Much has changed in New Hampshire and on the national political scene since the nation’s attention was focused here for our presidential primaries on January 8, which only seems like years ago. The big political story in New Hampshire now is the prosecution of 2006 Democratic congressional hopeful Gary Dodds, who is accused of faking his disappearance after an auto accident. You have to wonder why we would want to prosecute a congressional candidate for faking his disappearance. If more candidates, or better actual Congress critters, would either disappear or do a reasonably realistic imitation of a disappearance — like staying out of our sight, our hearing and our mailboxes — we might all enjoy greater peace of mind. But governments do not exist to bring us peace of mind. We can find that in old books, the Bible foremost among them.
It is amazing how quickly the candidates have fallen by the wayside. It seems like only last week that living rooms, school cafeterias and gymnasiums in New Hampshire were being filled by all kinds of people with presidential ambitions. Not only the "big name" celebrities like Hillary and Rudy and Mitt and Obama, but more or less regular Joes like Biden and a folksy Mike like Huckabee and a sturdy Sam like Kansas’s Brownback. Even a Dennis "the Menace" Kucinich, who dared to say what many of us had noticed, that the two parties look and sound an awful lot alike.
Now they are long gone and might be hard to find if we were looking for them, but we’re not. The state of New Hampshire had a hard enough time finding Dodds, against whom the charge should be not that he disappeared, but that he came back. Meanwhile, Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta, a Republican who is said to be contemplating a run for governor this year, may be having second thoughts about his decision to endorse former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for President, back when "Uncle" Rudolph was still at or near the top of the polls. That endorsement surprised many, including the Manchester mayor’s pro-life supporters who were appalled at the endorsement of the "pro-choice" Giuliani. Should he win the corner office, Gov. Giuliani may ask the state’s attorney general to investigate the disappearance of the Giuliani voters this January. Apparently, they weren’t faking.
We might better understand that disappearance if Giuliani had been endorsed by former Vice "Predator" Al Gore. Some of us remember how former Vermont Governor Howard Dean was ahead of all his Democratic rivals for the 2004 Democratic nomination when "Uncle" Albert came here and bestowed his endorsement upon Dr. Dean in December of ’03. Thereafter, the good doctor began to sink like a rock, losing in Iowa, losing in New Hampshire and dropping out soon after. Perhaps in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, Gore passed his king-making powers to Mayor Guinta, who used them with such deadly effect on Giuliani
Now even the mighty Mitt is gone. He was spectacularly unsuccessful as a vote getter, even here in New Hampshire, next door to Massachusetts where Romney has lived for the past 30 years and where he recently had been governor for four years. I knew he was in trouble when, on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Concord attorney and political veteran Tom Rath was trying to spin Romney’s win (with eight delegates) in the Wyoming Caucuses as a significant victory. As it turned out, the Mittster barely had time to bask in the glow of his win in the Maine Caucuses before he announced he was "suspending" his campaign.
"Suspending." Interesting, term that. I guess that means he is hanging on to his delegates. And in the unlikely event there is a brokered convention (because, say, McCain shoots himself in the foot-in-the-mouth too many times and becomes further and undeniably disabled), would Romney try again for the nomination if it were up for grabs? Would he even “flipflop” about getting out of the race? You bet.
He decided to withdraw for the good of his party and his country, he said. And his bank account. And he didn’t want to get his hair mussed.
The Union Leader, New Hampshire’s “McCainstream media,” has praised the decision, saying Romney put his ego aside. Really? I don’t think there is a storage facility that large anywhere in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Has he sent it to Yucca Mountain, perhaps? And where would Sen. McCain set his ego down if he ever decides to put it aside. Perhaps in his home state of Arizona.
The Grand Canyon is there, after all.
Manchester, NH, resident Jack Kenny [send him mail] is a freelance writer.