It's not enough to have the regular stress for Christmas. You know, the usual fighting with people in the stores, dealing with family, finding meaning in the reason for the season and crap like that. Add some snowy weather. Don't forget poorly plowed streets. Don't even get me started on the tax/government service connection (or lack thereof). Snowstorms every other day and cold temperatures despite global warming. It's enough to drive anyone insane. However, it is Christmas, and you try to keep your spirits up. Good luck.
This year for the first time in our lives, we have the added pressure of deciding who we are going to vote for next November. A little more than a week past Christmas is the Iowa caucus, followed shortly by the New Hampshire primary. Just in time for Christmas, we should be getting the first of a long, and weary campaign advertisements. As the race gets tighter, there will be more negative advertising. We have said in the past that we do not like negative campaigning. However, polls have shown that it works, so it's going to be around. And it's going to be around for a long time this year.
By the time the primary election comes to Wisconsin, we won't want to make up our own minds, we will want to hop on the bandwagon. This means that in a few short weeks, we will know who we want nominees to be. In that short a time do we really want to rubber stamp the decisions made in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida? One would hope not. We still have nine candidates to choose from by then? Don't let Dennis Kucinich drop out. America needs pointy ears.
What have we done for our presidential selection process? I think we're well on our way to ruining it. Perhaps by 2012, we will have made enough mistakes to learn from and to change it for the better. But until that we have to contend with 2008. As a political scientist, I find few subjects more interesting than presidential politics. However, I think there's a values judgment that has to be made on whether we want to spend our Christmas and shortly there after being bombarded with recorded phone calls and negative advertising. There's plenty of time for that after Labor Day.