"After 10 days off the grid on vacation in Hawaii, President Obama returned to Washington on Tuesday morning and is scheduled to dive right into the prime order of business for 2012: his re–election effort."
In a matter of hours, Iowa Republicans will hold their caucuses.
The mettle of the candidates' campaign organizations will be put to the test as they attempt to mobilize their people and get them out to their caucus locations, whatever they may be — churches, schools, libraries, living rooms — and make sure that all the people who are slated to give speeches on their behalf are accounted for and ready to go.
That's the task at hand. Fortunately, the weather is pretty decent — by Iowa standards — so that should help.
It's the first official movement in the grueling process of choosing a candidate to run for president, but it's a grind that usually only one party must face. Typically, one of the two parties has an incumbent — or the incumbent's vice president — running, and that incumbent (or his surrogate) ordinarily does not have a challenger.
That's not always true. Sometimes, incumbents have drawn significant opposition, and it is possible that neither party's nominee In 2008, no incumbent president was in the race, and no incumbent vice president was running. Consequently, both nominations were up for grabs.
But that is quite rare. Usually, all the fun is on one side. This year, all the fun is on the Republican side.
And, typically, the incumbent, the one who faces no challenge or (pardon the expression) token opposition within his own party, sits back and lets the other party have the attention. But one should never underestimate Barack Obama's narcissistic craving for the spotlight.
David Nakamura of the Washington Post reports that, although "White House aides insist that the president is focused on 'task at hand,' " the president will address his supporters in Iowa tonight via the internet.
His remarks are scheduled for the middle of the evening, during the — wait for it — Democratic caucuses.
Huh? Democratic caucuses? Really? Who's challenging Obama for the Iowa delegates? Uncommitted?
The "task at hand," since the president constantly needs to be reminded of it, is putting this country back to work. There is still much work to be done in that regard. It's work Obama was elected to do but has mostly ignored since taking office — until winning votes again became important to him.
Neither Obama nor his supporters should be deceived by the 8.6% unemployment rate the Department of Labor reported last month. It will be a couple of months before the unemployment rate tells us whether that decline in joblessness was as permanent as anything is anymore or merely the seasonal hiring that is typical of the Christmas season.
It's good that the president is back in Washington. That's where this heavy lifting needs to be done.
Not on the internet chatting with folks in a nonexistent caucus in Iowa.