Is There Still Time?

The Washington Post says that “there is a real question as to whether [Texas governor Rick] Perry has waited too long” to begin a presidential campaign. And that Sarah Palin is dithering “even as the window for announcing narrows” and “time is running out for her.” Fox News agrees that “time is running out” for any new presidential candidates.

That’s the conventional wisdom. But I’m old enough to think about history.

Barry Goldwater announced his candidacy for president on January 3, 1964, about nine weeks before the New Hampshire primary. A decade later, Ronald Reagan announced his challenge to President Gerald Ford on November 20, 1975. After that unsuccessful race, he announced another, this time successful candidacy, on November 13, 1979.

I’m not suggesting that Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, or Chris Christie is another Ronald Reagan or even another Goldwater. Nor am I unaware of the changes in the campaign process. But I do wonder if a candidate with real appeal really has to announce his or her candidacy so many months before earlier candidates did.