I imagine most people are still discussing last Tuesday’s historic election results, and all the implications of the massive and imminent change in leadership at the federal level. I hear people talk about taxes, about gun control, and about Rahm Emanuel’s “bulldog” reputation. (Along with bulls, bears, donkeys and elephants, the 2008 election saw dog metaphors become a permanent part of the political lexicon – especially after Barack Obama referred to himself as a mutt last week.) But in talking to my parents over the weekend I also notice another common theme in election discussions: how unbelievably long this entire election felt, and how very grateful most feel that it’s finally over, and we can devote large swathes of our brains to equally important matters like the current lack of snow on Big Mountain. My mother said this felt like the longest election in her lifetime, and we talked about why: mainly because Democrats like Obama and Hillary Clinton had so much money they started campaigning two years ago, and the fact that current Pres. George W. Bush is so deeply unpopular, he’s been a diminished presence in the office for years, making it feel as if a new leader was imminent even when it was two years off.
And it sure doesn’t feel as though these cycles of permanent campaigning are set to shorten up any time soon, especially not with headlines like Politico’s story about the GOP gearing up for 2012, with more Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney file photos, made me want to crawl under the bed and softly sob for a few hours. I’m not ready for this. I just don’t want to think about it. Can’t we think about the state Legislature for a while? Or just watch sports?
Too bad — just look around.
Two potential candidates will be in Iowa before month’s end, multiple prospects — almost certainly including Sarah Palin — will make high-profile appearances this week at the Republican Governors Association meeting, and Newt Gingrich’s name has already been floated in a Bob Novak column.
For a party anxious to move past a brutal election up and down the ballot, and especially a presidential campaign it would just as soon forget, it’s not too soon to start thinking about “next time,” as the pros call it.
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