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Tanked for Thinking:

Bruce Bartlett is a well-respected conservative thinker on economic matters. A former Treasury Department official, Bartlett has long been one of the few supply-siders that liberals felt they needed to take seriously. Like many libertarian-leaning conservatives, Bartlett is quite unhappy with the Bush Administration, and wrote a forthcoming book about it: Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy. Bartlett's employer, the Texas-based National Center for Policy Analysis -- a libertarian/conservative think tank -- was not to pleased. So, last week, NCPA dismissed Bartlett, as it did not want to be associated with his book. Although it is not due out until early 2006, you can pre-order Impostor here.

Daniel Drezner has more here and here. Note: After NCPA fired Bartlett, Doubleday moved up the release date for Impostor to February 2006.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Defending NCPA:
  2. Brooks on Bush and Bartlett:
  3. Tanked for Thinking:
Greedy Clerk (mail):
I only got one thing to say: You voted for these idiots.
10.23.2005 9:13pm
Proud Generation Y Slacker:
Jefferson Parish Traffic Court been rough lately, GC?
10.23.2005 9:17pm
Byomtov (mail):
May I suggest that we not refer to NCPA as a "think tank?"

Like so many similar organizations, they appear to be dedicated to promoting a specific ideology, regardless of facts or logic.

This is the opposite of thinking.
10.23.2005 9:47pm
PersonFromPorlock:
I only got one thing to say: You voted for these idiots.

Well, it was them or the other idiots.
10.23.2005 9:50pm
anonymous coward:
Think tanks are what they are, and intellectual integrity is not always job #1. (Even a somewhat respectable think tank like AEI keeps guys like John Lott around!)

On the left, the American Prospect squeezed out the lovely Joshua Micah Marshall as insufficiently hacktacular. (Drifting further from think tanks, Michael Kelly was canned at the New Republic for not advancing Al Gore's political career. Admittedly, Kelly was unreadable on his good days...)
10.23.2005 10:17pm
Byomtov (mail):
Organizations can promote whatever ideas they like.

I just don't think we ought to dignify people whose objective is patently the advancement of an ideology or a political party by describing them with a phrase- "think tank" - that implies that they are more interested in truth than in ideology.

Let's call NCPA what it is - a Republican spin organization.
10.23.2005 10:39pm
frankcross (mail):
Well, until this episode, I thought it was was an honest conservative free market promoting organization. No reason not to call it a think tank, if it is analyzing and promoting policies to suit an ideology. I certainly think Cato is a fine think tank, though ideologically oriented. However, if NCPA is doing its research in a partisan way, to suit a political party, that seems much less thoughtful.
10.23.2005 10:54pm
JonC:
Bartlett has always been on my must-read list for economic issues, but I'm not exactly ready to declare him a martyr just yet. According to NCPA, they gave Bartlett some time off to write about "economic policy and taxation." Instead, it looks like he wrote a political hit piece. Now, perhaps it is a very well-written and well-argued hit piece. Knowing Bartlett's work, I would expect nothing less, and certainly the Bush administration has, to put it mildly, left itself open to attack on fiscal issues. But it looks like that's not what the NCPA had in mind when it negotiated its agreement with Bartlett. If they feel like he took advantage of them, why don't they have the right to sack him?
10.24.2005 12:56am
Buck Turgidson (mail):
You should be used to this sort of thing with Bush Republicans. Thinking is not tolerated. Disagreement is punished. Free thinking makes you a liberal.
10.24.2005 12:56am
Randy R. (mail):
Reminds me of Henry Ford.

You can have any ideas you want, so long as they are the "right" ideas.

Or was that Lenin?
10.24.2005 1:03am
Flash Gordon (mail):
Bush is nicer to his enemies than to his friends and some of his friends have had enough. Bush has seemed to model his presidency more on Nixon failure than Reagan success. Does it get more weird than that? I predict Bartlett's book will be a hit.
10.24.2005 1:07am
Sam:
How did Bush betray the Reagan legacy? If we learned two things in the 1980s they were uncontrolled spending and military intervention. And Pac-Man.
10.24.2005 1:09am
Roger Schlafly (www):
Military intervention? I can remember invasions of Grenada, Panama, Haiti, Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Only Grenada was under Reagan, and it was minor.
10.24.2005 3:52am
Per Son:
Reagan. Under Reagan you had all sorts of imbroglios in Central America (e.g. mining of Nicaragua's harbor).

Love him or hate him, you cannot get around the fact that he was extremely interventionist.
10.24.2005 8:38am
frankcross (mail):
There are big differences between Reagan and Bush. Reagan was interventionist but cautiously. You didn't see him committing US troops to Nicaragua. He did that with easy targets like Grenada.

Also, Reagan was only a big spender on the military. He cut lots of domestic programs. Bush has been a big spender on domestic programs. Also, Reagan was willing if reluctant to raise taxes (in SS reform and to some degree in 1986 tax reform), while Bush won't consider it.
10.24.2005 10:42am
corngrower:
Think tanks are a business. Everyone, but the boss, has to answer to the boss. If I crossed my boss and went against his wishes, there will be consequences. Free speech, sure, but, The boss rules.

How did we get from a think tank, to GWB? GWB got this guy fired?

Let us not forget the greatest president in the near past that stuck up for the little guy working for a salary, sumararily Fired the White House Travel office before they had an opportunity to do anything. Let alone anything wrong. But again, what does Bartlett getting fired have to do with GWB?
10.24.2005 12:31pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
JonC wrote:

Bartlett has always been on my must-read list for economic issues, but I'm not exactly ready to declare him a martyr just yet. According to NCPA, they gave Bartlett some time off to write about "economic policy and taxation." Instead, it looks like he wrote a political hit piece. Now, perhaps it is a very well-written and well-argued hit piece. Knowing Bartlett's work, I would expect nothing less, and certainly the Bush administration has, to put it mildly, left itself open to attack on fiscal issues. But it looks like that's not what the NCPA had in mind when it negotiated its agreement with Bartlett. If they feel like he took advantage of them, why don't they have the right to sack him?


Quite right although I'm not sure if a political hit piece with the words "imposter" and "betrayed" in the title could be an exception to the rule that such books are invariably crap.

That being said, I have a problem with the way that many on the right have essentially deified Reagan as if invoking His Name on behalf of or against a particular policy issue were somehow supposed to settle that matter. I'm not a fan of Bush's spending although he did try to keep increases discretionary spending at about 3-4 percent when he first took office before it cost him the Senate and then it took off from there, but I don't think that Reagan was much better in those regards although he much like Bush targeted a few smaller programs for elimination early on while increasing domestic spending overall.
10.24.2005 1:34pm