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Why are we attacking Paul Ryan on his fiscal cliff vote?

Now this is a shame.

We haven’t been this polarized in America since the Civil War. And as Americans, we say we want our congressmen to act like leaders and vote their conscience.

Paul Ryan is the author of one of the most cost-cutting budget proposals ever seen in Washington. He should have wanted to vote against the tax increase on the wealthiest Americans, right? So that he could say the president can’t “tax and spend” his way through a second term? It sure would have been easy.

But he didn’t.

He voted with the president. He called it “limiting the damage,” but he recognized that it is hard to defend not raising taxes to pre-Bush tax cut levels in the current economy.

Ryan maintains, in a statement on his website, that limiting spending is the real challenge. And it is.

But why do we as Americans say we want our congressmen to vote their conscience and avoid party politics, yet threaten the likes of Paul Ryan with a vote against him four years from now? Are we that threatened by a difference of opinion?

Paul Ryan isn’t my congressman, but he has spent a lot more time studying the budget and exploring how to balance it than I have. I applaud his proposals to cut government spending and I applaud his pragmatism in voting to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Now, Congress, get to work.