Don't Fall for The Makeover. Tim Ryan is A Liberal Democrat | Opinion

Throughout his campaign for the open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, Democratic Representative Tim Ryan has billed himself as an old-school moderate who will stand up for working families, common-sense policies, and traditional American values—Ohio values. But his actual voting record over nearly 20 years in Congress tells a different story.

"Democrats aren't right about everything," Rep. Ryan said during an interview earlier this summer. He's right, of course—but even a cursory examination of his policy positions leaves one wondering which issues he actually thinks Democrats are wrong about. In just the past two years, he's voted to federalize elections, admit the District of Columbia as the 51st state, impose onerous new background check requirements on gun owners, and grant mass amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, in addition to co-sponsoring legislation that would restrict the right of states to legislate on abortion, and voting in favor of President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion "Build Back Better" Act.

In fact, Ryan has voted with President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 100 percent of the time this Congress—including on the $1.9 trillion inflation-causing "American Rescue Plan" that even liberal economist Larry Summers called the "least responsible" economic policy in 40 years. Unsurprisingly, and in recognition of his far-left voting record, Ryan has received the endorsement of progressives like "Squad" leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and held a virtual fundraiser with Hillary Clinton earlier this year.

In other words, Ryan is hardly the pragmatic moderate he likes to play when the cameras are on. In one ad, he claims he will "work with either party to cut costs and pass a middle-class tax cut." Yet just days ago, he voted with Democrats to pass a massive tax-and-spend package—the misleadingly titled Inflation Reduction Act—that the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates will result in an increased tax burden of $16.7 billion next year on Americans making less than $200,000. In another ad, Ryan voices support for law enforcement, but in the past has said he believes there is systemic racism in policing, and in 2017 voted against bipartisan legislation that would have authorized the death penalty for all convicted cop killers.

Rep. Tim Ryan
LORAIN , OH - MAY 2: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, attends a rally in support of the Bartlett Maritime project, a proposal to build a submarine service facility for the U.S. Navy, on May 2, 2022 in Lorain, Ohio. The rally was organized by the Ohio AFL-CIO, Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council and the Bartlett Marine Corporation. According to organizers, the proposal would create thousands of jobs for the region. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

While he claims to care about bipartisanship, Ryan has also called for an end to the Senate filibuster rule, which would pave the way for unchecked one-party rule in Congress. Even on the most basic questions, the Ryan campaign seems terrified of upsetting the Democratic base—refusing to say that men cannot get pregnant and to offer a definition of the word "woman."

Rep. Ryan has also been quick to tout his support for policies championed by former president Donald Trump—namely certain trade and tariff-related issues—as evidence of his willingness to work across the aisle. But throughout Trump's four years in office, Ryan only voted in line with the president's position 16 percent of the time.

The other 84 percent of the time, Ryan was voting against Trump and with his fellow Democrats. For example, while he's been careful to note his support for Trump's USMCA trade agreement, Ryan voted against the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the legislation that set the stage for the historic economic gains seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also opposed Trump-backed bills that would have protected Second Amendment freedoms for veterans, allocated funding for the border wall, expedited the deportation of illegal alien gang members, and prohibited abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for rape and incest (he now refuses to say whether he supports any restrictions on abortion).

Ohioans deserve a senator who will vote with their interests all of the time, not just on a few select issues that play well in campaign ads. When it comes to Tim Ryan, the record is clear—he's no moderate, and voters won't be fooled by his charade.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. He formerly served as a staffer in the White House and U.S. Senate, and is a graduate of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.