The other evening, shortly before the Federal Reserve was to meet to consider its next policy move (or lack thereof), Speaker Boehner, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, Eric Cantor, and John Kyl sent a letter to Fed Chair Ben Bernanke urging the Fed not to take any further policy action. The letter was striking in a couple of ways. First, the Fed is supposed to be an independent central bank, and the notion that Congress should oversee it more carefully is an old Tea Party favorite. More important, it reveals the true Keynesian agenda of the Republicans.
In 1971, Richard Nixon suspended the convertibility of the US dollar to gold, and is famously (although maybe erroneously) quoted as having said, "We're all Keynesians now." Whatever Tricky Dick actually said, it's notable that this statement is one of the ones we remember him as having made. After all, if the Republicans are the party of small government and enablers of the kleptocracy, the idea that a GOP President might have once embraced government spending to stimulate the general economy is a surprise.
I'd argue, though, that today's Republicans are still Keynesians. They still believe (correctly, in my view) that both fiscal stimulus (government spending) and monetary stimulus (lower interest rates and such) would have beneficial effects in terms of economic growth and employment. Not only that, but the effects of a strong stimulus package could be evident in less than a year -- in time for the 2012 election. And that's why the Republicans are against any kind of stimulus, and prefer crushing austerity. It isn't because they think theirs is a good economic policy. It's because they know it isn't. By opposing stimulus and imposing austerity, they hope to drive the economy further into the ground. Naturally, they'll then try to blame the resulting weakness on President Obama.
Once again, our friends on that side of the aisle are showing that only one thing matters to them -- their own chances of election. They're willing to sacrifice millions of jobs to promote their agenda.