Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Must Be Crazy, Too

Because the first thing I thought of when I heard this was, "Yeah, the primaries did go on longer when I was a kid."

But they also formally started later. And they were generally not preceded with a "pre-season" of such interminable length, and certainly not with intensity of coverage more akin to that accorded to a formal season.

I don't know. I suppose I could be crazy (though I'm not personally thinking of it in terms of being "crazy," actually). But I don't think so, and I don't think I'm much wrong, either, in seeing a real difference.
"Formally" was not a misstype, by the way. It's what I meant. But "formerly" also applies. Some sort of combination seems reasonably enough appropriate, to me at least.
The attention paid to the Iowa caucuses is--relatively speaking--a more recent thing than that paid to the New Hampshire primary. The attention paid to the Iowa caucuses really dates back only the early '70s. Even so, though its date has varied, the 2008 date was the earliest ever by a little over two weeks (sounds like not a lot, but it really is, in context); and it frequently took place in February.

As for New Hampshire, which took place this year on Jan. 8, its history as "first-in-the-nation" primary goes back farther by a couple of decades. And that history shows that it was hold in March through 1972 (March 12, in 1968, for example). After that, it was held in February, until 2004, when it broke the January barrier by taking place on Jan. 28th.

This year, of course, it took place on Jan. 8.


Interestingly, the dates of national conventions--on both the Democratic and Republican sides--have varied widely, both within in the parties AND in comparison to each other in specific years. Each has taken place as early as in the first week of July and as late as the end of August.

On the Dem side, just to pique interest:

2008 - Scheduled to start Aug. 25.
2004 - Started July 26.
2000 - Started Aug. 14
1992 - Started July 13.
1968 - Started Aug. 26.
1960 - Started July 11.

On the GOP side:

2008 - Scheduled to start Sept. 1
2004 - Started Aug. 30.
2000 - Started July 31.
1992 - Started Aug. 17
1968 - Started Aug. 5.
1960 - Started July 25.

Traditionally, the primary season's end was marked by the start of the first convention of either party, unless I'm much mistaken (with a bit of breather, in terms of national, as opposed to intra-party, mostly behind closed doors, campaigning and machinations). And certainly in terms of the voters, who got a respite.
Gosh, don't know why I'm going on like this, on your blog. I mean, my intention was not assault you with data! And I don't have a problem with your original reaction, either. I guess, for whatever reason, what's been niggling at me, beneath the surface, about potential (actual) apples-to-orange comparisons happened to burst forth, just now (and when I actually also had a few minutes to verify, I guess).

I'm sorry, Melinda; accidentally, I think I just used you as a bystander. (And yet, at the same time, I thank you.)
Reader_Iam turns Historian_Iam...and thanks!

You're right, the primaries do begin earlier now. And unlike Hillary, you took the time to do the research.

And a lot more fanfare now than I remember in the '60s, even in that controversial 1968. True, I was in my early double-digits then, but I was old enough to remember it being a pretty momentous year news event-wise.
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