A Closer Look at Rep. Paul Ryan’s Voting Record

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Photo: Gage Skidmore

Early Saturday morning, The Associated Press, Reuters, NBC News, and Huffington Post all began reporting that Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick had been confirmed by Republican sources and would be announced at a scheduled event at 9am Saturday.

Though many commentators are calling it a bold pick and a breath of fresh air, the move may signal the Romney campaign’s desperation to energize Republican voters ahead of the Republican nominating convention and the general election later this Fall. As IVN’s Carl Wicklander wrote in June:

“Conservative commentators, seeing John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin in 2008 can’t seem to remember that that move was unusual. McCain picked a firebrand conservative four years ago because he was slumping and desperate to change the dynamics of the race. If McCain had his first choice his VP would almost certainly have been Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge, two socially liberal allies whose selection would have caused a shooting war on the convention floor. Romney, the pragmatic consultant, won’t make the same type of move unless he too is desperate.”

Picking Paul Ryan certainly changes the entire dynamics of this race as well, and not necessarily in Mitt Romney’s favor. Instead of going with the safer bet and making the race a referendum on President Obama’s performance as president, Romney’s campaign has chosen to put Paul Ryan’s budget plan front and center in the national discussion. He’s banking on Ryan’s reputation in the Republican Party as something of a celebrity policy “wonk” in Congress who has the mathematical and rhetorical skills to out-debate Democrats and prove that limited government is better for the struggling US economy.

But like Mitt Romney, whose inconsistency, even insincerity, on the issues was epitomized by the Etch a Sketch comment his spokesman and top adviser made on live television earlier this year, Paul Ryan’s limited government rhetoric appears at odds with his big government voting record during the Bush Administration.

According to the Wisconsin Republican Liberty Caucus, the Wisconsin congressman actually voted with the Bush Administration’s agenda of unprecedented federal expansion 94% of the time, and it may surprise his fiscally conservative fans to know that Paul Ryan’s voting record includes votes for the TARP bailouts, the auto bailouts, the massive Bush Medicare expansion, the unprecedented federal intrusion into public education via No Child Left Behind, the 2008 stimulus package, and the $192B 2009 stimulus package.

As the general election campaign heats up and Paul Ryan is vetted by members of his party, those of rival parties, and Independent voters, his number one asset to Mitt Romney’s campaign– his status as poster boy for limited government and unwavering, even radical, fiscal conservatism– may prove hollow. It shouldn’t be long before Democratic operatives put together an ad featuring something Paul Ryan said while asking his House colleagues to vote for the politically toxic TARP bill on the House floor:

“Madame Speaker, this bill offends my principles. But I’m going to vote for this bill in order to preserve my principles.”

The statement is oddly reminiscent of one George W. Bush made regarding the bailouts:

“I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”

No doubt, as the November election approaches, Paul Ryan and his record will be held under a microscope like never before, and he will have some tough questions to answer. With his reputation for fiscal conservatism, questions about his TARP and stimulus votes are almost certain to be asked during interviews and any vice presidential debates. By then, Mitt Romney’s campaign and members of the Republican Party will miss the earlier days of the campaign when they were only dogged by questions of consistency for one of the candidates on their ticket.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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31 comments
Dave Levine
Dave Levine

Messamore restates the piece I posted on my blogsite on April 10, 2012 re: Romney possibly picking Ryan. However, he/she errs in calling Sarah Palin "a firebrand conservative". Other than her position on the Second Amendment, there is NOTHING "conservative" about Palin!

Peter Barbour
Peter Barbour

Words are easy, but actions/votes tell us where a politician stands philosophically. Ryan's support of the issues you described offer evidence that his rhetorical support of limited governement is just that and no more.

Gary Brisbin
Gary Brisbin

it really didn'y say much did it? Lets really take a look not just one or two things :-)

Kathy Jones
Kathy Jones

Bonnie both sides support the NDAA, Obama even beefed it up where the courts had to step in and say its unconstitutional because of the stuff he wrote into it. LikeI said their both the same just a different spin on the speeches.

Jennifer Chambless
Jennifer Chambless

RON PAUL 2012!!! That is where my vote is! I will write his name in if he is not on the ballot! I will NOT VOTE for the lesser of two evils!

Jane Issel Gallagher
Jane Issel Gallagher

He was introduced as the next presiduent of the United States. I think he's cute.

Ron Cram
Ron Cram

Ryan understands the economy better than Obama, but he still gives in to the Democrats too much.

Bonnie Burke
Bonnie Burke

I will not support anyone who supports the NDAA, Patriot Act, and continuous wars. Our children deserve better !

Duncan Webb
Duncan Webb

Trusting libs and cons to fix the problems they created is like hiring Jerry Sandusky to babysit your kids. Dump the corrupt filthy extremist wingnuts and look into real independent (preferably) and third-party candidates for elected office. America will be MUCH better off.

Ronald Edwards
Ronald Edwards

If Romney gets elected, we're one heartbeat away from this man leading the country.

Ken Walny
Ken Walny

The fact of the matter, and I try to stay neutral on these subjects, is that the edition of Paul Ryan will lose the general 50 and over vote. People do not want to pay extra out of pocket expenses once they retire. Government vouchers for medicare the restructuring of Social Security as proposed in the Ryan Plan will add costs to seniors budgets and its human nature to shy away from added burdens.

Joseph Rodrigues
Joseph Rodrigues

It's already set up to fail... People continue to bite into what is not there...

Matthew Zimmer
Matthew Zimmer

Romney just handed a good portion of the senior vote to Obama

Barbara M Lambert
Barbara M Lambert

Ryan is a cold, self-centered person with NO feeling or compassion for others. His beliefs are from the 16th century. This is a worse pick than Sarah Palin!!! Onward and upward, Mr. Obama. I'm voting Democrat! don't dare do otherwise.

Keith Pyron
Keith Pyron

Paul Ryan's voting record indicates a right wing authoritarian. If Ron Paul isn't nominated I'm voting for Gary Johnson or SECESSION!

Curtis Shelton
Curtis Shelton

What is my opinion on Rep. Paul Ryan's choice as VP - I am even more impressed with Romney now with this pick, bold pick, I think it is kick-ass time, R&R in Nov. Love yall

Les Evenchick
Les Evenchick

Do not vote for either the Dems or Reps: the less votes either gets, the less they can claim a believable mandate. Find a candidate who shares your basic principles. There are plenty of alternatives but not in every state.

Sarah Murlin
Sarah Murlin

I'm not voting for either major party. They're both corrupt.

Angelo Giuliano
Angelo Giuliano

Ryan has the perfect record to make sure obama gets another term.. ryan is a pitiful congressman and all he does is make sure america fails

Anthony Cosenza
Anthony Cosenza

He has a pitiful voting record. A big government VP to go with a big government POTUS. The DNC and the GOP give us no option, most people will be voting for a different side of the same coin.

Jane Logan
Jane Logan

A "news" artile with a link to donate to Romney in the middle of the article? So much for "Independent Voter".

John Brewer
John Brewer

For indefinite detention of American citizens, for bail outs, for tarp, for wall st.

tom
tom

romney + ryan = MEPHISTOPHEIES death to us all

D. Porter
D. Porter

GOP / DEMS = Two separate wings on the same bird of prey.... all run by the same vile globalists, elitists, scumbag Soros and crooked bankster types, wretched pervs like Napolitano, etc.