Guy Benson
The Washington Post is getting cranky:  Why isn't 'Battle 2012' already churning into high gear among possible Republican contenders?

The first Republican debate has been announced. The early media handicapping has begun. Anticipation in the political community is running high. By those signs, the curtain is set to rise on the 2012 GOP presidential campaign. But what about the candidates?

At this point four years ago, the race for the White House was already in high gear. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) filed his declaration of candidacy soon after the 2006 midterm elections. Barack Obama, then just a junior senator from Illinois, stirred Democratic hearts during a December trip to New Hampshire. Talented operatives spent the final months of the year juggling offers from rival campaigns in a furious bid to sign up staff.

In contrast to all that, the Republicans' 2012 campaign is off to a less-hurried start.

The Post goes on to offer the theory that perhaps Republicans' slower pace represents a "breath of sanity" in today's often-frantic political culture.  Perhaps, but the media is doing its best to inject some early insanity into the process.  My friend Hugh Hewitt isn't having any of it:

With all due respect to Nancy Reagan, her proposal that the first Republican debate of the 2012 season be held at the Reagan Library in the spring of 2011 is worse than a nonstarter. The country needs to focus on the hugely important congressional debates this spring, not on made-for-MSM, liberal-dominated GOP wrestling matches.

The idea is itself an insult to conservative activists and new media. A quick rejection by GOP candidates of the presumptuous declaration of inevitability by and NBC that they would be in charge would go a long way toward recognizing that these outlets, like most of the Beltway-Manhattan media elite, went in the tank for President Obama in 2008 and won't be allowed to dictate the terms of the 2012 presidential race.

Hugh has an alternative in mind, which he and I discussed on his radio program last week:

Objectively, what would get more ratings and be more interesting, a panel of Brian Williams and John Harris and Anderson Cooper asking eight Republicans questions, or a panel of Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Medved -- four different radio networks -- asking the same people questions?

The answer to his question, I think, is a no-brainer.

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography