Ryan to run for president! No, the other Ryan

Wait, we’re not talking about Paul Ryan? What other Ryan is there? How soon we forget. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) tossed his hat into the 2020 three-ring circus on The View while making a clichéd point about disunity in America to, um … Joy Behar:

CNN reports that the announcement actually went up on Ryan’s campaign website just before he appeared on ABC’s show this morning. Ryan has been considering the idea since the midterm campaign last year, and had been hinting at it for some time:

Ryan, who has served in Congress since 2003, began considering a 2020 bid in 2018, as he traveled across the country stumping for Democrats running for office and, indirectly, testing the waters on a presidential bid.

Ryan enters the presidential race as a longshot candidate with less name recognition than most candidates and a far smaller political network. The field is also already sizable and growing: Democrats are waiting on former Vice President Joe Biden to decide on a run, along with former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana and Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts. …

Ryan has become most known in Democratic circles for his opposition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her leadership positions. But those efforts have failed, and even Ryan voted for Pelosi earlier this year when Democrats picked their next House leader after taking back the chamber in 2018.

Ryan told CNN in February that he would make up his mind on his own timeline. It’s odd that he chose now, though. Clearly he wanted to wait until after the Q1 FEC reporting deadlines because he probably hasn’t raised too much money. His announcement now, though, will be lost in the money race from Q1 and all of the Joe Biden controversy. Perhaps Ryan thought that he could emerge at this precise moment as the Biden-without-baggage, a centrist from Trump Country who can leverage credibility with moderates and engage with the progressives.

Good luck with that strategy, though. Biden’s likely to sail through his controversy, even if he’s not assured of winning in a 30-way contest for the nomination. Ryan’s barely made a dent in Congress during his eight-plus terms in Congress other than his brief challenge to Pelosi (and which his fellow House Democrats should have heeded). He’s young and reasonably adept on camera, but so are a host of other Democratic candidates with higher profiles.

Not everyone’s dismissing Ryna’s bid. The RNC had a drop ready on Ryan, issuing a statement that called him “a Congressional backbencher who has no chance of becoming president,” and accused him of “demanding government-run health care.” Despite Democrats’ having the majority for two of his eight previous terms, the RNC says Ryan “passed no legislation other than renaming two federal buildings.”

The ferocity of the RNC’s reaction seems out of step with the threat Ryan actually poses. Perhaps it’s just due diligence from the oppo research team — or just good target practice. It looks like Democrats will provide plenty of opportunities for that in this cycle.