Non-presidential candidate Paul Ryan would like you to count him out of the race for the Republican nomination for president and dismiss all fantasies that he will unite his splintered party after being drafted as the nominee during a contested convention. He said that on Tuesday afternoon in a quaint and brief press conference at the Republican National Headquarters, and he’s been spreading a similar message for quite some time. Is the Speaker of the House, who was incidentally drafted into that position after saying that he didn’t want it, being clear enough? Ryan has made strong statements about the distressing direction of this campaign and released a video about the politics of the moment on his YouTube page that could easily be mistaken for a campaign ad.
These aren’t the actions of a mere bystander, but he’s not that either. The fact is, Ryan is a party leader and a grown up who has, at times, felt the need to throw cold water on a primary that has often resembled a garbage fire. It’s part of his appeal, but he doesn’t appeal to everyone. And Ryan knows this, which is why he keeps pushing the wishers and the dreamers away. And why he is now advocating that the convention rules committee make it impossible for him to be drafted by making it a requirement that a candidate for the nomination be someone who has actually run as a candidate in this election.
Really, this is as strong as Ryan can humanly be in his rejection of the notion that he has an interest in benefiting from GOP infighting and a convention (of which he is the chairman) that may possibly descend into a circus-like-state if Donald Trump doesn’t get what he feels like he is owed after standing out as the frontrunner for the bulk of this primary and winning the popular vote. But it’s not public relations that drives him away from this theoretical opportunity, its political acumen and intelligence.