No gloating in this. Just the delight of seeing the whiners, distorters and liars on the right taken down by one of their own (in The Daily Beast, h/t to the Huff Post). Of course, a Reagan-era conservative would have little love for any of the Bushies, and even less the more they tried to claim Reagan's "true" conservative mantle. But Bruce Bartlett, one of the inventors of supply-side economics, does more than tear the current crop of right-wing a new one:
In my opinion, conservative activists, who seem to believe that the louder they shout the more correct their beliefs must be, are less angry about Obama’s policies than they are about having lost the White House in 2008. They are primarily Republican Party hacks trying to overturn the election results, not representatives of a true grassroots revolt against liberal policies.
He demonstrates, with actuals facts and figures (resources steadfastly avoided by both Bush-era and current conservatives), that Bill Clinton's presidency was far more successful than Bush's, including on bases valued — allegedly — by conservatives:
It is well-known that Clinton left office with a budget surplus and Bush left with the largest deficit in history. Less well-known is Clinton's cutting of spending on his watch, reducing federal outlays from 22.1 percent of GDP to 18.4 percent of GDP. Bush, by contrast, increased spending to 20.9 percent of GDP. Clinton abolished a federal entitlement program, Welfare, for the first time in American history, while Bush established a new one for prescription drugs.
The items for which, as a conservative, Bartlett praises Clinton are among those which liberals and conservatives have problems with, especially his welfare-related actions, much of which was regressive and hurtful to the poor and disadvantaged. The point here, however, is not the nature of the policy but that Clinton performed better as a president than Bush — on grounds that conservatives themselves say matter.
Bartlett even exonerates Obama's performance to date, laying the blame for his "mistakes" at Bush's feet (something too few on the left are willing to do):
I think conservative anger is misplaced. To a large extent, Obama is only cleaning up messes created by Bush. This is not to say Obama hasn't made mistakes himself, but even they can be blamed on Bush insofar as Bush's incompetence led to the election of a Democrat.
A terrific article, not because a conservative makes a case for conservative policies (Bartlett's work under Reagan was heinous in its own right) but for an honest appraisal of what's wrong with the angry attacks on the President and the promulgation of the idea that Bush was a great, effective president or that the right has anything of value to offer today. Because the one thing lacking from this article is exactly that: What can the conservatives offer that is better than what Obama and the Dems in Congress are doing?
We know that answer and don't require Bartlett to provide it: Nothing.