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April 12, 2016

Is Ryan Running?

Washington wonders.

What is Paul Ryan up to?

It’s a question many political insiders are asking amid a concerted public relations push by the new Speaker that has the markings of an unofficial presidential campaign.

Against a backdrop of American flags, Ryan (R-Wis.) delivered a high-profile speech last month about the need for party unity that was interpreted as a head-on attack on GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

He followed up with a video that some, including the Drudge Report, viewed as a campaign ad.

Ryan’s office pushed back quickly on that suggestion, but Drudge is far from alone in wondering if Ryan is laying the groundwork for a 2016 bid at July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Trump and his allies, such as the past-its-sell-by-date scandal sheet Drudge Report, are eagerly pushing the idea that a vote for Cruz is, essentially, a vote for Ryan, because if Trump doesn't win 1,237 delegates, the establish gets its pick, and its pick is Paul Ryan.

Allah notes that he's ruling out a run at a press conference today and offers his skepticism about an 11th hour convention floor bid by Ryan, in any event.

He's not running. He was never going to run. You'd need to be a borderline imbecile to believe that a convention packed with delegates loyal to Trump and Cruz would turn to Ryan barring anything short of a bitter, protracted stalemate on the floor. It’s overstating it to say that Ryan would be the single most absurd nominee the convention could choose in a year roiled by anti-establishmentarianism -- that distinction goes to Romney -- but he's right up there. Even if the party's leadership wanted him, there’s little they can do to stop Trump and Cruz from rewriting the rules to eliminate Ryan from contention. All the Rules Committee, which will be packed with Cruz and Trump loyalists, would need to do is tweak Rule 40 to say that no one shall be nominated who fails to claim a majority of delegates in eight states on the first ballot.

I'm not sure I buy all that. I hear chatter that the establishment is thinking along these lines, and so are people close to Ryan.

That said, just because they're thinking that doesn't mean they can execute that. As Allah points out, a rule change could rule this out.

I have to say that the "Vote for Trump or else the Establishment wins scare tactic cuts less ice with me than it used to. That's because, as bad as the Dreaded Establishment is, I have to compare them to the other threats to democracy and American conservatism that are also on the horizon, and a larger threat is a man I call Donald F. Trump.

Burning it all down looked better to me when I imagined the arsonist in question would be smart, well-put-together, and likely to have success in an election and in governance.

Now that I see Trump's pathetically disorganized and inept campaign -- and his utter inability to make any headway with people who aren't already in his coalition -- I see him as a sure disaster in an election, and an even surer disaster as a president, if by some dark miracle he should win. Somehow.

So the "boo-scare vote for Trump or the Establishment monster's gonna gitcha" thing doesn't really scare me.

I'll deal with each of the challengers to Cruz as they present themselves, and right now, the current challenger is Donald F. Trump.

A conservative party should have a conservative as its nominee. Seems pretty obvious to me.

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posted by Ace at 02:44 PM

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