10/21/2005

In Sign of Conservative Split, a Commentator Is Dismissed - New York Times

I just can't understand what is it about Miers that freaks GOPpies so much! She seems to me to be a regular fundie. Maybe she is just the straw who broke the camel's back -- law

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 Sign of Conservative Split, a Commentator Is Dismissed - New York Times

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