John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The Kids’ Table

Posted on July 8, 2015
Governor of Florida Jeb Bush at Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Oklahoma City, OK May 2015 by Michael Vadon 01

By Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

(From the Wall Street Journal's Think Tank)

When it comes to the Republican primary debates, every presidential contender wants to be among the top 10 who would qualify for the first two nationally televised debates–the campaign equivalent of sitting at the adults’ table.

But right now, the kids’ table looks much more interesting.

Think about it: Among the top 10 right now, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, are Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker.

The bottom eight includes Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Chris Christie, and Carly Fiorina.

I’m sure that Jeb Bush is happy to be atop the latest polls, but I bet that when the first Republican debate convenes on Aug. 7, he would rather be going toe to toe with John Kasich and Lindsey Graham, having a substantive discussion about the country’s future, than debating amid the theatrics of Donald Trump.

It’s easy to see a verbal food fight erupting at the so-called adults’ table.

Donald Trump is, to be charitable, unpredictable. Ted Cruz is predictable, but not in a good way. Who knows what will come from Ben Carson? Rand Paul is more libertarian than Republican. And Mike Huckabee has shown a willingness to say just about anything to draw attention to himself.

Now, imagine the debate that could erupt at the kids’ table on how to actually govern a big state, how hard it has been to implement Obamacare, how balancing the budget without raising taxes is darn-near impossible–but how it can be done. Or, say those candidates talk about how we have to deal with our looming entitlement crisis, how Republicans can win in deeply blue states such as New York, how to effectively expand a business, or what we need to do to address national security threats.

In boxing, there are typically several fights–the undercard, or preliminary bouts, and then the main event.

Sometimes the undercard battles are much more interesting than the title fight. That certainly could be the case for the GOP presidential primaries.