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There’s Trump Derangement Syndrome, and then there’s Bruce Bartlett.

Bartlett, an author and alleged historian who held senior policy positions under Reagan and Bush 41, has built a reputation for himself as something of a Resistance thought leader. Evidently this is the kind of thought he leads with:

Somebody’s auditioning for a sweet, sweet gig with young adult Website

(Via NewsAlert.)

Update: “If you believe Trump is Hitler, why are you complaining about it on Twitter?”, Melissa Mackenzie tweets.

BRUCE BARTLETT: Donald Trump Doesn’t Need Latino Voters To Win: He Can Win With Blacks!

If the eventual Republican nominee needs 47 percent of the Latino vote to win the general election — the threshold set by two political scientists in a study for Latino Decisions — what chance does Trump have?

But if Trump could replace Latino votes with those of another large minority group that traditionally votes Democratic, he might have a fighting chance at victory. And even without changing his message, black voters could be that group.

African Americans have long been receptive to the anti-immigrant concepts behind Trump’s campaign. Simply put, the jobs, housing and other opportunities that immigrants take come largely at the expense of blacks who were born in the United States.

As long ago as 1881, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass complained that immigrants from Ireland, the Latinos of the day, were stealing jobs from African Americans. “Every hour sees us elbowed out of some employment to make room for some newly-arrived emigrant from the Emerald Isle, whose hunger and color entitle him to special favor,” Douglass wrote in his autobiography. A few years later, in his famous Atlanta Exposition address, Booker T. Washington begged white employers to reject “those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits” in favor of native-born blacks, who had toiled “without strikes and labor wars.” By 1916, mass immigration had made black workers “superfluous,” the New Republic charged. The immigrant “is the Negro’s most dangerous competitor,” it said.

Black newspapers opined in favor of the Immigration Act of 1924, which enacted the first major restrictions on immigration. In an editorial, the Chicago Defender said: “With the average American white man’s turn of mind the white foreign laborer is given preference over the black home product. When the former is not available the latter gets an inning.” The labor leader A. Philip Randolph went even further, saying the Immigration Act wasn’t enough. “Instead of reducing immigration to 2 percent of the 1890 quota, we favor reducing it to nothing,” he said. By 1993, poet Toni Morrison put the issue succinctly in an essay for Time, saying, “Whatever the ethnicity or nationality of the immigrant, his nemesis is understood to be African American.”

Economically, the division is beyond doubt, and Trump could exploit it if he chose to. . . . Tellingly, the only Republican to take an anti-immigrant message directly to the black community in recent years received a positive reception.

This has to be the Democrats’ worst nightmare. And with Trump polling at 25% with blacks, who knows?

Hey, maybe he can even get support from The New Republic:

I became convinced that high levels of low-skill immigration are good for wealthy Americans and bad for poor Americans. Far more important, high levels of illegal immigration—when you start to get into the millions, as we have—undermines unions and labor standards, lowers wages, heightens social tensions, strains state budgets, widens income inequality, subverts the rule of law, and exacerbates class divides. The effects go far beyond wages, because few undocumented workers earn enough to cover anything close to the cost of government services (such as education for their children) they require, and those services are most important to low-income Americans. In short, it’s an immense blow to America’s working class and poor.

Well, no, that’s probably a bridge too far:

That is not a fashionable concern, of course. Worrying about illegal immigration today is a lot like worrying about communists in government in 1950. It’s not that the problem isn’t legitimate or serious (there actually were, we now know, a lot of Moscow loyalists working for the U.S. government). It’s that expressing your concurrence links you to a lot of demagogues and bad actors.

And at TNR, of course, who you’re “linked to” is the most important thing.

Michael Barone, on the other hand, looks at the Survey USA poll and says “Whoa!”

Against Trump Clinton carries non-whites — but by less than impressive margins. Trump’s name is supposed to be mud among Hispanics, but he gets 31 percent of their votes — more than Mitt Romney in 2012, the same as John McCain in 2008 — and Clinton gets only a bare 50 percent. Among Asians, Trump actually has a (statistically insignificant) lead of 41 to 39 percent, echoing the 50 to 49 percent Asian margin for Republicans in the 2014 vote for House of Representatives. And among blacks Clinton leads Trump by 59 to 25 percent. That’s a huge contrast with Barack Obama’s margins of 95 to 4 percent in 2008 and 93 to 6 percent in 2012.

