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Latarski: Three primaries and we're done
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As the man said who watched the mule dance: "That just ain't right."

Politics is never a simple thing to understand and when you are in an election it makes even less sense.

Think about this: Mitt Romney barely wins what is basically a straw poll in Iowa, a state about as diverse as a sack of roofing nails, then wins a primary in New Hampshire, a state with a population that would not fill up a collection of SEC stadiums.

Then he is the predicted winner in South Carolina, a state of limited dimensions and one that makes Georgia look progressive, and if he indeed wins in the Palmetto State the experts maintain the race for the Republican presidential nomination is over.

Makes you say, huh?

The Republican National convention, where they officially pick their candidate, is still seven months away with a plethora of primaries between now and then but the pundits and talking heads will declare the race over.

In fairness, they are probably right.

Rep. Ron Paul continues to be more entertaining than most late night talk show hosts but not as serious. Newt Gingrich's campaign looks like it is being guided by an Italian cruise line captain.

While money is the root of politics and what keeps campaigns going it is still dizzying to think three contests in January is all you need for the race to be over.
Were this true in sports we would have a whole new landscape.

Football could be played for one quarter, which would reduce injury and prolong careers of great players, but the games would probably be just as long because they would include the same number of commercials.

We could shorten baseball to two innings, thereby ending the game before you are compelled to buy a $7 hotdog and $9 beer.

Bowling could stop after three frames, greatly increasing the number of people who can brag about rolling a perfect game.

We could reduce golf from 18 holes to four. If nothing else this means fewer lost balls-maybe.

Shoot, we could even turn the Daytona 500 into the Daytona 33, although this would no doubt incur the wrath of some drivers and all the beer manufacturers.
And we should absolutely make basketball into a two minute game, since the last two minutes is usually the only time that matters anyway. This will give NBA players more time to spend at the tattoo parlor.

All of this would still make more sense than three races in January being given such massive importance it renders the rest of the election process moot.
This system makes the BCS look like it was created by people who knew what they were doing.

The reasons for this importance on the early races are not complex: some states want to be first; a shoestring candidate knows a good showing means money and momentum; a frontrunner can bury the competition; and the 24-hour news starved media has to fill its time with something.

Some might say it is a good thing to get the nominee in early but the downside is we still have to listen to all the speeches and campaigning, which is like having to listen to the official explain the rules before the coin toss. You really just want to get on with the main event.

But in politics things may never be as they seem. Nothing is written in stone and there can still be surprises lurking over the horizon. Just ask Hillary Clinton, who was considered the presumptive Democratic nominee from the outset all the way up to when she wasn't.

We still have a long way to go so no matter what happens in South Carolina it is just step number three in a long stairway that leads to November.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at