Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both ran on a platform of reducing the size and scope of government, yet federal spending — including social welfare spending — grew substantially during their presidencies. Cognizant of those historical examples, some political observers scoff at the notion that a Republican Presidential victory in 2012 will change very much of anything. Washington will still be business-as-usual Washington, the argument runs, no matter who is in the White House.
Commentators in the new issue of Washington Monthly (on newstands today) argue forcefully that this jaded view is profoundly misguided. Harold Pollack, Norm Ornstein and Jonathan Bernstein are among the many luminaries of wonkdom who provide perspective on “What if Obama loses?”. A key theme running through the essays is that past performance in this case definitely does not predict future performance: Because the Republican Party is different, the Congress is different and the country is different and the changes that would follow a Republican takeover of the White House would be far more dramatic than in prior eras.
It’s a great read — check it out.