2012 presidential election starts this weekend. Really?(Read article summary)
On Saturday, members of New Hampshire's GOP leadership will vote in a straw poll on possible GOP candidates in the 2012 presidential election.
The 2012 presidential election â€“ does it start in earnest this weekend? Kind of. On Saturday, New Hampshire Republican State Committee members will vote in their first-ever straw poll for GOP presidential candidates. Take that, Iowa!
Yes, the Granite Stateâ€™s first-in-the-nation primary wonâ€™t occur for more than a year. Before that are Iowaâ€™s caucuses â€“ which New Englanders consider to be suspiciously vague and thus not a real election â€“ and those wonâ€™t happen until Feb. 6, 2012.
Rudolph Giuliani said on MSNBC Thursday that heâ€™s considering another bid. Itâ€™s been awhile since 2008: Perhaps GOP voters have forgotten that heâ€™s a moderate. Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, appears to be trying to position himself for something national. New Hampshirites might like him, as heâ€™s used to their weather.
Plus, someone named Herman Cain has been appearing on cable chat shows talking about a potential 2012 run, saying the party needs a businesspersonâ€™s perspective. (No, Mr. Cain did not write â€śThe Caine Mutiny.â€ť That was Herman Wouk. Cain is a former CEO of Godfatherâ€™s Pizza.)
Anyway, this weekend the 493 members of the New Hampshire GOP leadership will meet at Pinkerton Academy in Derry to elect a new state chairman. While theyâ€™re at it, theyâ€™ll participate in a ballot sponsored by ABC News and local WMUR television.
The ballot will have a list of some 20 of the most-mentioned possible candidates. Voters will get to mark their first and second choice. They will also reportedly be asked to name what they think the first priority of the next president should be.
Since itâ€™s New Hampshire, and itâ€™s January, we think â€śspeed up global warmingâ€ť might get some votes.
While this process is far from scientific and the sample size is small, you can be sure that those who do well in this poll will trumpet it as a triumph. Since itâ€™s so early, candidates will get to define victory in whatever way they want. For Cain, getting maybe two votes could be considered a win, for instance. So in that sense, it is indeed part of the electoral continuum that begins around now, or maybe began some time ago, and will culminate in November 2012.
After the winners are announced, the assembled committee members will rise as one and sing the state song, â€śOld New Hampshire.â€ť
Just kidding. But as a bonus weâ€™ll leave you with the song chorus:
Old New Hampshire, Old New Hampshire
Old New Hampshire Grand and Great
We will sing of Old New Hampshire,
Of the dear old Granite State.