Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.I think many Americans who vote for Republicans feel this way. They really don't believe that Republicans would privatize Social Security or Medicare, especially not while cutting taxes on the rich. They either don't know that this is what Republicans have promised, or think they will forget about it when push comes to shove.
I wish I had this confidence. I fear, alas, that Paul Ryan -- a worshiper of Ayn Rand -- and his friends mean exactly what they say. I think that if Americans ever come to understand this, the Republicans will be wiped out of Congress. But if they get into power they could do a lot of damage before that happened.