Up and down and all around the 2012 Republican presidential campaign has gone. It has probably been the craziest nominating race in the last generation.
Not many trees have been sacrificed to describe this year’s Democratic primary campaign, as Barack Obama is the fourth president in the last four decades to run unopposed for renomination. Running without primary opposition put his three fortunate predecessors on the path to reelection. And for Obama, it is a very considerable asset in his 2012 campaign.
There is probably no greater gulf between perception and reality in a presidential campaign than in the opening weeks of the primary season. And that is certainly the case these days in the 2012 Republican contest.
One of the benefits of living in the Northeast is that one can easily travel to New Hampshire before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary and take in the wares of the presidential candidates. This past weekend, a friend and former colleague from Congressional Quarterly joined me for our fourth quadrennial trek to the Granite State. We took in rallies for four candidates: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. Regretfully, the geographical layout of events ruled out seeing Jon Huntsman.