This is so painfully obvious, it’s astonishing to me that so many people who agitate for “smaller government” and “fiscal responsibility” continue to vote GOP. The Republican brand is dead.

Each day?s newspaper seems to bring word of a new Wall Street bailout more colossal than the last. Looking beyond the headlines, one question insistently presents itself: Why does the economy perform so badly under Republican Presidents?

The facts are hard to dispute; indeed, the historical record is now so stark that diehard Republicans are probably starting to wonder if there is a curse. As Slate?s Michael Kinsley has pointed out, for the interval over which modern statistics are readily available, Democrats have outperformed Republicans by almost any measure of economic achievement (GDP growth per capita, unemployment, inflation, budget deficits). Democrats have even managed to beat the Republicans on their own turf: Thanks to the profligacy of the current administration (and the prudence of the previous one), average Federal spending as a fraction of GDP (either total spending or nondefense spending) under Republican Presidents now exceeds that under Democrats over the measured period (see Kinsley for details).

Drill, baby, drill.