Was Paul Ryan the target of a Politico hit job?

Politico has published a long, anonymously sourced piece reporting that House speaker Paul Ryan is planning to leave office after the 2018 midterms.  Coming with perfect timing against a similar Huffington Post piece, it has the look of a media hit job.  The goal is for the swamp to think Ryan is a lame duck so he can no longer be effective as House speaker.

According to the piece, Ryan wants out to...spend more time with his family.  That's a hackneyed reason, all right, and usually reserved for someone who's going out in disgrace.  Politico supported it a little by citing Ryan's knowledge that he doesn't come from long-lived stock.  Well, maybe.  What it forgets is that Ryan is a fitness and vitamin fanatic, a PGX man, so the sappy claim could just as easily be baloney.

After that, it's no longer about family when Politico veers to the real reason Ryan supposedly wants out:

The best part of this scenario, people close to the speaker emphasize: He wouldn't have to share the ballot with Trump again in 2020.

Oh, yawn.  Ryan has already shown he can take care of himself.  There have been ups and downs, periods of discord with Trump, but by and large, the two work effectively and well together.  Ryan comes up with the legislation, and Trump signs it; that's all the two of them ever need to do together anyway.  There's no reason Ryan should be worried about Trump, let alone "sharing" anything with him.  He is what he is, and Trump is what he is, too.  When Ryan gets unhappy about something Trump says or tweets, Ryan makes his feelings known.  The two are never tied together electorally.

Here's what the hit is more likely about.

Ryan got the tax reform through the House.  He also got the multiple Obamacare repeals through the House (the problem there was the egomaniacs in the Senate).  He has major plans to reform entitlements in the coming year – this could include the Chilean Model to make Social Security work for consumers instead of just serve as a slush fund for Congress, as is the case now.  He's an achiever.  He's effective.  He's the Democrats' worst nightmare.  If he achieves these, his accomplishments will be historic, because many have tried to scale those mountains and ended up in a puddle of sludge.  Ryan, who is a green eyeshades man, is probably the best congressional leader to get these reforms through.

More to the point, Trump wants him to stay.  Trump is well known for recognizing talent, and Ryan, by and large, has been a good colleague for Trump.  Ryan has been serious about getting most of the Trump agenda through as well as keeping the intelligence investigations going, wherever they lead.  Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday that President Trump would be "very unhappy" if Ryan left office, and Ryan assured him that the report is dreck and they could expect to work together for a long time.

What could this hit have been really about?  Portraying Ryan as a lame duck, just by these anonymously sourced leaks.  Nobody pays attention to lame ducks, and fundraising dries up, as the Politico piece archly notes.  Now that Ryan is denying that he is leaving, and couldn't possibly be telling the truth in their minds, Politico and the rest of the leftist press want to keep the speculation percolating.  Make him a lame duck without his being lame duck to make the recognizably effective Ryan ineffective.  Ryan isn't giving them what they want by saying he is leaving, so anonymously sourced reports will have to do. 

The swamp defends its own, don't you know.

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