Maybe. But here's possibly another reason for the former fiscal conservative's support: His campaign contributions from auto industry sources supporting the bailout are more than double those received by congressmen opposing it.
Maplight.org, a website that "illuminates the connection between money and politics," reported this week that over the past five years (January 2003 - October 2008), auto manufacturers, auto dealers and labor unions gave an average of $74,100 in campaign contributions to each Representative who ultimately voted in favor of the auto bailout, compared with an average of $45,015 to each Representative who voted against the bailout -- "65% more money, on average, given to those who voted Yes."
Paul Ryan did better than that $74,100 average. Quite a bit better. He received $93,200 (with $13,500 of that in 2008).
Those auto industry campaign contributions came from:
Auto dealers, new & used: $45,950To be fair, let's be quick to stipulate two things:
Auto manufacturers: $38,000
Truck/Automotive parts & accessories: $7,750
Manufacturing unions: $1,000
First, that Janesville, Ryan's home town, boasts an 80-year-old GM assembly plant, where 1,200 workers make Chevy Tahoes. (And 3,000 other auto-related workers in the area have lost their jobs since June.) Without a bailout -- and maybe even with one -- that plant is scheduled for closure two days before Christmas.
And, second, that $93,200 is chump change to Ryan, who has raised millions in campaign contributions. Federal Elections Commission reports show his receipts as:
2007-2008 $1,641,943A tip of the hat to Jim Zellmer's blog for pointing to the Maplight.org research on auto industry contributions and the potential connection between them and this bailout.