January 19, 2004,
A Walk on the Lighter Side
The crazies before the chaos.
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE I was going to write about something insightful today as we wait for Corn Country to have its 15 minutes and then step aside for the real action in New Hampshire. But as I started to type at my keyboard, I was interrupted by a strange wailing noise coming from outside my office window. I raced to the window to see what was the matter (I have no shutters and it is much too cold to throw open the sash, so I merely looked through the glass). When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a Lyndon LaRouche minivan with a tiny loudspeaker!
This served to remind me that as a New Hampshire voter, every four years we get to learn lots of interesting things about the men who would be president (and the occasional woman, too). For example, we learned that Lyndon LaRouche apparently got out of prison and is still able to scam people into giving him money (he ran a large newspaper ad last week and recently had a half-hour TV special on the local station up here).
We get to see the silliest event names a campaign can find Lieberman's "Cup of Joe" events lead the pack in 2004. (Memo to the Lieberman campaign: "Keg O' Joe" events might be called for now to build a little momentum since you're running a one-state wonder campaign.)
Not to be outdone in the category of food themes, the Clark campaign snaps up all the Clark Bar candy that can be found (and it isn't quite as easy to find as Snickers or Milky Way) to hand out at its events. (Perhaps the sweetness of the candy is what has attracted a broad swath of liberals including Michael Moore, Ted Sorensen, and George McGovern to this former Republican's campaign.)
And what would a presidential campaign in the Granite State be without eager, idealistic college students volunteering their time? Up here, the measure of their devotion is judged by how long they can tolerate waving signs at intersections during the lunch hour when the temperature dips well below zero. Last week's 50-year-record cold forced the Kerry and Lieberman campaign kids to split the lunch hour at one local intersection. Perhaps with wind chills of 35 below zero they may be forgiven.
In just over a week, we'll all see Tim Russert showing us his intensely serious face as he analyzes the results for Tom Brokaw. But until the spotlight shifts Tuesday morning, we can enjoy the lighter side of the New Hampshire campaigns for a few more hours.
Chip Griffin is a political consultant in New Hampshire.