So now liberals have decided that one way to attack Paul Ryan is to paint him not only as a hypocrite on deficits, but one who is managing to get away with it. For example, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post claims that Ryan’s record on the deficit “was, in the Bush years, as bad as anyone’s in politics.” Yet according to Klein, this hasn’t stopped Ryan from “building a reputation as a deficit hawk in the Obama years.” Klein doesn’t think it unusual that politicians might change their policies over time, but seems to think Ryan’s evolution from deficit nihilist to deficit hawk has occurred too quickly. Hence the implication of hypocrisy.
Klein, however, conveniently forgets to point out that the economic environment is vastly different today than it was during the Bush years (no doubt a completely inadvertent omission). Since Obama took office in 2009, we’ve seen deficits quickly explode to the point where they are multiples of anything seen (or even imagined) during the Bush administration. Not only has Obama blown up the budget, he has failed to offer a plan to solve the problem. Under such changed conditions, neither Ryan nor any other rational person could hardly avoid adjusting their views on the deficit and government spending. It’s a different game now than it was before.
For Klein to attack Ryan for hypocrisy on the deficit as he does would be equivalent to calling someone a hypocrite because he likes apples, but not oranges – another example of non sequitur reasoning from liberals. Just once, though, it would be nice to see Klein write a column in which he actually includes all of the facts and avoids twisting them. That is seemingly beyond his capabilities.