With this week's announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice presidential choice, the countdown has officially begun. We've seen the opening act and the full cast of characters is now in place.
If you paid attention, the campaign began Sunday with the usual suspects on the political talkfests.
As best I can determine, here is the game plan for Re-election '12. We'll just call it the Politics of Destruction starring Barack Obama as president.
* Portray Christians and conservatives as radical isolationists out of touch with today's society. Keep reminding us that our daily sacrifices and compassion are not nearly enough to solve our nation's problems.
But never address the shortcomings of those who benefit from those sacrifices. You must understand that to point out the discrepancies of production and responsibility is somehow racist or uncaring.
* When your record of accomplishments is filled with failures and mistakes, simply lie.
That's right, lie!
Why not? The overwhelming majority of voters lack the ability to see through those lies.
This is possible only if you have a compliant national media who by design trumpet your record with blind obedience.
* Destroy your opponent. Don't simply illustrate the differences in positions. Destroy.
Control the national dialogue during each daily news cycle with negative claims and outright distortions. All it takes is that very same national media willing to sacrifice the truth for personal gain.
* Cloak your campaign in lofty yet empty slogans. Hope and Change has clearly worn out its welcome. But there is still tired rhetoric - like Forward - that conveys some mysterious vision of actual progress instead of stagnant promises.
* Always promote class warfare. By dividing and polarizing the providers and the takers, you shift the attention away from universal problems. But that's OK because following the election you'll have more "flexibility."
* Always hide behind your handlers. When they lie with their outlandish claims, you can arrogantly remain above the fray and disavow any knowledge of their misspoken charges.
* Reward the foot soldiers who carry your dirty water and do your dirty deeds. Promise them a seat at the table of power and fill that seat with money taken from hard-working Americans who share not your views.
* After four years of abject failure on any and all issues, maintain that veil of secrecy on your past and your future.
* Play every card in the deck - yes, including the race card - to shield, hide, ignore and cloud the truth.
It's Chicago-style Politics of Destruction. Hey, it worked once. Why not again!