Keyword: Joe Biden
The presence of Texas candidates for speaker notwithstanding, Paul Ryan decided he would take a stab at the least attractive job in American politics this week, leaving the state to make national news not by putting a Texan in the Speaker’s chair but by pushing the GOP’s ongoing attack on Planned Parenthood to a new level. Texas ideas nonetheless had their day in the Congress, as the Senate tried and failed to take up anti-Sanctuary City legislation. David Vitter at least probably appreciated the effort, but 2011 called and they want their issue back. In the presidential arena, House Republicans teamed up with Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb to give the Clinton campaign a good week, while over in the GOP George W. Bush is So. Over. Ted. Cruz. And wants you to know it, apparently. It didn’t seem, however, to do much good, as the GOP 2016 stories at week's end were about Carson surpassing Trump in Iowa polling while the Jeb! campaign moved to cut payroll costs.
Much of the week was filled with continuing storylines that are illuminated below with polling data and other graphics – attacks on Planned Parenthood, Ted Cruz's campaign for the Republican Presidential Nomination, more of Hillary Clinton's vexed run for the Democratic Presidential nomination, and another entry into the race for the House seat currently held by Speaker Joe Straus. The end of the week turned much more sadly serious with another mass shooting at a community college.
If Biden's rationale for entering the primary is to win the nomination, his only real chance (without guarantee of success) is for one of the most durable political figures of the last two-plus decades of American politics to be forced out of the race by circumstances. This is closer to the presidency than virtually anyone in America ever gets – but far from a sure thing for Biden.