Can We Believe Paul Ryan?

FedUp PAC StaffPaul Ryan Can We Believe Him

Yesterday House Speaker Paul Ryan declared that he would not be the Republican candidate for President in 2016. Ryan said all the right things, claiming that he would reject the nomination if offered and that the nominee must be someone who has actively campaigned for the nomination.

But can we believe him? Can we really trust Speaker Ryan to turn down the chance to run for president when all the Washington insiders are telling him that he is the candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton? Can we forget his protestations that he did not want to be Speaker – until suddenly he said yes?

History tells us not to put too much trust in yesterday’s statement. The Republican convention of 1880 shows us what could happen this year.

1880 was the year when a congressman (the GOP minority leader who would have been speaker if Republicans had won a House majority) was nominated without a single day of campaigning.

James Garfield not only failed to campaign for the presidential nomination, he actively campaigned in support of his fellow Ohioan John Sherman. Before and during the convention, when others talked of making Garfield the nominee, he insisted that he would not run and would remain a loyal supporter of Sherman.

Despite his protestations, many others continued to discuss Garfield as the candidate who could hold the White House for the Republicans. Was it just coincidence that Garfield was allowed to make three major speeches to the convention before the balloting began? Was Garfield giving a signal to his backers when his lukewarm nominating speech for Sherman described the Senator as being no “better Republican or better man than thousands of others we honor”?

The convention deadlocked, with neither former President Grant nor Senator Blaine able to win a majority, and Sherman a poor third. When balloting continued into a second day, delegates began to shift to Garfield and he was nominated on the thirty-sixth ballot – without having openly campaigned for a single minute.

Is Garfield’s path to victory lurking somewhere in the mind of Paul Ryan? Are the Washington insiders, having seen that they cannot nominate one of their own on the first ballot, hoping that the convention will become deadlocked, unable to nominate either Trump or Cruz?

If such a deadlock occurs, we must expect an attempt to make Paul Ryan the next James Garfield.