Analysis turns to hypothesis. Hypothesis turns into speculation. Speculation turns into … a potential movement. As John Sexton noted earlier today, John Boehner endorsed Paul Ryan for president, apparently on the basis that Ryan has said he doesn’t want the job:
Former Speaker John Boehner said Paul Ryan should be the Republican nominee for president if the party fails to choose a candidate on the first ballot.
“If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above,” Boehner said at the Futures Industry Association conference here. “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.” …
Boehner, who now splits his time between Florida, Ohio and D.C., had long whispered to friends that he believes Ryan could be the party’s political savior if it came to that.
But Boehner never said it publicly until now.
And frankly, he should have kept his mouth shut. Yes, it’s true that an open convention could nominate anyone as its presidential candidate, even if that person had zero delegates coming into the convention and had expressed zero interest in the nomination. As long as that person is constitutionally eligible for the presidency and can get a majority of delegates in a floor vote, then anyone — including me — could be the next Republican Party nominee for President.
Except … I don’t want the job. And neither does Paul Ryan, as he made explicitly clear to Politico later in the day:
Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview there is “no situation” in which he will accept the Republican Party’s presidential nomination this year, his firmest rejection of the fanciful notion that he’d be drafted during a contested GOP convention.
“I’ve been really clear about this,” Ryan told POLITICO Wednesday. “If you want to be president, you should run for president. We should select our nominee from among the people who are running for president. Clear and simple. So no, I am not going to be the president. I am not going to be the nominee.”
Ryan added, “I am not going to become the president through Cleveland.”
The big question might be whether anyone else will become president through Cleveland.
When Ted Cruz parses the difference between a contested convention and a brokered convention, this is what he means. If no one arrives with 1237 delegates, then those candidates who do have delegates should make their case to the convention as to why delegates should realign themselves to those who have been through the primary process already. Tossing in candidates who sat on the sidelines the whole way, especially those in party leadership past or present, looks unseemly. It all but guarantees to leave everyone unhappy with the result too. But even apart from the rebellion it would produce, the nominee would be someone almost completely unvetted for the job and unprepared for the political combat to come.
Perhaps now we can dispense with silly deus ex machina fantasies and focus on settling the nomination rationally.