Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bruce Bartlett--Liberated

Via Dan Drezner, I learn that the New York Times has written about Bruce Bartlett's dismissal from the National Center for Policy Analysis. Last December, I wrote of my admiration for Bruce's writing:

In truth, he's more like a blogger than he is a reporter, but perhaps more accurately he is the rare columnist who is the best of both worlds rather than the worst.


But note that he's an independent thinker--he would very likely offend people across the political spectrum with that one.

I started reading Bruce's columns when I worked at the CEA last year. He's been out in front of the MSM on so many issues--the Medicare bill, outsourcing, tax policy, and others. I wish I had been reading him earlier. His online archive stretches back to 2000. For those of you who arrived here by some way other than Bruce, bookmark the page. Skim it, read it, and enjoy it.

I think that's still good advice and that we should view what has transpired as Bruce being liberated. I hope his newfound freedom from the NCPA will lead to a better placement. I would suggest the New America Foundation, which I think is the most interesting policy think tank in Washington for people with interesting ideas and an ability to write an op-ed. If I had the right zip code and the requisite talent, that's where I would want to be.

Many commentators have picked up on the fissures appearing in the conservative coalition that had come together to put the President in office but now seems unwilling to support the administration going forward. Bruce's need to find a new home is a symptom of that coalition pulling apart. I think we will look back at the summer and early fall and see that the nomination of John Roberts for Chief Justice was the last piece of shared good news for that coalition.

After that, the (collective) ineffectiveness of the government's Katrina relief on the ground, the immediate federal response to throw money at the New Orleans rebuilding, the pressure of the investigations into the conduct of Rove's and Cheney's offices in the Plame affair, and the nomination of Miers to the Supreme Court seem to have buried the White House in the last seven weeks. And it is not clear that anyone's got a shovel to dig them out of the avalanche. Certainly, we cannot hear them digging from the inside.

This is not to say that there were no problems before, but this confluence of bad governance may be a fatal blow to the coalition. And on each of these issues, it has been the White House rather than the Congress calling the shots, and so it is hitting the President particularly hard. As I noted in the spring, in "The Conservative Movement at the Crossroads:"
I'm inclined to support the Republican Party, but the question becomes, how much other stuff do I have to put up with to maintain that identification?
Eventually, it can become too much. And I think I become the object of this parlor game by Brad DeLong, because the most bothersome issues for me are the expansions of federal spending (first) and the lack of a willingness to raise current revenues to pay for it (second).

None of this should be construed to mean that I am a Democrat. I am, in the proud tradition of my home state of New Hampshire, undeclared in matters of national politics.

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Tom C said...

"W" became a lame duck on the day the Congress intervened in the Schiavo case. Too many conservatives were appalled at the hypocrisy, and it cost the Republicans their aura of invincibility.

Hurricane Katrina was a symptom of their overall fall from grace, in that the media was on the attack from day one; even FOX was harshly critical at times.

"W" was never a conservative; he is a Liberal Republican with preachy morals. Yick.

PGL said...

I was honored when Bruce emailed me the NYTimes article. But I had learned about this from Brad DeLong's blog. Those of us on the left and the right who appreciate his honesty are all wishing him the best.

Anonymous said...

I do not think good people are liberated when they are kicked out of historically good organizations that risk becoming a pile of dung. About the only one who is liberated is the tyrants who control organizations for the personal benefit of themselves.

You will see more tension and social unrest if certain types of "liberation" keep occurring.

We have to hope Bruce does not go bankrupt in some uncertain job transition-

Anonymous said...

one more: i do not care for the word "placement". this implies someone is doing the placing and someone else is placed. it implies planning and has a hint of dictatorship and excess control. people are placed are not free.

i suggest bruce put his resume active on and let the market place him.