The US primary system enables small groups of voters to scare the hell out of their would be leaders, thus testing and forming their characters – so New Hampshire’s performance yesterday was bang on.
The East Coast tech boom took the Gandalf family to New Hampshire in the early 80s, and we spent two very enjoyable years there. We lived in Amherst, a pretty village of cute wooden houses. NH’s big towns were struggling to adapt to the loss of heavy industry, but the smaller towns and villages were picture perfect, especially in the snowy winters (which lasted about 5 months). Spring was very muddy, Summer very buggy, and Fall quite beautiful.
Most of the fields planted by the original settlers were overgrown with trees – locals joked that if the US had been settled from west to east, nobody would have tried farming New Hampshire. Still, the local corn was the best we’ve ever had, especially with local lobsters.
New Hampshire was delightfully close to its colonial roots – we drove to the local ski area along a corduroy road, built by bridging swamps with of tree trucks. The rapidly undulating ride was unique.
Anyway, the combination of tough weather, a long historical memory, constant economic change, selective immigration and emigration, and a Brit roundhead heritage produced the New Hampshire character – neighborly, hard working, very proper, a bit insular, and extremely contrarian.
So what they did this week was listen very carefully when the MSM told them to celebrate Obama’s primacy, Huckabee’s electability, Clinton’s fall, and McCain’s irrelevance.
And then prove the exact opposite.
This proving that although NH has seen plenty of changes in the past 25 years, its good people remain as cranky as ever.