Political Futures

We've gone as a nation, in less than two years, from Hope and Change to 'hope we can change the stuff we hoped for.' Still, a question -- one of pointed interest to Republicans -- looms: change to what? Meaning, what are you all going to do, assuming you take the House and/or the Senate, to fix the problems you identified as reasons for throwing out the Obamacrats? ... Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin's First District, one of the smartest men in politics insofar as I can tell, goes around touting his brilliantly conceived free-market, limited-government approach called 'Roadmap for America's Future.'1 ... Not a few Republicans perforce wish Ryan would cool it with the reform stuff. First, beat the Democrats, then do the reform: That's the ticket. Sequentially, yes, that's the way it happens. But strange things tend to happen after victories. ... What has Paul Ryan in mind that makes particular Republicans, as the [Washington] Post headlines puts it, 'wince'? Well, rationalizing the tax system -- abolishing capital gains taxes, compressing and lowering the rates, including the rates for 'the wealthy.' On Medicare, Ryan would let under-55s receive a Medicare payment they could use to buy Medicare-certified health plans. Social Security? He'd allow the same demographic to invest a third of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement plans. And so on. The Roadmap is calibrated to whittle down, over time, the federal government's long-term commitment to programs it can no longer afford. Realism is the rock on which Ryan has sketched his plan: We can't do X, so we have to do Y. That's of course where the trouble starts. Realism gets your average politician in trouble. A certain kind of voter prefers fantasy. Better to spoon out fantasy in dollops of spun-sugar promises and let future Congresses figure out what comes next!" --columnist William Murchison2 The Gipper "We should always remember that our strength still lies in our faith in the good sense of the American people. And that the climate in Washington is still opposed to those enduring values, those 'permanent things' that we've always believed in. ... Washington is a place of fads and one-week stories. It's also a company town, and the company's name is government, big government. ... In the discussion of federal spending, the time has come to put to rest the sob sister attempts to portray our desire to get government spending under control as a hard-hearted attack on the poor people of America." --Ronald Reagan3 More: http://patriotpost.us/edition/2010/08/09/brief/print/