Paul Ryan earned praise from me today, but a reader reminds me he remains in fact a remarkable symbol of Republican chutzpah on the question of health care spending. Yes, he voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Act when Bush was president, the most fiscally irresponsible measure in decades. Today, he railed against it, without holding himself accountable.

This is what drives me nuts about today's Republicans. They are like Eliot Spitzer railing against Obama for not cracking down on prostitution.

They are able to turn on a dime from big spenders to tea-partiers without ever facing up to their own central, vital role in bankrupting this country. Paul Ryan is Exhibit A. He deserves credit for proposing radical moves for future spending cuts - making him unique in the entire GOP. But until he can explain why he voted to bust the budget by a far bigger amount under a Republican president and now poses as fiscally conservative, I find it hard to trust him. Until he repudiates by name the policies of the last president, he should be thought of as partisan Republican first and fiscal conservative second.

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