Saturday, January 07, 2012

Political Theater

We went out for dinner in Manchester tonight - unusual for us, especially just the two of us, but Tracy had a coupon (she always wins coupons) - and caught Radio Row at the Radisson, Occupy NH Primary across the street, then drove home via the debate at St. A's in our town.  We've been downtown in the height of primary season in many other years, and I'd forgotten how odd it is to see so many people clearly from around here in the restaurants and talking earnestly on the streets - junior movers-and-shakers who wait on the campaign and media people with Important Haircuts.  Nothing objectionable about this crowd, I just can tell at a glance I don't want to talk with them.  These are people who sell ideas, rather than having ideas, and they know more about sales than thinking.  Not that they see themselves that way, of course.  They largely think they have entered a cultural backwater where people don't know What's What and Who's Who.

Which is true, I suppose, in one sense.

But the energy was a bit subdued downtown.  Most of radio row was empty - most folks heading over to St. A's, I imagine.  Across the street, Occupy was poorly attended - though they did have some drumming!  Wouldn't want NH to miss out on the full experience. But the prominent multi-stickered cars had Mass plates...Mass plates...NYYankees decal...Yeah, you folks really didn't do your research, did you?

I think "Occupy" has become a brand name, because it's generic, unofficial.  Every small group with a liberal bent had attached "Occupy" to their posters.  You couldn't do that with Tea Party two years ago, because major media would swoop on you and try to bait you into saying something stupid which they could play nationally, pretending that you represented everyone else.  So the Tea Party got pretty good at enforcing its boundaries.  With Occupy, only independent media tries that.  Though Fox did try a couple of times, quite successfully, I heard.

An Obama group was out at St. A's with trombones and saxophones, playing some bluesy thing - that deserves a little credit.

Just not as big a deal as previous years.  Our own lack of effort may be part of that.

Political writer Walter Shapiro, quoted by James Fallows at The Atlantic. 
As a political reporter, I am prepared to offer a spirited defense of New Hampshire's outsized role in presidential politics. Nowhere else in the nation do voters display such fidelity to old-fashioned civic obligations.... New Hampshire may be a living monument to participatory democracy, but what in God's name is the justification for making the Iowa caucuses the campaign equivalent of the book of Genesis?
Complain all you want, but without NH, the Jon Huntsman's of the world have no chance at all to even attempt to run for president.  Wealth, and/or coming from a big state, already are dominant factors.  You want to make that worse?  Maybe the first primary should just be a single county.


Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

The Misses and I were out all afternoon taking care of errands and we swung by St. A's on our way home. While the evening was still early (6ish), it was dark by then and the Occupiers were positioned at half a dozen spots around the campus. All with homemade signs and a variety of dress. Driving slow in the dark and carefully watching out for costumed figures darting across the campus roadways - wait, is tonight Halloween trick-or-treating?? Was it postponed because of that October 31st snowstorm we got belted with? It was hard to tell.

Der Hahn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Der Hahn said...

I think the Iowa GOP has erred in attempting to turn the caucus straw poll into a quasi-primary to differentiate it from the 'Straw Poll' held the preceding August at the IA State Fair.

One or the other has got to go.

Texan99 said...

Obviously the first primary should be in Texas. We have lots of people, our politics remain fairly constant whether we call ourselves Democrats (as we did several decades ago) or Republicans (as we have recently), and our government is so small you can't even pass most legislative initiatives without a state constitutional amendment. We don't let our legislature sit very often, either -- they'd just get in more trouble if they did. All that and jobs, too!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Texas would be about last on the list. Lots of people is a bug, not a feature.

80% of those new jobs under Rick Perry (and I don't dislike the guy) have gone to recent immigrants, legal and illegal. It's way better than a loss of jobs, but it doesn't excite me.

jaed said...

You sure about that, AVI? I heard a similar stat, but it involved immigrants *to Texas* - in other words, including Americans from other states who had gone to Texas to get work.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Hmm. I got it at Steve Sailer's. I'll check that out.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

jaed. Looks like immigrants "to US," though you have to read down a bit to find that definition.