Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bruce Bartlett vs. Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett criticizes Republicans for "not adapting to the welfare state", arguing that it is not politically realistic to demand cuts in popular entitlement programs.

Uhm, wait a minute, didn't Bartlett write a book called "Impostor" as late as 2006 criticizing them precisely for adapting to the welfare state. The whole reason that Bush pushed through the Medicare drug benefit bill that Bartlett criticized him for in Impostor was that Bush knew it was popular among seniors, in other words Bush adapted to the welfare state because he knew it was necessary to get elected (his opponent in 2000, Al Gore, had also promised a similar bill), precisely what Bartlett now says Republicans should do.

So, which is it, should Republicans adapt to the welfare state like Bartlett now says or should they not do so like he said 3 years ago? Of course, people should be free to change their minds, but then Bartlett should reject his own book as flawed. One almost gets the impression that for Bartlett, all that matters is that he can pose as a "critical voice". Whether the critique is about Republicans wanting to spend too much or too little doesn't really matter as long as he gets to be critical.


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