House Speaker Paul Ryan is in Cleveland this week for the Republican National Convention, where his party will formally nominate Donald Trump for president.
It’s been a divisive electoral season, and Ryan has his eye on party unity. So in a visit with Texas delegates, Ryan wanted to build bridges. Maybe he succeeded, but not without making a super weird college football analogy.
From Jonathan Tilove of the Austin American-Statesman:
.@SpeakerRyan "When you advance to a national championship don't you root for a Longhorn if you're an Aggie? Start thinking that way."— jonathantilove (@JTiloveTX) July 19, 2016
Ryan is probably talking about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who won his home state in the Republican primary but ultimately lost soundly to Trump. The two have been nasty toward each other, and Cruz still hasn’t endorsed Trump, and it makes sense that Ryan would want to have Texas delegates be as enthusiastic about this as possible.
But, seriously, what?
There may have been a time – long, long ago, in the days when Texas and Texas A&M shared the Big 12 – when one school mildly benefited from the other’s success. But that never made too much sense, because the schools recruit against each other for all of Texas’ best players and each really likes it when the other one is bad.
The Texas delegates apparently were having none of Ryan’s joke:
Now that Texas A&M is in the SEC, which ostensibly competes (successfully, usually) with the Big 12 for a lot of southern talent and spots in the College Football Playoff, there’s practically no reason A&M folks would start rooting for the Longhorns under any circumstance, or vice versa. It would be wholly irrational, because they are mortal enemies.
Ryan apparently tried this tack out with North Carolina delegates, too.
In another Tuesday talk, he told them this, via WRAL.com.
"OK, how many of you are for NC State, primarily? How many of you are for North Carolina?" he asked. "One of our teams from our state goes to the championship, we root for them, right?"
Delegates told him they did not, and Ryan responded with typical smoothness.
"Come on, work with me here," he said. "Jeez. Good grief."
Yes, Paul. Good grief