I begin with a really astonishing fact: the serious - real folks' actual voting - presidential season begins two weeks from today. That's when the good people in Iowa – Republicans only this time, of course – hold their famous caucuses. Sit in your neighbor's living room and try to determine who the next president should be.
Democrats have no voice in this, of course. They have a president who presumably is seeking a second term. The betting here is that he gets it. But that's beside the point.
Iowa is a good state in which to start things. Iowans are well educated voters who by and large like the process and have elected over recent years intelligent Republicans like Charles Grassley and Democrats like Harold Hughes.
This time Republicans can choose from amongst a varied if disappointing field: Mitt Romney (Gertrude Stein's old line keeps running through my mind, "There is no there there"); Rick Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, may be wondering just where his "there" went; Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker. He seems like a long shot this time around. There may be just too much "there." He may be the darling of the moment of the party's right, but that doesn't guarantee a thing.
Anyway, it will be a lot of fun. First the Iowa caucuses then the New Hampshire primary, South Carolina, Florida, etc – until, by golly, there's a nominee.
The view from is that he – or she – Michelle Bachmann, remember – will face an uphill fight. But so what? It's all good, clean American fun. Let the games begin!
Morton is a retired political reporter who worked in Washington for CBS News from 1964-1993 and for CNN from 1993-2006. He attended his first political convention in 1960 and has been to most of them since then.