It is no secret -- although it may surprise many political junkies -- that most voters pay only passing attention to a presidential race before Labor Day in an election year.
One recently publicized poll statistic, which found more than 60 percent of adults could not name a single member of the U.S. Supreme Court, reflects part of the answer: High percentages of Americans also can't name their members of Congress and other well-publicized officials, so interest in the duties of democracy is far from universal.
But there is also a logic to waiting until the battle is finally joined in earnest between the candidates of the two major political parties. Now that is the case, following Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention -- it will be Mr. Romney and President Obama, head-to-head, toe-to-toe, from now on.
As we had hoped, Mr. Romney, the most moderate of the Republican candidates for the nomination, has been chosen. Despite becoming increasingly right-wing, the GOP has selected likely the one person who might appeal to enough moderates to win nationally -- the real name of the game in presidential politics.
That his assertions about President Obama's role in the economic downturn and his performance on the international scene were mostly pure Republican spin matters little. Voters know that both sides are spinning everything and try to lock in on the candidate they think shares, down deep somewhere, their beliefs. No one really expects the president -- or any politician on the national level -- to deliver exactly as promised.
While we don't believe Mr. Romney or his party have offered viable solutions to the economic and debt problems, or international issues such as our response to Iran, Russia and China, we would expect him to edge back toward moderation -- as he did as governor of Massachusetts -- if elected president. That is about as good a prospect as voters can expect in the current fierce political climate.
However, we also believe the president has shown he better understands the need for a balance between taxes and spending -- and between the tax burden for the wealthy and the rest of the nation. But most importantly, he has been president four years, and despite some naivety early in his first term about the ability to hammer out compromises with his opposition, he now conducts himself like an experienced president.
Changing presidents after only four years -- bringing in another person to begin the learning process all over again -- seems far too great a risk and counterproductive if we want to solve any of our pressing national problems. And the only ones who believe Mr. Obama is responsible for all the nation's ills, particularly the economic ones, or is incompetent are hard partisans from the other side.
Trust us on this, no matter your political viewpoint: Mr. Romney -- despite his haughty claims otherwise -- would not have any more of a clue how to be the president of the United States than any other man who has carried that crushing burden. It would be back to having a rookie president all over again. And rookies, no matter how good, rarely make it to World Series stardom in their first year.