But is the poll accurate, or an outlier? Stay tuned for further polling and we’ll see.

NICK SCHULZ: The President’s Internet Blunder. “The implication is that government deserves a bigger slice of the wealth created in the private sector because that wealth was impossible without the initial taxing and spending — and because future taxing and spending will facilitate even more wealth. This argument is not just wrong but revealing in several interesting ways.”

UPDATE: Okay, this is worth quoting, too:

As economist and frequent Republican-party critic Bruce Bartlett recently pointed out, “As of March 31, $452.6 billion of net stimulus funds had been disbursed in ways that show up in the national income accounts. Of this, the vast bulk, $399.7 billion, went for transfer payments. Another $9.6 billion went for subsidies and $68.1 billion for capital transfers to state and local governments. Only $37.8 billion went for consumption and $11.8 billion for investment — the only two categories of outlays that we know add to growth.”

To the extent the Obama administration has been in favor of government investment, it has mostly been interested in explicitly political investments, such as in green-energy technologies; these expenditures satisfy elements of the president’s political base and have often been used to subsidize prominent supporters.

The shame is that there is a good argument to make in favor of government investment in basic research. It’s an argument that advocates of limited government should be comfortable making, along with their more spendthrift friends in government.

But this is not the argument the president is making. And given the spending priorities of the current administration, pointing to past government investment in national-security systems in making its case would be comic were it not so sad.


BRUCE BARTLETT helps Rick Perry achieve separation from George W. Bush. It’s like we’re seeing some sort of plan unfold here.


These cuts barely scratch the surface of our fiscal problems. With deficits like those we’ve been running, a $100 billion-dollar cut is little more than a rounding error.

That said, I’m pleased the Tea Party has scored a major victory in pushing House Republicans to cut at least that amount ”in spending this fiscal year“, but that still leaves us with a deficit larger than any in the Bush years (when that good man’s detractors, including your humble bloggers, were faulting congressional Republicans for their big-spending ways). . . . Indeed, the deficit this year will be at least twice that of any comparable period when we had a Republican president and Congress. To be sure, these cuts represent a step in the right direction, but given the size of the deficit, they amount to little more than a few drops in a very, big bucket.

Indeed, but they also represent momentum. More perspective on just how small they are, though, is here.

UPDATE: Bruce Bartlett thinks the GOP is cutting with an axe. I really don’t think that’s true, but he says that like it’s a bad thing.

What I’d say is that for the time being at least, across-the-board cuts are better than cutting with a “scalpel.” First , scalpels aren’t good for cutting very much at a time. Second, wielded by incompetents, scalpels don’t cut any more precisely. Now, how competent do you think our political class is?

If they cut with a “scalpel,” it’ll mostly be used to carve out exceptions for favored constituencies. I’d rather see an honest axe than a dishonest scalpel.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Hyer writes:

To me, this is where we find out if the Republicans are good politicians AND conservative. If they were to propose a 10% across the board cut, and let each department/agency deal with the new reality, they can’t lose. When some guy from the EPA comes out and says that cutting their budget by 10% will lead to massive poisoned water supplies, everyone will roll their eyes. I don’t know a single family that hasn’t cut their budget by 10% and most by 40%, and none of us had to sell our children!!!! Someone in Congress has to learn to address these issues frankly like Christie in NJ. Tell the brutal truth, and let the other guy explain that it’s not fair that his pay only went UP 2%.

Even 5% across the board would be a good start, and even more politically defensible. Then repeat.

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE APOLOGIZES TO BRUCE BARTLETT. I don’t think Bartlett is owed an apology, as his manner has sometimes been as mean-spirited as his detractors’. But the circular-firing-squad warnings are well-taken, and I certainly agree with this: “When you start seeing people like Chris Christie being attacked for not being conservative enough, you know that the right is in danger of going off the rails. Or at least some parts of it.”

Don’t demand perfection, or you’ll be disappointed. Demand as good as you can get, and move ahead. Political change is a process, not an event.

OH, GOODY: Debt Default: It Can Happen Here.

