And then Trump won. Not just the Republican primary, but the election. And suddenly his priorities — immigration, trade protectionism and a tax cut — became the party’s principles. Curtailing spending and reducing debt went out the window — or at least way down the list of what the GOP cared about. And Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and almost the entire rest of the Republican Party — sans Paul and a handful of House conservatives — went along for the ride.

Which is how it came to pass that just before 6 p.m. Thursday, McConnell was on the Senate floor pleading with his home-state colleague to drop his push for a vote on an amendment that would maintain the current budget caps. Paul’s issue was a simple one: A two-year spending bill that would increase the federal deficit by more than $300 billion was being rammed through at the last minute — and without any amendments being offered.

And he’s right about that too.