Ross Douthat takes his requisite shots at the Democrats, but he also warns the GOP:
While the Bush administration overspent, it wasn’t spending and deficits that turned the country against conservative domestic policy between 2004 and 2008. It was the fact that the Republican majority seemed to have no answers to Middle America’s economic struggles, and no appetite for the structural reforms required to keep the United States competitive.
This is even more true today. The United States is facing three overlapping crises — the short-term challenge of a jobless recovery, the long-term crisis of entitlement spending and, in the medium term, an economy that wasn’t delivering for the middle class even before the financial crisis struck. The Democratic Party may have the wrong answers to these problems. But the Republican Party as an institution often seems to have no answers whatsoever.
That’s not really fair: the Republicans have one answer: tax cuts. The fact that they don’t really work — otherwise we would have seen substantial economic growth between 2003 and 2009 and we didn’t (oh, I forgot; we blew it all on the unprovoked war with Iraq) — and that continuing them beyond their expiration will mean borrowing even more money (oops; forgot again the Cosmic Truth of Dick Cheney: deficits don’t matter).
Here’s the method behind how the GOP does this. When they’re in office, they make a huge deal out of what other guys did and investigate the hell out of them or they raise the boogedy-boogedy of feminist abortionists setting up shop in Hays, Kansas next door to the gay wedding chapel. Meanwhile they feed the faithful the economic equivalent of junk food and Halloween candy which results in the need for a root canal two years later. Of course by then they’re out of office and the dentist becomes the bad guy, and all the Republicans have to do is stand outside and wave the bagfuls of candy corn and stale Hershey’s Kisses to the sucker strapped in the chair. Works like a charm.