By Andrew C. Bome
Published January 07, 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.)
The plan for today involved checking out chowderfest with Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris (hereby christened "Chuckabee") and then going immediately to see Hillary Clinton.
Since Chowderfest was at 11:30, we decided to spend the early part of the morning going to various regional offices and trying to get swag. The goal was to get buttons.
The first stop was the McCain headquarters in Nashua. No buttons, but got some stickers and bumper stickers. They tried to recruit us to do some work for them. We tried the old "we are foreign nationals and are not allowed" excuse, but it didn't work. We finally had to break down and tell them that we were leaving New Hampshire on Monday and just did not have the time.
Next up: Richardson. It was a sad little office with one car and two staffers. They probably made liberal use of the equipment to update their resumes. They had no buttons, just stickers.
Next up, the Obama office. They were in the middle of organizing a canvass and we managed to avoid any real work. We got no buttons, but the obligatory stickers and a lawn sign. If Obama is the candidate I might put the lawn sign up in October; it would be suitably weird.
Hillary Clinton and John Edwards' Nashua offices are about a block from each other. We parked and visited both.
The Edwards office was the first unpleasant experience we had in New Hampshire, but we did meet a guy who was crazier than me and my friend Alan. He was from Winnipeg and had that Grad Student look about him. He had been working on the Edwards campaign for a few months. This may sound crazy right now, but this will be the thing he tells his grandchildren about.
He was the only nice guy we met in the Edwards office. The rest of the folks treated us like pariahs. The window in the Edwards headquarters had a sign that said "Carpenters for Edwards". This lead my friend Alan to quip 'What would Jesus do; he would ask his union steward, who would tell him to vote for Edwards."
We got to the Clinton headquarters. They had no buttons either, but a bright, chipper, pleasant young woman gave us stickers and a Google map to the Clinton event.
The main event for the morning was Chowderfest. It was chowder with Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris. Hit pay dirt with the swag; I got a button, a lapel pin, two bumper stickers, some literature and a good bowl of chowder.
If I were voting, this would sway my vote. This is part of Huckabee's appeal. He seems to have mastered the art of doing those non-essential things that politicians do that impress. He seems nice, he tells jokes, he feeds me, and he gives me buttons. I would not agree with him on lots of stuff but I would take a second look simply for this.
At chowderfest I had a celebrity moment. I was chatting with a guy who told a story about almost getting thrown off the Pat Robertson bus back in 1992. Turns out this guy was E.J. Dionne, a columnist for the Washington Post that I read. He looks a lot taller in the Post.
Huckabee spoke and in his introduction of political notables you saw his warmth and humour. A young guy who was 12 asked me whether I supported Mike. I told him that I was Canadian and could not vote.
I explained to him that if you asked Governor Huckabee what he believed in and asked me what I believed in we would not agree on much. However, we could have a polite conversation about our differences and this is important in a politicians.
Try to imagine having that conversation with Rudy Giuliani. He may be a nice guy in person, but his public persona is one of a mean-spirited, nasty guy who would probably get in a fist fight with me over my political differences.
Chuck, wow! He apparently has a conservative column on the web and endorsed Mike Huckabee before Mike Huckabee contacted him.
Chuck talked lots. Apparently the most self-centred person in New Hampshire is not one of the candidates but his celebrity endorsement. We left before he finished and went to see Hillary Clinton.
My next post will report on meeting Hillary.