Wednesday, October 09, 2013

How the GOP Lost the 2016 Election, According to Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett is a man without a party.

His Republican credentials are impeccable. An aide to Ron Paul in 1976, he went to work for Jack Kemp the next year. Later he was an aide to Iowa Senator Roger Jepsen. When Jepsen became chairman of the Joint Economic Committee in 1983, Bartlett became it's Executive Director.

He was big in the 1980's supply-sider circles, publishing two books on the subject. In 1987 he became a senior policy advisor in the Reagan White House, and the next year was a deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at George H.W. Bush's Treasury Department.

But since then he's been something of a gadfly for the Republicans. In 2005, the National Center for Policy Analysis – a right-wing "think tank" [tee-hee, snicker, snicker] fired him for being critical of George W. Bush's economic policies. The next year he published a book called, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, which compared Bush to Richard Nixon, claiming they both abandoned conservative principles.

By the end of the George W. Bush Administration, it was clear that his mind had opened to "new" ideas. In The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, Bartlett defended his dalliance in supply-side economics, but – in the depths of GWB's Great Recession – he found reasons to praise Keynsians. This year he wrote in The American Conservative that "no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy's problems than Paul Krugman."

So Bruce Bartlett is a liberal's favorite conservative: one whose opinions can be influenced by empirical evidence (a/k/a: the facts).

Why all this run-up? Because Bartlett has recently written a very interesting series of articles on the history of the Republican Party since World War II. In order, they are:

The 1963 March on Washington Changed Politics Forever

How the March on Washington Flipped the Southern Vote

How the South Won the GOP and Lost the 2016 Election 

I would quibble with much of it, but having a coherent Republican perspective is refreshing.

If you can get interested in this sort of thing, I recommend them highly. If you can't, I don't.

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