Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan is strongly considering a run for president. Ryan, who has been quietly meeting with political strategists to discuss a bid over the past three months, is on vacation in Colorado discussing a prospective run with his family.
Ryan still officially denies having any intention to run, but it seems that the incessant clamoring that Ryan has a “duty to serve” could be luring him into the presidential race. If so, that would be very unfortunate for Ryan. He won’t win the nomination, and he will probably fail to gain much traction in the primaries. That isn’t just because of his support for Medicare Part D and the TARP, but also because of more defensible things that many conservative voters nonetheless dislike. All the other candidates (except Huntsman) opposed raising the debt ceiling, which was the wrong but popular position to take. Ryan voted to raise the debt ceiling. This was the appropriate thing to do, but it will be one more thing that Bachmann et al. will hang around his neck.
If Ryan wanted to pursue the nomination, the best time to do so has long since passed. Jonathan Bernstein comments on the latest expressions of longing for better Republican candidates:
Here’s what you need to know about the Republican candidate field: this is it. No one starts running for president in August, less than six months before the voters start getting involved in Iowa and New Hampshire, and has any chance at all. At least, it’s never happened since the modern process has been fully in place (say, by 1980). And there’s no reason to expect it now.
A Ryan presidential bid would have been crazy when people first started suggesting it in May, but at this point it would definitely go nowhere. It would be a waste of Ryan’s time, and it would most likely harm the things he has been working on in the House. If Ryan has a duty to serve anyone, it is the constituents who voted him into office, and they didn’t elect him for this.