Monday, January 07, 2008
My first New Hampshire primary has been a great circus and a lot of fun. The Obama breakthrough in Iowa has become something of a tidal wave here. The latest polls show the Democratic vote running to Obama, Clinton, and Edwards in that order. The exact percentages are hard to call as the massive pool of Independent voters here--a manifestation of old-time Yankee individuality estimated at 44 to 45% of the state’s electorate—is a volatile element that frequently makes up its mind close to the last moment before voting. However, the 1-2-3 placement of the candidates in the predicted line-up remains constant, with Obama given a six to twelve percent lead over Hillary, depending on which pole you read. Edwards places a distant third, just slightly into double digits.
The crowds waiting to get into Obama appearances have dwarfed the turn-out for any other candidate. Once he won in Iowa on a platform that highlighted change, every other candidate suddenly started spouting “change” once or twice a sentence. In one of Romney’s shorter speeches, he used “change” 45 times, never bothering to reconcile that with his clearly stated goal of restoring Reaganism to the White House—and whatever that is, it sure ain’t change.
Hillary’s talking about change also, but it doesn’t seem to be getting her any extra traction. The mood here among Democrats is that Obama not only talks change, but IS change in and of himself. There is also a lot of voter comment about how confident, open and articulate Obama is, articulate being a quality Americans haven’t been able to associate with the presidency for going on three quarters of a decade. It’s nice to see them appreciate a literate, energetic, compelling speaker—or in Obama’s case, flock to him like desert travelers to an oaisis.
On the Republican side, McCain is maintaining a lead over Romney; one political analyst is predicting that his campaign’s reaction to another defeat will be to point out that he scored second CONSISTENTLY (consistency in any form being a desirable quality for Romney to be associated with at this point in his career). Like Edwards, Huckabee looks to place way back in third, although with a slightly healthier percentage of the vote than Edwards’ third. At the debate the other night, everybody seemed to be on Romney’s ass with very few shots at McCain, as if they all want to eliminate Romney right away and then see how things shake out. But I doubt Romney’s going to walk away from the race any time soon.
One interesting point made by the Clinton campaign that doesn’t get a lot of coverage is the actual vote count. In Iowa, that meant that Hillary in third place still got a larger vote count than the first place Huckabee on the Republican side.
New Hampshire runs a kind of “boutique” primary. Like Iowa, the emphasis is on contact that is much more personal between candidates and voters than it can ever be at the later, big-batch, big state primaries. Here, one of the great meeting places is Diners at breakfast time, particularly the legendary Red Arrow Diner in Manchester. For whatever reason, New Hampshire goes out to breakfast a lot (in Raymond we have a fun old breakfast dive, the Long Branch Café, that oozes atmosphere from every picture and tchotchke that crowd its walls). Mary Ann’s Diner in Derry was the site of a candidate appearance this morning covered live by CBS News.
Personally, I’m not going to predict anything. Polls or no polls, anything can happen in New Hampshire--and has--given the huge number of Independents.
Over the New Years weekend, one of our friends sent these pictures that he’d taken in the woods just after that weekend’s snow storm.
The Sweat Lodge
A path in the woods
The rear of the new house from the hillside above it
Heh... Will, it must actually be fun voting in a state where it all seems to matter so much. Actually, they moved MA up to Feb. 5, so we matter a tiny bit more.
Of course, that fact that, two or three states essentially decide the course of American history (via momentum, the media, etc) has always bothered me a little. But there are ways to change that while still making sure small population states are not ignored.
Doug--One of my first purchases once we get our storage room off the kitchen set up will be the cheese-making equipment you recommended when we corresponded about how you make your own.
Nicky--I'm so glad you're part of this blog's family. It's fun to watch the guys negotiate those wonderful leg extension devices as they move from wall to ceiling. They're doing a really super job.
atari--YES, it's mine--the biggest toy I've ever had! It's very exciting these days as it's becoming more and more complete.
It was good to see the crowds pouring in to vote this morning. I mentioned to Fritz that this primary/election process seems to have wakened Americans from their voting torpor. I think that they're finally catching on to the importance of this election, although it's a shame it took such a disastrous seven years to shale them up.
Which pagan gods are you worshipping there? ;-)
Happy New Year!
With your knowledge in the subject, which of the gods would you recommend? One, hopefully, who bestows happiness, wisdom and the blessing of having many dear friends.