These days it seems like everybody is running for president. Guys you’ve heard, guys you haven’t, and guys you don’t even want to hear about. There are governors, senators, formers and current CEOs of large companies and even a retired neurosurgeon getting into the act. There are so many candidates that soon we might be hearing Bugs Bunny has finally decided to try for the GOP Nomination. (That is one candidacy I might find myself backing, by the way.)
But back in January, Paul Ryan, the running mate on Mitt Romney’s ultimately doomed ticket in 2012, announced he is not running. Of course, that didn’t make the national news in a big way; nobody started around the clock coverage of his decision not to run. But now that announcing a bid for the Republican nomination seems to have become the Grand Old Party’s pastime, it seems like Ryan’s decision not to run should have received more attention, for the reasons he gave were not only good ones, but they showed a level of maturity many of the bids, which everyone including their candidate must know are doomed to failure, do not have.
Ryan announced in January he is staying in congress because he believes he has work to do. He wants to overhaul the tax code. Of course, that job is going to take a very long, and most don’t think he will even be able to bring his new plan, should he even finish the massive job before the second coming, will even come up for a vote for at least a year from now. But Ryan is proof that the Republican Party still has people in it that are willing to do what they were elected to do-that is, actually govern this nation rather than use their seat as a stepping stone to the White House.
The influx of sitting senators and governors seeking the nomination is especially difficult for Republicans, as in 2016 their new found hold on the Senate will be tested, as so many Republican seats are up for grabs, compared to a relatively small number of Democratic ones.
Taking a look at Rubio, who has announced he will not also be running for senate, and Paul, who probably will also not run for reelection to the senate, just to name two seats that will now be much easier for Democrats to take. Then there are governors like Christi, whose BridgeGate scandal many believe will hurt him if he decides to run for president, conceivably that means he will also be hurt at home in New Jersey, and paradoxically he would spending less effort and time in his bid at reelection to governor, should he lose his shot at the White House.
Then there are all the presumably eligible, interested and capable people, from Carson to Santorum to Huckabee to Fiorina, all of whom are not in office, and all of whom are running for president; which means of course that even were one of those four to win, three would still be left out in the cold.
It seems that with all of the long shots in the race, it would be much better if most of them were to abandon their bids, and do something unthinkable-run for lower office. Of course they don’t want to do that. They think they see a chance for them and they want to be president. It’s a perfectly understandable desire, but also perfectly dangerous to the Republican Party as so many of their best and brightest are risking it all on a presidential run, and by the laws elimination only one of them can win, while at the same time leaving the rest battered and bruised.
So it seems to me, and the facts tend to agree, that the best thing for the Republican Party right now would be if a lot of them stopped trying so hard to be president, and got back to running for other offices if they’re out, and actually governing if they’re in. It’s counterintuitive, I know, especially these days. But it’s the best thing for them. Sorry if the medicine doesn’t always taste good.
Andrew C. Abbott