"Draft Paul Ryan" Effort Picks Up Steam

Posted: Jun 01, 2011 10:20 AM

This was almost inevitable, wasn't it?

Further evidence that this is the summer of Republicans' discontent: Just as one group of well-heeled Iowans jets east today in hopes of persuading New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider the 2012 GOP presidential race, another group of monied types is launching DraftRyanNow.com, an online petition -- and, they hope, national movement -- to coax House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., into the contest.

The group is headed by Denison Smith, a northern Virginia-based communications investor, and Charles Kozak, a Nevada lawyer and GOP political activist who briefly sought his state's GOP Senate nomination last year before throwing his support to Sharron Angle. The group, which includes members from the early-voting states of Iowa and Florida, and has "top-flight" online communications skills to get the movement launched, Smith told National Journal.

The website and petition is available here, if you're interested.  Is this sort of "draft candidate X" campaign healthy at this early stage, or does Hot Air's Tina Korbe have a point?

But on another level, I sort of just want to say: Leave Christie and Ryan alone. To me, part of their appeal is that I can take them at their word. If they flip on this — if either decides to run when he’s said he won’t (Christie especially, as his opposition has been far more forcefully stated) — they’ll lose a little of that appeal. A reputation for honesty is rare and wonderful in the world of politics: Why would anyone want Christie or Ryan to give that up?

I'll toss another consideration out there: At what point does the obsessive coverage of non-candidates (Palin, Ryan, Christie, etc.) begin to do actual, tangible damage to the standing of those who are actually running?