Earlier today, the New York Times lumped us in with Breitbart as one of the sites that is gung ho against the idea of [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ] as Speaker of the House. That’s a pretty drastic overstatement as we’ve had exactly two posts on the subject, both of which expressed reservations about Ryan without explicitly condemning his candidacy.
For myself, it’s hard to evaluate whether I would oppose Ryan on the substance without knowing what the viable alternatives are. If Ryan is rejected, will it be someone like Pete Roskam or [mc_name name=’Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000604′ ] who gets the nod? In that case, I would probably support Ryan enthusiastically. Is the alternative to Ryan someone like [mc_name name=’Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001243′ ] or [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000591′ ]? In that case, I would prefer that Ryan not run, probably. It’s difficult to make such a call in a vacuum because the rest of the caucus is basically holding their breath at this point to see what Ryan does, and we won’t know what the alternatives are until after he announces.
What bothers me most about Ryan is the sense that he is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the position. I don’t know how much of that is genuine and how much of it is public posturing. If it is the former, then having Ryan in the position would be a disaster, and the people who are begging him to run should bug off.
Every so often, someone gets this bright idea that Person X would be the perfect person for some political office that has come open. All this is fine and good, and a certain amount of recruiting is necessary in politics. The problem comes when a given person offers a polite but firm “no thanks” like Ryan has done, and people refuse to accept that answer. Inevitably, a “Draft Person X” movement forms, wherein people try loudly and publicly to get that person to change their mind.
Maybe it makes me an establishment hack for saying so, but to me the most important qualification for any political office is that the candidate should want the job. The reason for this is pretty simple – no one does a job well that they don’t want to have, at least not for very long. If you hate what you do every single day, it’s going to be reflected in your job performance sooner or later, no matter how diligent of a person you are. And that gets exposed nowhere more quickly than in politics, where your opponents and rivals are likely to consist entirely of entitled, well funded, type A, overachieving sharks who would kill their own mothers to gain political advantage. This goes for Presidential candidates, and it goes for candidates for Speaker of the House as well.
No one – not [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ], nor anyone – should be dragged kicking and screaming into the Speaker’s chair, unless it is at the very most to act as caretaker for the position until after the 2016 elections. I know there are a lot of reasons, mostly related to name recognition as a former VP nominee, that people are projecting onto [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ] that he is the long term answer for the House GOP’s woes.
But unless he truly wants the job and is just playing coy right now, he won’t be the long term answer to anything if he has to be dragged kicking and screaming into the position. People enjoy the story of the reluctant politician who rides in on a white horse, against his will, to save the country. The sad reality is, though, that this is just a story, and a fantasy story at that. A burning desire to succeed and prove yourself is a necessary precursor to success in the modern political climate and we should stop deluding ourselves that it isn’t.