Frozen Correspondence – Primary Return

Dear Readers,

Your Gilbert is on break. Meanwhile, one of our more ambitious staff members has asked for time off (unpaid, of course) to travel up to New Hampshire to cover the presidential primary, which will be held next Tuesday. We are happy to extend our break, and happier yet to let someone else slog through snow banks and frost his face in subzero gusts of wind for our vicarious entertainment. We will pour another drink and turn up the gas fireplace.

Take over, Frozen Correspondent . . .

Primary Return

by Our Frozen Correspondent

Thank you, Gilbert!

The day I decided to be a Primary tourist I called my friends and family in New Hampshire and asked (after assessing whether they had an extra bed) who they were supporting. None of them favor the same candidate and some are undecided.

My friend Judith is active in John Edward’s campaign and almost certain he will win the Iowa caucuses. The Iowa governor supports him, she says, there are polls that show him ahead, Ralph Nadar and Michael Moore just endorsed him, and the top Edwards staff-people seem cocksure about a victory there. “They know something they aren’t telling us!” Judith says in a low, mock-conspiratorial voice.
Judith lives in Cornish, a small northern-western village, population 1600. A handful of votes are at stake here, yet her work for Edward’s campaign has earned her a phone call from Edward’s father thanking her for helping “my boy.”

That’s how it goes in the NH Primary. All the campaigns know my aunt Anne is undecided, so they swamp her with calls, visits, and invitations. She’s met Bill Richardson, a neighbor down the road just happens to be a friend of Richardson’s so he hosted a meet-and-greet for him at his house. Again, this is in a tiny village. Every vote counts and is courted.

So, I expect to see a candidate or two on my visit. I hope to see some of the dingbats, too. The dingbats (my own term) are the candidates out-of-staters never hear about. You probably didn’t know there are 42 registered candidates including Jack Shepard (R), Michael Skok (D), O. Savior (D), and Vermin Supreme (R).

“Dr.” Shephard is an antiwar, anti-AIPAC (Israeli lobby) candidate who says he would appoint Rev. Jessie Jackson Ambassador to the UN. He’s a Republican.

Mr. Skok’s platform includes a ban on partial birth abortions and a commitment to colonize Mars. He says he is running in the primary to “warn my fellow Americans of the erosion of our Christian heritage and Christian values.” He’s a Democrat.

Fellow Democrat O. Savior is a writer, artist and poet who wants a ban on nuclear, chemical, and land-mine weapons. He is pro environment and human rights, and wants to work out a compromise on the abortion issue – according to a report on . He might have appealed more to the electorate if he’d picked “R.” instead of “O.” for his first initial.

Mr. Vermin, a Republican, is described at as a perennial candidate (20 years) who runs to demonstrate the electoral system’s inequities for minor candidates. He wears colorful and unusual outfits, notably a boot. He wears the boot on his head.

You can’t get the full picture of the NH Primary without the dingbats. For the campaign-weary residents they add much needed comic relief, and put the “mainstream” candidates in perspective. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between mainstream and dingbat. For example, the candidate who recently held a press conference to show the negative ad that he had decided not to show is considered “mainstream.”

– O.F.C.

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.