Few things look sillier to me in newspaper retirement than breathless newspaper speculation about who will win the major party presidential nominations in 2016.starting gates

I used to do it myself, of course. It’s standard fare for politics writers and editors. And speculation is one of the easiest forms of journalism. But, these days, I tend to yawn as the horses chomp on their bits on the way to the starting gate.

I’ve been more worried about breathing two-days worth of wind-driven New Mexico pollen and dust.

So, I didn’t study hard when I came across this headline this morning in the New York Times:

The G.O.P. Presidential Field Looks Chaotic. It’s Not”

Neither was I blown away when I read in the Times that:

Lincoln Chafee Explores Presidential Run as a Democrat

“With no advance warning, the Democratic race for president got a surprise new contender on Thursday.”

I wouldn’t call my reaction surprise, although I was prompted to remind myself on the Internet that Rhode Island (4), where Chaffee is a former governor and U.S. senator, has one fewer electoral votes than New Mexico (5). It’s not a state that gives you much of a head start.

I was slightly saddened to read, though, that, “Mr. Chafee’s news caught political observers off guard.” Speculators always hate being scooped by the horse’s mouth, even if the quote news, as in this case, is only a quote exploratory move.

And I am glad there is no chaos in the Republican presidential field, according to the Times.  But even there were, I think I might just wait and see who’s left standing. From an entertainment perspective, things haven’t yet reached the rhetorical level of a pre-fight weigh-in.

I didn’t bother to look for the latest Hillary Clinton news. I figure at least two or three feverish stories will come my way before the day is out.

I’m interested in who’s lining up at the gate, but I’m also aware that the nominations — although often predetermined — won’t be formally made until July of 2016.

As for voter participation, I sense that I won’t have much impact in the interim, as the big wheels of campaign finance and get rolling and media provide plenty of gas for trial balloons.

Nor do I feel like I’m going to get much individual attention in this period of candidates testing waters thick with self-importance.

I still get Internet pleas for money from all kinds of candidates — probably because I am registered as an independent — and I was a little indignant when I got a note that began this way from Rand Paul  — on the very day he told us he would run:

“Dear John: I don’t have much time … “

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