First point to hold on to: turning Medicare into inadequate vouchers is bad policy. It is not brave. it is stupid.
Paul Krugman is excessively polite when he writes:
The Ryan Mistake: Politico has an interesting piece... there are a couple of points that I don’t think come clear in the story. First, I suspect that there’s a legend in the making... which goes like this: Republicans were too noble. They committed themselves to a serious, well-crafted policy plan, but were oblivious to the political realities.... [T]he Ryan plan is, in fact, a self-serving piece of junk. It doesn’t add up — in fact, it would probably make the deficit bigger not smaller. And far from representing some kind of sacrifice of political interests in the service of the greater good, it’s a right-wing wish-list on steroids: sharp tax cuts for corporations and the rich, savage cuts in aid to the poor, and a gratuitous privatization of Medicare. And again, it’s technically incompetent.... So nobility and seriousness had nothing to do with it.
I don't think Politico merely fails to make a couple of points clear. I think--as is the case depressingly often--that the Politico's reporters work hard to obscure the story because telling it straight would make Republicans angry, and they can't have that.
But what about that political misjudgment? How could they have thought this piece of junk would fly?.... Politico misses... that while the... Ryan plan poll[s] terribly... [f]or a year before the plan was unveiled, Ryan was the absolute darling of Beltway insiders; any suggestion that he was in fact a flim-flam man was greeted with anger. And let’s remember that for about two days after the plan was unveiled, it was greeted rapturously, even by some alleged liberals.... Ryan and his colleagues expected to float through on a cloud of pundit love, which would allow them to bypass the public’s fundamental dislike of everything they were proposing. Exactly why they thought this could happen... is another question.