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Wednesday, 10 February 2010
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Question: Is Paul Ryan Conservative Enough?

Answer: Which Paul Ryan?

Paul Ryan is back in the news again with an updated version of his Roadmap For America's Future.  He's even given it a 2.0 moniker to make it seem oh so very modern, like Web 2.0, but with money! Color me less than impressed. Don't get me wrong, the plan itself is bold and goes at the heart of our nation's budget problems... entitlement spending.  As Ezra Klein said:

Ryan’s budget is a radical document that takes current policy and rolls a live grenade underneath it.

Talking Points Memo on the other hand wonders if this is going to be part of a Republican Bait and Switch, and wants to know if Ryan is out in the wilderness on this, or if the rest of the GOP is going to back him.  I on the other hand want to know if this is yet another Paul Ryan Bait and Switch.  To put it bluntly, Paul Ryan suffers from multiple politician disorder... better known as being a two-face. 

He writes opinion articles in local newspapers talking about how fiscally conservative he is, and how we need to reign in spending, and rework the budget, and then votes on massive entitlements, bailouts which result in the nationalization of industries, and then comes back to his home district and pretends he didn't do any of those things.  I've come to the conclusion that there must be two Paul Ryans.  There is the one who shadow writes his op-eds, and the other one who actually casts votes in Washington.  Frankly, I'd like to know who writes his op-eds for him, so I can tell him to run against Paul Ryan in the Republican primary.

I've blogged about this many times before, and Michelle Malkin has had her doubts for a while as well.  Finally, some others are finally catching on, including Matt Lewis at the Daily Caller:

Though he talks like Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, some of Ryan’s most high-profile votes seem closer to Keynes than to Adam Smith. For example, in the span of about a year, Ryan committed fiscal conservative apostasy on three high-profile votes: The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or  TARP (whereby the government purchased assets and equity from financial institutions), the auto-bailout (which essentially implied he agrees car companies – especially the ones with an auto plant in his district—are too big to fail), and for a confiscatory tax on CEO bonuses (which essentially says the government has the right to take away private property—if it doesn’t like you).
Though Ryan has downplayed his bad votes, what is more interesting is that few conservatives seem to hold them against him. His many defenders (and trust me, I’ve encountered them) cavalierly dismiss his voting record as mere pragmatism, or an easily forgiven mistake, like, 'Oops, I voted for $700 billion! My bad…'

You can read more about Paul Ryan's history on the auto bailout here, and about how it harms the rule of law here.  You can read about how he mismanaged TARP here, and then tried to recover from it poorly here.  You can also read about the many economic contradictions he believes in here. Of course, let's not forget that Paul Ryan also voted for one of the largest entitlement increases in the past decade... Medicare Part D.  In most of those previous blog posts, I have quoted Paul Ryan's own op-eds that show how he tries to look fiscally conservative while at the same time voting for an increase in government spending.  And while he was voting for these increased entitlements and bailouts, he was still pushing "The Roadmap to America's Future 1.0".

So exactly why should I believe him now?  Why should any of us?  The reality is... Paul Ryan is nothing but a standard, big government Republican.  When Republicans were in complete control of the whole shooting match, did Paul flex his supposed "small government fiscal responsibility" and try to make change? No, he voted for Medicare Part D. When GM and Chrysler were finally paying the consequences of their mismanagement and about to go under, did Paul let them?  No, he voted to nationalize them.  Time and time again he has either used his party's majority status to pass whatever they wanted, or used the excuse of "once in a lifetime emergency" to push us further and further into debt.

That debt, by the way, is the very reason why Ryan said he needed to update the Roadmap from 1.0 to 2.0.  He needed to account for the new spending that has gone on.  That new spending, like $700 billion in TARP funding he voted for.  That new spending like the GM bailout he voted for. The new entitlement guarantees that Medicare Part D put upon us, which he voted for.  Only now... now that his party is not in control does he come forth as a "rising star" and suggest blowing up the budget and starting over again.  And if, spearheaded by Paul Ryan's budget ideas, Republicans come back to power... why should we believe that they simply won't shelve the Roadmap and start spending? How many times do the voters have to get slapped around before they learn that their politicians don't love them, no matter how many times they apologize?

I'm sick of op-eds Paul. I want votes dammit.

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