Published: Wednesday April 18, 2007
Conservative economist Bruce Bartlett accused President Bush of "bankrupting" America and betraying the Reagan legacy in an interview on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show on Tuesday.
A domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and a treasury official under President George H.W. Bush, Bartlett assailed Bush's "big government conservatism" and said he was surprised at Bush's policies, despite his campaign pledge to be a "compassionate conservative."
"In 2000 I thought that was election year rhetoric," said Bartlett. "I didn't think it meant anything. I learned the hard way as a lot of us did what he really meant it when he talked about compassionate conservatism."
When asked how the current President Bush compared to his father, Bartlett responded, "If I didn't know with a certainty they were related, I wouldn't think that they were."
Bartlett also argued that current conservative fiscal rhetoric regarding supply-side economics is outdated. "We have a completely different economic situation, completely different fiscal and tax situation and I think people are still using rhetoric that was appropriate at one time for a situation that in which it is no longer appropriate."
Bartlett was also not optimistic about the remainer of Bush's term.
"I think we are on automatic pilot," said Bartlett. "Very few administrations do much of anything the last year and a half in office. I think the best thing we can hope for is a new president who will take America in a different direction."