Republicans are proving themselves nihilists.

There is a long-running, almost metaphysical, argument about the GOP’s deficit hawkery. One school of thought holds that it has always been pure cynicism. Republicans passed the Bush tax cuts without offsets and paid for neither Medicare Part D nor the Iraq War. When they began decrying the deficit and debt during President Obama’s administration, under this theory, it was nothing but opportunistic political attacks, and it was obvious they would be abandoned as soon as Republicans regained power.

The response many Republicans gave was that the party had lost its way under George W. Bush, but it had recognized its mistakes and rediscovered its fiscally conservative soul. The Tea Party and its relentless campaign of primary challenges was proof the Republican Party had changed, and would stay changed.

The House and Senate passage of the GOP tax bills shows the cynics had it right.

In the Obama years, Republicans feared a debt crisis

From 1993 to 2016, Charlie Sykes was a right-wing talk show host on WTMJ in Milwaukee. That made him a conservative eminence in Wisconsin, the home state of Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson. Sykes interviewed them dozens of times, emceed events at which they appeared, introduced them before screaming crowds. And in speech after speech, interview after interview, they delivered the same message: Debt was the country’s most pressing problem.

“Ron Johnson used to joke about being the prince of darkness,” Sykes recalls. “Everywhere he would go he’d have these charts about the crisis posed by the debt. He became a notorious downer. He was so intense about it.”

The same was true of Ryan, who became famous for his slick presentations on America’s coming fiscal crash. “The facts are very, very clear,” he says in this 2011 video, “the United States Read More Here