KRISTOL OFFERS A PREVIEW OF WHAT’S TO COME…. When it comes to journalistic standards, policy understanding, political prognostications, and basic human decency, I don’t consider Bill Kristol an especially credible figure. But his sources in Republican politics tend to be pretty solid, so when he talks about what Americans expect from the GOP next year, it’s worth taking him at least a little seriously.

Here, for example, was an exchange on “Fox News Sunday” yesterday about the widely-panned “Pledge with America” pseudo-agenda presented Thursday by House Republican leaders.

KRISTOL: It’s a step on the way to boldness. I mean, seriously, if a power drunk, inebriated, big government-loving Democratic Party is driving the car off the cliff, the first responsibility is to put on the brakes. I think the Republicans are absolutely right about that. Stop the bad policies, go back to 2008 levels of discretionary spending, that’s a pretty big cut, as you pointed out in your interview with Republican leaders. That’s a pretty big cut in current discretionary spending.

WALLACE: Nothing about earmarks, nothing about entitlements.

KRISTOL: There are not gonna be earmarks next year. They can’t get all their caucus to agree to it now, but if Republicans take the House, there will be such sentiment of the Tea Party nation that they will not, in my view, do earmarks. They will really cut discretionary spending. Paul Ryan will lay down the budget on April 1st, 2011, as chairman of the Budget Committee, that will address entitlements. They’re being reasonable; they’re being bold in a reasonable way.

First, “putting on the brakes” when Democrats are finally dragging the car out of the ditch Republicans left us in seems like a bad idea. At the risk of straining the metaphor, if hitting the gas helped end the recession and started adding jobs again, why would Republicans want to slam on the brakes?

Second, going “back to 2008 levels of discretionary spending” would lead to drastic cuts to education and essential public services — the kind of cuts that would hurt working families at a time when the economy is already struggling.

Third, if there are “not gonna be earmarks next year,” there’s no reason why GOP leaders felt compelled to leave this out of their plan.

And fourth, if Paul Ryan “addresses entitlements,” he’s going to slash Social Security and Medicare with devastating consequences. That’s his plan — he’s put in writing.

Kristol might as well been offering a testimonial on behalf of Democrats — vote GOP in November and the country will go back to Bush-era economic policies, coupled with drastic cuts to education, Social Security, and Medicare. That’s not some liberal making the case; that’s Bill Kristol telling Fox News how it’s going to be.

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.