City of Roses
Newt Gingrich won't get my vote, but I do absolutely agree with him on that point, and applaud him for speaking earnestly about what this early election cycle is "really" about.
There's two things that are especially detrimental about these election campaigns over a year in advance. Firstly, like I already said, it's laying the gauntlet for a further centralization of power and a sort of cultural campaign oligarchy as I like to think of it, where the establishment favorites as presented in the 24/7 news media cycle stand like mighty alabaster walls to all the other aspiring candidates, where it would take much more than a pogo stick for the secondary candidates to even peek their heads over that wall so they can get noticed by the press and Americans who desire strongly to have all their options available to them.
Forgive me if I'm sounding especially blunt here, but there's no adjective I see more fitting to this whole circus than "vanity". It seems the Clinton and Obama campaigns are in many ways more interested in competing for the campaign donation pool in Hollywood, and the McCain and Romney campaigns are more interested in dishing out the contributions from the Jerry Falwells and James Dobsons, than getting to heart with everyday Americans and talking about the issues openly. I'm not attacking every candidate who has already launched their campaigns personally, but I AM attacking the lack of integrity and genuinity to their campaigns.
Which leads into my second point on what makes this so dangerous, and that is that it's designed as a red herring from talking about the current issues. The 24/7 media cycle was already beginning to talk about the 2008 campaign BEFORE the 2006 mid-term elections occurred, and now whenever I blitz by "Hardball" for instance every now and then, I see three-quarters of the program every day talking about the 2008 presidential campaign, with scant mentionings of issues currently being debated in Congress such as VA funding, renewable energy and the Walter Reed hospital controversy. It's barely any better on most other television programs.
There's a book I highly recommend to everyone here, and that is "The Vanishing Voter: Public Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty" by Thomas E. Patterson. There's a chapter in there dedicated to how Americans surveyed say the long election season disheartens them and believe it's dangerous to democracy.
That's also precisely why many states are being pressured to move up their primary dates into January and February of next year. You have the Iowa Caucus scheduled for January 14th, the Nevada Caucus January 19th, the New Hampshire Primary January 22nd and the South Carolina Primary January 29th as has been the case for decades, yet you also have virtually every other state wrestling for a primary the week following the South Carolina primary for "Super Tuesday", and Super Tuesday is an absolutely cynical and dangerous concept in that in every state where primaries are held later, you have citizens left feeling as though their vote is worthless, that the nomination has already been decided, and because of that many voters stay home and don't participate in the primaries or the caucuses and won't do anything until the two party's conventions come around in the late summer.
We have primaries for a purpose; to test our candidates. Barry Goldwater didn't secure the GOP nomination for president in 1964 until he beat his closest rival Nelson Rockefeller in the California primary that June. (and Goldwater lost in New Hampshire). Edward Muskie was the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination in 1972, yet growing opposition to the Vietnam war affected him, and finally his campaign collapsed in the New Hampshire primary when he cried. And Pat Buchanan in 1992 was heavily successful in the GOP New Hampshire primary, but didn't claim the party's nomination.
Can you imagine what could have happened if all these states had moved up their primary dates to February back then? Barry Goldwater would probably never have been the GOP nomination in 1964. The Democratic nomination could have been anyone in 1972. And Pat Buchanan could have very well pulled an upset in 1992, with those being just several examples.
Heck, Bill Clinton himself was behind in the Democratic primaries until making a comeback in the very end (I know, I know, it's a comeback story you don't enjoy and regret ever happened, LOL!). But the point is, Paul Tsongas had won New Hampshire, and would have gotten away with the nomination had all the primaries been lumped together as states are trying to do now.
I think it's frightening that since 1984, the candidate who has raised the most money prior to the opening primaries and caucuses has won every single nominating race. I remain optimistic that the 24/7 media cycle is underestimating the American public and they desire to see what the underdogs have to say, but as Jim Morrison said, "Whoever controls the media controls the mind." and they have literally decided virtually every party nomination for the past two decades.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"