Brendan Miniter argues that while spending hawks have enforced some fiscal discipline on post-Katrina checkbook compassion, the gains are temporary. Republicans, he worries, are wasting every opportunity to meaningfully check the runaway growth of entitlement programs over the long-term:
But what seems to be confounding the Republican Party as a whole is a coherent and broad-based plan to shrink the size of government by controlling spending. Targeted or across-the-board cuts are great–and hopefully appreciated by conservatives for the difficulty in achieving them–but without constant scrutiny and "congressional oversight," such measures won’t hold the line on spending in the long run. Once a new Congress or a new administration is seated, all bets are off.
Bets off, indeed. Miniter says the problem isn’t a lack of new ideas, but a lack of effort and initiative on multiple fronts.