A New Look at 2008 Politics

By: Garrett M. Graff

Even with the November 2008 presidential election some 22 months away and with the first primaries and caucuses a year away, most of the top candidates are up and running—churning out press releases, hiring scores of staff, opening state operations, and holding event after event on the campaign trail.  

All of the activity and speculation is generating reams of political coverage from the mainstream media, bloggers, cable news talk shows, and now, new for 2008, YouTube videos. Even the people whose job it is to follow the political landscape have a hard time keeping up. Famously in Timothy Crouse's book on the 1968 campaign, "The Boys on the Bus," the correspondents would rush to Walter Mears of the Associated Press and ask what the big story was—how the AP covered a story was how everyone would cover the story. "Walter, Walter, what's my lead?" they'd shout on the campaign press bus. Now each day there are dozens of story lines to follow, blogs to surf, magazines and newspapers to read, and dozens of hours of cable news babble. It's too much to process.

Recognizing that the story of the campaign—and its eventual outcome—is critical to many Washingtonians, we're going to try to boil each week's developments down for you in a Friday column. We're going to call it "8 on ’08"—the top eight things you need to know about the presidential campaign this week.

Memorize this column each Friday and you'll be able to hold your own with any full-time political operative at a cocktail party over the weekend.