If conservatives plan to cut taxes, they will no longer be able to convince the public that the resulting supply-side growth in the economy will eventually bring in more money and balance the budget. Instead, right from the start, the new House majority will have to demand that we pay as we go — every dollar lost in revenue will require a commensurate dollar cut in federal spending.

Republicans should be willing to be demagogued by a weakened Obama as heartless and cruel budget cutters — even if the president may well be the ultimate beneficiary by running on the new theme of fiscal responsibility and a recovering economy in 2012.