Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The Permanent Campaign. Too Permanent?

The WaPo has a story today which hints this fall's agenda will be driven by positioning for next fall's election. Which makes me wonder. Isn't this, the off year, supposed to be the time for governance? This is supposed to be the year they lead not the one in which the position and posture. For instance, Bush thinks it's a good idea (and a number of states practice) two year budgeting which takes place in the off year of the election cycle.
So what's going on? First, the idea of an off year has probably always been a bit of a myth. Particularly in today's enivronment of the permanent campaign. And there certainly is an important positioning role- setting up what will be at the top of your accomplishments chart when voters start paying attention (as it were) next spring/ summer. All that said, I can't help but think money is involved. By bringing home the bacon to your favorite constituencies (heaping favors on big energy or big healthcare, etc) does help the money chase which lubricates the campaign season. If the cash hunt were less important, how much less would candidates be concerned about positioning for the election this Labor Day?


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