John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Big Decisions for Ryan And Biden

Posted on October 16, 2015
P101112ps-488 Air Force One Obama watches VP debate

By Official White House Photo by Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Was it only three years ago that they were both Vice Presidential candidates?

How strange it is that Paul Ryan and Joe Biden are playing central roles in the political discussions that currently dominate Washington?

Will he or won’t he?

Will Joe Biden get in the race or will he give Hillary a largely unobstructed path to the White House?

Will Paul Ryan bail out the Republicans and become Speaker of the House, and in the process, make it more difficult for him to make his own way to the Oval Office.

When these two clashed in the Vice Presidential debate of 2012, it reminded me of an Irish Thanksgiving dinner, where Uncle Joe, with a few too many nips of the good stuff, lectured the young whippersnapper on how life really was

And then there was the youngish Ryan, earnest and ideological, silently rolling his eyes at another story of how things used to be.

Family considerations seem to be compelling in both of their decisions.

Joe wants to do good by his son Beau, who apparently asked him to run for President on his death bed.

Paul wants no part of traveling 50 weekends of the year and missing his young children as they play soccer and baseball and football while he raises money for a bunch of greedy members of Congress who also ask for stuff but rarely give up their voting cards willingly.

Is Joe ready for a run, after such an emotional roller-coaster?

Is Paul willing to run, given the circus that has devolved slowly and then all of a sudden in the House?

For Joe Biden, the path to the White House is not clear. He has a formidable challenger in Hillary Clinton, who cleaned up in the first Democratic debate and seems to have weathered the email squall.

For Paul Ryan, the Speaker’s chair beckons, a job for which he is the only interviewee. Yes, there are some storm clouds on the horizon. Ryan has some haters on the far right and on the far left, but that goes with the territory of being a leader.

Biden must wonder if his current job, which was once compared to a warm bucket of piss, is as high as he will go. Joe has been a Senator since he was a teenager, and he must think that he could do the job a lot better than his current boss.

Ryan like his job as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, a position once held by Dan Rostenkowski, Wilbur Mills, Bill Archer, and Bill Thomas. But outside of Rosty, who ended up spending some time in the pokey, does anybody really remembers any of those characters?

The real power in the House lies in the Speaker’s gavel, especially as the House is currently constructed, and Mr. Ryan is serious about wanted to get things done, he will jump at the chance to follow in the footsteps of John Boehner.

It is really a shame that you don’t get weekends off when you get to be Speaker, but the job comes with other perks that certainly will bring the family closer together.

I think that Biden will decline to run, because his path is so uncertain, while Ryan will decide to take the bird in the hand, because being Speaker of the House really is a fun job, no matter how hard it is to keep the knuckleheads in line.

Of course, I could be completely wrong on both counts. But that’s why this blog is called The Feehery Theory and not The Feehery Fact.