Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Trampling New Hampshire

Tomorrow residents of the Granite State will be feeling like Roxie Hart after the verdict in her “Chicago” trial, abandoned and forgotten by hordes of reporters and camera crews who have besieged them over weeks for every detail of their decision-making, leanings and doubts about the candidates.

All that ends tonight when votes are counted, and as the crafty lawyer explains in the movie, the “journalists” will all be rushing off for “fresh blood on the streets” in Florida and South Carolina.

As New Hampshire loses all the attention (and money) that has washed over the state, what will we have learned? Not much beyond how crafty the candidates have been in smearing one another with one PAC hand behind their backs (as John McCain notes), while posturing to the heavens as noble statesmen with the other.

The change in this year’s tone from 2008, when McCain won, might be encapsulated by a crowd booing Rick Santorum’s mention of his name as the kind of centrist candidate of the past, like Bob Dole, they have mistakenly chosen in the past.

Meanwhile, another non-centrist, Ron Paul, cuts off CNN again as Dana Bash tries to ask him about “connecting with New Hampshire voters” who have been crowded out of a diner by reporters and cameras.

After tonight, New Hampshire streets will be back to normal, and there will be empty stools at the diners, but what we will have learned about the nation’s political mood beyond what a crush of well-heeled pols and their media counterparts can fabricate for the headlines and TV cameras?

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