It’s not the primary season yet, but there are no fewer than 18 candidates (19, if you count Fred Thompson, and let’s face it, we should count him), so I can’t help but think of this as “primary season.” And I have a few random thoughts on primary season.

One thought is, I’m dead sick and tired of all the talk about electing men folks would be “comfortable having a beer with.” We can see where that’s gotten us in the last six and a half years–in a world of trouble. I don’t want to elect an “ordinary guy” who I can have a beer with; I want to elect an extraordinary guy (or woman) who I feel comfortable seeing the Queen of England having a white-tie dinner with. When we think back on Presidential greatness, we’re not thinking of the “ordinary guys,” we’re thinking of Lincoln and Washington and Roosevelt, who were extraordinary.

So all you people who are voting for someone because he seems “likable?” You’re idiots, and you helped get us into this mess. Next time, vote for someone you think will do a good job. You’re not electing your next housemate here, you’re electing the leader of the free world. Get a grip.

As the primaries are lurching into view, we’re seeing the usual round of stories about how unfair it is that the big states like California are trying to move their primary up so that it actually, heaven forfend, counts for something. Lots of stories about the evils of the “national primary,” and so on.

The logic here seems to be that everyone should get a chance to meet the candidates, that a long primary season gives people a chance to weed out the obvious losers, and that the problem with a “national primary” is that there won’t be a chance for everyone to have a chance to make their choice among a bunch of different candidates.

Punditocracy, let me clue you: I lived in California for 25 years, and by the time the primaries rolled around to us–the most populous, diverse state in the Union, mind you–there were no choices. The primaries were done. Do you really think that if California had the first primary in the nation rather than New Hampshire, Mondale would have been nominated in 1984? Or Dukakis–Dukakis!–in 1988? Please.

If you pundits want to blame someone, stop harshing on the people of California, and lay your blame where it belongs, on those stubborn Yankees in New Hampshire. Why on Earth does it make sense for a state with a population of just over 1 million, with a median income of over 57 grand a year–highest in the nation!–and a population that is overwhelming white–over 97%–to have so much influence on who is President for a diverse country of 300 million people? More influence than California? Or New York? Or Florida? That’s idiotic. It’s time for the pundits to stop blaming the residents of the other states for trying to gain some influence, and start turning their collective gimlet eye on New Hampshire and ask the obvious question: what the heck makes them so special?

And don’t even get me started on Iowa.

I don’t have anything personal against Iowa or New Hampshire. Honest. I have relatives in New Hampshire, and my Mom was born there. I just think it’s insane that politicians spend more time there than, say, Texas (population 21 million).