Dave Barry on the NH Primary

Pulitzer Prize winning humor columnist Dave Barry (great work if you can get it) has come out of retirement to reflect on the New Hampshire primary.

Now it's time for the politicians and the press to drop New Hampshire like an ant-covered corn dog and sprint for the airport, leaving the residents of The Granite State to spend the rest of the winter plucking 239 billion candidate signs out of their snowbanks, all the while wondering if there ever really was a candidate named ''Mike Gravel,'' or if that was just teenagers playing a sign-planting prank.

What's next?

Meanwhile the eyeballs of the nation will turn toward the Next Crucial Phase of the presidential race, South (or North) Carolina, which at the moment is the epicenter of the political world, not to mention Dick Harpootlian. I have not, personally, conducted any journalism research in North (or South) Carolina, but based on sitting in my hotel room eating Cheez-Its and thinking about it, I would say that the issue most on the minds of voters there, at the moment, is: Change. Although of course that could change.

But, wait, what about Iowa and New Hampshire?

[L]et's take a moment to look back on both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries, and ask ourselves if these two non-representative states -- which have, between them, roughly the same total minority population as Gladys Knight and the Pips -- should play such a huge role in selecting our presidential nominees. This is a very complex issue, with many strong arguments on both sides.

No, sorry, correction: It's actually a simple issue. The Iowa/New Hampshire system is insane. It's like a 50-table restaurant with a big, varied menu, except that only two tables are allowed to order. If these two tables order clams, for example, or Michael Dukakis, that's what gets served to all the other tables. But at this point I don't think there's anything the rest of the states can do about it. Iowa and New Hampshire will do anything to be first. You populous states can't beat them, because they want it more than you do. They're like the people who camp out for two weeks so they can be in front of the line to buy tickets for a hot concert, except that instead of a hot concert, it's a chance to shake hands with Duncan Hunter six different times. Tough luck, residents of populous states! At least you don't have to deal with the snowbank signs.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Good stuff!

    Well Hillary's NH train has come to a dead stop. Following the big union endorsements that Senator Obama received in Nevada yesterday, and from Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and others, more big news today.

    Senator John Kerry, you may remember him as the Dem nominee for President in 2004 ;) is endorsing Senator Barack Obama. That is quite a testimony in light of the fact that his former running mate Edwards, as well as Hillary, are in the race.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Here is Senator Kerry's statement:


    Martin Luther King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” So I'm choosing this time to share an important decision I've made, one I believe is right for this country.

    The JohnKerry.com community has been very important to me and very important to the Democratic resurgence over the last couple of years, so I wanted to let all of you know my decision before I confirm it with anyone else. I want to share with you my conviction that in a field of fine Democratic candidates, the next President of the United States can be, should be, and will be Barack Obama. Each of our candidates would make a fine President, and we are blessed with a strong field. But for this moment, at this time in our nation's history, Barack Obama is the right choice.

    Please join me in supporting Barack Obama’s candidacy.

    I’m proud to have helped introduce Barack to our nation when I asked him to speak to our national convention, and there Barack's words and vision burst out. On that day he reminded Americans that our “true genius is faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles.” And with his leadership we can build simple dreams, and we can turn millions of small miracles into real change for our country.

    At this particular moment, with our country faced with great challenges in our economy, in our environment, and in our foreign policy, and with our politics torn by division, Barack Obama can bring transformation to our country. With Barack, we can build a new majority of Americans from all regions who can turn the page on the politics of Karl Rove and begin a new politics, one worthy of our nation's history and promise. We can bring millions of disaffected people – young and old – to the great task of governing and making a difference, child to child, community to community.

    Please click here to give what you can to Barack Obama’s campaign for President and help build this future for our country.

    The moment is now, and the candidate for this moment is Barack Obama. Like him, I also lived abroad as a young man, and I share with him a healthy respect for the advantage of knowing other cultures and countries, not from a book or a briefing, but by personal experience, by gut, by instinct. He knows the issues from the deep study of a legislator, and he knows them from a life lived outside of Washington. His is the wisdom of real-world experience combined with the intellect of a man who has thought deeply about the challenges we face.

