It just keeps getting earlier and earlier, doesn't it? Barack Obama has not even served one-fifth of his second term as president. But if you read the papers Friday, you would have thought we were deep into 2016 campaign mode. Over at The Hill, you would have seen a recap of David Axelrod proclaiming Hilary Clinton the winner of the Democratic presidential primary. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, neither of whom represents a state located anywhere near Iowa, are off to talk to crowds of future Iowa caucus voters... presumably to pledge their devotion to ethanol subsidies and generally say anything and everything they believe will make that particular class of Iowans like them.
It is somewhat amusing to hear Axelrod pontificate about how Clinton has the nomination locked up, because if I recall correctly, he diced her to pieces in 2008 for having just that kind of hubris. It all seems so neat now, but I suspect that the Democratic Party establishment is going to come out of this looking like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown (Clinton) once they realize that she is old and has an immense amount of history that Republicans (and fellow Democrats) can and will use to make her trip to the top of the political mountain excruciatingly painful, if not wholly impossible.
And then you have Cruz and Paul, two relatively inexperienced but talented favorites of the far right of the Republican Party base taking their acts to Iowa, where they will no doubt play well. But you have to ask yourself: Is this really how you show you are presidential material? Has our political system really become all sizzle and no steak, to the point where our talented elected officials feel that the best way for them to make a name for themselves three years out of the next election is talking in Iowa rather than being a rainmaker in the Senate?
I suppose our current president's political past more or less answers that question. But as so many before me have observed, if the perpetual campaign never stops long enough for the candidates to, you know, actually govern, how the hell are we to know which candidates to vote for?
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- How Hillary Clinton's 'smart power' turned Libya into a dumpster fire
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