The 2008 presidential primary process is already a mess. And it could get even worse.
Too many states continue to jockey for position to try for more influence in the decision. They are making a mockery of selecting our leader and run the risk of turning off voters long before anyone casts a vote.
My colleague, David Broder of the Washington Post, had it right. He wrote that it borders on the criminal if the parties don't fix this by 2010. It is too late this year.
Florida took the first negative step by advancing its primary to January 29. The early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, followed by South Carolina and Nevada, may be tempted to move up their dates.
We may wind up with a caucus or primary before Christmas. Why not Halloween? That would be fitting.
The rush to judgment is already going on. Three debates, if you want to label them as such, have been held. Too many candidates were on stage and the TV audiences were probably limited to political junkies. Two more debates are scheduled for early June.
It is almost certain that we will know the names of the two nominees next February 5, when at least 20 states, including the biggies of California, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania, hold primaries.
Between February 5 and the two national conventions in late summer in Denver and Minneapolis, there will be a few more months of even heavier politicking.
There is certain to be a blizzard of negative TV ads and infomercials from February 5 and throughout the winter, spring, and early summer. It's called "defining" the opposition. Not a pretty picture.
By fall the weariness factor is likely to have set in, and turnout could be affected.
A series of four regional primaries spaced so candidates have time to catch their breath between them is one solution. The regions could be rotated so no one area is favored in every cycle.
The current system needs overhauling, and soon.