I never heard of historian Bruce Bartlett until I came across this conversation on Thom Hartmann’s Conversations with Great Minds, which has become one of my top-three go-to interview shows. By way of introduction, here’s part of a Paul Krugman quote I’ve used here before:
[T]he personality traits we associate with modern conservatism, above all a lack of openness, make the modern G.O.P. fundamentally hostile to the very idea of objective inquiry. If they want your opinion, they’ll tell you what it is; doubters of orthodoxy need not apply, and will in fact be persecuted.
Exactly. The modern G.O.P. has seceded from reality. You need look no further than their willful denial of realities such as climate change that don’t conform to their lockstep dogmas and agendas.
Professor Krugman is using the term openness in the sense of open to experience or open to new or different ideas. But lack of openness also applies to conservatives’ egregious public dishonesty and their habitual use of code words to disguise genuinely offensive positions on poverty, race, gender, sexuality, religion, and so much else. American conservatives represent the antithesis of openness in every sense of the word.
The conversation between Bartlett and Hartmann covers quite a few modern-conservative flaws while colorfully highlighting the depths to which the Republican Party has sunk in recent years (Part 1: “The GOP is full of Crazy, Ignorant Tea Partiers”; Part 2: “Republicans Hate Democracy”). Mr. Bartlett has stronger conservative credentials than almost anyone in today’s Republican Party. And while he has not to my knowledge renounced his generally conservative views, he no longer has a place in the Republican party. But then neither would most of conservatism’s leading historical figures. Bartlett is a pariah among today’s Republicans, as are all who dare question any aspect of the party line or choose to deal in reality.
This is the second interview in a row I’ve posted from Hartmann’s series. Like Chris Mooney at Point of Inquiry, Hartmann is a knowledgeable host who conducts enjoyable, in-depth conversations with his guests.
Anyway, there’s much to be learned from Bruce Bartlett’s insider perspective on the Republicans‘ cult-like rejection of all connections they once had to the reality-based community. Unlike, say, Mitt Romney, Bartlett didn’t compromise his integrity, thereby earning not only right-wing enmity but praise from Paul Krugman and the “much sought but rarely bestowed”Intellectually Honest Conservative Award from the Brad Blog.
There’s a lot here, including a clarification of fascism vis-a-vis contemporary corporatism. I love this line by Hartmann: “Whoever mentions Hitler first loses the argument.” And Bartlett’s assessment of Obama as “more center-right than liberal”, with which I agree.
The interview really gets rolling in Part 2.