Don't forget about Paul Ryan for 2016

Unlike Ted Cruz, who a surprising number of Republicans don’t know and who has alienated much of the GOP establishment, or Marco Rubio, who angered the GOP base with his support of comprehensive immigration reform, Ryan is still a darling to all stripes of Republicans. A new Quinnipiac University thermometer poll finds Ryan gets the warmest reception of any potential candidate from GOP voters with a first place 68.7 temperature reading.

Ryan’s ability and inclination to carefully calibrate his policy positions along with his earnest Midwestern demeanor gets him the benefit of the doubt when another politician might be seen as trying to have it both ways. Obamacare is a case in point. Ryan is in favor of limited government, but he also has a responsibility as an elected official to make sure his constituents get what they see as their fair share. The analogy for Republicans, if not the rationale, would be this, says Pitney: “Even if you oppose certain deductions and credits in the tax code, are you going to forgo taking advantage of what’s in the law?”…

The in-fighting on the Republican side doesn’t necessarily redound to the benefit of Ryan, but by keeping himself above the fray, if there’s a change in the leadership, he’s there, “the last man standing, the only one with at least some gravitas,” says Ornstein. Watching his actions, Ryan seems to be betting that the Tea Party is peaking and eventually will fade. In any event, he’s working hard to maintain his credibility with the national Republicans so that if he does decide to run in 2016, he’ll be in good standing with a party united in its eagerness to defeat Hillary Clinton and willing to call a truce in its ideological squabbles.