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States."
Frum has written in his blog that he enjoys reading history (among his favorite historical figures are Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln), particularly histories of The American Civil War (he has also visited Civil War battlefields). In fiction, "Marcel Proust is my all-time favorite novelist, the one I could read and re-read endlessly."