Last week The Hoover Institution’s Peter Robinson posted a chart at The Corner that he said could “only be termed, alas, Republican overspending—that is, the enormous increase in domestic spending during this administration, most of which, of course, took place while the GOP held not only the White House but both chambers of Congress.”

Rising to defend President Bush’s record on spending, The Atlantic’s Ross Douthat responded: “[W]hen Bush took office, discretionary domestic spending accounted for 3.1 percent of GDP, and in 2007 it accounted for … 3.3 percent of GDP. In the years between, it rose as high as 3.6 percent of GDP, which is on the high side by post-Reagan standards.”

But why should conservatives strive only for “post-Reagan standards.” Shouldn’t Reagan’s record at reining in spending be ‘the’ conservative standard? And here, by the way, is a chart on the average annual real growth of non-defense federal outlays in inflation-adjusted 2000 dollars for recent Administrations.