Monday, June 11, 2007
Most of the disadvantages of starting the presidential election campaign two years ahead of the presidential election have already been identified. But there's one I haven't seen mentioned. In theory, an election is decided at least in part by the positions a candidate takes on the issues. But the issues this country will be facing in November 2008, as well as the political landscape within which they'll be addressed, will undoubtedly have evolved between now and then. Which means that as things stand, the candidates are really campaigning on hypotheticals.
The consequence is not only to reinforce the importance of personality as opposed to policy as a criterion of selection. It also changes the sorts of policies that get debated, with the emphasis placed on exactly the sorts of longstanding, major-baggage issues -- ie. healthcare, foreign policy magic bullets, and the like -- that have the least chance of getting through the legislative process intact (see Comprehensive Immigration Reform).