Bernstein claims that "for at least twenty years, and really more like thirty-five years, the Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility and the Republicans are the party of deficits." His bottom line:
My guess? If Obama is reelected with solid Democratic majorities in Congress, and the economy is reasonably strong, there's a good chance that there will be a deficit reduction plan similar in spirit to the 1993 and 1990 packages, and it will pass without any Republican support. There's also a good chance of further deficit-reducing health care reform, including the deficit-reducing public option.
On the other hand, if Republicans win back Congress and the White House in 2012, I expect cosmetic spending cuts along with significant tax cuts, yielding larger deficits (and I wouldn't bet heavily on net spending cuts). As I've said before, I'm not advocating one way or another on this -- I'm not a deficit hawk, myself. But it seems clear to me that the path to deficit reduction for those who do care about it is Democratic control, rather than hoping for a grand bargain that in effect asks pro-deficit Republicans to surrender to anti-deficit Democrats.