The Post's Bernstein takes issue with Krugman on Romney:
I’d be very surprised if Republicans really do press austerity if they win unified control of government....
[A] lot of the anti-Keynesian talk we’ve heard over the past three years is almost certainly partisan, and not ideological, in nature. George W. Bush didn’t react to either recession during his time in office by championing spending cuts, after all.
Before going any farther, I first wish to point out that for all his tsk-tsking of President Obama's European bias, it is in fact Mitt Romney who has consistently advocated a European-style approach to U.S. economic recovery. To hear Romney tell it, when it comes to social-economic policy Obama is some sort of riddling Otto von Bismarck wrapped in a mysterious Clement Atlee inside an enigmatic François Mitterrand; yet it is Romney, in bewildering accord with his party's economus ignoramuses, who has repeatedly touted the disastrously foreign Merkel-Cameron-Sarkozy policy of strangulating austerity. Best stop there. If we get off on a Romney-hypocrisy jag, we'll be here all day.
The larger point requiring observation is that Jonathan Bernstein believes that Romney as president would re-re-re-convert to a some brand of Keynesian pragmatism, rather than, as his party now promises, ideologically slashing his (our) way to an economic apocalypse. And my point is, maybe Romney would indeed hew to sensible, empirical Keynesianism. On the other hand, maybe he wouldn't. Who knows? Which is one of the more troubling and most disturbing problematics with what is laughably called "contemporary conservatism": in reality an unmindfully erratic bunch of ever-shifting unpredictability with no core except, it can be argued, a nihilistic and anarchistic one.
I use these terms not lightly, but rather precisely. Contrary to common perception, anarchy isn't a political system, so to speak, in which everyone runs around like Emperor penguins stealing their neighbors' nest-pebbles, but rather a system in which there is, simply, no central authority (i.e., federal government); and nihilism isn't so much 19th-century Dostoyevskian agony or Nietzschean despair as it is the oversimplistic idea that things are so bad, it would be preferable to wipe the social-economic slate clean and start from scratch.
In other words, anarchy and nihilism are the very "philosophical" species of the tea-partying radicals and revolutionaries who've been shoving the Republican Party farther and farther rightward for years now -- and revolutionaryism has a nasty habit of out-radicalizing itself, since the revolutionaries themselves feel the perpetual need to demonstrate their ever-purer purity.
Thus, before we realize the politico-philosophical catastrophe descending, we could -- "if they win unified control of government" -- be stuck with a Congress-cum-National Asylum full of Michele Bachmanns and Herman Cains, with a Gulliver on top, strapped by his loopy Lilliputians to idiotic policies such as "austerity."
The thing is, you see, with these guys, one never knows anymore.