Sunday, February 07, 2016

New Hampshire Day 2 p.m. – Hanging with Vermin

(Andrew C. Bome reports on Saturday evening activities in New Hampshire.)

Saturday night was debate night for the Republicans.  The debate was hosted by ABC and was being held at St Anselm’s College.  Not being big ticket Republican donors, we couldn’t get inside to see the main event.  Instead we headed over to the barricaded area where the demonstrators got to hang out; this was the free speech zone.
The free speech zone in 2008 was the highlight of the trip.  We got to hang out with some Fred Thompson supporters and had a good time listening to them froth.  This time, it was a little more subdued.
There were interesting things happening to be sure.  First, the main demonstration was the demonstrators demanding a $15.00 per hour minimum wage.   There were trade union types (UAW and SEIU were the two most visible ones) and lots of young protesters singing and chanting.  We also saw a few other protesters.  There was one guy who was waving a sign saying “no to Royalty”; that is a political manifesto that I can stand behind.  His rant was about the Clinton’s and the Bushes being serious candidates for president; he thinks it is all a little too dynastic.   
Andrew with Vermin Supreme

I also achieved my goal of having a selfie taken with a candidate; I did it, but the candidate was Vermin Supreme.  While he sounds like the worst menu item at a taco bell, Vermin is a guy who always pays his $100.00 to get on the ballot in New Hampshire.  Like Clinton, he was on the ballot in 2008 and he is on the ballot in 2016; unlike Clinton, he was on the ballot here in 2012 as well, and God willing he will be on the ballot in 2020.  He is very visible because he wears a boot on his head; his platform includes free ponies for everyone.  When we left the free speech zone (along with others) he berated us and called us cowards; I am not sure how I feel about being called a chicken by a guy with a boot on his head.

The real Republicans that were in the free speech zone weren’t so captivating.  Proving the point that a candidates supporters are not necessarily like the candidate, the Chris Christie supporters were cowering in a corner of the zone.  The $15.00 per hour demonstrators seemed to frighten them.   Ted Cruz had a few supporters here; with one notable exception, he seemed to attract only ugly people.  Maybe extremism only attracts ugly people; that has been my experience with left wing extremism and this appears to hold for right wing extremism as well.
We spent most of the time talking to Kasich supporters.  Alan decided to ask about the proper pronunciation of his name; it turns out it is a hard “ch” not soft.  They were mostly nice people, but they looked like a crew of accountants trying to run a demonstration; it looked off, and was very low key.  They did have some naughty things to say of others.   They told us it wouldn’t be a good idea to talk to Trump supporters; they might charge.    They also made cracks aimed at the $15.00 an hour demonstrators like “they haven’t figured out the Soviet Union has fallen.”
Super PAC Sponsored Snacks
That may be the case, but those demonstrators should put the fear of God into conservative politicians.  $15.00 per hour is a fairly standard progressive policy prescription.  The supporters of this had the energy and had the people.   The Republicans had neither.  The Republican demonstrators were as lifeless as their campaign.  They may think they have the upper hand.  The future belongs to progressive politics.
After this, we decided to go to the Ben Carson debate watching party.  It was held at a restaurant called Verandah grill.  The food was good (chicken fingers and nachos) and was on the Ben Carson campaign; mmmmm Carson super PAC sponsored snacks.  

The people we talked to were very nice, but they mostly left us alone; except for the one guy who wanted us to volunteer for the Carson Campaign.  The best part of the debate was watching Chris Christie pound on Marco Rubio; I loved watching Rubio not have anything to say, repeat his talking points, and then get slammed by Christie.  Apparently I was not alone in enjoying this.  Rubio also has Dumbo ears; once you notice this, you can’t “unnoticed” it.  The scariest moment came during the discussion of North Korea launching a test ICBM; only Donald Trump had the right answer (get the Chinese to do something about them).  It is scary when Trump sounds saner than everyone else on a foreign policy issue. 
We finished the night at the Kasich debate watching party.  It should have been called Kasich debate watching sausage fest; there were women there, but for every 1 woman, there appeared to be four of five men. 
At the Kasich Debate Watching Party
The men as well looked a little too earnest and a little too well groomed; they looked like they wanted to grow up and go into sales.

Tomorrow: Jeb, Marco & the Super Bowl.


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