Thursday, January 25, 2018

Is Paul Ryan Leaving Congress?


I'm looking at internal polling and results of focus groups and there just is no way Ryan can run in WI-01 in 2018. This district is about 30% Republican and 30% Democrat and 40% independent. In the last few elections the independents have come down-- slightly-- on the GOP side. That isn't how they feel now. They don't like Trump and they see Ryan as an enabler. Huge numbers of them are closed to even listening to his message. If Ryan wants to run for president some day-- and he does-- he can't be beaten in his home district by a union iron worker. Yesterday Brent Budowsky, writing for The Hill, predicted Ryan won't run. He expects Ryan to announce his retirement from Congress but that he's "holding back the announcement to avoid House Republicans being devastated by yet another congressional Republican joining the rush to retirement that plagues the GOP today."
Speaker Ryan owes it to his constituents in Wisconsin to make a declarative statement, one way or the other, to make it clear whether he is running or retiring.

Ryan can disprove my prediction that he will not run by making an unequivocal statement about his intentions in 2018. If he does, I will return to this page and humbly admit that this prediction was proven wrong.

Throughout the corridors of the capitol in official Washington, the possibility of a Ryan retirement is generating far more buzz than the media is reporting today.

If Ryan does retire, there will be a huge battle between different GOP factions regarding who should succeed him as speaker. Different groups, from the House Freedom Caucus to more traditional Republicans, are positioning themselves behind the scenes for what would be an epic succession battle.

Ryan would have good reasons to retire, if that is his decision. House Republicans are on the defensive politically. There is a better-than-even chance that Democrats regain control of the House in the midterm elections, which is a major reason why so many House Republicans are announcing their retirement in the first place.

There is widespread speculation that Ryan could run for president in some future election. If he does, he would be a credible candidate. He performed well as the vice-presidential nominee running with Mitt Romney in 2012.

Ryan’s longer-term political problem is that he has chosen to be one of the leading Trump Republicans in national politics, fervently supporting Trump’s legislative agenda and supporting or tolerating the faction of House Republicans who are attacking Robert Mueller, his special counsel team and the FBI. The tighter Ryan is tied to the highly unpopular Trump, the lower the chances he is someday elected president.

Ryan’s short-term problem is far more severe. If Democrats win control of the House in 2018, the House will not be a hospitable place for Ryan and House Republicans, who have spent recent years treating Congress as a one-party Republican state that is widely seen as a bastion of intense support for Trump.

Even worse from Ryan’s point of view, if Democrats gain a significant number of seats in 2018, which is virtually certain, Ryan will find the House ungovernable for Republicans.

If Ryan spends the rest of the current legislative year sabotaging support for the "Dreamers," as one major Republican faction wants him to do, and launching a new attack against highly popular programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, the strong prospect for Democrats regaining control could become a tidal wave leading to a Democratic mega-landslide.

Having spent a half-life working for Democratic leaders in Congress, if Speaker Ryan asked my advice, which he certainly will not, it would be for him to announce he is getting out now.

He will neither enjoy nor politically benefit from the gathering storm that is facing House Republicans today and appears destined to become even worse. This is not conducive to the most happy family or professional life.

If Ryan announces he is retiring this year, the news would be devastating for House Republicans, but the longer he waits, the closer the news gets to the midterm voting, and news of Ryan retiring will create even more catastrophic damage for the GOP.

Whether he chooses to run or not, Ryan owes it to his constituents, his party and the nation to announce his intention to run for re-election and promise to serve a full term, or to promptly announce his days in the House are soon coming to an end.

I predict he leaves. Time will tell.

There's a lot of chatter going on about who the Republican candidate in southeast Wisconsin will be when Ryan retires. Some people were speculating it would be Reince Priebus but the party establishment seems to be settling in on the controversial Robin Vos, owner of RoJo's Popcorn and the ALEC-owned Assembly Speaker.

David Keith, Bryce's campaign manager, who is back from Thailand where he was attacked by a monkey that broke his shoulder and fractured several toes, is looking forward to taking on Ryan but vows to not let him do what the monkey did. "Ryan faces a problem he hasn’t faced yet in his Congressional career," he told us this morning. "He has a problem money can’t fix. He has relied on his war chest to allow him to run absurd amounts of advertising to relatively uninformed voters to create the image of him as a good guy. People often tell me Ryan used to be the 'aww shucks' kind of guy, whatever that means. That was the image money bought him apparently. The problem for him now is he faces someone in Randy Bryce who has caught the attention and captured the imagination of those who had been left behind, and lied to for years. Teflon may be a term used to describe Randy’s growing mass appeal. I prefer to describe it as authenticity. Thousands of Wisconsinites are gravitating to his message because they see themselves in it. When Ryan runs his 30 second spots trying to smear Randy and lie about himself, I don’t believe this massive Bryce coalition will buy it. As a former operative, Ryan understands that, and is clearly thinking of abandoning ship. We hope he runs because we are confident we’ll beat him.”

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At 9:47 AM, Blogger Chris Roberts said...

i would love it if ryan lost his seat in wave about to hit would be echo of 1994 when speaker foly lost his seat. Ryan is in danger of losing it.

At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan is still negotiating his seven-to-eight figure salary. Once that is set, he "retires" and waits until his lobbyist limitation times out and he can openly whore for K Street.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

I love how the pundits phrase it as Ryan "supporting the Trump agenda," as if that agenda hasn't been the Republican goal for decades. But hey, let's make it all about Trump so if the DNC/DCCC/DSCC can manage to get enough corporate Democrats elected this November they can continue with that same agenda all the while telling us how theirs is okay because it's "not Trump."

How do I know this? Because for the last week, The (Mc)Resistance has been trying to sell me a $10 bumper sticker that reads "Dump Trump." No mention of what they'll be using my ten bucks for, and not one single mention of anything remotely resembling policy in any of their previous communiques.

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

EB is correct. punditry has it bass-ackwards. It's the ryan agenda... and trump is simply signing it once it passes.

But ryan does have a trump problem. he's been a devoted boot lick for a racist dumbfucktard who can't keep his stupidity and hate in check even for a second. Though he's ryan's useful idiot... the association will tend to lose him his independent support.

Which makes him retiring kind of senseless. He'll get billions from the kochs to run again. and billions will guarantee a win in WI-01. And if he is re-elected, he'll buy his speakership again.

And only then will he be able to continue his crusade to kill all the nonwhite, nonrich and nonmales in the nation with his lege.

See, I think of him as a crusader more than someone ambitions for his own gain. He is Ayn Rand's chosen disciple to implement her philosophical mania on the world. I may be wrong about that... but either way, he has to run again in order to move up the ladder.

If he retires, it means he's concluded that the trump stink is just too great to overcome, and maybe he's only postponing his crusade for a cycle or two until pence or whomever becomes our hitler... and he can run as veep for him... or maybe senator from WI. WI voters are truly dumb and evil motherfuckers.

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take issue with your statement that Ryan performed well as Romney's vice presidential candidate. I thought he made a fool of himself and showed us he is a moron.


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