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October 18, 2005

Unprincipled

The National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas has fired Bruce Bartlett, havingdecided that it is not a think tank for conservative ideas but rather in the tank for the Bush family. I wonder who the NCPA thinks will pay any attention to what it produces in the future?

Wonkette observes:

Righty Fratricide: No One Gets Away Clean - Wonkette: The first thing we do is kill all the better-qualified lawyers. Then we sack the think-tankers. Bruce Bartlett of the Dallas-based conservative brains trust, the National Center for Policy Analysis, has been axed from his position there as a senior research fellow. Now, we're not saying it's because he recently scribbled this:

"[The nomination] of a patently unqualified crony for a critical position on the Supreme Court was the final straw..."

Or because he has a book coming out called this: The Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.

Or because, in a Townhall.com column entitled "Bless the Blogs," he cited Andrew Sullivan as his favorite post-and-linker, characterizing him (correctly) as a "gay British conservative with a Ph.D. from Harvard," and then characterizing him (incorrectly) as a former lefty with a therefore keener insight into that particular ideological affliction. (To keep one creed's a task grown quite Herculean, / Is it not so, my Tory ultra-Julian?)

David Frum moving the family to Fort Sumter by nightfall.

And Matthew Yglesias writes:

TPMCafe || The Purge: Bruce Bartlett, rapidly becoming every liberal's favorite rightwing economist, has been fired from the National Center for Policy Analysis for insufficient loyalty to Team Bush. Via Marshall Whittman we see that was no coincidence:

Bush's friends contend that it is the conservative élite, not the President, who miscalculated and that self-righteous right-wingers stand to lose their seats at the table of power for the next three years. "They're crazy to take him on this frontally," said a former West Wing official. "Not many people have done that with George Bush and lived to tell about it." If a Justice Miers eventually takes her seat on the court, vocal critics can only hope the Bush Administration handles the punishment of the treasonous as poorly as it is currently promoting one of its most loyal subjects.

Sad to say, I think Bush's friends may well be right about this. Despite the tumult in the punditsphere, the latest Gallup poll shows Bush's approval rating still sinking, but not sinking among conservatives. Instead, he's managed to grow even more unpopular with Democrats and Independents. Not only is the rank-and-file still loyal to Bush, but dare I say that the pundits who matter are. Fox News and the talk radio hosts with big audiences are still in his corner. I work professionally in the exciting worlds of small magazines and new media, but the broadcast bohemoths are still the really influential segment of the press.

If Rupert Murdoch decides to turn on the GOP leadership someday, then that would spell huge trouble for them, but there's no indication that's happening.

The remarkable thing, IMHO, is not that Bush is losing his right-wing supporters but that he ever had any. Bush believes in:

  1. Appointing cronies--qualified or unqualified--to high federal office.
  2. Making snap decisions without understanding the issues at hand, and then refusing to revisit them.
  3. Having the federal government do lots of stuff--take on an expanded role in education, buy drugs for the elderly, invade and then engage in long-term occupations of countries.
  4. Cutting taxes on the rich.

An amusing parlor game--amusing for those people with my sick, twisted, perverted sense of humor that is--is to sit prominent Bush-supporting economists down on a couch and ask which they hate more: Bush's Medicare Part D drug benefit, which gives the pharmaceutical companies the ability to charge essentially whatever they want for the medicines Medicare buys, and thus mandates either mammoth tax increases or hyperinflation in our future; or the alternative Democratic Medicare Part D drug benefit, which gives HHS the power to "negotiate" drug prices with pharmaceutical crises, and thus essentially imposes a set of government-chosen price controls on the industry.

This is not a right-wing administration. This is an incompetent administration.

Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now.

Posted by DeLong at October 18, 2005 04:14 PM