The reason has nothing to do with when the primaries were scheduled. The early primaries were a symptom, not a cause. The cause is Bush.(Hat tip: Ross Douthat)
Meanwhile, The New York Times agrees with Continetti that Bush is "one of the most consequential presidents in history," albeit for different reasons. An editorial from today's newspaper asserts that, with just 77 days left,
President Bush’s aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations... few for the good... Last month, Attorney General Michael Mukasey rushed out new guidelines for the F.B.I. that permit agents to use chillingly intrusive techniques to collect information on Americans even where there is no evidence of wrongdoing.That's the tip of the iceberg. Read the full column here. And don't forget the War on Terror, which, like a Murakami character, continues to mutate and expand during the waning days of Bush's reign.