Will He or Won’t He?

Will He or Won’t He?

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Will He or Won’t He?

Washington politics can be all consuming especially when the politicians in Congress are not in town to mess it up.  If they were there before they return after Labor Day from their summer recess, they would probably realize that they have too much to do and just thinking about it would send them back of some additional R & R.   

Beginning on September 8 Congress has scheduled eight business days in the month of September. During that time it must consider the appropriations bills which they need to enact before the end of September as well the likely necessity of raising the national debt ceiling. Both of these issues could set up a renewed confrontation between the two branches and the two parties over a possible federal government shut-down. There also are an array of substantive bills that need to be addressed plus by the middle of September key votes on the Iran deal will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile they will also be treated to the second Republican presidential debate on September 16 as well as watching the continuing saga of Joe Biden’s deliberations. In this regard there are a few signals emerging suggesting that that the Vice-President is leaning toward entering the race. His meeting over the weekend with Elizabeth Warren clearly suggested they both were doing more than spending a hot summer Sunday in D.C. Biden must have been determining whether she would run with him, thereby neutralizing or even freezing to some extent Bernie Sanders’ campaign and its appeal to the left and the young. At the same time he was signaling to Hillary voters that he was as eager for a woman to be President as her female supporters believed. (While it is not clear why Warren would want to perform either task, it is also a no-lose situation for her to entertain this race; which would only position her for a future run at very limited political cost and with high upside gain.) Similarly, the statement released by the White House after the regular Obama-Biden lunch on Monday indicated that President told his Vice-President that he had no problem if Biden took the plunge to succeed him. As for Biden should he opt out, he legitimately can do so citing serious family considerations.  

By the end of September Hillary knows she will be home free. Biden could not get organized in early state primaries/caucuses in time–he needs approximately 30 days to get a team in place; he immediately needs to mount a major fund-raising effort to get funds for own race as well as to stop his potential donors from continuing to support Hillary; and he needs to appear in the first Democratic Party presidential debate scheduled for October 13 in Nevada.

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