Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate could deepen the intrinsic tension between the Republican policy agenda and the voters it relies on to win elections.
Ryan's ambitious budget blueprint, as passed twice by House Republicans over the past two years, crystallizes the GOP's highest policy priority: shrinking the size of the federal government, largely by dramatically restructuring entitlement programs led by Medicare and Medicaid. But the GOP today is increasingly dependent on the votes of older and blue-collar whites who -- while eager to scale back government programs that transfer income to the poor -- are much more resistant to retrenching entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security that largely benefit the middle-class.
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