As the year comes to a close and we prepare for what will no doubt be an election year to remember, you just can’t help but wonder how we got through this one?  Pretty much the same way we’ve gotten through the last two; one haggard breath at a time.  The nation’s debt is closing in on $15 trillion.  That’s nearly triple what it was 12 years ago.  And $5 trillion of that has happened under President Obama.  What a legacy.  Jimmy Carter, take heart.  You are no longer the worst president we’ve ever had.

So what should we expect in the coming year?  Let’s just take this one step at a time.  How about January?  The Iowa caucus is January 3; then we have primaries in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida on January 10, 21 and 31 respectively.  Whew!  A whirlwind month for politics, all things considered.  The polls are making us all nuts.  Gingrich, Romney and Paul have been jockeying for top spot for what seems like an eternity already.  Now, Santorum is on the rise.  Has anyone actually seen Governor Perry in the last couple of weeks?  And why is Huntsman even hanging around?  Is he keeping Michele Bachmann company?  The Texas primary doesn’t come around until April.  We’ve got lots of ground to cover between now and then.

I don’t know what to believe in the polling and neither do you.  So much of what comes out of the polling depends on what went into it.  Was it a robo-poll?  Did a human actually talk to another human?  Who was polled?  How many angry people were called during dinner and just hung up the phone?  Was the pollster standing outside a Macy’s or a Wal-Mart?  Oh you can bend and twist and contort these things anyway you like.  What matters is how the poll influences your vote.  There is some evidence to suggest that the top dog in the polls is more likely to get your vote in the primary.  But, then, again, there is just as much to suggest you pay more attention to the individuals these days than who the media and their respective polls.  My latest poll suggests a telephone poll could win this election.

The roller coaster ride has really just begun.  To borrow a title from a Grateful Dead album, it’s going to be a long, strange trip y’all!  Happy New Year!