In stark contrast to even Keith Hennessy, National Review's rank dishonesty cried to heaven. They refer to the current situation thus:

What had been a chronic problem that all involved knew needed corrective action has now become, in the Obama years, a full-fledged disaster in the making.

Notice the propagandistic slight of hand - "in the Obama years". Not because of Obama's policies - that would have been so obvious a lie even they cannot foist it on their readers. Just "in the Obama years." In a word: slimy.

Then this:

In 2008, total spending stood at nearly $3.0 trillion not exactly government on a strict diet. But Obama wants to take the juggernaut he inherited and supersize it. By 2020, governmental spending would reach $5.7 trillion, driven heavily by mounting entitlement costs. Spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone would nearly double over a decade, going from $1.4 trillion in 2009 to $2.6 trillion in 2020.

Well, we have a little more honesty here - a small reference to the fact that Obama did not single-handedly create this crisis and in his first year had little lee-way to ameliorate it without making the recession - and thereby the debt - even worse. Also: a recognition that the overwhelming amount of future debt was already baked in the entitlement cake. More to the point, Obama does not want - and has never said he wants - to "super-size" government, In fact, he has backed the most serious effort in a while - a bipartisan commission to raise taxes and cut entitlements that would require an up-or-down vote in the Congress.

SO what is NRO's response to this cut-spending-and-raise-taxes solution? You guessed right:

The president would like to enlist Republican cooperation to pass a massive, bipartisan tax increase to help pay for it and his other spending ideas. The specific tax hikes are not yet known, as they would be proposed by an independent commission of “wise men” handpicked mainly by Democrats to ensure a pre-determined outcome one they hope is not covered in Democratic fingerprints. For added electoral protection, the commission’s tax-increase recommendations wouldn’t be unveiled and voted on by Congress until after the November elections, all the better to keep the nuisance of public opinion from interfering with the grand Democratic plan to pursue another Great Society.

How on earth do you describe the proposed commission - with equal numbers from each party - as purely a tax hiking proposal? The entire idea is a bipartisan compromise to raise taxes and cut entitlement spending. Cutting entitlement spending is what NRO says it wants. But when the president proposes it in a bipartisan fashion, they simply ignore its existence, or posture as if they are prepared to make the kind of massive cuts in entitlement and dismantling of the Pentagon budget that a balanced budget with no tax hikes would require.

What one notes about this primarily is not just its dishonesty but its recklessness. If the crisis is as bad as NRO says it is - and I agree with them - then it is incumbent upon conservative thinkers to propose and explain and cost out the spending cuts they say are necessary to avert catastrophe. This they refuse to do. Until they do, they are not serious contributors to the debate. They are partisan nihilists.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.