That seems like a joke question, but it’s an apparently serious belief of Bruce Bartlett, a former supply-sider and Bush Administration official who has flipped sides and joined the left.
But now he is officially crazy, because he wants us to believe that Obama is a conservative, or at least a moderate conservative.
Bruce cites five reasons in his article for this bizarre hypothesis.
1. “His stimulus bill was half the size that his advisers thought necessary”
This is a rather strange assertion. Obama flushed $800 billion down the federal toilet on a fake stimulus, but we’re supposed to believe he’s a “moderate conservative” because he didn’t waste even more of our money.
2. “He continued Bush’s war and national security policies without change and even retained Bush’s defense secretary”
Okay, maybe this is true. I’m not competent to make any sweeping judgments on foreign policy.
3. “He put forward a health plan almost identical to those that had been supported by Republicans such as Mitt Romney in the recent past, pointedly rejecting the single-payer option favored by liberals”
This is an indictment of Romney and other squishy Republicans, not a sign of Obama’s moderate conservatism. Obama has radically expanded the role of government in a sector that already has been screwed up by government intervention. If this is conservative, I’m a communist.
4. “He caved to conservative demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended without getting any quid pro quo whatsoever”
Bruce is simply wrong. Obama wanted all of the “middle class” tax cuts extended, and he had to strike a deal with GOPers about “tax cuts for the rich.” To be fair, Obama’s position was at least somewhat moderate at the time, but he’s since come out of the pro-tax closet as part of the budget negotiations.
5. “And in the past few weeks he has supported deficit reductions that go far beyond those offered by Republicans.”
Bruce must be smoking crack. If Obama really wanted maximum deficit reduction, he could have supported the Ryan budget or the Republican Study Committee plan, both of which contained more deficit reduction than anything Obama has ever supported. But Bruce is making it seem as if the conservative position is maximum deficit reduction when the real goal is restraining the size of government. By Bruce’s absurd logic, doubling all taxes would be the conservative choice since “deficit reduction” theoretically is maximized.
I actually feel guilty about this blog post. I suspect Bruce doesn’t really believe what he writes and is just seeking attention. But I couldn’t resist.