No matter what happened to your candidates, you might be thinking today that yesterday's election marks the beginning of a respite from campaign politics. If you live in a country with a parliamentary system – England or Australia, for example – you would be correct.
But not in the United States. I clearly remember groaning on the morning after the 2006 midterm election when I heard someone say then-senator Hillary Clinton was throwing her hat in the ring for the 2008 presidential campaign.
And so it goes with 24/7/365 political maneuvering. The presidential campaign of 2012 kicks off today.
Actually, it began several weeks ago. Some pundit recently said that one or more Democrats would challenge President Obama for the nomination. Someone might try, but such a bid won't go anywhere. On the other hand, there is no dearth of Republicans who are already staking their claims.
The most unavoidable potential candidate is Sarah Palin. In recent polls, only 27 percent believe she is qualified to be president, but many more Republicans think otherwise and she has been warming up for it with several announcements that she will run under certain circumstances.
In April, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the 2012 Southern Republican Leadership Straw Poll and he's got a lot of money left over from his previous run for the presidential nomination.
Mike Huckabee came in second to John McCain in the 2008 Republican primary and he said then that he was not ruling out a future run. He is at least as popular among Republicans as Palin and Romney.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been trying to burnish his much-tarnished image during this midterm for a possible run for the nomination.
Others you will hear from: Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, Jeb Bush and Lindsay Graham.
But beyond the annoyance factor, none of that matters right now. No one had heard of Palin until 2008 and there is no way to know yet who will come out of the Republican woodwork during 2011.
There is also this: no matter who is the Republican nominee, the biggest variable for the 2012 election will be what happens to the economy next year and how the new Republican majority in the House behaves.
If they shut down the federal government as some have threatened and/or if GOP Senator Mitch McConnell sticks with his threat (“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”), which he repeated on television yesterday, and creates gridlock in Congress, expect a lot of drama in Washington.
Nothing ever changes in the perpetual campaign machine; we the public get not a moment's rest from them.
Just what you wanted to hear this morning, right? And here in Oregon, yesterday's election continues - we don't have a new governor yet.
UPATE AT 5:55AM PT: CNN just released the results of an exit poll question announcing that respondents yesterday preferred Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, in that order, as the 2012 Republican nominee. I'm tired already.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mickey Roger: Men Can Shop Too