Despite what may be overreaching on "most economic bang," Dionne's overall point - that liberals don't need ideology to make the case for some of the items on their wish list - still stands. Ponnuru cites Greg Mankiw's recent piece in the NYT, which mentions research by Christina Romer (now an Obama economic advisor) showing tax cuts stimulate GDP growth more than government spending does.
But doesn't that merely reinforce Obama's agenda? He spent the entire campaign talking about huge tax cuts. The liberal opposition to Bush's tax cuts, at least among mainstream thinkers, was never the mere idea of lower taxes, it was about fiscally irresponsible payouts to the new administration's wealthy political allies. Democrats have been talking about middle-class tax cuts since at least Clinton's 1992 campaign, so why shouldn't that be included in any discussions of a "progressive wish list"?