Saluting Dick Darman's Tax-Hiking "Pragmatism"

RichardDarman, George H. W. Bush's budget director, has died at age 64 after battling leukemia. Darman arranged the 1990 budget deal that undermined Bush's "no-new-taxes" pledge. Times obituary writer Douglas Martin defended Darman's tax hike agreementagainst conservative opposition:

"National Review, the conservative magazine, called Mr. Darman's work 'the most catastrophic budget deal of all time,' and Mr. Bush himself later said it was the biggest mistake of his presidency. But many economists believed that the agreement's tough 'pay as you go' rules and a resulting infusion of revenue eased the recession of the early 1990s, and paved the way for the later budget surpluses and economic boom."

In Times-land, opposition to conservative principles is lauded as "pragmatism."

"Mr. Darman's pragmatism, willingness to work with Democrats and desire to make a career of government rankled movement conservatives and even aroused their suspicions. In his book 'Revolution: The Reagan Legacy' (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), Martin Anderson, a Reagan aide, called Mr. Darman "easily the most disliked man in the White House," saying he had done nothing for the campaign."