It reminds me of a conversation I was having with a friend at lunch. This is a friend who gets very involved in Democratic politics and has hosted numerous political fundraiser and actually does have the proverbial "friends in high places," making it not proverbial at all, but very real. He was feel very morose about the prospect of Hilary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president. He didn't dislike her, though there were things about her that he wasn't crazy about, he was just saying that he thought she was the wrong person to lead the ticket and wouldn't be able to win. All through the meal he was getting more down by the forkful. (Actually, chopsticksful...)
I kept trying to buck up at least his spirits by pointing out that it was soooo extremely early in the process. (I wasn't remotely as much against a Hilary-for-President campaign as he was, but I did want a cheerier lunch companion.) No, no, he kept saying, she has SO much more money than anyone, no one comes close to her in the polls, she's got the nomination. She's the one. Again, I kept trying to explain that in all my political watching, things can change all the time, that that's the problem with early polls, people can only say they'll vote for a name they've heard of, and they usually say the name who's most familiar, but candidates who are lesser-known pop up later all the time, and often win.
It did no good. No, he'd say, she's much, much, much too far ahead. She had far, far, far too much money. And there's no one else. No one. Further, he's talked with his friends in Washington, and that's what they tell him. The nomination is Hilary's. She's got it. They know. They're experts. She's the nominee. It's over.
Nothing I could say would budge him from that one inch. My insistence that presidential campaigns this far in advance were meaningless -- was meaningless. No, not in this case, he was adamant. Hilary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president.
And then Barack Obama announced his candidacy.
Okay, so our lunch was eight years ago. But still, that was the conversation.
And the point still holds. It's just far too early in the process. We have no idea what will happen in the world. No idea how issues will change. No idea who will announce that they're running. Nobody outside of Georgia had even heard of Jimmy Carter when he said he was running for the nomination. "Jimmy who?" was the joke. A few years later, he was president.
My friend likes Hilary Clinton much more these days. But that's moot. She is far ahead. She does have far more money. But it's ridiculous to pay much attention to that almost three years ahead of the next Democratic convention. Much too much can change. Sorry, I mean, will change. That's not to say that Hilary Clinton won't be the Democratic nominee, and a terrific one. Or whatever. It's just -- well...
It would be nice for her to at least announce that she's running first.