PEARLSTEIN ON THE MODERN GOP….Brad DeLong points me to Steven Pearlstein’s column on Wednesday, which I missed when it first ran:
For two hours yesterday, the nine white men who would be president were each peddling the Big Lie that the only way to ensure economic growth is by cutting all the taxes ever created — and when you’re finished with that, cutting them some more.
Two hours, nine candidates, each one vowing to slash federal spending, but only one (Mitt Romney) able to mention a program whose funding he would cut (some advanced technology program).
….Romney, for example, issued a 23-point economic plan yesterday that, if you didn’t know better, you might think was a parody written by Jon Stewart for “The Daily Show.” In addition to proposing additional cuts in every major revenue source (income, inheritance and corporate taxes), he would effectively eliminate all taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains; make all health-care spending tax-deductible; give additional tax breaks to make America “energy independent”; and provide a rebate to businesses for tax payments that might be “embedded” in the cost of anything they export. He opposes raising the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax.
….As hackneyed as it is, however, the Romney plan is a four-course meal compared with the policy pu-pu platter offered so far by Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and even the straight-talking McCain.
Read the whole thing. It really captures what’s most bizarre about the GOP field this year: its complete lack of seriousness. If you watch the debates (an exercise recommended only for seasoned professionals) you’ll strain for hours trying to hear anything of actual substance. It’s like watching a bunch of nervous teenagers reciting talking points they don’t really understand, but which they’re afraid to stray from because they think that’s what their teacher wants them to say. Substitute “conservative interest groups” for “teacher” and you get the idea. It’s a real spectacle.