The steep demands Rep. Paul Ryan has placed on fellow Republicans who want him to run for House Speaker serve his presidential ambitions, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson said Wednesday.
Carlson, editor of the Daily Caller, said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that the Wisconsin Republican likely wants to run for president in 2020.
“No matter what happens now, it’s a kind of win,” he said. “Either he doesn’t get the job, and he can say, you know, ‘I tried my best but the Republicans were just too crazy and they wouldn’t have me’ … Or he gets the job and he’s basically told the entire caucus that, ‘You have to obey everything I do’ ahead of time, and they agree to it. It’s a win-win.”
Ryan’s requests include elimination of a rule that allows the House to recall speakers mid-term and an expectation that he will not travel as much or work as many weekends as past speakers. Ryan may well win those concessions because many Republicans believe Ryan is the only representative who can unite the fractious caucus.
Carlson said Republican leaders are trying to shut down debate over issues that divide the party.
Carlson said Republican leaders are trying to shut down debate over issues that divide the party. But the angst will bubble up in other ways, he said. Witness billionaire and non-politician Donald Trump, who is No. 1 in the GOP presidential polls.
“Maybe the overriding concern for voters is the fact the whole country is an inside deal,” he said. “It’s a rigged game, where a certain — and a relatively small — number of people are benefiting wildly and nobody else is. … Immigration is great for everyone in my neighborhood and not so great for everyone else.”
Carlson said the same force has damaged former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s candidacy. He said he disagrees with analysis that Bush is a poor candidate or has an inadequate staff. He said he thinks the former front-runner is smart and certainly well-funded.
“It’s just not his moment,” he said. “It’s just not what the public wants right now. It kind of comes down to that. It’s not about the candidates. It’s about what voters want. And right now, voters in the Republican Party want to see the government cleaned up.”
Carlson said conservatives who pushed House Speaker John Boehner to announce his resignation from Congress should have had a follow-up plan for what came next.
“Before you force him out, have a sort of set series of steps in mind for what takes place after,” he said. “You know what I mean? It’s not enough to overthrow Saddam. You have to have a game plan … And I wish they had had something ready to go. But they didn’t.”