PAUL RYAN STARTS LISTENING TO THE POLLSTERS, TOO…. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the far-right lawmaker who’ll head the House Budget Committee if Republicans take the House, likes to talk about entitlement policy. He’s even presented a fairly specific vision called the “Roadmap for America’s Future.”

Because it’s a radical budget plan, Ryan can’t help but notice his fellow Republicans — who agree with him on the substance — are too nervous to say so. Over the summer, he complained, “They’re talking to their pollsters and their pollsters are saying, ‘Stay away from this.’”

It looks like Paul Ryan has begun talking to the pollsters, too. (via Pat Garofalo)

“We’ve got to get through this political moment. The political weaponization of entitlement reform is very unfortunate. It’s hurting our chances of actually getting bipartisan agreement in the near future. It’s unfortunate but we’ve got to get out there.” Though he called for candidates to stop talking about entitlement reform on the campaign trail, Ryan also cast his Roadmap in a soft light to deflect criticism that it will hurt seniors. [emphasis added]

Wait, Ryan doesn’t want candidates to talk about this to voters? Wasn’t he complaining about exactly this kind of cowardice a couple of months ago?

It’s a reminder that for all the bravado and high electoral expectations, the right is still aware of the fact that their agenda isn’t popular, and presenting it to the public would cost the GOP dearly.

If you’re just joining us, Ryan’s “roadmap” is a right-wing fantasy, slashing taxes on the rich while raising taxes for everyone else. The plan calls for privatizing Social Security and gutting Medicare, and fails miserably in its intended goal — cutting the deficit. As Paul Krugman recently explained, the Ryan plan “is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.”

No wonder he’s called for candidates to stop talking about entitlement reform on the campaign trail.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.