When Will The GOP’s Fever Break?

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 31 2012 @ 11:44am

Ryan Lizza imagines what will happen if Obama wins re-election:

The most conservative faction of Republicans, to which Ryan may have a claim, will certainly argue that alleged moderates like McCain and Romney have led the party to back-to-back defeats, and thus make the case for purism. This is the most likely scenario: another cycle of the Republican march to the right. But much will depend on Obama’s success in a second term (again, if he wins one). If the economy recovers, and Obama presides over robust growth in a second term, the more partisan and right-wing case against the Democrats will likely be defanged, much as it was in 2000 when Bush felt the need to fashion his compassionate conservatism in response to Clintonism’s success.

The hope is, on my part, that by lashing himself to the Ryan mast, Romney has done us all – in particular, his party – a big favor. The base will not be able to blame squishiness for defeat. Romney has morphed with Ryan, with Romney the patriarch and Ryan the eager dauphin. Defeat will be for both. Then a small faction in the GOP may actually decide they have to deal with Obama on saner terms, i.e. with revenues on the table.

The reason this can happen – and why, in my view, Obama must explain very seriously and in detail what’s about to happen after November – is sequestration. Something has to give. We are approaching in some ways the final resolution of the massive struggle between supply side economics and fiscal reality that has been going on for thirty years. Do you want Obama at the Peace Treaty signing – or Ryan? Who would be more able to compromise to get this thing done, to quote the Randian?