You know it's coming.
Whether or not the convention will be a brokered one, when Romney, Santorum or a long shot has it sewn up, it will arrive.
There's a reason it takes two men to operate the Frank Luntz suit. One to dream the stuff up and the other to reach around and pull it out.
Did you catch the Daily Show a couple weeks ago where they played a clip of the morning Fox people reading from the day's talking points memo? The one that all the insiders get? By Stewart's reckoning, Gretchen shot Steve the look which tipped all their hands, all the way back to the messaging brain trust.
Similarly the other evening on Real Time with Bill Maher, Michael Steele dismissed Obama's potential for capitalizing on primary battle video clips and others' opposition research by saying matter of factly that there would come the inevitable reset.
Typically, he twinkled and mugged for the camera.
Reset is no stranger to the Democrats. "There you go again," Dukakis in a tank, Gore - earth tones, Kerry - orange. Those were the distracting shiny objects. Resets, done well, are revealed predominantly through 20/20 hindsight.
Recall how WMD was the last in a line of floated casus belli and the one which finally stuck. When there were no WMD, it was bad intel, etc., etc., but hey, anyway, we were over there to spread freedom AND liberty, to paraphrase the honky-tonk scene in Blues Brothers. "Democratization" had been one of the things floated which had been the most soundly rejected during the run-up, some would say march, others stampede to war.
By 2004, it had become cause for a surge, a double-down, and before any debate could begin in earnest, there were endless procrastinations awaiting recommendations from generals. Real people were dreaming that tactic up for political reasons.
Should have been a slam dunk, in the parlance of the times, to remove a sorry crowd of reckless spenders, liars and war criminals in 2004.
In a thousand more words, with sentences ending mostly in commas, I could articulate why Kerry was an unfortunate representative for the Democrats. (Don't forget, there was that monotone.)
That his status as combat veteran didn't serve up the intended immunity from talk of "appeasers" and such is mostly a testament to the news show producer's miracle in a can: the swift boat nonsense. "Look over there, a bunny," as it's been called on these pages.
Say what you will, Kerry had more courage on the matter than many of his colleagues in the halls of Congress.
The more insidious part of it all was that actual history, that of votes, policies, positions and speechifying was quashed by the likes of Mary Matalin and the rest of the "cabal."
I can still summon that whiny plea not to go back over all that already settled stuff.
Insidious because there was no hint of the morning's talking points memo when she spoke. It was what she passed off as reasoned conversation, though it was laden with non sequitur and tautology. But it stuck, and that's what counts most in a reset.
No, it was not a settled matter and deserved to be litigated in an honest to goodness election. Perhaps Kerry's mannerisms were easy to spoof but his ideas were more in line with what has become known with hindsight as the best interests of the country.
Who knows this time what kind of pivot the eventual nominee will execute, that's the point of vigilance, but there'll be a whole lot of changed positions and outright lying at its core, no matter the candidate.
That is the reset Mr. Steele spoke of so you know it's coming. (That man is walking Pentothal.)
The real pros will supplant the likes of Steele and Fox and Friends. And as at the cinema, their efforts will depend on you not seeing the frames.
"Romney is a businessman who knows how to turn the country around" could be reset from "knows how to get whatever machinery is at hand to work in favor of his stakeholders."
"Santorum's record is one of outstanding accomplishments and sympathy for ordinary folks" might be the attempt for a reset from a laundry list of whacky bullshit and frothy searches, though I don't think even the most persuasive PR firm could pull that off. (Then again, there was that whole Double-Down Sandwich thing at KFC.)
"Gingrich: man of destiny for our time" will need to be reset from "the celebrity candidate who survived longer than any other, through puffery and appealing to the worst in all of us."
"Ladies and gentlemen, a consistent, principled warrior for our party, p-l-e-a-s-e put your hands together for D-o-c-t-o-r Ron Paul" requires no reset.