I enjoy elections. People listening to issues, democracy in action, politicians pandering, all sorts of ads being run, scandals, gotcha moments, the inability to understand sarcasm, people taking words entirely out of context... never mind.
I enjoy elections.
One thing I've noticed about the 2012 presidential election cycle is that many commentators (such as this one) note that this year, candidates are off to a late start. In fact, today it was announced that the first republican debate was moved from May to September because so few candidates had formally announced.
The problem is that people's expectations are based upon the 2008 presidential election. It certainly is true that by this point in that election cycle, there were far more announced candidates. However, that year both democrats and republicans had to select a nominee, as a president was not running for reelection nor was a vice president in the race for the top job.
It's an entirely a different ballgame when candidates are lining up to face a sitting president.
In 2004, we had a situation similar to this election cycle. A president running for reelection (Bush) with it being up to the democrats to find a nominee.
Here is the announcement timeline for the major candidates in the 2004 cycle.
January 13, 2003 - Joe Lieberman
February 19, 2003 - Richard Gephardt
June 23, 2003 - Howard Dean
September 2, 2003 - John Kerry
September 16, 2003 - John Edwards
September 17, 2003 - Wesley Clark
September 22, 2003 - Carol Mosely Braun
October 13, 2003 - Dennis Kucinich
The majority of candidates announced after Labor Day. Not before Memorial Day.
Lieberman's relatively early announcement would have been because he was Al Gore's running mate so he already had the media baggage of the questioning if he'd run for the White House. He stated he would not run if Gore was running. On December 16, 2002 Gore announced he wasn't going to try again so about a month later, Lieberman made his announcement. He had to make it early.
As this point, Tim Pawlenty is the one declared republican candidate who if he had one ounce of charisma, wouldn't need to use a movie trailer as an introduction. (It certainly is an excellent piece and does manage to hit every possible segment of the republican base. Every. Single. One.)
People simply need to exercise some patience. The vast majority of Americans probably don't even realize next year is a presidential election year. Candidates this time know that. Candidates in 2004 knew that.
Please stop comparing 2012 to 2008. Thanks.