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Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy Hardcover – February 21, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (February 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385518277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385518277
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Liberal commentators gripe so frequently about the current administration that it's become easy to tune them out, but when Bartlett, a former member of the Reagan White House, says George W. Bush has betrayed the conservative movement, his conservative credentials command attention. Bartlett's attack boils down to one key premise: Bush is a shallow opportunist who has cast aside the principles of the "Reagan Revolution" for short-term political gains that may wind up hurting the American economy as badly as, if not worse than, Nixon's did. As part of a simple, point-by-point critique of Bush's "finger-in-the-wind" approach to economic leadership, Bartlett singles out the Medicare prescription drug bill of 2003— "the worst piece of legislation ever enacted"—as a particularly egregious example of the increases in government spending that will, he says, make tax hikes inevitable. Bush has further weakened the Republican Party by failing to establish a successor who can run in the next election, Bartlett says. If the Reaganites want to restore the party's tradition of fiscal conservatism and small government, he worries, let alone keep the Democrats out of the White House, they will have their work cut out for them. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bartlett, an economist and former Reagan administration official, attacks the Bush administration hard but from the political Right. Challenging Bush's conservative principles of operation and credentials, Bartlett actually gives former president Clinton more credit for following conservative economic principles. In contrast, the Bush administration has been marked by shortsightedness, if not anti--intellectualism, too willing to reward friends without regard to competency and to punish as enemies those who deviate from the party line. Bush's shortcomings include his drug bill, trade policies, and expanded regulatory requirements. Interestingly, Bartlett concludes that Bush's relentless effort to cut taxes will leave an unenviable legacy for a conservative--the need for America's largest tax increase. Bartlett also takes the administration to task for corruption that violates the principles of difference the Republican Party declared during the campaign against Clinton. This is a worthy critique, one that the administration will not be able to dismiss as liberal propaganda. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

This is damning stuff!
R. Spell
Nonetheless, this book is great for revealing how George Bush bakrupted America and betrayed the conservative movement to further his own career.
Jeb Worthington
Bartlett's book certainly fails in making the case that on any issue Bush is a liberal.
Robert Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

353 of 365 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill VINE VOICE on February 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When pundits for years complained about the excess of ideology in politics, they did not consider what might replace it once gone. Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with impeccable credentials dating back to President Reagan's White House, answers that question in this important book with disturbing results. Analyzing the administration of the current President Bush he concludes that lacking a coherent ideology, what comes to reign in its place is a crass political opportunism. While coming from a liberal writer such attacks might seem old hat, Bartlett moves from his home on the right, arguing not only that the current White House shows signs of frequent incompetence, but in fact has betrayed the principles that the conservative movement embraced for the last forty years.

Taking the competence question first, Bartlett examines how little appetite the current administration has for serious analysis and research. Citing sources on issues ranging from national security, to economics, to healthcare, the author offers examples to prove a pattern of stifling debate, cajoling, sidelining, and even threatening those who would question the policy conclusions determined mostly by political handlers instead of policy experts. Surrounding himself with "political hacks" whose main ability rests in the ability to "say yes and ignore the obvious," the administration often begins with policy and then searches out justifications. Thrashing dissent and ignoring the traditional policy experts who work from positions of expertise, Bartlett sees the President's failure on important issues as Social Security, healthcare, and perhaps even Iraq arising from this dysfunctional process.
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170 of 187 people found the following review helpful By Nebraskan on February 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Very rare, to find someone on the right who speaks the truth about this administration.

He brings an insider's view, from the right, and documents his claims.

I've waited several years for a conservative "small government" supporter to explain to me how Bush inherited a $5.1 trillion deficit and is currently (per his own White House) expected to leave office with an $11.5 trillion deficit, a better than 100% growth in our national debt in eight years!

War without an exit strategy, based on lies; largest expansion of the "welfare" system since Medicare was founded; spying on Americans in violation of Federal law...Yet so many who claim they are conservative just look the other way or make excuses.

Bartlett does a great job, and I recommend this to anyone (especially someone who considers him/herself a conservative)! Read it, then see if you still think George W. Bush is a "conservative"!
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Lance B. Sjogren on March 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Much of what Bartlett says will already be familiar to people who follow politics to some degree. To me an important purpose this book serves is that it represents a well-respected conservative confirming what anyone who follows politics honestly will have concluded on their own by now about the Bush administration: that it is not conservative, that it fails to represent Republican principles, that it engages in grandiose and reckless initiatives that are not grounded in reality, and that a good case can be made that essentially everything it has undertaken has been a failure.

One particularly good point made by Bartlett is that many of Bush's initiatives have been geared toward winning popular support for the Administration and the Republican Party, rather than serving the public interest (e.g. Medicare drug program), yet they have turned out not only (as expected) to be policy failures, but political failures as well.

It is heartening that the public is finally becoming more fully aware of just how complete a failure the Bush administration has been, as can be seen in the public opinion polls.

A couple of the most devastating indictments in Bartlett's book are those relating to the Medicare drug benefit and the drive to reform Social Security.

As Bartlett points out, the Social Security reform effort became divorced from the original supposed purpose of shoring up the long-term fiscal soundness of the system by the fact that it wound up simply being about private accounts, which, under the most charitable assessment, would not do a great deal to shore up the system.

However, Bush continued to pitch his reforms as being geared toward that goal.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By RBSProds TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Five Stars!! At a time in history when George W. Bush is caught in the middle of Republicans who question his conservatism and Democrats who question his veracity and his intentions, this book arrives with the effect of throwing napalm on a White House kitchen fire. Our 43rd President of the United States takes a lot of heat from Mr Bartlett, who reportedly lost his job in writing this book. That fact alone demands attention from an informed electorate of both parties. Not written from a neutral position but by a card-carrying conservative Republican member of the Reagan administration, this is a scathing indictment of the 'man who is president'. The cover alone announces two major Bush problems: the BANKRUPTCY of America, drowning in huge deficits, and the BETRAYAL of Reagan Conservatism, making this Bush government the biggest and most expensive (and expansive) in US History.
Bruce Bartlett looks at both Bush policy and it's detrimental effects on America. He uses Ronald Reagan's legacy as the 'crucible of judgement', not the musings of arch-Liberals like Michael Moore, Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, or even the ultra-conservative musings of Rush Limbaugh or Ronnie's own son, talk show host Michael Reagan. It's Ronald Reagan who is the mirror that is held to reflect Bush's true identity. Reagan who turned the tide away from Carter liberalism back to true conservatism. I don't think anyone can argue the fact of Reagan's classic approach to politics OR it's ultimate success. As an independent, myself, I read books like this with a keen eye for the details, knowing that it's uninvited and unwelcome by many Republicans. I think Democrats will view it with wonder, but not glee.
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More About the Author

Bruce Bartlett is a columnist for The Fiscal Times, an online newspaper covering public and personal finance, and Tax Notes, a weekly magazine for tax practitioners and policymakers. He also contributes a weekly post to the Economix blog at the New York Times, and writes regularly for the Financial Times. Bartlett was previously a columnist for Forbes magazine and Creators Syndicate. His writing often focuses on the intersection between politics and economics and attempts to inform politicians about economics, and economists about the current nature of politics.

Bartlett's work is informed by many years in government, including service on the staffs of Congressmen Ron Paul and Jack Kemp and Senator Roger Jepsen, as executive director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, and deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush administration.

Bruce is the author of eight books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006). His last book was The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). His new book, The Benefit and the Burden, will be published by Simon and Schuster in 2012 and is a history and review of issues related to tax reform.

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