Debra J. Saunders

With a tsunami primary, there will be no such tradition. And even winning a particular state won't matter as much because the compacted schedule is so tight, there's no time for momentum. With the compacted timetable, Cost noted, candidates "don't have the time to parlay a win" from Iowa or New Hampshire, unless they already have the early money to buy TV ads in Los Angeles or New York. In which case, they've done so.

As a result, if John Edwards or Mike Huckabee wins in Iowa, it might not help them. -- "You need to start spacing these events out," said Cost. -- The greed of state politicians has turned what used to be an orderly process into a free-for-all, as politicos, hungry to inflate their own importance, elbow their states to the front of the line.

I'm not saying the best candidates won't win. It could be that the eventual nominees would have prevailed under a host of circumstances because they offer primary voters what they most want. But there has to be a better way to schedule early contests so that the field whittles down gradually, and successful candidates, who didn't raise big money early on, have the opportunity to build momentum.

Sure, with Tsunami Tuesday, everyone participates, but so do people fleeing a nightclub in a fire. It's a free-for-all, with lots of scrambling and flailing, and everyone gets singed.

Debra J. Saunders

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