A Never Ending Race

As a political junkie I am amazed at how I feel over the presidential nominating process in our country.  It is not a good feeling. 

We have never seen anything like this Presidential season.  With truly open and competitive races for both the Democratic and Republican nominations, high tech campaigning, tons of cash to spend, and an electorate that is angry, we are primed for election season.  Right? 

Well to be honest I feel awkward even writing about the Presidential race in January of 2007.  In fact, I have offered few posts as of yet on my blog about this cycle. It just seems way to early to be amassing funds, hiring political gunslingers, and holding Presidential debates.   The first debates are less than 3 months away!  CNN has been promoting them for a couple weeks, but to me if all feels like we should be in January 2008. 

I understand the ‘need’ to get ones campaign out of the starting gate early, tap the funds, hire the best advisers and staff that can be afforded….and yet…..and yet….

I was amused that every political reporter this past weekend was trying to better understand what real intentions Rudy Giuliani has in this contest.  He has set up an exploratory committee and is raising funds, but will give up lucrative speaking and consulting fees if he chooses to run for the White House.  One could almost hear the panic in some of the reporter’s voices, I mean after all this is already January 2007!  He should decide….and decide soon!

Every presidential election year I pull Teddy White’s much beloved book, “The Making Of The President 1960” off my shelves.  It is a brilliant read with a wonderful view of the way we elected a damn fine President just 47 years ago.  To be fair the Republican nominee that year was also ready for the leadership job.  The nominating process was intense and meaningful, but not a never-ending marathon.  As we move the political process ahead this cycle so that the nominee will be all but picked in early February 2008, it is nice to read White’s grand narrative of the wild West Virginia primary between John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey that was held…oh my gosh…on May 10th, 1960!  If only Humphrey had started his campaign blitz in January of 1959 he might have prevailed.

I do not think I am alone in my nostalgic feelings for how we elected Presidents just a few decades ago.  We have done this to ourselves and I am quite sure that we do not have finer leaders or more highly qualified candidates as a result of placing the California primary in February.  Worse still are the local reasons that California legislators are pushing for the early primary vote.  They hope to revamp the system of creating legislative boundaries along with other such actions, and need the voters to give support. As a result the date for the California presidential primary, which will be extremely expensive, will be impacting not only this cycle but will heavily influence other presidential cycles.  That ill serves those candidates with a message, but not the needed money to buy television ads in the western state at such an early date in the nominating process.

I would argue that the best and brightest in the country have no stomach for the marathon madness for the nomination that we have created, even though they might be the most capable of leading our nation. If I love politics and have these thoughts, what about the folks Jay Leno talks with on his “Jaywalking” segments?  Anyone want to bet that this early start actually works to undermine voter turnout in November…….2008?

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One thought on “A Never Ending Race

  1. Other countries announce an election and hold it six to eight weeks later. Why do we need two years for a process that produces duds like Bush? Maybe we need a law forbidding the raising of funds for Presidential campaigns until at least January of election year.

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