After telling an insensitive and usually tasteless joke about some recent event, the stand-up comedian asks “Too soon?” when the audience groans. Anticipating a similar reaction on social media, someone posts “Too soon?” at the top of a meme. Well, if you have to ask…
Not that long ago, one of the safe topics for small talk, along with the weather and food, was how soon after Labor Day the department stores decorated for Christmas. The predictable comments would range from how it starts earlier every year to how unfortunate that the religious meaning of the season had been preempted by crass commercialism.
Actually, using the holidays to make money is nothing new. It’s been “Merry Chri$tmas” and “Happy Holiday$” as long as I can remember. But, it’s understandable that some want to give a nod to the idea that it’s “just too soon to start thinking about Christmas.”
People being people, we have to criticize each other and not just some unknown manager at the mall. As with so many things, I’ve mostly relied over the years on Mother’s sense of the appropriate in that home decorations for the holidays go up after Thanksgiving. But after the Covid Christmas of 2020, it just seemed wrong to deny joy to those who could find it in putting up their lights and trees. I’m not sure what “too soon” looks like in this arena, but I think I would still balk seeing Christmas lights while wearing white before Labor Day.
Sports enthusiasts start handicapping football, baseball and basketball teams sometimes before the various seasons even begin. (We’re in football season now, right?) On the other hand, movie buffs have been checking in with the various websites devoted to providing insight and predictions about the upcoming awards season. It’s never too soon for the fans of any of these games, is it?
Political junkies have an overwhelming number of open issues to watch. It’s not at all clear who the next speaker of the House will be, nor the price Kevin McCarthy is able to pay to get the job. An extra vote in the Senate is up for grabs in Georgia, and the only thing certain about the balance of power between the two parties is that it will be quite precarious.
Into this mix waddles Donald Trump to announce he’s again running for the Republican nomination for president on the 2024 ticket. His doing so seems akin to that guy at a party who cannonballs into the pool yelling “Let’s get this party started!” while most of the guest haven’t even finished their first cocktail. The splash gets some attention, but most of those at the party are more interested in what’s on offer at the buffet table.
Andrea Mitchell, commenting on the possibility of a Trump win in two years, noted that Richard Nixon in 1968 was the last successful candidate who had previously lost a presidential election. In fact, Nixon is the only one in well over a century that did it.
Theodore Roosevelt tried to get back into the White House in 1912, after choosing not to run for reelection in 1908. He lost. And he was Theodore Roosevelt. And then he was put on Mount Rushmore.
The only president to ever serve two nonconsecutive terms was Grover Cleveland, as many will recall from our high school American history classes. He’s kind of forgotten today, by all but serious historians, except for those two separate terms in office. Cleveland won the presidency in 1884 but lost it to Benjamin Harrison in 1888. There was a rematch with Harrison, also largely lost in history, in 1892, and Cleveland went back into office.
With that as historic precedent, Trump is seeking to pull a Grover Cleveland. But it might be worth noting that Cleveland won the popular vote in all three of those elections, a feat Trump has yet to perform once. No one alive served with Cleveland, knew him, or was friends with him. Still, Donald Trump is no Grover Cleveland.
The announcement this week, premature as it may be, seems to be both an offensive move against Rick DeSantis and a defensive one against Merrick Garland. Time will tell whether it proves effective on either front.
So while the “too soon” question awaits an answer, the more pertinent question might be whether Republicans and the general electorate have moved to the point of it being just, well, “too much.”