As an aside, the Paul Ryan announcement reminds me of a great book I read over vacation: The Debt Bomb by Senator Tom Coburn. The reality is, the USA is broke: Our national debt is greater than the entire U.S. economy (we passed that threshold in January). Ryan is a man with a plan to fix this by reigning in entitlement spending over the long haul in a way that gets our fiscal house in order and does not hurt the truly poor. (By the way, he has strong social conservative credentials as well.)
Coburn and Ryan are not afraid to criticize failures in both parties. For example, many Republicans pledge never to raise taxes so as not to hurt businesses and individuals by lowering their income, but then they go and spend money like crazy on wasteful projects, causing the national debt to soar. They do so to curry favor with those back home (“bringing back the bacon”) rather than acting in the nation’s best interest. Coburn masterfully explores the psychology of power, and how fear of losing it can change good people of various political persuasions. A great book.