Another Veep Loser Planning to Quit?

Back when the 2016 GOP nomination kicked off (a good 5 days before Mitt got around to losing officially), here’s one way Paul Ryan’s anonymous advisors envisioned insulating his Presidential ambitions from any damaging votes: quitting.

They say that if he fails, Ryan’s instincts will be to return to the House — he is running for re-election to his House seat at the same time he’s Romney’s running mate — and resume his role as Budget Committee chairman.

Some senior Republicans caution it might not be that easy.

If Romney loses, Ryan will be seen as a leading White House contender in 2016. He will be a national party figure even without being a top member of the House leadership. That could breed resentment among current Republican leaders and perhaps splinter coalitions within the already fractured GOP alliances at the top of the House.

A return also would make Ryan a leading target for Democrats. For the next few years, Democrats would lay traps in legislation, forcing him to take sides on measures that could come back to haunt him during a presidential bid.

That is why some of Ryan’s biggest boosters are considering whether it wouldn’t be better for Ryan to resign from the House.

Never mind the delusion that suggests Ryan would be that enticing a target for Democrats. It gave Ryan’s advisors an excuse to advocate he quit before he has to cast anymore unpopular votes.

As DDay noted, anonymous sources are floating the idea of Ryan quitting again, this time in context of being forced to cast an unpopular vote on the fiscal cliff.

Speaker John A. Boehner has tapped Mr. Ryan, who has returned to his post as the House Budget Committee chairman after an unsuccessful run for vice president, to help strike a deal to avoid big tax increases and spending cuts by the end of the year, and to bring along fellow Republicans.

“He helps us toward creating a product,” said Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, “and he helps sell the product.”

The test will be whether Mr. Ryan — who declined last year to sit on another Congressional committee charged with taming the deficit, in large part because doing so might have hurt his prospects for national office — can make the transition from House budget philosopher to governing heavyweight who can help negotiate a bipartisan deal and sell it to his colleagues.

[snip]

With his new muscle and increased respect from his colleagues, Mr. Ryan could conceivably scuttle any deal if he loudly opposes a solution that the speaker and the top Republican leaders embrace. But his conservative base might rebel against him if he were to endorse any deal seen as awarding too much to Mr. Obama and the Democrats, particularly on tax rates. Some Republicans think the pitfalls are dangerous enough that Mr. Ryan might consider leaving Congress altogether to work on his policy agenda without the inherent headaches of the Hill.

“He has to think about what he wants his role to be,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma. “Is he going to run in 2016, or run for something else in Wisconsin, or play a bigger role in the House? He’s going to play an outsize role here because of the national profile he now has, but on the other hand, this conference is quite happy to act independently.” [my emphasis]

The implication being that if he plans to run in 2016, Ryan can’t stick around and–with a vote in favor of a “Grand Bargain”–compromise his governing ideology by admitting does not support a functioning government. Elsewhere, the article notes how much fun he and his wife had visting her grandmother’s home in Iowa.

In other words, he clearly plans to run.

Which leaves the question whether he truly agrees with these anonymous and on-the-record sources advising him to quit if he plans to run for President.

I guess he plans to follow the successful path of President Palin, then, even if he can’t run a marathon as fast as she can.

I just wonder what his Hollywood reality show will be called.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

6 replies
  1. Teddy says:

    Ryan Run: a collection of clips from his under-two-hour marathons, and the carbo-loading and traveling thereto.

    Also — why don’t people who write articles (I won’t call them journalists simply because they transcribe GOP strategists’ talking points) ever ask their subjects, “And who is the last unsuccessful Veep candidate to ascend to the top of the ticket in either party?”

    The answer always startles people, because there’s so much time between Event A and Event B. An entire roaring decade; also: polio.

  2. Phil Ebersole says:

    @Teddy: The last unsuccessful vice-presidential candidates to run as presidential candidates were Robert Dole and Walter Mondale.

    Going further back in history, Franklin Roosevelt was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 1920.

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