What I feared most in the domestic arena about that very narrowest, remotest of possibilities--a Romney victory--was a third and even stronger rebirth of supply-side economic theory.
Despite every GOP obstruction thrown in his path, for Obama a second term promised an all-systems-go economy: GDP is on a modest upswing; unemployment, a modest downswing; and housing starts are already fueling a major turnaround; all of which, say mainstream economists, could bring 11 or 12 million jobs over the next four years.
That much was good to go. And Romney knew it. His promise of "12 million new jobs" was perhaps the only sincere promise he made all year. As he suggested to the yacht-club crowd in Boca Raton, he needed to do ... not much, really. Those new jobs were already on their way. A President Romney would have taken the credit, naturally, along with passing whatever additional tax cuts he could have rammed through--and at the end of Romney's first prosperous term, he and supply-siders everywhere would have hailed the triumphant brilliance of their backward economics for all the forward progress. Their fallacies and explanatory anachronisms would have given new life to a dead theory for many more years to come.
But now we can add Obama's economic boom of a second term to Bill Clinton's. The empirical evidence of Keynesian economics' superiority over the Laffable stuff will grow less deniable every year, even to the most ardent defenders of tax cuts today, tax cuts tomorrow, tax cuts forever and for all ills.
With injuries to supply-side theory come more reasonable, more workable solutions to long-term deficit reduction, and in general there comes a profound and relentless undermining of the GOP's fiscal delusions. Thus perhaps in another four years or eight, the party will return to its more sublime, Eisenhower sensibilities.