“If nominated, I will not accept; if drafted, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.” — William Tecumseh Sherman
The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fan boy, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, gave a Sherman-esque response to all the media speculation that he is a “stealth” candidate for the GOP nomination for president at a contested RNC Convention in Cleveland. Ryan: ‘I do not want, nor will I accept,’ GOP nomination:
“Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept, the Republican nomination,” Ryan said at Republican National Committee headquarters, adding: “Count me out.”
POLITICO Tiger Beat on the Potomac actually got one one right. Why Ryan won’t run
Even if Ryan did have an itch to run for president, he could not swipe the nomination from a front-runner with 1,000 delegates, give or take, or a field of 17 candidates that spent months and millions of dollars vying for the job. If Ryan wants some sort of future in Republican politics, he cannot be seen as going to the party convention in July and stealing the nomination from Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
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Of course, Ryan isn’t saying he’ll never run for the White House. If Hillary Clinton wins — most Republicans in Congress are convinced she will — he might take a look at a 2020 bid. But even then, those close to him aren’t convinced he’d take the plunge.
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The backdrop of all his denials is the political reality that Ryan would likely lose. Most public polling has him faring relatively poorly in a potential matchup with Clinton. Of course, polls shift, but Ryan would be forced to launch and run a presidential campaign in three months. His experience from 2012 would help, but even the most talented campaigner would be at a disadvantage on such a compressed timetable.
As Daniel Drezner writes at the Washington Post, There is no candidate on horseback ready to rescue the GOP.
Media villager Chris Cillizza adds at the Post, If you think Paul Ryan could be the Republican nominee, you haven’t been paying attention:
Those who have pushed the “Ryan as nominee” idea (and who will continue to do so even after his definitive statement this afternoon) are making a mistake all too common in modern politics: Conflating wishful thinking with an actual strategy. Hoping and dreaming of the idea of Ryan as the Republican standard-bearer ain’t going to make it happen.
UPDATE: Charles Pierce: Paul Ryan Can’t Be President Because Paul Ryan Can’t Do the Job He Already Has. Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the House, and he can’t get a budget passed . . . Speaker Ryan can’t get a budget passed because the Republican Party he helped to build is now full of crazy people that nobody can control.