“I think we can all agree that the 2008 presidential campaign was too long.”
No we can’t.
I wish it would have started last week instead of next week. However, I agree public servants (Sitting Governors, Congressmen, and Senators) shouldn’t spend 14 months in Iowa campaigning to be president. That may put them at a disadvantage, but the perks they get holding office far outweigh their loss of campaign time due to their duties as public servants. Otherwise, I don’t know what is lost in learning more about the candidates. “New blood” (presidential candidates new to Iowa) is going to need that time for house visits and stops at the local restaurants in order to get well known.
Nothing is stopping them from announcing before the Ronald Reagan library debate in May(?). Fred Thompson waited until almost September of 2007 to announce, I believe, and by then it was almost too late. I expect Gingrich to dilly-dally like he always does and wait until everybody else is in or out. Otherwise, look for the first announcement any day now from the two new candidates most champing at the bit: Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum. They’ll have informal announcements and semi-formal statements and then finally the Big Announcement when it is all official. I predict Mitt Romney will announce in February, Mike Huckabee in March, and Sarah Palin in April. Who knows if and when Barbour, Thune, and the Indiana boys, Daniels and Pence, or others might jump in. Ron Paul (the Pat Paulsen? of our day) doesn’t need to announce, he is on a permanent quest. Romney will sit out Iowa.