The permanent campaign

The Washington Post‘s Dan Balz takes a look at the efforts by Iowa and New Hampshire to preserve their spots at the head of the line in the presidential nomination process as other states try to get in on the action, even if it means starting things before New Year’s Eve hangovers have dissapated:

[It] guarantees the longest-ever general election in the nation’s history, a costly, negative nine-month marathon that will exhaust the candidates and try the patience of a public that has been paying extraordinarily close attention to this campaign for almost a year already. It’s no way to elect a president, particularly at a critical moment in the country’s history.

Whether the public will lose its "patience" over nine months is an intriguing question. After all, practically every other democracy in the world has official opposition-party leaders all the time, not just during campaign seasons. Perhaps it would be a useful experiment for the US to try that model out for a while.