If the first day and a half or so of the Republican National Convention is any indication, the 2012 confab is going to be remarkably light on anything approaching substance. Even Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) struggled to introduce anything resembling a vision or idea in his much-anticipated but mostly self-congratulatory speech last night.
One of the problems is simply that the GOP is doubling down on being an echo of the Democrats rather than a full-throated Goldwaterian alternative to the status quo. You can see that in their actual budget proposals (to the degree that they exist): In a decade's time, Obama hopes the government is spending about $2 trillion more than it is now; the GOP Congress wants to spend $1 trillion more. In a country that is borrowing almost 40 cents of every dollar it spends, this is splitting hairs.