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Conservative Commentator Dismissed Because He Opposes Bush's Record Deficits
NY Times
By RICHARD W. STEVENSON Published: October 18, 2005

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 - In the latest sign of the deepening split among conservatives over how far to go in challenging President Bush, Bruce Bartlett, a Republican commentator who has been increasingly critical of the White House, was dismissed on Monday as a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative research group based in Dallas.

In a statement, the organization said the decision was made after Mr. Bartlett supplied its president, John C. Goodman, with the manuscript of his forthcoming book, "The Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy."

Mr. Bartlett, who was a domestic policy aide at the White House in the Reagan administration and a deputy assistant Treasury secretary under the first President Bush, confirmed that he had been dismissed after 10 years with the center but declined to make any further comment.

The statement from the organization said Mr. Bartlett had negotiated a deal last year to reduce his workload to give him time to write a book about economic policy and taxation for which he had received a six-figure advance. The statement said that the manuscript he showed Mr. Goodman was "an evaluation of the motivations and competencies of politicians rather than an analysis of public policy." The statement said the organization did not want to be associated with that kind of work.

In response to a question about whether the administration had pressed the organization about Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Goodman relayed a reply through a spokesman saying he had never had any conversation about Mr. Bartlett with anyone in the White House.

But the dismissal of Mr. Bartlett comes as the White House is facing a revolt by many conservatives and the prospect of an enduring deep divide within what had been Mr. Bush's most reliable base of grass-roots, financial and intellectual support. Up until the last few months, Mr. Bush had been reasonably successful in two political challenges: presenting himself as a conservative while also laying a claim to the political center, and holding together a conservative movement that has always been prone to internal divisions.

Mr. Bartlett was an early proponent of supply-side economics, and in the late 1970's was active in promoting the tax-cutting philosophy that later became the basis for President Ronald Reagan's economic agenda. In recent years he has written a syndicated newspaper column as well as articles for academic journals.

Like many economic conservatives, he has grown increasingly disenchanted with the current administration's fiscal policy, arguing that Mr. Bush has tolerated if not encouraged a federal spending spree, dashing conservative hopes for progress toward a smaller, leaner government.

He has also joined social conservatives in attacking Mr. Bush's nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court. The Miers nomination, more than any other move by the administration in the last five years, has drawn criticism of Mr. Bush by conservative scholars and commentators, though the White House so far appears to have succeeded in limiting the breach with elected Republicans in Congress.

In his next column, to be published on Wednesday, Mr. Bartlett wrote that it is dawning on many conservatives "that George W. Bush is not one of them and never has been," citing the administration's positions on education, campaign finance, immigration, government spending and regulation. The choice "of a patently unqualified crony for a critical position on the Supreme Court was the final straw," he wrote.

In "Impostor," which is scheduled to be published in April by Doubleday and has already attracted attention on conservative Web sites, Mr. Bartlett expands on many of the themes he has struck in his columns and other writings. He is critical of the administration for policy decisions like backing away at times from its commitment to open trade and for failing to sell conservative ideas like introducing investment accounts to Social Security.

It's a sign of our times. If you don't support "record deficits" and "war for no reason" forget about being a conservative. When forced to choose between tax cuts for the rich and balanced budgets, the GOP will always pick tax cuts for the rich. They did it under Reagan and they're doing it now.

Parts of this story are a joke. For example; prior to Bush 2, Reagan and Bush 1 had also given us record deficits. It's what republicans do. Prior to Reagan, we had less than a trillion dollars of debt Today, we have almost eight trillion. Putting it simply, out of the nearly eight trillion of debt we currently have $2.2 trillion was created by Bush 2, $1.6 trillion by Reagan and $800 billion by Bush 1. $5.6 trillion of debt was created by three republican presidents. Fiscal conservatism? If you're still falling for that lies, stop!