“SWAPPING THEIR BIRTHRIGHT OF FREEDOM FOR AN IPAD:” Prof. Bainbridge vs. Bruce Bartlett. “In the United States today, the thermostat is still set pretty low. The Heritage Foundation has warned us, however, that the Obamabots have turned up the heat a tad. It is the proper function of conservatives to resist and to seek to turn down the heat. It would be nice to have Bartlett and Joyner with us.”

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH interviews Bruce Bartlett. “I have yet to find anyone on the right who takes any of my arguments seriously.”

SO HERE’S A QUESTION: Would a default on Treasuries accomplish what the Balanced Budget Amendment was supposed to achieve, by forcing the government to spend no more than it takes in? With more collateral damage, of course. . . .

UPDATE: Well, I was hoping for a thoughtful email from an expert, but instead I got a typically intemperate blog post from Bruce Bartlett. Bruce, I’m not trying to turn the United States into Zimbabwe. That would be the guy in the White House, whom you seem surprisingly anxious to defend.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Bruce Bartlett updates:

Mark Thoma thinks I am taking Reynolds too seriously. He’s probably right that Reynolds himself was not serious in his suggestion. But I have heard the same idea advanced seriously on numerous occasions among conservatives. I would note that a Fox News poll on October 1, 2009 found two-thirds of Americans saying that the debt limit should not be increased.

Well, yes, that’s why I raised the question — not a suggestion — to begin with. This has not prevented a schoolyard pile-on by lefty bloggers like Andrew Sullivan, of course, but I expect no more from them.

And I’ll note that while a Senator, Barack Obama opposed raising the debt limit, calling it a sign of “leadership failure.”

FOLLOWING IN TRENT LOTT’S FOOTSTEPS: Harry Reid apologizes for “light skinned” remark about Obama.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) apologized today for referring to President Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect” in private conversations during the 2008 presidential campaign.

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words,” said Reid in a statement. “I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments.”

President Obama said in a statement that he and Reid had spoken about the matter on Saturday afternoon. “I accepted Harry’s apology without question because I’ve known him for years, I’ve seen the passionate leadership he’s shown on issues of social justice and I know what’s in his heart,” said Obama. “As far as I am concerned, the book is closed.”

Also, he needs him for health care. Here’s more coverage from CNN.

Dan Riehl comments: “Thank God Reid isn’t a Republican, or he’d be being savaged as a racist. We all know that’s not true. They aren’t racists. They simply don’t believe blacks can be successful without being helped by a white person. That isn’t racism, silly. It’s compassion, or so we’re told.”

And Robert George is not kind.

UPDATE: “Speaking Stupid All The Time.” I don’t really think Reid will follow too far in Trent Lott’s footsteps, though. Obama wants him to stay — and, I suspect, so do the Republicans . . . .

Meanwhile, on Facebook, Bruce Bartlett posts some other racial statements by Democrats, from his book Wrong On Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Drudge has fun:


Meanwhile, a reader emails: “There went his chance at owning a football team.” Heh.

MORE: Over at Talking Points Memo, where Trent Lott came in for plenty of criticism, reader Brian Torrez notes that there’s currently . . . nothing about Reid’s remarks at all. Well, people blog about what they find interesting and apparently this doesn’t interest ’em. I’ll note that I was on the Lott story, though . . . . (Bumped).

BREVITY, BY CAPITOL HILL STANDARDS: Chris Dodd’s financial “reform” bill is 1136 pages long, and “impenetrable.” No word on whether it bans sweetheart mortgage deals for members of Congress . . . but I know the way to bet.

BRUCE BARTLETT: Why the Great Recession is More Like the Great Depression Than You Think.

IN THE MAIL: Bruce Bartlett sends a copy of his Wrong On Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past. He suggests it’s particularly relevant to today’s political discussions.

A “TERRIBLE TIME” to raise the minimum wage.

BRUCE BARTLETT: We Do Not Need A Second Stimulus Plan. I agree.

Paul Krugman, meanwhile, runs this chart, when perhaps he really should be talking about this one.

And Joe Biden says the White House got it wrong. “We ‘Misread the Economy’.”

Related: Stomping on the “green shoots.”

