Thursday, January 25, 2007

Primary Paranoia, or, Caucus in Yer Face

It really got my blood boiling today when I heard that more states are looking to push their primaries and caucuses up into early February. If I may invoke the great "Weird" Al Yankovic, this would make the early campaign frenzy not just Bad, but Even Worse. My dread exists in part because I can't tell if my strong gut reaction is the right one. The arrogance shown by the likes of California, Illinois, New Jersey and Florida is sickening, as to be expected from such questionable states. Have you ever met anyone from Florida or California? If you have, they are probably the self-important type who would display such a me-first, party-be-damned attitude. The last thing we need is an ever greater focus on early fundraising to purchase precious advertising time in the LA, SF, CHI, MIA, ORL and Tri-States markets.

Then again, it might be interesting to see how candidates market themselves to such a diverse brew of electorates. What kind of remarkably two-faced son-of-a-bitch can simultaneously pitch immigration (SoCal/FL), high minimum wage (NorCal), heartland values (IL), and whatever New Jersey cares about while at the same time wearing plaid earmuffs and shoveling down hotcakes in the Upper Merrimack Valley? I worry that it would frontload the thing even more, although in the Times article Tad Devine argues that it could lead to a bitter showdown among multiple frontrunners, which is ideal. As we say up here on the Quabbin, the more backroom deals and delegate trading, the better!

Meanwhile, those four big states must be enviously muttering to themselves how it is a bunch of hogwash that some podunk whitebread state has so much sway in a diverse and metropolitan Democratic Party. To make matters worse, New Hampshire has a neighborly lean toward candidates from New England (Kerry in '04, Tsongas in '92, Dukakis in '88), which currently stands as the American Presidential wasteland. Welcome to nowheresville, Mr. Romney. We stopped making Presidents here in New England back in the 60's. But to Hell with it, now we just transcend them. On the one hand, some might think that New Hampshire is a good, moderate decision-making entity for a candidate with it's centrist roots, but if that is the goal then the Dems ought to go with Missouri, who last preferred the losing candidate in 1956 when Missourians wanted the rest of the country to "Show-Me" that affable old egghead Adlai Stevenson, one of only seven states to do so. Such begrudging respect for Missouri, emphasis on grudge.

So we must quote the late Tip O'Neill, former Massachusetts congressman, House Majority Leader and boss of Chris Matthews when we say "all politics is local." As a result, it stings to think that our beloved Granite State might lose some of it's political clout. That same Granite State that is synonymous with Primaries, where you can shake the future President's hand in a high school gym, eat hot dogs with a Senator on a hot August afternoon in downtown Manchester before grabbing a beer at Strange Brew, and see a big shot drive from Berlin all the way down to Keene in a single day to personally get out the vote. Most days these assholes don't set foot outside of anywhere but the Senate halls and $1,000-a-plate fundraisers. And now people want to maim New Hampshire, the last great bastion of man-to-man stump speeches, and the last place where a politician gets to (or, heaven forbid, has to) act like a true human being. Then again, maybe I just have an irrational desire that every would-be President jump off the Rte. 175 Bridge into the Pemi River to prove his mettle.

And in the shout-outs section of the Queries, I want to give some props to my old commander Steve Haro, quoted in today's edition of The Caucus. Huzzah to a great communicator.

Once again at the M&D, enjoying one of the all-time greats that I usually only have the privilege to sip on in Newport, Oregon, a Rogue Brutal Bitter.

First in the Nation,

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