Paul Ryan comes off as one who thinks he knows all the right answers; but the other day he felt the urge to ask a question.
The occasion was the annual Jack Kemp dinner, and the question was directed, during his speech, toward Marco Rubio. It was exactly four weeks after Ryan's bad loss as the GOP vice presidential candidate.
The Congressman asked of Rubio: "You know any good diners in Iowa or New Hampshire?" It was an obvious reference to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, which kick off each presidential election year. Rubio had just returned from a post election visit to Iowa, were the U.S. Senator from Florida was testing the waters for a 2016 White House run.
Rubio joins a field of Republican presidential wannabes that includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. All three have something going for them and are viable candidates. But Paul Ryan?
My initial reaction was to laugh off a Ryan candidacy. What resposible, rational Republican leader would allow it to happen? But then it occurred to me that today's fractured GOP is woefully lacking in responsible, rational leaders. Recalling the cast of characters who particpated in the 2012 Republican primary debates is to be reminded that anything -- including a Paul Ryan presidential run -- is possible.
There would seem to be no one in the upper echelon of Republican circles who is strong and influential enough to dissuade a flawed wannabe. It appears unlikely, then, that anyone will tell Paul Ryan to cancel his dreams.
If Paul Ryan does truly hold the belief that he can win the presidecy, then he must surely be suffering from iillusions of grandeur. How else to explain his ignoring the facts of the matter.
The congressman has a popularity problem. His approval ratings have been disappointing from the day he became Mitt Romney's running mate right on up to the present. He failed to deliver his home state of Wisconsin as well as his congressional district. He even lost among voters in his home town. Were he to win the GOP nomination, there is a strong possibility that he would be facing a Democratic opponent -- Hilary Clinton -- who enjoys a nearly 70 percent approval rating among all Americans -- including Republicans.
Paul Ryan is a foreign affairs novice with zero national security experience. Contrast that with a possible opponent -- Hilary Clinton -- who is held in high esteem worldwide following four years as Secretary of State.
Ryan's supposed area of expertise -- economics, budgets, and taxes -- is a big question mark, His one major accomplishment -- the controversial Ryan Budget Plan has been faulted by many economists and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
When it comes to how he handles himself, Paul Ryan has not exhibited leadership skills. His attitude in the House of Representatives has added to the gridlock and the inability of Congress to get things done.
And on stage before America during the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden turned him into a nervous wreck whose blank looks and constant gulping of water were anything but presidential.
Then there's the character issue. There's the convention speech with all those lies that were branded so by fact checkers and the press. And there's that phony photo-op at a soup kitchen -- denounced by the man who ran the kitchen.
There's so much more -- so many reasons why Paul Ryan souldn't seek the presidency. Perhaps he should forget about those diners in Iowa and New Hampshire, and stick to the ones in Wisconsin and Washington.