Paul Ryan isn’t planning to run for president in 2016, and he doesn’t want to be a career politician.
“I’m not going to be in Congress 10 years from now,” Ryan told the National Journal in an interview published Friday. “I can be definitive about that.”
The Wisconsin Rep. is poised to take over the powerful Ways and Means Committee chair — a dream job for a self described policy guy obsessed with tax reform, and perhaps the culmination of his political career. (RELATED: Paul Ryan A Shoo In For Ways And Means Chair)
Asked again whether he’ll be in Congress in 10 years, Ryan reiterated: “No. God, no. I’ve already been there 16 years. I don’t want to be a career guy. Even though I’ve been there a long time, where you could already say that … ” He stops himself. “It’s just, I don’t want to spend my adult life in Congress.”
But at 44, Ryan is relatively young and has plenty of time and options politically.
He could pursue a leadership position in the House, but he’s rejected the idea, in part because of his aversion to even more time spent away from his family in Janesville, Wisconsin. “I’ve never wanted to be speaker,” he told the National Journal. “I know myself very well, and I know where I’m happy. I like spending my time on policymaking.”
He also remains noncommittal about the prospect of running for president, and he seems reluctant to run unless he’s convinced he’s the only candidate that could win. “There would have to be a void in our party, or the wrong ideas being put forth, for him to be recruited into that process,” Ryan’s older brother and 2012 campaign manager Tobin Ryan told the National Journal.
After “months of conversations with more than two dozen of Ryan’s friends, family members, allies, and advisers, not a single person predicted that he would run for president in 2016,” the National Journal reported.
Ryan doesn’t have political ambition, Tobin continued. He wants to make his mark in politics and then move on and do something else. Yuval Levin, National Affairs editor and close friend of Ryan, concurred. “I’ve not known Paul to be a guy who thinks the one thing wrong with the world is that he’s not in charge of it.”
Six years as Ways and Means chairman, where he could author a major tax reform bill, might be enough for Ryan. “The president thing, it doesn’t have to be me,” he told the National Journal. “I just want us to win. I just want to get these policies passed.”
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