Paul Ryan feels pinched by competing paths to power.Will he challenge John Boehner? Will he be the good soldier and remain loyal to Boehner while he builds his power base? Will he run for president? The world is Ryan's oyster, Politico lets us know.
His friends tell us the most obvious route—a run for the White House in 2016—holds less appeal to him with each passing day. “He has no interest in the sheer grind of campaigning,” said a conservative who recently spent time with Ryan. “It’s hard to see him having ‘what it takes.’”
Instead, Ryan seems increasingly intrigued with the prospect of amassing more power within Congress, using his juice in the House leadership to promote his trademark Medicare plan and engineer spending cuts. The friends say this path could ultimately lead him to an eventual run for House GOP leader, or even speaker, an option they surmise he has warmed to since the election.
The real questions should be: Is Ryan capable of crafting a budget that actually adds up, where the numbers, you know, work? Will he create a Medicare plan that isn't reviled by the voting public? Will he come clean on the fact that he doesn't care about the deficit, only about drowning government in the bathtub?
Those questions aren't likely to show up in Politico. There's a reason Charlie Pierce calls it "Tiger Beat on the Potomac," the fanzine for the Beltway crowd, "dedicated totally to gossip, triviality, and Drudge-baiting to the exclusion of what's actually going on in the country to the people these politics are supposed to serve."