Monday, April 04, 2016

Ryan Still Claiming He's Not "Running"


This morning Ryan Grim and Sam Stein reported that Charles Koch is telling his friends in private that he's confident Paul Ryan is a "shoo-in" to be the GOP's nominee if Trump comes up at least 100 delegates shy." Despite all the Ryan protestations to the contrary Huff Po also asserts a close Paul Ryan associate told them that Ryan himself "said he would only be interested in it if the party could unite behind him, a scenario he can’t envision. 'I don’t know what to tell you? He doesn’t want the nomination. And can you imagine the backlash from the Trump forces if someone who didn’t run for president wins the nomination? It would be complete chaos,' he said." He doesn't have to change a syllable from how he wound up in the Speakers Chair.

During an interview with far right radio host Hugh Hewitt this morning Ryan piously mouthed, "I’m not running for president. Period, end of story." He isn't "running but I doubt it's the end of the story. He's positioning himself to rescue the party from Trump and the nation from Hillary. Ryan, you'll recall, never "ran" for Speaker. While directing his "campaign" from behind the curtain, he continually whined how happy he was a Budget Committee chairman and how he needed to spend time in Janesville with his family. He swore up and down he didn't want the job. Until it was too late to stop him. He thinks the same strategy will work in the GOP coronation process. Campaigning safely from Israel, he told the media there that "If you're going to be president, I think you should start in Iowa and run to the tape." He's got his talking points memorized and repeats then to every media outlet. "We had 17 people running. We had a deep bench of qualified people. So I thought we had that fairly well taken care of," he told the Times of Israel without a trace of irony.

The majority of Republican primary voters-- something between 60 and 70%-- have voted for anti-Establishment candidates. So how does Ryan thread that needle? How about a hopelessly deadlock convention where neither Trump nor Cruz can win? Nor can Kasich. There's violence in the hot, muggy streets. Roget Stone and Alex Jones are inciting violence. Hotel reservations are running out. And along comes Mary Paulie.

Mike Allen's early morning briefing for Politico readers today kicked out with a few paragraphs about how the GOP establishment is banking on Ryan to save their asses from the failed deep bench.
On the eve of the Wisconsin primaries, top Republicans are becoming increasingly vocal about their long-held belief that Speaker Paul Ryan will wind up as the nominee, perhaps on the fourth ballot at a chaotic Cleveland convention. One of the nation’s best-wired Republicans, with an enviable prediction record for this cycle, sees a 60% chance of a convention deadlock, and a 90% chance that delegates turn to Ryan – ergo, a 54% chance that Ryan, who’ll start the third week of July as chairman of the Republican National Convention, will end it as the nominee. “He’s the most conservative, least establishment member of the establishment,” the Republican source said. “That’s what you need to be.”

Ryan, who’s more calculating and ambitious than he lets on, is running the same playbook he did to become Speaker: saying he doesn’t want it, that it won’t happen. In both cases, the maximum leverage is to NOT WANT IT-- and to be begged to do it. He and his staff are trying to be as Shermanesque as it gets. Ryan repeated his lack of interest this morning in an interview from Israel with radio host Hugh Hewitt.

But of course in this environment, saying you don’t want the job is the ONLY way to get it. If he was seen to be angling for it, he’d be stained and disqualified by the current mess. But Ryan, 46, a likable Midwesterner, could look too tempting to resist as Republicans finally focus on a beatable Hillary Clinton. He got rave reviews for a “State of American Politics” speech on March 23 (hashtag on his podium: “#ConfidentAmerica,” the title of his high-minded manifesto at the Library of Congress in December). In the “State of Politics” address, Ryan offered himself as the anti-Trump (without mentioning The Don): “Politics can be a battle of ideas, not insults.”

On “Morning Joe” this morning, Joe Scarborough said that if Trump falls even one vote short of a clinch, the convention will “look for someone else”: “If Trump doesn’t get the number, they’ll say they have rules for a reason.” And Karl Rove told Hewitt last week: “A fresh face might be the thing that would give us a chance to turn this election and win in November against Hillary.”

Top Republicans tell us “fresh face” is code for “Paul Ryan.” A Ryan friend chuckled when we asked if he wants it, and pointed to last month’s address: “That was somebody who was laying out the speech that, in most cases, you’d give six months before you announce you’re going to run-- when you’re going around the country, raising money for your leadership PAC.”
Allen gets paid good money to come up with this stuff, which we've been blogging about since early December. It looks like PPP has finally started polling. His approval among Republican primary voters is 50%, with only 35% disapproving so far. That's a higher favorable/unfavorable ratio than Cruz, Kasich, Romney or Trump. The latest PPP survey also asked if GOP primary voters would be comfortable/uncomfortable with each candidate as the party nominee:
Trump- 58/34%
Cruz- 53/35%
Kasich- 49/36%
Ryan- 42/45%
Romney- 28/62%
I haven't found PPP's match-ups by this morning they tweeted that Hillary would actually beat Ryan, which stretches one credulity, but... fine.

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