Speculation has been rampant that certain GOP insiders are working behind the scenes to make Speaker of the House Paul Ryan the Republican nominee if neither Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz wins an outright majority of delegates prior to the July convention. Karl Rove added fuel to the fire when he openly speculated about the benefits of party bosses picking a “fresh face” at the convention and not-so-subtly suggesting it should be Paul Ryan. And Paul Ryan didn’t do anything to quell the speculation when he issued one of his non-denials, failing to say that he would refuse the nomination if it were offered.
Now he has produced what looks an awful lot like a campaign ad for a guy who is supposedly not interested in the nomination. Remember, a spot like this had to be planned, written, produced, and shot. It wasn’t done on a whim.
He sure sounds like a guy trying hard to be a “fresh face” and distance himself from “those other guys” – you know, the ones who actually took the time to run for President and get votes. He says in part:
“What really bothers me the most about politics these days is this notion of identity politics: that we’re going to win an election by dividing people, rather than inspiring people on our common humanity and our common ideals and our common culture on the things that should unify us. We all want to be prosperous. We all want to be healthy. We want everybody to succeed. We want people to reach their potential in their lives.
“Now, liberals and conservatives are going to disagree with one another on that. No problem. That’s what this is all about.
These are all noble sentiments, I’m sure, but he sounds a bit too much like Garrison Keillor telling us how how great things are in Lake Wobegon where the women are all strong, the men are all good looking, and all the children are above average.
It is just this kind of coy, political posturing that strikes the GOP smart set as brilliant and rank and file voters as smarmy. There is little doubt that when Speaker Ryan looks into the mirror he sees President Ryan smiling back, but if that is his ambition he should have done what 17 other Republicans did and run for the office. There is nothing that will end Ryan’s career faster than trying to take a short-cut to the nomination.