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Ryan During the Bush Years: Miserable

As Tommy De Seno notes below, during the Bush years Paul Ryan voted for TARP–for that matter, he also voted for Medicare Part D.  How can we defend him against charges that he’s at least part responsible for the mess we’re in?

We don’t need to.  Ryan himself has already recanted, demonstrating the remorse of the genuine penitent. 

From Ryan Lizza’s profile of Ryan in the current issue of The New Yorker:

Ryan won his seat in 1998, at the age of twenty-eight. Like many young conservatives, he is embarrassed by the Bush years. At the time, as a junior member with little clout, Ryan was a reliable Republican vote for policies that were key in causing enormous federal budget deficits: sweeping tax cuts, a costly prescription-drug entitlement for Medicare, two wars, the multibillion-dollar bank-bailout legislation known as TARP. In all, five trillion dollars was added to the national debt.

In 2006 and 2008, many of Ryan’s older Republican colleagues were thrown out of office as a result of lobbying scandals and overspending. Ryan told me recently that, as a fiscal conservative, he was “miserable during the last majority” and is determined “to do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel that misery again.”

  1. Fred Cole

    A politician backs off votes he made after they became politically unpopular and/or he decided he wanted to go higher in his political career.

    What else is new?

  2. genferei

    Peter — think of the children!

    Imagine some budding conservative drawn to this site because of the podcast or a link from Instapundit or Hot Air. They see the erudite, charming and much to be admired Peter Robinson quoting from the New Yorker or The New York Times, with not even a disclaimer. “Perhaps”, they think to themselves, “I, too, should read these publications, if Mr Robinson does.” And thus another life is blighted, and the influence of the LickSpittle Media is prolonged.

    For shame!

  3. Jeff

    What Fred Cole said.

    Romney is not a conservative. No conservative would have instituted monosonistic, single payer, health care at the state level. No conservative would have implemented Romneycare. Period.

    No conservative would have voted for TARP. Period. Remember, it was the TARP bailouts that ignited the Tea Party revolt in the Republican Party.

    Why does our Republican nomination  process consistently give us “moderates” rather than conservatives, even though a large majority of the party wants conservatives? Something is wrong with our Republican party governance.

    A faulty party governance system. That’s the real problem, here.

  4. Fred Cole

    I mean, it makes him a good match for his boss…

  5. Mollie Hemingway

    What Karl Rove and company did to secure votes from Ryan was despicable. I am not saying it’s a good defense for Ryan — he still shouldn’t have voted in support of these programs. But his political career would have been over. The political people close to Bush were horrible. Vicious. Their threats never should have been made and that they were made against conservatives is telling.

  6. Albert Arthur

    Seriously, you libertarians are driving me nuts. Not everyone is going to please you all the time. And someone who does please you all the time is not going to get elected.

  7. Jeff
    Albert Arthur: Seriously, you libertarians are driving me nuts. Not everyone is going to please you all the time. And someone who does please you all the time is not going to get elected. · 3 minutes ago

    Well brother, let me whip your mind into nut butter. You better get used to libertarians. They’re the future voting base for the Republican Party.

    And if you think Romneycare and TARP are little things everyone ought to overlook, those little political compromises everyone must make – then you have lost all sense of proportion. Those were extreme anti-conservative policies.

    A candidate either wants limited government or not. Romney and Ryan don’t want it, on their record. That being proved, they are probably better than Obama.

    Still, governance of the Republican Party must be changed. That should be the next Tea Party movement.

  8. Charles Breiling

    …Ryan was a reliable Republican vote for policies that were key in causing enormous federal budget deficits: sweeping tax cuts…

    A constant Liberal talking point is that tax cuts cause deficits. And it’s frustrating that they’re not challenged every time they utter it. Has no one else heard of the Laffer Curve?

  9. Bereket Kelile

    The criticism of Ryan is interesting in itself, and surprising. I don’t remember hearing any of these points in the past. I agree with you Albert, and libertarians are certainly not the future base. I think we’re naive if we think that Washington can be a non-political place. The struggle between the left and right is always ongoing. Expecting everything you want to be done in one fell swoop is like going for a hail Mary on first down.

  10. Fricosis Guy

    Great Mollie…you had to post this just as my Bush Derangement Syndrome went back into remission.

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: What Karl Rove and company did to secure votes from Ryan was despicable. I am not saying it’s a good defense for Ryan — he still shouldn’t have voted in support of these programs. But his political career would have been over. The political people close to Bush were horrible. Vicious. Their threats never should have been made and that they were made against conservatives is telling. · 1 hour ago

  11. Jeff
    bereket kelile: . I agree with you Albert, and libertarians are certainly not the future base. [...] Expecting everything you want to be done in one fell swoop is like going for a hail Mary on first down. · 3 minutes ago

    Not falling for the false dichotomy. We ought to expect Republican Party candidates to stand for limited government. First, because it’s the right thing to do. Second, it’s what the Republican base wants the party to do.

    We don’t want “one fell swoop”; we want a conservative with a record of limiting government. You say that’s crazy; I say it’s good politics.

    Pull your head out of the establishment’s arse, read this and weep.

    The tea party has strong libertarian roots and is a functionally libertarian influence on the Republican Party. 

