The Republican whispering campaign that aims to replace frontrunner Donald Trump with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as the party’s nominee for president has taken on a new life. It seems to have obtained a convert — namely, Paul Ryan himself.
Last week, former Speaker John Boehner gave voice to the previously silent campaign. After all, the idea is popular with dissatisfied GOP leaders who are fearful of a Trump candidacy.
At a conference in Florida, Boehner said:
“If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above. They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I’m for none of the above. I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.”
Of course, private citizen Boehner may have been a bit premature. Trump could well win enough delegates in the primaries to take the nomination on the convention’s first ballot. But the groundwork is being laid — just in case.
Why Does Ryan Running For Office Always Happen Without Him?
Ryan, of course, demurred from Boehner’s suggestion. However, even though spokeswoman AshLee Strong had previously said he wouldn’t accept the nomination, Ryan opened that closed door right back up again. In an interview with CNBC, the representative from Wisconsin said:
“You know, I haven’t given any thought to this stuff. People say, ‘What about the contested convention?’ I say, well, there are a lot of people running for president. We’ll see. Who knows?”
Who knows? If he doesn’t know the answer to whether or not he’s willing to run, who does?
If that lukewarm denial sounds familiar, it’s probably because the now-Speaker-of-the-House said almost exactly the same thing last fall about whether he would consent to being drafted into that position. ‘Not interested’. But the signs are increasing that, once again, ‘not interested’ is not exactly the truth.
Last Thursday, Ryan met — in Florida — with a group of Republican donors to discuss the status of the race. Of course, as Speaker of the House, Ryan will be a co-chairman of the Republican National Convention — meaning he’ll be right at hand if a Trump nomination goes off the rails.
But the clincher that verified Ryan is ready to run came on Monday night, when he made a speech to the annual AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Conference) meeting. Esquire magazine noted the significance of the speech in this headline: “Paul Ryan’s Latest Speech Said One Thing: He’s Running.”
First, the speaker seemed to have eschewed the idea that the United States ever became involved in “entangling alliances” until World War II, which happens to have set the stage for the formation of Israel. He then expounded on the need for alliances ever after, due to aggressors aiming missiles at peace-loving countries like the U.S and Israel — blithely ignoring the aggressions of both.
But the man needed to establish how alike the U.S. and Israel are, how much our interests align, and how much we need to cleave to one another in these violent times. He said:
“Israel, like us, is a liberal democracy in a sea of authoritarian regimes. So when America helps Israel, both countries become stronger. Both countries are protecting our way of life.”
Wait, what? We’re surrounded by a sea of authoritarian regimes? Canada? Mexico? Oh. I get it. Cuba!
Cuba once had its missiles aimed at the U.S., specifically, Florida — fifty-odd years ago. And Cuba is where the GOP’s archenemy, President Obama, is undertaking his latest diplomatic mission, hobnobbing with those filthy dictators! Cuba is the bane of conservative Cuban-Americans, who make up a sizable segment of Florida’s population.
Ryan Running Depends On Being Sure Of Which Side His Bread Is Buttered On
And lest we forget, or perhaps didn’t know, Florida also has a sizable Jewish population. The number of Jews living in Florida is third in the nation, after only New York and California.
Esquire‘s conclusion becomes quite plausible. Not only is Ryan running for president, he just made a bid for Florida’s ninety-nine delegates. The ninety-nine are pledged to Trump — unless he doesn’t get the nomination on the first vote. After that, they’ll be free to back whoever — like, say, Paul Ryan.
In his parting words to AIPAC, Ryan emphasized that America stands by its allies and stands by Israel, including not ‘cozying up’ to Iran. And, oh, by the way:
“You probably are thinking, ‘What does a guy from Janesville, Wisconsin care about Israel?’ But before I leave, I just wanted to say that there’s actually a vibrant Jewish community in my state. And it’s one that I’m very proud of.”
Says the man whose state is one-half of one-percent Jewish. But Florida, on the other hand … you get the picture. But just in case, check out these tweets:
Guy in the audience shouts "it's not too late to run!" as Paul Ryan gets standing ovation at AIPAC pic.twitter.com/VxcIzew2VE
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) March 21, 2016
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) March 21, 2016