So, the best thing about being a college professor has to be the terrific students who love this poli-sci-rrific stuff as much as we do. And into the fold comes Nicholas, who brought his WaPo article to my attention today: The Invisible Primary begins in earnest. And thank you, Nicholas, who just earned extra credit points towards his final grade.
Now, anyone who knows me know that I loath the term "earnest" for reasons too personal to address here (you know what you did, Ernie!) but in this case I will give the word a pass, because it fits so well. We have begun the Invisible Primary in earnest. Who says so? Apparently... the pollsters, and "The Fix" of the Washington Post who felt fealty towards the horse race strong enough to go ahead and lay down some odds so freakin' early on in the game. Hence the love of the I.P. Please allow me to nugget it down for you, so you can skip your daily dose of Cillizza and get to the good stuff - catching up on "House of Cards.":
1) Most notably, the Fix skipped the Dems all together for now, making the passive-aggressive argument that Hillary was the one to beat (has he been reading this blog? Was he the one who asked what I was wearing? Oh Chris. You flatter.) and so it was a top 10 list of GOPers on the hunt.
2) The Boring Were Named for Intellectual Street Cred: You have your Thune, Kasich, Pence, and Portmans (Portmen? And why so many from Ohio?) who bring the brains to the operation and portend weighty conversations about budgets and balances that the rest of the electorate finds tedious. Yet important. but mostly boring.
3) The Rock Stars Were Named for Readability: We have our Ryans (again!), the Bushes (again!) and the Christies (again!) who are kicking ass and taking names. Oh, Paul Ryan - we loved your abs so much in the 2012 Veep-Stakes, maybe we will see you in 2016? Our Twitter feeds hope so. Jeb - everyone knew you were the smart one. Maybe our Bush fatigue has lessened - no wait. No, it hasn't. We still hate your family for destroying the world. Sorry! And good luck with that e-mail hacking thing, because that just stinks and you guys don't deserve that. Yeesh. And Chris - love, love, love the way you take command. So go ahead and make our day: Change the conversation about you, please. And thanks.
4) Bobby Jindall - if I may steal a line from a mediocre political move: You are the future of the Republican Party, And you always will be.
5) And finally: My man Marco. Giving the response to the SOTU on Tuesday! How freakin' COOL is THAT! Oh - but ask Bobby about the perils of that limelight. Sometimes it burns. You can do it, Marco Rubio! Everyone says you can! But the problems with the Invisible Primary? Sometimes "everyone" is wrong.
So, ladies & gentlemen, we have our all-male Republican review. Now that the top ten slate has been posted, let's watch how these men use the actual Invisible Primary mechanisms to advance their campaign and earn the positive media attention they are so obsessive about. Of course, it is still so incredibly early to cancel any other possible contenders, just as it is too early to lay odds at the horse race. But such is the joy of the Invisible Primary: So much time, so little to do.
Wait. Reverse that.