    Compiling data from local and national polls, as well as dozens of original interviews with tea party members and leaders, we find that the tea party is united on economic issues, but split on the social issues it tends to avoid. Roughly half the tea party is socially conservative, half libertarian—or, fiscally conservative, but socially moderate to liberal.

  12. Peter Robinson
    C
    Albert Arthur: Not everyone is going to please you all the time. And someone who does please you all the time is not going to get elected. · 44 minutes ago

    Albert, at last you and I see eye to eye!  After all, even Ronald Reagan made mistakes–as governor of California, quite a few mistakes, truth be told.  The question is what a politician does with his errors.  Paul Ryan has repented–really, when you hear him speak about the Bush years, he almost sounds like a penitent–and become utterly determined never to fall into those sins again.

    For you and me, Albert, that’s good enough.  Now to divvy up the skeptics between us and take them on, one by one!

  13. Peter Robinson
    C
    genferei: Peter — think of the children!

    Imagine some budding conservative drawn to this site because of the podcast or a link from Instapundit or Hot Air. They see the erudite, charming and much to be admired Peter Robinson quoting from theNew YorkerorThe New York Times, with not even a disclaimer. “Perhaps”, they think to themselves, “I, too, should read these publications, if Mr Robinson does.” And thus another life is blighted, and the influence of the LickSpittle Media is prolonged.

    For shame! · 3 hours ago

    You have a point, genferei–well, half a point, anyway.  It’s important to read the Times, I think, if only to keep up with the latest liberal pathologies.  As for Ross, I read him because he’s smart, because he writes beautifully–and because I just plain like him.  We’re acquaintances, and I know Ross to be much more conservative than not.

    But yes.  The Times should come with a rating of at least PG-13, which is to say, Parental Guidance recommended.

  14. kylez

    Notice how they stick “sweeping tax cuts” in (and first) among all the big spending items, as if that were part of the great increase in the Federal deficit, and implying Ryan regrets that (or should).

  15. Spin

    To Fred and Jeff:  I have grown so weary of the Conservative litmus test.  Can you both climb down off your high horses now?  Have either of you held elected office at the federal level (or any level for that matter)?  I’ll go ahead and grant you both:  you are the greatest conservatives on the face of the planet, and if you were President and Vice-President, together you’d roll us right back to fiscal responsibility in the bling of an eye!   Excellent, except YOU ARENT RUNNING!  Therefore we will console ourselves at not having the politically pure candidate, and be happy about the contrast between the current holder of the Presidency, and the potential holder of the office, as a step in the right direction.

    <rant complete>

  16. Chris Johnson

    Until about two years ago, Paul Ryan described himself as a proud Progressive form the home of the Progressive Party, in Wisconsin.

    He has since learned what became of that ancient movement once it left Wisconsin.  It had not been previously important for him, while he was learning nuts and bolts.  He seems to have examined what became of that movement and now recoils from it.

    I will continue to work to limit the reach of government.  Someday, it may not be so important for us, but for now, I suspect Romney and Ryan are the best we can possibly hope for in that same mission.

    I’ve had two discussions about the Ryan pick today, neither brought up by me, and both brought up by family members that are extremely liberal.

    In both cases, the inquisitor was very well informed with…nothing.  There was no single item of policy or budgetary matter that they could explicate that disturbed them.  They could see that they had nothing.

    In both cases, we had to agree that Social Security had to be changed, Medicare had to be changed, and they had no policy.  In both cases, I asked the same question:

  17. Herbert Woodbery

    Has Ryan recanted on the support for the bush tax cuts? I don’t think so, can you really be called a conservative and support policies that lead to our massive budget deficits?

  18. Chris Johnson

    I asked both people to name one thing, one single thing, that their president/candidate was running on, that they were proud of, that was a part of his advertising and campaign.  Effectively, regardless of what newspapers or TV said, what was he saying?

    There were no direct answers.  There were, “Well, he cant’s”, this and maybe later, “He will”, thats.  But there were no proud accomplishments that they could name, that he also was touting.  To me, that seemed to help show them that they were just quoting other people touting him and maybe helped them notice that even he is not trying to run on those accomplishments.  These are very far left people.

    If they can be made to at least queston their own spiels, there may be hope.  Oh, they won’t wind up voting for Romney, mind you, but they may wind up not voting.

    That’s where a Ryan candidacy may help.  Even staunch liberals may have to admit that we may have to raise the retirement age, as long as we leave those in, or near to retirement, alone.  That is something any honest person may agree with.

    Then how are we wrong?

  19. Ontos

    Using liberal passages uncritically means that you get implicated in the tricks they play. Lizza makes his own leftist indictment of ” the Bush years” including tax cuts and two wars, and then makes it seem as if Ryan was apologizing and felt miserable about these as well as expanded govt spending. It’s part of what Peter does a lot of, play the devil’s advocate, but then he actually sounds as if he were advancing the devil’s arguments ….. Uncritically. I know it is just a stylistic deficiency in Peter’s case, but it has its problem nonetheless.

  20. mask

    Lets only vote for perfect candidates!  Oh, wait, that means we’ll never vote.

    It’s time to invoke the wisdom if Milton Friedman (paraphrasing):

    It’s more important to create an environment where politicians will do the right thing than trying to find a good politician who will do the right thing.