I know you have been waiting for it. Now it's finally happened. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has picked a date for the state's primary: Jan. 8.
So here's how it goes: Iowa Democrats and Republicans caucus on Jan. 3, the same night as the Orange Bowl. Then five days later, New Hampshire holds the first primary in the nation. Five days is not much time, perhaps just barely enough for a single newsweekly cover, depending on production schedules.
After New Hampshire, there will be a seven-day lull before Republicans vote in Michigan on Jan. 15. (Most Democrats are not on the ballot there, making it a moot election for them.) Four days after that, on Jan. 19, Nevada will hold its caucuses, while Republicans in South Carolina hold a primary. The Democratic primary in South Carolina is set for Jan. 26.
By then, the nation will either know the identity of its presidential nominees, or it won't. And the American public will either still be paying attention, or they will be totally engrossed by another season of "American Idol," where everything makes a lot more sense.