Last post on this and I will move on to greener pastures… There are two remaining ironies I would like to point out, in Krugman’s high-fiving of Bruce Bartlett for being so open-minded in his denunciation of those close-minded conservatives. (BTW a funny and apropos aside: I pass the Scott Sumner Turing Test.)
(1) Look at where Bartlett’s mea culpa ran: The American Conservative. It wasn’t HuffPo or Slate, it was The American Conservative. I asked the editor, Dan McCarthy, if he had any other good examples of running “hey guys let’s engage in introspection”-type articles, and he suggested this and this. Is there anything comparable on the progressive/Keynesian side? In other words, do progressive/Keynesian outlets ever run articles by former progressives-turned-moderate saying that maybe Dick Armey had a point after all? (I’m not doubting there are such pieces, I just don’t know any off the top of my head.) The only thing I can think of is Karl Smith having doubts about central banks, but even that was a (refreshingly honest) concern about real-world implementation, rather than doubting his underlying theory. In other words, Karl was worrying that maybe he and his Keynesian friends were being naive, not that they were wrong about the economics.
(2) Look at this open-minded Bruce Bartlett, just minding his own business and trying to help the conservatives/GOP. After detailing how he came to reject not just neoconservative nation-building but also “nutty stuff like the Laffer Curve,” and after openly embracing Keynesian demand-side economics, Bartlett then says:
At least a few conservatives now recognize that Republicans suffer for epistemic closure. They were genuinely shocked at Romney’s loss because they ignored every poll not produced by a right-wing pollster such as Rasmussen or approved by right-wing pundits such as the perpetually wrong Dick Morris. Living in the Fox News cocoon, most Republicans had no clue that they were losing or that their ideas were both stupid and politically unpopular.
I’ve paid a heavy price, both personal and financial, for my evolution from comfortably within the Republican Party and conservative movement to a less than comfortable position somewhere on the center-left. Honest to God, I am not a liberal or a Democrat. But these days, they are the only people who will listen to me. When Republicans and conservatives once again start asking my opinion, I will know they are on the road to recovery.
So Bartlett rejects everything the modern Republican stands for, calls their ideas “stupid,” embraces their worst enemies, and then says he will only believe they are on the road to recovery when they come to him and ask for his advice. Gosh, I can’t believe this strategy isn’t working, Mr. Bartlett. Why in the world would any think tank want to can a team player like this?
Incidentally, you can be very aggressive and challenge right-wing warhawks. I think Tom Woods did a great job on this; here’s a great speech and a written article, in which Tom confessed to being a recovering neocon warhawk. Tom doesn’t pull punches at all, but I bet he converted more people than Bartlett has done.