This USA Today opinion (Ludicrous Leapfrog) column makes some good points about the farce that the presidential primaries have become. I like the proposal it gives for fixing this mess:
The best idea is regional primaries that rotate every four years, so no part of the country always gets to go first. A lottery could let a few small states vote early, to allow for retail campaigning.
It's too late to change the demeaning free-for-all of 2008 (or is it 2007-08?), but the major parties could create a new system for 2012 if they're frustrated and embarrassed enough. They should be.