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Politics & Policy

Who’s So Sure Paul Ryan Would Unite the Party?

From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

How Many Times Can Paul Ryan Be Drafted into Jobs He Says He Doesn’t Want?

Are we sure the Republican party would unite behind Paul Ryan as its presidential nominee?

An interesting rumor, albeit only a rumor, and one quickly denied:

Charles Koch is confident House Speaker Paul Ryan could emerge from the Republican National Convention as the party’s nominee if Donald Trump comes up at least 100 delegates shy, he has told friends privately.

Koch believes Ryan would be a “shoo-in” at a contested convention, should the campaign get to that point. 

…Mark Holden, general counsel for Koch Industries, told HuffPost the claim was “completely false.”

“Let me be clear, we never have advocated for a specific candidate in a presidential primary, and we have no plans to do so now,” Holden said. 

Fascinatingly, according to Politico’s Mike Allen, the Hillary Clinton camp doesn’t find Ryan to be an easily-beatable rival:

A well-wired Democrat close to the Clinton campaign told Daniel that a Paul Ryan nomination would be the “nightmare scenario” for Brooklyn because he would likely be stronger than Trump in states like Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio. “He’d be starting politically with a clean slate and lacks the baggage of not getting attacked for months” like Trump and Cruz. “He’s an attractive man, with an attractive … family.”

I’m a big Paul Ryan fan, but let’s remember, in 2008, Barack Obama beat John McCain in Wisconsin, 56-42. Four years later, with Ryan as the vice-presidential nominee, Obama won… 52-45. Maybe that reflects a limited ability to influence the results from the running mate spot. Or maybe Paul Ryan is more appealing among Republicans in his district and in Washington than statewide. (No one has polled Paul Ryan vs. Hillary Clinton since 2014.)

This sounds a lot like putting the cart before the horse. In yesterday’s Jolt, we saw Ted Cruz is maneuvering to have his fans attending the convention as delegates in states like Louisiana, Tennessee, North Dakota, and so on, in states where delegates are only bound on the first ballot. Cruz’s second or third-ballot totals could be a lot higher than anyone expects right now.

(Keep in mind, Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone is talking up “days of rage” and “protests at certain targeted hotels where delegations who are involved in the ‘big steal’ are staying” – but, he adds, it will be “non-violent!”)

If we have an era of great cynicism in our politics, how does it sound to have Ryan insisting:

Ryan: I do believe people put my name in this thing, and I say get my name out of that. This is, if you want to be president, you should go run for president. And that’s just the way I see it.

Hugh Hewitt: So you’re not the fresh face that Karl Rove was talking about?

Ryan: No, I’m not the fresh face.  I’m not that person (laughing). I’d like to think my face is somewhat fresh, but I’m not for this conversation. I think you need to run for president if you’re going to be president, and I’m not running for president. So period, end of story.

Or to have RNC Chairman Reince Priebus insisting

 I think our candidate is someone who’s running, okay?  That’s pretty obvious.  But, number two, even if something like that were even remotely possible, that candidate would actually have to have a floor operation and an actual campaign going on with the delegates to make something like that possible. And Paul’s not going to do that.  So, my answer is no.  But, clearly, there’s a lot of information out there that people are spreading around to cause a lot of confusion.  But I think that our candidate is someone who’s running.

If you have the two biggest leaders of the party saying, “X is not going to happen, there’s no way X can happen, we’re not trying to make X happen” – and X is something as important as who the party’s presidential nominee is – and then X happens, you have a formula for the controlled demolition of all trust in those leaders.

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