Sources say @SpeakerRyan also felt this is about his own integrity…not wanting to be seen as "being coy""misleading"
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) April 12, 2016
Ryan sources say Ryan wanted to do the right thing https://t.co/GRv0KXhuOr
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) April 12, 2016
The Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver is not going away. Jim Newell, at Slate — “Paul Ryan Still Refuses to Be President. But Who’s Asking?”…
… Though the industry of pundit lapdogs who fawn over Ryan as the sexiest thing in right-of-center wonkery since the Laffer curve will buy his noble self-effacement about how it would simply be improper to accept the job without having run, there’s certainly another factor that suggests he really means it: Unlike the speaker’s election, he believes he would lose the presidential election.
It is very difficult for members of Ryan’s fan club to understand that outside of elite Republican donor circles, the pages of Beltway publications, and the green rooms of Sunday morning chat shows, Ryan is not that popular of a politician. Before Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Ryan—as the author of budgets that slashed entitlements and discretionary spending programs—was the poster boy for Democratic opposition to the obstructionist right. This was just a few years ago…
Ryan is no more popular with Democrats now, of course, but he’s also not as popular with the Republican base now that he’s a member of the supposedly do-nothing, amnesty-loving congressional leadership. Those brewing negative feelings among the base would almost certainly explode if Ryan, having competed in no primaries, were to swoop in at the convention and “steal” the nomination from either Trump or Cruz. Ryan may not be the epitome of serious policy thinking that his elite adorers imagine him to be—he’s basically the personification of elite Republican donors’ interests—but he does have a considerably sounder political mind than they do, and that’s why he wants nothing to do with this hot mess.
2012 in Paul Ryan's home county. Why is he the GOP fantasy candidate again? pic.twitter.com/Jzm5kfwHVe
— Bob Schooley (@Rschooley) April 12, 2016
Jon Chait, in NYMag, on “Paul Ryan’s Magical-Realism Campaign”:
Paul Ryan’s shadow campaign for the presidency is well under way, and the visible portion peeking above the surface — message videos and gravitas-conferring overseas trips — conceals a larger whisper campaign submerged beneath the surface. If Donald Trump fails to win a majority of pledged delegates on the first ballot, and if Ted Cruz fails to organize a majority on a subsequent ballot, a disorderly and panicked party would almost automatically turn to its recognized leader as the candidate. Alternatively, should either Trump or Cruz win the nomination, Republicans running down-ballot will need a less toxic brand. In which case, Ryan will assume his role as de facto party leader, supplying a friendlier-sounding message for Republicans in blue and purple states…
If Paul Ryan was really being Shermanesque, Atlanta would be on fire right now
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) April 12, 2016
Chait points at the NYTimes‘ centrist mooning over Ryan’s “Mirage Candidacy”…
… Mr. Ryan is creating a personality and policy alternative to run alongside the presidential effort — one that provides a foundation to rebuild if Republicans splinter and lose in the fall. “He is running a parallel policy campaign,” said Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina.
He is shaping an agenda that he plans to roll out right before the convention, a supplement of sorts to the official party platform. He gives regular speeches on politics and policy — particularly on poverty and economic issues — then backs them up in the news media.
It is not a move without risks. His policy positions on immigration and trade, which have contributed to his mirage candidacy, are in great tension with the views of many Republican primary voters…
“There is no question that Ryan is operating in a very ambitious way,” said Peter Wehner, a former director of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives under President George W. Bush who has known Mr. Ryan for two decades. “He is trying to set forth a path for the party with ideas and policy proposals and principles,” he said. “That is unusual for a speaker in an election year, but Ryan himself is a very different person, and this is the product of this very unusual presidential year.”…
Paul Ryan thinks he’s Eisenhower.
— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) April 12, 2016
Josh Barro, at Business Insider, is considerably more cynical:
… Take a moment and imagine that this garbage fire of an election is over. It’s January 2017, President Hillary Clinton is being inaugurated, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has become by far the most powerful figure in the Republican Party simply by continuing to sit where he is while all his rivals set themselves on fire.
By early next year, Ryan could be the only prominent establishment Republican whose reputation has not been destroyed through loss to Trump, supplication to Trump, defeat in a Senate race because Donald Trump is losing a landslide at the top of the ticket, or some other similarly horrible fate.
Alternatively, if Ted Cruz manages to grab the Republican nomination, Ryan would start 2017 in an even stronger position. Cruz would also lose badly to Clinton, the other non-Trump candidates for the nomination would still be humiliated, Senate Republicans would be pointing fingers at each other about who lost the majority, and Ryan wouldn’t need to compete with Cruz for the role of Republican standard-bearer after the election…
Apart from the ever-so-thinly-masked national ambitions of the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver, there’s the GOP version of the Red Queen’s race: Every Very Serious Rethug needs to run as fast as he can just to stay in the same media headspace, because there’s always another claimjumper scheming to take his follow spot…
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) April 11, 2016