Julia Ioffe is a writer living in New York.
Earlier this week, David Frum and his wife, Danielle Crittenden, invited some of their (conservative) friends to fete the inauguration of a man they didn’t vote for. “We’re going to watch and have a few drinks--well, maybe more than a few--and discuss how we’re going to deal with this,” Frum, a fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, told me. He sounded chipper, almost wondrous at how the conservatives had gotten to this point. At the bottom of the invitation, he and Danielle wrote “celebrate/commiserate cuz wtf else r we gna do?” “That’s short for ‘What else are you going to do?’” says Frum, laughing.
“Seriously, though,” he continues, “never, ever, ever go to an inaugural ball. They’re terrible. First you get in a taxi and instantly hit terrible traffic. Then the taxi drops you off at some cavernous space, like the Air and Space Museum. Then you get in a long line to drop off your coat. Then, once you’ve dropped off your coat, you get into another long line to get a drink and the whole time you’re surrounded by people you don’t know, and people who don’t know each other.”
Frum’s event was supposed to be an antidote to such anonymous elbow-rubbing, a low-key gathering at his Glover Park home--but it seemed to tap into a hidden demand and was soon overrun. “We just hung out the shingle a couple days ago and over 100 people responded,” he said. “Most conservatives live in Virginia and feel cut off by the bridge closings.” Though Frum is keeping the guest list close to his chest, the party, co-sponsored by Laura Ingraham and Marty and Byron York, will be attended by Frum’s AEI colleagues, Giuliani campaign veterans, mysterious-sounding Canadian and Norwegian parliamentarians, as well as many other alienated DC right-wingers looking for a stiff drink before heading out into the Democratic blizzard.
Incidentally, the event is doing double duty as a launch party for NewMajority.com, which will go live at 12:01am on Inauguration Day. The site, Frum says, will serve as a platform for reform and renewal of the GOP and will feature what he called “a cross-section of conservatives.”
An axis of opposition, perhaps?
“No,” Frum says, souring. “That gag has had its run. This is just a group that’s not so hopeful about the change.”