What should Paul Ryan do next?

December 16, 2013

In Monday's paper, I wrote about Paul Ryan's re-emergence as a major Republican player on the national stage and how that momentum has led to increased speculation about what he wants to do with his political future.


This Nov. 13, 2013 file photo shows House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, speaking with Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. on Capitol Hill in Washington at the start of a Congressional Budget Conference AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

I wrote:

There are a few reasons to believe that Ryan is ramping up his role in Congress rather than prepping a presidential bid.

First, if he wanted to win the GOP nomination in 2016, putting his face on a budget agreement opposed by leading outside conservative groups — and the tea party faction in Congress — isn’t the smartest play. Second, Ryan’s lack of a political team is, at least in part, due to the fact that he is much more of a policy head than a political one.

And though there is always an “ideas” slot in the primary race — we call it the honorary Newton Leroy Gingrich position — Ryan’s aversion to raw politics could make it tough for him to prosper even there.

Here's the take of a longtime Ryan ally on what the Wisconsin Republican wants: "I think Paul's long term focus remains on making the policy changes that will preserve an opportunity society, consistent with his Kempian roots. Would many of us like to see him as Speaker or President?  Of course."

Well, that doesn't clear thing up. Like, at all.

I continue to believe that Ryan's lack of interest in building a real political team around him makes a presidential bid in 2016 a real longshot. What do you think he should do? And is that different than what you think he will do?

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Sean Sullivan · December 16, 2013