BRUCE BARTLETT WONDERS WHY TEA-PARTIERS ARE PROTESTING, as the United States remains a comparatively low-tax country. I think the protest isn’t about the present, but about where people fear the country is heading. And, once again, it’s time for this graphic. In addition, there’s the question of where the tax money is going. . . .


TIME FOR TAX REFORM? Bruce Bartlett: “Two recent announcements from the Obama administration have started the ball rolling on tax reform. This is a long overdue and welcome development. It’s critically important that Congress enact some sort of major tax reform every 10 years or so because the tax code becomes unbelievably cluttered very quickly with special tax provisions. It’s essential to clear away this underbrush from time to time and look at the tax system in its totality. Unfortunately, the last major tax reform effort took place in 1986.”

I’d like to see major tax reform, too, but I’m skeptical that we’ve got anyone in a position of influence in Washington who really wants to produce a less corrupt system. I’d love to be proved wrong. (Via TaxProf).

BRUCE BARTLETT: Who saw the housing bubble coming?

BRUCE BARTLETT: What would Keynes do?

COLUMNIST BRUCE BARTLETT calls it quits: ” I think there will always be a market for quality commentary, however, and some day someone will figure out a better way to make money from it. In the meantime, I have decided to devote myself to writing books, where authors still have control over their output and can make better money.”

IN THE MAIL: Bruce Bartlett’s Impostor : How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, which seems to be setting off considerable discussion about the “end of conservatism.”

Not being a conservative myself, I don’t have a dog in this hunt, exactly. But remind me again, who was the conservative who had a decent shot at the Republican nomination in 2000? John McCain?

And if the Republicans had nominated a true-blue conservative, rather than a “compassionate conservative,” in 2000 would he have won?

As a libertarian myself, I’d love to see the nation run under small-government principles (which is part of what people are talking about here), but I also recognize that there’s no very substantial base of electoral support for that. (And the Libertarian Party hasn’t done anything to improve things; quite the contrary, it’s probably a net negative.)

You want a True Conservative in the White House? Persuade a majority of Americans that true conservatism is what they want. If you want to start on that, you might take a look at PorkBusters Hall of Shame Grand Prize Winner Ted Stevens (R-AK) and ask if he’s the best face for the Republican Party. Because right now, he is the face of the Republican Party.

ARE AMERICANS STINGY? Daniel Drezner and Bruce Bartlett look at the numbers.

Day by Day has its own take, too:


UPDATE: Many more numbers crunched here, by Chuck Simmins.


What I have discovered in the past year is that there is increasing specialization among bloggers, with more staking out narrow areas of commentary. . . .

One disappointment this year in the blog area has been the weakness of some institutional blogs, those sponsored by newspapers and thinks tanks. They are often unreadable and seldom linked to. It confirms my view that blogs are necessarily idiosyncratic and need to be pretty independent in order to be successful.

I believe that the Internet has barely scratched the surface in using blogs to analyze and disseminate information. I look forward to their continued evolution.

Me, too!

“IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY THAT’S INTERESTING, you will eventually be heard.” Here’s a lengthy and interesting roundup of the political blog world by USA Today’s Kathy Kiely.

UPDATE: Hey, it’s on the front page of the print edition. (Via Jeff Jarvis, with a reference to the Velvet Underground). And Kos is quoted in a breakout box right up front!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers, like Rich Whitten, question the article’s characterization of InstaPundit as “right leaning:”

The article in USA Today that you just linked says:

Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor whose is one of the more popular right-leaning Web sites, says the blogosphere has become an “idea farm” for the established media.

Right-leaner? I guess supporting the war makes you a right-leaner despite your stances on ANYTHING else. Sigh.

Some folks just have to push everyone into right or left labels. Man, I hate it when that happens…

Sadly, I’ve gotten so used to it that I’ve about quit noticing.

By the way, here’s a guide to econoblogs, from Bruce Bartlett.

MORE: Ed Cone emails:

When I needed a quick id for your blog in my Baseline article, I thought rightwing and the like were way too limiting – I went with “who supports George Bush on Iraq” – still limited, but at least it defines the blog by a key issue, not a broad brush.

Yeah. To a lot of people, I think the two are the same, now. That seems like a poor definitional strategy to folks who don’t want “right wing” to be the same as “majority,” though.