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.”