I loath Paul Ryan who I perceive as a child of privilege reverse Robin Hood. To many in the GOP establishment who see a brokered convention as the sole route to save the party from the insanity that the establishment created by allowing lunatics to hijack the party base, Paul Ryan was to be the draft savior of the GOP. Yesterday, Ryan basically said that there was no way, no how that he would accept the party presidential nomination if it were offered at the GOP convention this summer. If Ryan is being truthful - always a big if with the man, the GOP establishment will have to cast about for a different savior. Meanwhile the anger and discord within the party continues to ferment and grow. A column in the New York Times looks at the establishment's no-win situation. Here are highlights:
If Paul Ryan really meant what he said, the Republican Party has lost its best chance to take the White House and maintain control of the Senate.
“Let me be clear: I do not want nor will I accept the nomination for our party,” Ryan told reporters on Tuesday afternoon at a news conference held in the Republican National Committee’s headquarters on Capitol Hill.
Even after Ryan’s declaration, there were some political figures who still consider Ryan a possible nominee. Harold Ickes, a top adviser to Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting Clinton, envisaged a scenario in which Ryan would find himself having difficulty turning down the nomination.
“He does not want to be seen as derailing any candidate. He plays ball, and I suspect this is the art of playing ball,” Ickes said:
If it gets down to a deadlocked convention, and party leaders come to him and say, “Paul, we are going to go down in flames, we are going to lose the Senate and lose ground in the House. Only you can help redeem the party,” it would be pretty hard for him to say no.
Without Ryan at the top of the ticket, the Republican Party faces the likelihood of disaster on Nov. 8, assuming that either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the nominee.
What makes Ryan’s statement painful to Republican leaders and a welcome relief to Democrats is that there is a consensus in both parties that Ryan is far better equipped to capitalize on Hillary Clinton’s vulnerabilities than either Trump or Cruz — both of whom have negative ratings that come close to or exceed Clinton’s.
The exceptionally hostile views of all three leading candidates gave momentum — at least until Tuesday afternoon — to speculation among Republican leaders about a Ryan nomination. They do not want to blow the opportunity of a winnable contest. That their speculation can no longer focus on Ryan does not mean that their speculation will end.
At the same time, all the talk split members of the Republican establishment into two camps: those who hoped to see Ryan or some other noncandidate nominated and those who see any attempt to nominate Ryan or another noncandidate as a rejection of the 14.6 million votes cast for Trump and Cruz so far.
As John Feehrey, a Republican lobbyist and party operative, told me,
People inside the beltway are dreaming. It’s going to be either Trump or Cruz. We are in a populist moment in this country. Unless Trump completely collapses in the next couple of months, he will be the nominee. Ryan doesn’t want the nomination under these circumstances.
Rich Lowry, editor of the anti-Trump National Review, believes it would be politically suicidal, given the level of support the two have received in the primaries and caucuses thus far, for the Republican Party to nominate anyone other than Trump or Cruz.
Republican voters “are not interested in someone who’s embedded in the party’s leadership, they’re not interested in someone who is donor friendly, and who’s soft on immigration,” Lowry declared on Meet the Press on April 10th. “It would be one thing if Ryan was a compromise between Cruz and Trump. He’s a rejection of both of them and of 70 percent of Republican voters.”
If no dark horse Republican candidate emerges and if Bernie Sanders does not catch up to Hillary Clinton, the election will feature either Clinton vs. Trump or Clinton vs. Cruz. In that case, the next president is likely to win not because he or she is the most loved, but because he or she is the least hated.