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Posts Tagged ‘optimism’
August 23rd, 2012 at 5:59 pm
Romney-Ryan & a Realist Approach to Entitlement Reform

Over at National Review, John O’Sullivan argues that the Romney-Ryan ticket should take a realist tone when it sells its vision of entitlement reform, referencing a familiar example:

Despite all the guff written about him, Reagan was not an optimist. He was a realist who believed in the virtue of hope (which is quite another thing — see below). Realism is a combination of prudence and hope. Realists believe that they can solve problems and win battles, but only by evaluating the dangers accurately and proposing adequate responses to them. Reagan expressed great faith in the future of the American people, but he also warned that their grandchildren might lose that future if the present generation did not defend the U.S. Constitution and traditional liberties. He warned eloquently against the Soviet threat, but instead of looking on the bright side and leaving matters to chance, he drove through — against strong political and media opposition — tough policies on foreign policy and defense.

Hope and prudence are what Ryan has shown with his persistence in speaking the fiscal truth to seniors in his Wisconsin congressional district.  It was hope in the power of fact-based arguments that compelled him to spend hours in town hall meetings detailing the chronic deficits afflicting Medicare and Medicaid.  And it was from a deep well of prudence that he sought to explain how the continued failure to reform their structure will result in either taxes we can’t afford or cuts in coverage some people can’t endure.

This election will likely turn on whether Ryan’s realistic appraisal of entitlement reform will be interpreted by the public as a blend of hope and prudence or instead an accountant’s excuse to throw granny off a cliff.