Is It August Already?

Living where I live and doing the kind of work I do makes it easy to forget that Washington, DC is almost a province of France when it comes to the regular observance of a long August holiday by the political and journalistic elites. It goes back to the days before air conditioning, when Washington was a miasmic swamp in late summer that anyone with the means to flee did so. And it’s been reinforced more recently by the need of Members of Congress to visit their states and districts before facing the music of an election or returning to DC for a final year-ending push of legislative activity (or inactivity).

Looking at the news landscape this morning, putting aside the shootings in Louisiana, you get the impression August has already begun. Many writers and gabbers are already off on vacation, and an air of somnolence has descended on many who remain. An example: I love love love Charlie Cook, one of those Washington institutions who has actually earned his exalted position. But his National Journal column today, explaining the four possible outcomes in November of 2016 if nothing complicated like a Donald Trump indie candidacy occurs, could have been written by Chauncey Gardiner.

At least Charlie didn’t phone in some “mood of America” piece about the big picture as seen from the Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard. We’ll get those soon enough. I’m looking at you, Thomas Friedman and David Brooks.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.