Less than three months before the first votes are cast for president, states and parties are still leapfrogging backward. Not only is the nominating calendar not yet set in stone, it is not even set in mud.
The Republican primary in Iowa has been moved back to Jan. 3, and the Democratic Party in South Carolina is trying to get its primary moved to Jan. 26. What's next? Primaries for 2012 starting in December 2008?
I have a modest primary proposal: Just eliminate the general election of 2008. People such as Fred Thompson, who hasn't raised much money, and Sen. John McCain, who appears to have none, would have more time to raise funds for 2012. Mitt Romney might not have to dip so deep into his personal checkbook for millions of dollars. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama could each accumulate four years of interest on their more than $30 million war chests.
Ah, you say - but who would be president come January 2009? Easy. Let the Supreme Court assign the office to former Vice President Al Gore. After all, he won the popular vote in 2000. Look at this as a sort of consolation prize. Besides, he has used his time to good advantage since 2000: He grew and shaved off a beard and won an Academy Award for his first movie. Oh yeah, and that Nobel thing too.
Just think: Moving the next election to 2012 would let us get on with the pressing business at hand: Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Palestinian-Israeli dialogue, health care, Larry Craig's restroom habits and gold medals for the Dalai Lama. The list goes on. Plus, we'd have a person with experience in the Executive Office.
So, when it comes to Campaign 2008, just say no! And if you sticklers for democracy are uncomfortable with the Supreme Court naming someone president - well, it has played a similar role before, remember? Al certainly does.
Harrison White is client services director for an architectural firm in Binghamton, N.Y., and a freelance writer. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.