Bartlett worked for Reagan and Bush 41 so his opinion holds far more sway than Sullivan’s, but still:
On economics, it is reasonable to assume that Mrs. Clinton’s policies would not be altogether different from Bill Clinton’s. This is not a bad thing. On trade, his record was outstanding and on the budget was far better than George W. Bush’s. While Mr. Clinton raised taxes in 1993, it should be remembered that he cut them in 1997, including a cut in the capital gains tax. On regulatory policy, Mr. Clinton was no worse than the current administration and probably better on net.
Democrats know all this, which is why our most liberal pundits, like Bob Kuttner, are attacking Mrs. Clinton for being a clone of her husband on economics and attacking her support for “Rubinomics,” named after former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin. Its essential elements are a commitment to deficit reduction and globalization which are both anathema to the Democratic Party’s liberal base. It wants a hard-line against imports to save jobs and an expansive fiscal policy to pay for a wide range of new social programs.
At some point, politically sophisticated conservatives will have to recognize that no Republican can win in 2008 and that their only choice is to support the most conservative Democrat for the nomination. Call me crazy, but I think that person is Hillary Clinton.
It’s equally reasonable to assume that Mrs. Clinton is far more liberal than she was allowed to be during Bill Clinton’s 8 years in the White House. It’s reasonable to believe, because she has said as much, that she’ll try to nationalize health care again. It’s reasonable to believe, because she has said as much, that she’ll pull a mini-Chavez and confiscate oil profits and use them to advance her leftist agenda. Somehow none of those reasonable possibilities made it into Mr. Bartlett’s article. He thinks the GOP has already lost in 2008. That’s where many Democrats thought they were in 1992–backing a sure loser no matter who they nominated, because the political winds were against them. We all know how that turned out.
Bartlett went on the Laura Ingraham show today. It’s fair to say that Laura found Bartlett unpersuasive on all points. Click to play.