Originally, Republicans and Democrats had different roles than they do today. Back in Lincoln's time, Republicans were more like today's Democrats and Democrats were more like today's Republicans. Then their roles switched places at some point in history so that Republicans became known as a the party of smaller government, less taxes and less spending, and Democrats became known as the party with large government, more taxes and more spending.
Stay with me here.
The parties then flipped places again around the late 1970s. This was Reagan's time. Spending skyrocketed and drove the country into a massive budget deficit. Dubya Sr. did the same. Fiscal responsibility went right out the window with these Neo-Republicans, or Neo-Cons, if you must. Then Bill Clinton, a Democrat, had to clean up a big mess. He raised taxes, of course, and created a lot of social programs, but he did manage to leave a budget surplus at the end of his term - the largest in US history. Then Dubya showed up to the scene, and it is obvious this rocket scientist slept through his MBA accounting classes because taxes went down and spending went up. He managed to create the largest budget deficit in US history.
So, as you can see, Republicans became Democrats and Democrats became Republicans in regards to at least fiscal responsibility.
I think the election of 2008 will flip the party roles again. McCain's record definitely shows that he is fiscally responsible and is against wasteful spending such as earmarks. He has made it a campaign priority. Obama has given lip-service to fiscal responsibility, but much is left to be seen. His main budget income source comes from ending the Iraq war, which he has refused to promise any any deadlines for. I don't care what any politician says about ending the war soon; this war will go on until the Iraqis are able to manage their own country and this doesn't appear to be likely for many years to come. This means Obama's plan is going to fall short - way short.
Both proposed budgets seem to fall short of projections, but McCain has at least addressed the fact that spending in America is out of control, and he has also accounted for the inevitability of a long Iraq presence.