• DieselDemon

Such is the import of Leap Day that I can’t recall having noticed its existence four, eight, or 12 years ago, or beyond. It coincides, fortuitously, with the presidential election cycle, providing one extra day of talk about whatever issues candidates are most passionate about—this year, contraception, Islamism, Saul Alinsky, child labor, etc. Is it only February? I sifted through some New York Times archives to investigate the issues of the day four and eight years ago: In 2008 Barack Obama’s opponents in the race were really starting to unload on him, with Hillary Clinton comparing “his promise of change to celestial choirs” and the Tennessee Republican Party going out of its way to make sure his middle name, Hussein, stuck to his campaign. (It was around this time that the party published, then regretted, pictures of Obama in “a traditional African outfit,” according to the Times.) On February 29, 2004, John Kerry was the front-runner in the race, seeking sound bites: “Mr. Kerry, after all, is the kind of orator for whom sound bites can become four-course meals, so anything that fits on a bumper sticker, or even a banner, is a blessing.”