Paul Ryan: I Voted for TARP Because of Jonah Goldberg’s ‘Liberal Fascism’

February 11, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

An interesting admission in Benjy Sarlin’s interview with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the GOP’s brainy ranking member on the House Budget Committee who’s been targeted by Democrats for his entitlement-cutting proposals.

Ryan said his vote for the bailout was influenced by Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, a popular book among conservatives that argues that Nazism and other fascist movements were actually left wing in origin, and his belief that a second Depression would threaten capitalism—and rescue Obama’s presidency.

“I’m a limited-government, free-enterprise guy, but TARP… represented a moment where we had no good options and we were about to fall into a deflationary spiral,” he said. “I believe Obama would not only have won, but would have been able to sweep through a huge statist agenda very quickly because there would have been no support for the free-market system.”

I’ve had other Republican members of Congress with impeccable fiscal conservative credentials explain their votes in similar terms — I’m thinking Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) — but the citing of Goldberg is a first.