It may be 17 months to the first presidential primary, but the contenders are lining up thick and fast in both parties.

The New Yorker magazine this week featured a positive look at Vice President Joe Biden in a cover story focusing heavily on the Irish American’s mellow manner and his ability to forge friendships, especially with foreign leaders and political opponents, which could prove vital.

It pointed out the drawbacks too. Biden will be 74 on inauguration day in 2017, but currently he looks fit as a fiddle and on top of his game.

Biden is not the only Irish American reaching for the brass ring of course. There is Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland who is one of the few confirmed runners in 2016.

O’Malley will be coming off the position of leader of the Democratic Governor’s Association, a powerful platform that Bill Clinton used as his springboard.

O’Malley was recently testing the waters with a trip to the first caucus state of Iowa and by all reports he did very well.

Then there is the 800 pound gorilla, Hillary Clinton who, while not Irish American certainly has deserved the status of honorary one with her extraordinary work on Irish issues, most notably the peace process.

Hillary’s biggest problem is the 'inevitability' factor, which doomed her in 2008 when unranked outsider Barack Obama came out of nowhere to deny her the nomination.

Avoiding a coronation will be Hillary’s immediate task. She needs Democratic opponents, as the GOP will be right ready for her when their own primary season is over.

Over on the Republican side a key frontrunner is Paul Ryan, who has often referred to his Irish heritage and is exceptionally well briefed on it.

CBS News reports that Ryan will be one of seven GOP hopefuls heading for the Iowa State Fair in a few weeks time, even though the election is a long ways off.

As a former VP candidate on the Romney ticket, Ryan is well versed in the black arts of running for president and will have that distinct advantage over many of his rivals.

Then there is Chris Christie, the son of a father with Irish and Scottish roots and a Sicilian mother. The roly-poly governor of New Jersey has seen his share of political setbacks in recent times with the blocked bridge fiasco, but on a recent visit to Iowa he was very well received.

All to play for then and the distinct possibility that there will be an Irish American incumbent in the White House in January 2017.

Let the battle begin.