The good news is that in just a month something--the Iowa caucuses--will actually happen and we'll have results to talk about, not just guesswork, pundit opining and polls.
The other good news is that the newest poll in Iowa shows it may be a real race. The Des Moines Register's poll--which pollsters agree is a careful one--shows Barack Obama three points ahead of Hillary Clinton and five ahead of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4%, so the poll doesn't tell you who's in front--that's all within the margin of error--but it does tell you there's a real fight going on.
Same on the Republican side. Arkansan Mike Huckabee leads Mitt Romney, 29--24% with New York's Rudolph Giuliani third at 13%. Again, Huckabee and Romney are within the margin of error, but clearly it's a competitive race and Huckabee, a Baptist minister, has some weapons in a state where Christian conservatives are an important part of the GOP.
It's good, for those of us who want an exciting race, to see that the national frontrunners, Clinton and Giuliani, seem to have a Iowa fight on their hands. They seem to think so too. Clinton has stepped up her attacks on Obama concentrating, oddly enough, on his health care proposal. Oddly because the one actual governmental chore Sen. Clinton was in charge of during her husband's presidency was the health care plan he proposed early in his first term. It was, of course, a complete and total flop. I remember one Republican senator--was it Domenici, I'm not sure--who used to love to haul out on the Senate floor a diagram of what he said was the Clinton health proposal. It had more boxes than Yankee stadium connected by a mass of lines that Albert Einstein would have had trouble figuring out. The Republicans loved it and it worked.
And going negative may not help Clinton; Iowa voters are less fond of that stuff than voters in some other states.
No matter. A month from today we'll have winners and losers. I can't wait.