    History has given us this moment. But we need to decide what to do with it. I believe, with this moment, we should make Barack Obama President of the United States.

    Please join me in supporting his campaign.

    Thank you, John Kerry

    John Kerry For U.S. Senate 129 Portland Street, Suite 500 Boston, MA 02114-2014 [email protected] www.johnkerry.com

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    OK, Matthew, that's enough copying and pasting of Obama emails. Go ahead and excerpt and post a link, but don't copy and paste the whole thing.

  • (Show?)

    According to delegate votes, Hillary did not win New Hampshire. Hillary and Obama tied.

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    According to the voter votes, Clinton beat Obama. The number of delegates at stake up to now is derisorily small.

    The Oregonian's wire report (Chicago Tribune News service) yesterday made the interesting suggestion that Senator Obama made a tactical error by not saying anything notable in the last two days before the primary. The analysis compared that choice to Bush senior's similar choice in 1980.

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    Re Dave Barry, interestingly it appears that the unrepresentativeness of Iowa and N.H. may have helped Obama among black people in South Carolina. The willingness of white people to vote for him in large numbers appears to have convinced many that voting for him would not just be self-destructive.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Kari, I wrote the first post, and I received the second in an email from John Kerry this morning. I am sure that many of the readers here got the same email. What's the problem with posting this? You give me the distinct impression you don't want me posting here.

    As for posting links, I have found that you have a very cumbersome set up here but I will continue to post some from time to time.

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    i love the image of John McCain running out on the White House lawn shaking his fist at "you kids!!" then his trophy wife can come and lead him back in, her bathrobe slipping open slightly... oops. sorry.

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    Matthew, I'm glad you're a vigorous proponent of Barack Obama's candidacy & read your own writing with interest.

    But the fact of the matter is that for whatever reason the sort of long press releases you have been posting tend to be verbose and turgid. I have never understood why they have to be that way, but they are.

    A summary of what's in the doc, with a URL and/or link if possible, or a judicious editing of key points, actually is apt to communicate more effectively for your candidate in this venue, IMO. Just a possibility for you to consider.

    I really don't think Kari doesn't want you to post, but the medium has its quirks & long verbatim posts of stuff written for other forms can be disruptive.

    Yours are more or less on topic, but they are also in form partway toward the sort of pure spam evidenced on another thread by an off-topic pasting of canned text in praise of Jonah Goldberg's recently published monument to human capacity for stupid historical interpretation.

    It would be much more interesting to have you select out the most interesting bits from the boilerplate.

    I hope it is clear that I don't want you to shut up at all, on the contrary, I'd like more of your own voice. I read Kari that way too though he can speak for himself.

  • CBP (unverified)


    Lucky for us that you will continue to post here along with your obnoxious wit!!!! (from time to time)

    I agree with Kari

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    Yes, Matthew, please continue posting your own words here!

    The only issue is with posting OTHER people's words. We don't allow anyone to post entire articles, blog posts, or emails in full -- they're copyrighted material (yes, even emails).

    Beyond that, they're boring. Do us a favor and excerpt out the relevant portions.

    As for this:

    As for posting links, I have found that you have a very cumbersome set up here but I will continue to post some from time to time.

    I'm completely baffled by that. Our "cumbersome set up" is merely basic html.

    Just like this...

    <a href=http://www.barackobama.com>go read barack's latest cool email here</a>

    Which produces this...

    go read barack's latest cool email here

    What's hard about that? (I remember in 2004, there were bloggers who argued that they couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't support any presidential candidate who couldn't make a link with HTML. Howard Dean learned how.)

  • Steve Buckstein (unverified)

    Kari, thanks for the html lesson. Let me try making a link to a relevant Dave Barry quotation on the difference between Democrats and Republicans (guaranteed to upset both).

    <h2>Dave Barry quote</h2>
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