The response to that conundrum was exactly the kind of fiscal approach on the local level that Ryan's federal deficit reduction approach parrots today. Back then, lost federal revenues caused many city and state governments to impose draconian austerity measures and deep budget-cuts as a means of balancing their budgets.
Today, Reagan is gone, but so are many other things, including federal programs where budget cuts can offset tax cuts. There has been over 30 years of reducing tax rates; cuts in governmental waste, fraud, and abuse; reductions in the federal workforce; and consolidating or eliminating arguably unnecessary or overlapping government agencies. There aren't many areas of government left from which cuts that significantly address deficit reduction can be made. Ryan doubtlessly realized this forcing him to summon the "courage" needed to propose turning Medicare into a voucher program; privatizing Social Security; and gutting Medicaid as a means of staking out further tax cuts for millionaires. Hey, the money's got to come from somewhere.
In Too Deep
So why would a candidate serious about winning but struggling to attract the independent middle-class and elderly voters needed to win the election select someone with Ryan's kind of baggage as his running mate?
Over the course of his campaign, the traits of other-worldliness that marked Mitt's endless gaffes have caused many to wonder if they were the result of some kind of here-to-fore unknown set of manifestly post-rational thought processes -- in other words; utter cluelessness. That makes sense if a candidate's rationale for running is to win. But what if the goal is simply to run? For some competitors, having merely made it to the starting line is tantamount to "mission accomplished."
It's certainly possible that Mitt's gaffes were simply the unforced errors of a candidate for whom politics is out of his realm but for whom running for president addresses some kind of oedipal drive, namely, to atone for his father's inability to secure the 1968 GOP nomination and a shot at the presidency.
So it could be that with his "up next" status on the GOP presidential pecking order expiring as of November 2012, perhaps Mitt felt compelled to try to move a step or two beyond the point which marked the end of his father's political journey.
But of late, things have changed. The rosy logistical parameters that by the 2010 mid-terms had so clearly defined the GOPs road back into the Oval office -- a design in which a business wonk seemed the key element -- have been significantly altered over the course of this brutally hot summer.
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