Anonymous sources are a practice of American journalism in the 20th and 21st century, a relatively recent practice. The literary tradition of anonymity goes back to the Bible.
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When politicians began to see that every last thing that they did in public could be broadcast to a mass audience, the fact that the stakes were so much higher now that every moment became fraught caused them to become more cautious, and the consultants very gradually but inevitably became literal reactionaries.
What I think we need to do to engage the American people in a conversation about entitlement reform is to have a bipartisan group of people who come together and put every solution on the table, every alternative on the table. And then we ought to engage in a long conversation with the American people so they understand the choices.