This week’s Think Again column is called “The Conservative Class Warfare Against Free Speech” and it focuses on Republican efforts to control academic research and writing, here.
Now here’s Reed:
Playing for Time (and Money)
While T.S. Eliot famously called April the “cruellest month,” it’s anything but for two distinct segments of American society: baseball fans and, in recent, alternating odd-numbered years, those few individuals who have somehow convinced themselves that they would actually want the job of President of the United States. For both the former, which count me as among the afflicted, and the latter, this time of year is usually all about eternal hope and making open, unqualified pledges of devotion to one’s cause.
But something’s gone awry with the political calendar this year and, perhaps not surprisingly, the Beltway press wasn’t prepared for it. Reversing a recent trend for earlier and earlier starts to the primary season, this cycle nearly every legitimate Republican candidate for president (and even those who are decidedly not so legitimate) has so far shown little interest in publicly declaring his or her candidacy. (Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, when not churning out ridiculous, chest-thumping videos in apparent homage to Michael Bay movie trailers, has at least announced the formation of an exploratory committee.) Indeed, the GOP hopefuls are so coquettish about their intentions this election cycle that the traditional first Republican primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Library, which attracted 10 candidates in early May of 2007, had to be postponed this week due to a lack of official invitees.
Of course, jumping in early and polling well the year prior to a presidential election doesn’t guarantee success in the eventual primaries, let alone Election Day, just ask Rudy Giuliani. So, it’s perhaps understandable if potential candidates continue to hedge their bets a bit, especially since the past two years haven’t been kind to any of the GOP frontrunners’ approval ratings. What’s more, this coyness also allows them to strategically deflect some of the typical campaign trail media spotlight and, no doubt, gives a few of those with no real shot at the nomination something of an ego boost.
But among Republican presidential hopefuls, this newfound hesitancy to officially join the race is less about peaking too early or controlling their message and more about the adapting to a radically different fundraising environment, as this McClatchy article points out: