2 days in NH, part 5: The locals

Just as fascinating as the rallies and stump speeches and meet-and-greets that pepper southern New Ha

By Tim Murphy

Just as fascinating as the rallies and stump speeches and meet-and-greets that pepper southern New Hampshire in the months leading up to the crucial January 8 vote is what goes on outside the control of the various campaigns.For example, we stop at a Mobile On the Run just outside of Henniker, about an hour before the 4:00 P.M. Huckabee rally Friday, where the bubbly lady behind the counter gushes that “Mike Huckleberry is speaking just down the road!” Our minute-long transaction ends with the following established as near certainty: Huckleberry is such a nice name. So is Huckabee. Chuck Norris makes us safer.Speaking of Norris, his presence in Henniker created a stir among the 10–14 year old male demographic, but after hearing him speak, I can’t help but think that the Norris craze–both politically and socially–has run its course. People over the age of 30 just don’t care about Chuck, and people under the age of 30 who can vote stopped caring about Chuck months ago. If they do happen to enjoy his martial arts skills, it’s not likely to influence their voting or even draw them out to a rally. His speech wasn’t particularly good, he has little credibility as an endorser, and everywhere he goes he’s followed by gangs of annoying young children. At some point, Huckabee will have to jettison his free publicity and go with someone who can actually help him win votes (Romney has the state’ senior senator, Judd Gregg, and the head of Staples Co., and Hillary has Bill, for example).There are a disproportionate number of Ron Paul signs along the roads, and almost none for Rudy Giuliani. After spending tons of money and time in the Granite State, he has almost nothing to show for it. The same cannot be said for Fred Thompson, if only because he spent almost no money and almost no time in New Hampshire to begin with, so there was really nowhere to go but nowhere. Over two days we see a grand total of six Mike Gravel signs, which is actually kind of impressive considering the only notable thing he’s done this election is get kicked out of the debates and make this video.