You know how every year the stores put up Christmas trees earlier and earlier, and yet you are still surprised when they show up the last week of September rather than the first week of October? Shocker!
The same goes with elections, apparently.
I knew it was coming, I just didn't want to admit to myself that it might happen quite this fast.
Wednesday morning, I got my first email pumping a candidate for the presidential election, which is two years distant. If you are keeping track, that was exactly 13 hours after the polls closed on the last election. In fact, I had not quite gotten all the dirt and propaganda out of my mailbox on that one yet.
I figured it was coming, this next campaign, but my naive Peter Pan mind had wanted to think that it might be a couple of months, so that we could catch our breath. Or at least a week. A day would have been nice. Maybe we could have at least gotten brunch in before it started.
Rest assured, this will be one of the longest campaigns in the history of mankind, and likely the most expensive. Backbiting is not as cheap as it used to be.
Republicans smell the blood in the water, and they are going to come out of the woodwork in an attempt for the grand trifecta. Owning both houses of Congress and the White House would give their agenda clear sailing.
Plenty of familiar names are waiting in the wings - Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry. Ben Carson has some conservative buzz and is out there this week making noises like a candidate.
On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton may be the only life preserver in the shark-infested waters surrounding Pennsylvania Avenue, and Demos are going to have to learn how to swim, fast. If she runs, she will have a chance of making history and shattering a glass ceiling forever. And if she decides not to go through the campaign bloodbath again, well, welcome to the one-party system. At least for a while.
I suppose Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who has been basically running for a year, could be the heir apparent on the blue side. Or if people are looking for a more populist approach, craggy, independent Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders would slide over to the donkeys in a heartbeat if asked. There are a few other names out there - Senator Mark Warner, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O'Malley, but Mrs. Clinton would bury any of them in a primary and not bat an eye.
At any rate, the burning question in most everyone's minds at the moment is, "Who flipping cares?"
It's been a long and savage midterm campaign, at least here in Iowa. Politics is the last thing we want to think about for the next six months, at least. Candidates coming out of the box too early run the risk of just plain ticking us off. Please, let us go back to watching our commercials about erectile dysfunction pills and little animated reptiles selling cut-rate insurance in peace.
Of course, politics isn't a patient animal, and about three minutes after the GOP takes control of Congress, were going to start hearing the the "I" word. Fox News isn't waiting, it has already framed discussion hypothesizing that President Obama, seething over party losses, will become reckless and even provoke a bid for his own impeachment, just to regain some attention. Doubt that, but frustration is likely to boil over.
Republicans say they don't want to have to impeach Obama. Suuuuure they don't. Just like I don't want to be on a beach in the Bahamas right now. They don't want it so much that they bring it up on a daily basis.
Will the Republicans have any intention of bipartisanship? Will Democrats recover from their shellshock in time to contribute anything?
Obama is left on a small island. If he makes it to the end of the term, it will be a long, hard swim against the tide.
Obama shows no intention of backing off his plans and being satisfied to pass time working on his putting game and programming soft jazz into his iPod. "Going out with guns blazing," as one commentator puts it. Rest assured, fire will be returned, lots and lots of it.