Re-breaking: Paul Ryan isn’t running for president

Paul Ryan won't be taking the stage in Cleveland as Republicans' white knight. Nor should he. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Paul Ryan won’t be taking the stage in Cleveland as Republicans’ white knight. Nor should he. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Candidassimo Paul Ryan is still dead.

With apologies to Chevy Chase, the longest-running non-story in politics is getting its latest death knell this afternoon when Ryan says — yet again, this time with a nod to Gen. Sherman — he will not seek nor accept the GOP nomination for president at this summer’s convention. I don’t know any political observers who actually believe otherwise, even if Ryan’s name is regularly mentioned in speculation about who could emerge from Cleveland as a surprise nominee.

I’m sure Ryan this afternoon will give his own reasons for not wanting to run for president. Here’s mine: The best role for him in the foreseeable future is wielding the speaker’s gavel as the conservative hedge to a President Trump, Clinton or Sanders.

In all but the most dire forecasts, the Republicans are expected to retain control of at least the House next year. Having a strong conservative and serious policy mind as speaker of the House will be imperative if any of that aforementioned trio ends up in the White House. Even if Ted Cruz somehow wins the presidency, the well-respected Ryan could become a broker between the Texan and the Senate leaders with whom he’s had an often frosty relationship.

Would I love to see Paul Ryan as president? Sure. But even setting aside the practical difficulty of running the House and a presidential campaign at the same time (he’d almost certainly have to resign the former, putting that chamber back in turmoil) he’s hardly the only person who could be an appealing consensus candidate in Cleveland. He’s just the only one who would have to give up a nearly-as-important job to be that candidate. He’s right to stay where he is.

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21 comments
TheCentrist
TheCentrist

Social conservatives used to say that any of the 16 candidates would be an excellent POTUS.  Now SC's say that the last two standing are no so good.  Now that Paul Ryan is speaker, will he finally produce a viable budget to eliminate the debt that he has been promising since 2011, and a healthcare alternative that he has been promising since 2012?

Starik
Starik

@TheCentrist The influence of social conservatives is declining, and has been declining for a long time.  Society has moved on.  Nathan Deal is a social conservative but bowed to reality on the "religious freedom" bill.  We can't eliminate the debt while we're still paying for the Iraq war and the fallout from the war, and tax cuts for the wealthy, the all-volunteer military, and other decisions made in the past.  Unless you're willing to remove health insurance from millions of people the only alternative to Obamacare is single payer insurance.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

TheCentrist: On what do you base your assessments of the SC'S views? The AJC?

Starik
Starik

@DawgDadII I'm turning 70 soon, so a lot of it is personal observation.  I grew up with social conservatives in charge. I've always been a news enthusiast, and have read many, many commentaries on the internet and in newspapers and magazines.  I have a decent education.  I served in the Army in Vietnam as a draftee. 

lvg
lvg

Yeah Ryan can keep passing those anti-abortion bills and redefining rape as Speaker of the House while pacifying the anarchists and tea heads. Great job for him.

Caius
Caius

Yeah I agree, keep Ryan where he is.  In the practical way our system works the Speaker really has the deciding vote on domestic policy. And the House's Constitutional authority on taxing and spending gives the Speaker enormous influence.  If he can control/ignore the misfits.


TBS
TBS

Ryan in the WH?

Only when and if he is invited

Not in 2016 nor beyond

Book it!!!!

He is going to need much more than P90X workouts to get that level

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Agree 100% with where Ryan best serves, Kyle. He's in it for the long game. Policy over politics. Strategy is key. 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

"The best role for him in the foreseeable future is wielding the speaker’s gavel as the conservative hedge..."

He needs a whip and electro shock to keep his party from taking the US down.


" But even setting aside the practical difficulty of running the House and a presidential campaign at the same time ..." 

What's the difference. The repubs have done nothing but spread fear, collapsed any ability to pass legislation for the entire country, and whine about not getting their way!

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Kyle is right. The GOP will retain the House 


But with Trump on the ticket their margin will be cut significantly. By as much as 20 to 30 seats. Which means the Dems would need fewer moderate Republicans to cross over on legislation. Making up the 58 seat deficit was never going to happen in one cycle. 


The turnout to vote against Trump will be yuuuuge.


With educated Republicans like Kyle conveniently staying home. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar I won't stay home. I just won't vote for Trump. The key for the GOP, if he is indeed the nominee, will be making sure that's what all the #NeverTrump people do.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @Hedley_Lammar Yes


Just leave that one blank then move down the ballot.


But many wont bother doing that. 


Especially considering god knows how many people Trump will turn off during the general election phase.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

What kind of republican logic would give the nom to the Canadian Cruz, who can NOT get more delegates than Trump ? 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

"he’s hardly the only person who could be an appealing consensus candidate in Cleveland"


I think he's the only one Republicans have left. Shot or poison are the two that are left.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@McGarnagle I don't think there is anybody but Cruz who is even acceptably "appealing."  Ryan, Romney or Bush would not work at this point.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Starik @xxxzzz @McGarnagle You have to be appealing to the people who have participated in the primaries and the people at the convention.  Ryan or Romney would be totally unacceptable.  Bush, Walker, etc. wouldn't be acceptable either.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

He said he would be speaker too,  you can't believe a republican politician.  Look at the grasshopper.