By Andrew C. Bome
Published January 06, 2008
(Editor's Note: Andrew C. Bome is in New Hampshire for the US presidential primaries and agreed to write a journal for those Raise the Hammer readers who are interested in following US politics. -Ed.)
This winter I am spending the first weekend in January in New Hampshire. If you are a hardcore political junkie, New Hampshire during the primary season is the place to be. On the way across the border we told the Border Guard what we were doing - he laughed. When you get the Border guards laughing at you, you are through.
I am here with my friend Alan. He knows more about the numbers side of politics than anyone I know. I would never bet any real money against him on any political matter; I may as well just give him the money.
My only demand to him was that we see Barack Obama and that we see Hillary Clinton. My gut feeling is that one of those two will be president and that I want to be able to brag to (someone else's) grandchildren that I saw Hillary and Obama before they were president.
We arrived in New Hampshire in the evening. The snow was relatively deep and on the side of the road it was piled between waist and shoulder high.
On the way to our Hotel we saw our first lawn sign - it was a Ron Paul sign. Since then I have seen two more signs; one was a Hillary sign and the other was a Richardson sign.
They are all alike. The background is roughly the same shade of blue, the lettering is white with the candidate's name, and there is some type of red and white graphic that is supposed to remind you of the American flag - boring. Give me Canada's red for liberal, blue for Tory, orange for New Democrat colour scheme any day.
The first event we went to was for Bill Richardson. It was billed as a job interview: the job that Governor Richardson is applying for is President of the United States.
Richardson would probably make a decent president. He is a reasonably competent governor of New Mexico and was in President Clinton's cabinet. Unfortunately in this campaign, reasonably competent makes him only the fourth or fifth best candidate amongst the democrats.
I don't know whether Governor Richardson has figured out an original campaign theme.
Two of the dominant memes in the Democratic primary are experience versus change. Hillary Clinton is supposed to represent experience, and Barack Obama is supposed to represent change. Bill Richardson's leaflet reads "Experience and Change." Sounds like he is trying to have it both ways.
In about six weeks, maximum, he will be back to running the state of New Mexico full-time.
The event was on a Friday night with about 90 to 100 people attending. The event itself was in the library of a small technical college in Nashua. My friend Alan commented that you could tell locals from the campaign staff: the locals wore their boots, while the campaign staff wore shoes.
You could also spot the secret service - they kept their eyes on everyone but the candidate.
The event itself was mind-boggling. If you did not know what it was about and looked at the location and the crowd, you would think that Bill Richardson was this guy running to be a mayor of a small town. He is running to become president of the United States and the most powerful person in the world.
At the end, people went up to shake the Governor's hand and get an autograph on some swag. I was about to do that, but lost my nerve.