Roger L. Simon

The Long March

Obama Fever has obviously scared Hillary into the race early – and we are off on an excruciatingly long and expensive (the first billion dollar election) presidential campaign.

Is this all bad?

I don’t think so. As I wrote earlier, the modern presidency has turned into a pressure cooker almost beyond belief. The person who accedes to that semi-throne (heaven help him or her) had better be able to take it. Whoever they are, if they make it through two terms, the electorate is more than likely to be disgusted with them. A fair number were disgusted with Clinton, an even greater number with Bush. Some of this has to do with their policies and proclivities, but just as much may have to do with familiarity breeding the proverbial contempt.

So someone like Obama, an unknown only a few months ago, ought to be forced through more than a few hoops. And so should Hillary, even though we have seen her ability to stand by her man to a degree it is almost hard to fathom. A steel magnolia indeed, even if not strictly fro the South.

But, it strikes me some of this Long March may be shortened by some interesting news from California. Our legislature, with Arnold’s clear backing, is threatening to move the California Primary up to Feb 2008. Theoretically, that allows the victor in the most populous state to administer an early knockout blow to his or her opposition – or at least wound them substantially. Then the campaign simply limps forward for six dull months to the convention. This California turn of events strikes me as good news for Giuliani who should be popular here. I’m not as sure on the Democratic side, but I would imagine Hillary is happy, although I have heard on the grapevine that significant Hollywood figures (David Geffen) are falling for Obama.

Of note too is that Hillary announced her exploratory committee on her website. The battle of ’08 will obviously be fought to a greater degree than ever online.