[Republicans are] not arguing that low taxes take precedent over lower spending. They just keep falsely insisting over and over that Obama refuses to accept spending cuts.... It’s genuinely weird.
Yet understandable. Because even weirder is the validity of the argument--or so I'd argue--that the Republican Party has not only outlived its political utility, but is as ideological useful as a modern belief in feudalism or mercantilism. Framed another way, the party isn't so much in morbid decline because unhinged fanatics are in charge of it, as unhinged fanatics are in charge of it because the party is in morbid decline.
And for good reason. The party espouses untenable hogwash and the electorate is catching on. Whether it's the GOP reflexive devotion to ever-lower taxes which merely bankrupt the necessary government we have, or the GOP's prattling about infinitely vague "lower spending," the party's rhetoric is approaching that critical mass of absolute emptiness. It essentially means nothing, and its purveyors are simply going through these rhetorical motions because they quite literally have nothing else to say.
What, they're going to gut Social Security? Medicare? The Defense Department? Spending on education and child nutrition and meals on wheels for the elderly--and survive politically to crow about it? No way, and they know it. So they keep to the infinitely vague and the politically meaningless. They oppose everything and stand for nothing. This isn't a party. It's a carcass.
Yet nothing has been lost, because the GOP has also become superfluous. Democrats co-opted genuine conservatism years ago--Republicans' whipping boy of the "far left" in reality represents slow, incremental progress and respect for now-traditional social institutions such as Medicare, which is to say, conservatism--leaving the GOP without a distinguishing ideological core. All that's left is for the Democratic Party to engulf actual Republicans, thereby opening second- and third-party opportunities for more aggressively eager progressives and Goldwater libertarians and Santorum social conservatives.
Otherwise, the age of violently contentious ideologies is finally coming to a tormented close, I'd argue--at least for a while.