Big Government Conservatives

Bruce Bartlett continues on the theme that President Bush is “less than conservative” as he writes about Fred Barnes:

In every administration, there is always one journalist that the White House trusts above the others to represent its point of view. In this administration, it is Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard magazine. Whenever you read one of Mr. Barnes’ columns, you know that you are getting an inside perspective … Early in the book, Mr. Barnes concedes Mr. Bush lacks a “conservative governing temperament.” Although insisting Mr. Bush is indeed a conservative, Mr. Barnes admits that he is “no libertarian or small government conservative” … Mr. Barnes also admits Mr. Bush’s governing philosophy, taken on its own terms, is incoherent.

Incoherent – yes. But this is the same Fred Barnes that praised Bush as a “big government conservative” simply because Bush PRETENDED to reduce our taxes (OK, I made the same comment over at the blog of Mark Thoma).

But this is nothing more than a warm-up for a discussion of an attack on Senator Clinton coming from fake conservative Lawrence Kudlow entitled “Waking Up to Hillary’s Big Government Nightmare”:

Citing a recent report by New York financier Felix Rohatyn and former senator Warren Rudman, Clinton is calling for a “national investment authority” to rebuild the nation. This in her view will solve all our problems related to airports, highways, bridges, hurricanes, and lord knows what else. She speaks as though Congress didn’t already spend a fortune on the recent highway bill, replete with corrupt budget earmarks that totaled a cool $30 billion in 2005.

I decided to skip the juvenile cheap shots from the man in the cheap suit to go to a graph of government spending (Federal, state, and local) all relative to GDP (Kudlow really does need to read Dean Baker). $30 billion as a percent of a $12 trillion GDP is what Larry? And maybe you will note over the past 30 years, this percentage has declined from 1.4% to 1.0% where as education spending has declined from 5.6% to 4.9%. But it is true that public spending on health care rose during the Clinton years – and CONTINUED TO INCREASE during the Bush years. With that prescription drug benefit that Bush is bragging about – guess what is going to happen to public spending on health care as a percent of GDP over the next several years?