Conservatives aren’t buying Paul Ryan’s ‘better than nothing’ vote for fiscal cliff deal

If Rep. Paul Ryan is toast, then we must have thought he was destined for bigger things, right? Wasn’t he among the vanguard of young, conservative Republicans who were going to lead the United States back to fiscal responsibility? In fact, we seem to remember a movement to have Ryan replace John Boehner as House Speaker so that someone would finally make the tough decisions. Maybe we were dreaming, and Ryan’s “yes” vote to Tuesday’s craptastic fiscal cliff deal was a rude wake-up call.

What was he thinking? Ryan explained his “tough decision” as a necessary concession to “the realities of governing.”

Will the American people be better off if this law passes relative to the alternative? In the final analysis, the answer is undoubtedly yes. I came to Congress to make tough decisions — not to run away from them.

Now, we must return our attention to the real problem: out-of-control spending. Washington’s reckless spending drives the debt. And this debt is hurting the economy today. Unless we get at the heart of the problem, Americans will face a debt crisis — one that will threaten our most vulnerable in particular. It is our responsibility to prevent such a crisis.

Not everyone was surprised by Ryan’s vote, though.

Ryan found new support among those who most likely opposed his run for vice president. Reaching across the aisle almost always seems to do that, as long as it’s a Republican doing all the reaching. That’s what liberals call “bipartisanship.”

Ryan won kudos from some conservatives too.

Maybe that ridiculous campaign ad was a clue.

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