Mr Ryan was...wrong to vote against the proposals of the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission, which he did on the grounds that it wanted to close the deficit partly through an increase in tax revenues. He believes that the gap should be closed wholly through spending cuts. Because Mr Ryan, in true Republican fashion, wants to increase spending on defence, everything else—poverty relief, transport infrastructure, environmental protection and education, for instance—will have to be squeezed intolerably.
Playing to the GOP's stingy base, which demands cuts for the poor and uninterrupted federal goodies for itself, is about as edgy as wearing a Yankees jersey in the Bronx. Of course Barack Obama didn't have the guts to accept the commission's recommendations, either, and it was his commission. At the moment there appears to be more courage at the weekly meeting of the St. John's Boy Scout troop than on the major parties' tickets.