WHAT ARE THESE ‘BETTER SOLUTIONS’?…. Newt Gingrich told the CPAC audience the other day, “It’s not our job to be the opposition party. It’s our job to be the ‘better solutions party.’” Sounds good to me. Let’s hear some of those “better solutions.”

James Joyner attended a CPAC breakfast yesterday with Gingrich “as part of the rollout for the American Solutions Winning the Future effort.” The former Speaker had quite a bit to say about the various parts of his agenda, but ultimately, it’s a 12-point plan. John Cole summarized them this way:

1. Payroll Tax Stimulus
2. Real Middle-Income Tax Relief
3. Reduce the Business Tax Rate
4. Homeowner’s Assistance
5. Control Spending So We Can Move to a Balanced Budget
6. No State Aid Without Protection From Fraud
7. More American Energy Now (Energy exploration)
8. Abolish Taxes on Capital Gains
9. Protect the Rights of American Workers (from … Unions)
10. Replace Sarbanes-Oxley
11. Abolish the Death Tax
12. Invest in Energy and Transportation Infrastructure

Half of the agenda — six of the 12 — are proposals for more tax cuts.

Looking over the rest of the list is no more productive. Even trying to balance the budget in the midst of an economic crisis is insane (not to mention the fact that Republicans “spent like drunken sailors” from 2001 to 2006, and more tax cutting makes balanced budgets impossible). More drilling is backwards-looking and counter-productive. Republicans en masse oppose infrastructure investment. And we round out the rest of the agenda with union bashing and deregulation.

Keep in mind, Gingrich is supposed to be a Republican “visionary.” Republicans hail him as an “idea factory.” While some dismiss the very idea of taking policy matters seriously, Gingrich is considered a genuine innovator.

And while I appreciate the disgraced former Speaker being specific about the kind of agenda he prefers, it doesn’t change the fact that the Great Republican Innovator for the 21st Century is barely even trying to repackage old ideas for a new time.

When I talk about the bankruptcy of the modern Republican Party, this is what I’m talking about.

As John Cole concluded, “This is a sputtering, rudderless, idea free movement. There is a reason the only thing they can do is yell ‘socialist’ and attend tea parties (although given the turnout, it looks like they are just sticking to yelling socialist).”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.