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Ramesh Ponnuru

Republicans Are Wrong About Conor Lamb

Despite what Paul Ryan said, the new Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania is not a conservative.
The message is clear.

The message is clear.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Before voters in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district cast their ballots, Republicans cast the Democratic candidate, Conor Lamb, as a liberal. A Republican PAC ran an ad calling him a “liberal sheep” who would spend his term “voting the straight liberal party line for Pelosi’s extreme agenda.”

Once the votes were cast, Republicans changed their tune. Suddenly Lamb was, in Paul Ryan’s words, someone who “ran as a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Nancy Pelosi conservative.” Lamb “ran as a Republican,” said one of Ryan’s colleagues.