If today's column from David Brooks is any indication, several months of GOP economic brinksmanship have finally accomplished what years of liberal hand-waiving couldn't -- forcing Beltway elites to recognize the dangerous extremism of the Republican Party.
Like most people with well-defined ideological views, liberals want their political standard-bearers to represent their interests and stand-up for liberalism as a governing ideology. Typically, this is viewed as good messaging -- the public likes progressive policies -- and good politics. As the argument goes, voters want a choice, not an echo, and Democrats would benefit from offering the former. It's what led to liberal infatuation with John Edwards in 2004, and it's what drives liberal dissatisfaction with President Obama.
Over the holiday weekend, Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutlerhighlighted this gem of a chart from the Senate Appropriations Committee:
As Hawaii Democratic Senator Daniel Inoyue explained in a statement, "Although non-defense discretionary spending in nominal dollars has increased, when taking inflation and population growth into account the amount contained in the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution represents no increase over what we spent in 2001, a year in which we generated a surplus of $128 billion."
Essentially, Mitt Romney's pitch for the presidency rests on a single line, "He made it worse." In campaign ads, speeches and op-eds, Romney has attacked the president for lengthening the Great Recession. During last month's presidential debate, for example, Romney led with this:
The official deadline for Republican presidential candidates to report their second quarter fundraising totals isn't until next month, but several campaigns have offered preliminary numbers. Let's take a look.