Feb. 5, 2008: The Day That Will Eat the Rest of the Calendar

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Now that California’s Legislature has passed a bill moving its presidential primary up to Feb. 5, all that’s needed is the promised signature of Arnold Schwarzenegger. And while the rationale that shapes the headlines around the rest of the country is about California wanting a voice in choosing the presidential nominees, the legislators who passed the bill had (don’t they always?) their own political futures in mind. Many of them are far more focused on something else that will be on the ballot on 2/5/08: a measure that would get rid of the state’s term limits. By moving the presidential primary up to February, they could get the law changed in time to beat the filing deadline for their own primaries in June. California, by the way, is the largest of a dozen or so states that are considering moving their primaries to Feb. 5.

Meanwhile, watch for another scrambling of the dates, as New Hampshire seeks to reassert its own importance by moving its presidential primary up even earlier. At this rate, they might as well just start voting now.