The Dartmouth College Presidential Debate begins the season

In all likelihood, the president of the United States in 2013 will be Barack Obama, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney. This is a historic moment and it begins at Dartmouth College next Tuesday, with its presidential debate. That is where the Republican contest begins. Potentially, it is where the century will begin.

What is historically significant about this race is that the Eastern Establishment and the Bush/Cheney/Rove faction does not have a horse in this race. If President Obama wins a second term they will be back in 2016 unless something happens in the interim; there is a strong likelihood that the Massachusetts liberals (Kennedy) and Massachusetts conservatives (Bush) form by 2012 or 2016 into a third party in opposition to the converging Perry/Romney/Tea Party force and the heartland rising ascending now to the mainstream.

But this new lineup is a strong force. In effect, Romney has been pushed out of the establishment by the Christie effort and camps now with Perry and the Tea Party. Good to have. Herman Cain will have a good week, as he will spend a lot of time on Cavuto and elsewhere. But summer is over. The field is likely set. And the first real contest is next Tuesday at Dartmouth.

Proposed here in October 2008, that we face a Jacksonian age ahead: an indigenous rise of political influence in the heartland and the West following post-war demographics. That, I think, is panning out. It was Gingrich who said at least a decade ago that the commentators and politicos in the Northeast were like the Chinese Mandarins, still thinking they held sway long after they had become irrelevant.

They will not go quiet into the night. But he was right.