Is it just me or does the American political world seem to be in a bit of a rut now right now? It's like a twin bill of Groundhog Day. For the Republicans, Mitt Romney’s campaign continues to survive despite many near-death experiences and is grinding toward the nomination. Barack Obama bounces between a very narrow band of political revival and vulnerability. And it all seems to presage what we've known for a long time: The race in the fall will be nasty, brutish and long. And, don't forget, close.

These doldrums are only a gaffe or a crisis away from being blown into a storm, but for now the race seems stuck. Yet, some important things are likely happening now that we can't see and won't be able to judge until the race is over. Romney, for example, may be learning to be a better candidate. Debates, setbacks and comebacks can make candidates more resilient. Obama, too, is certainly using this time to build his support, slicing and dicing voters by demography and nurturing them for later harvest.

So the trenches are being dug, the explosives laid, the provisions laid in for the long fall siege. Enjoy the relative peace.