"The red-blue contrast is often overdrawn. But it's a sensible way to understand Obama's summer struggles," wrote columnist Ross Douthat. "On health care, energy, taxes and spending, he's pushing a blue-state agenda during a recession that's exposed some of the blue-state model's weaknesses, and some of the red-state model's strengths." Douthat noted how Texas has survived the national recession pretty well while California has been a fiscal disaster area. "In state capital after state capital," he wrote, "the downturn has highlighted the weaknesses of liberal governance — the zeal for unsustainable social spending, the preference for regulation over job creation, the heavy reliance for tax revenue on the volatile incomes of the upper upper class."