Attention, Campaign Press: It’s Still 2004

While many in the campaign press today focused on Sen. John Edwards’s motives for staying in the race — does he or doesn’t he really want to be the other half of a Kerry ticket — at least one scribe is looking ahead. Way ahead. Like 57 months.

Knight-Ridder’s Dana Hull, writing about Wesley Clark’s farewell, is already speculating in print about the 2008 Democratic lineup: Clinton (as in Sen. Hillary Rodham) and Clark.

Aren’t we forgetting something here, Dana? Last time we checked the Constitution, the president is allowed to hang around for eight years, voters willing. Depending on how this year’s election turns out, there could be a Democrat already sleeping at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2008, one not especially predisposed to pack up for the Clinton/Clark team.

Maybe that’s why wild predictions and pontifications are so rampant in this year’s campaign coverage; in a world in which the average attention span seems to be about 3.7 seconds, there’s no danger anyone will remember what you said today about tomorrow, much less what you said about four years from now.

Susan Q. Stranahan

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Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.