"Do or Do not. There is no try."

I Love A Parade: The March Of The Non-Mitts

“This is the New Hampshire primary! This is a big deal! I can’t even believe I’m standing here!” cried Jon Huntsman, who yearns to be the Rick Santorum of New Hampshire. That’s what it’s come to. Do you think this is what Huntsman told himself when he quit his distinguished post as ambassador to China? (“Diplomacy is all well and good, but I believe I was meant for greater things. Like being the Rick Santorum of New Hampshire.”)

Santorum, of course, was the man of the hour when he sort-of-almost-nearly came in first in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday. Actually, Mitt Romney won. (Eight Republicans can’t be wrong!) But Santorum has the momentum. His strategy of spending his entire life going from one Iowa Pizza Ranch to another paid off.

After campaigning only in New Hampshire, with 150 events in the bag, Huntsman hopes for a similar triumph. It’s the famous one-state strategy that worked so well in 2008 for Rudy Giuliani.

“I’d thought we’d never get here, but here we are!” he told an audience in the Peterborough town hall. Actually, getting to the Peterborough town hall is not all that remarkable. I have personally been there several times, but, of course, that is because I have a glamorous career in journalism, which allows me to have elite access to events like the one headlined: “Tom Ridge Introduces Jon Huntsman.” You may remember Ridge from his stint as chief of the Department of Homeland Security. He was the one with the yellow-orange-red terror colors.   Huntsman is incredibly buoyant, to the point of appearing to be just a little bit goofy. (“Last night in Dover I was met by a goat! The same goat that bit my kneecap when I was there three months ago!”) He has a large, attractive family, but large attractive families are a dime a dozen this year. Michele Bachmann had 23 foster children, and she’s already out of the race.

Jon Huntsman is the Republican that the White House most feared, possibly because the White House is full of Democrats. He is way behind in the New Hampshire polls, and he lacks the loony streak that primary voters seem to find so attractive this time around. Really, he is toast unless he does something remarkable over the next week. Not remarkable in the sense of making a good point in the next debate. Remarkable as in saving a baby from being run over by stopping a speeding car with one hand.

There are still plenty of other Republican options. After his fifth-place finish in Iowa, Rick Perry suspended his campaign but then tweeted, “Here we come, South Carolina.” This appeared to surprise some of his staff, who seemed to feel as if their long political nightmare had ended in Des Moines. But it turned out that Perry had jogged his way back into the race.

“I was out on the trail when it kind of came to me,” he said.

Quite a lot comes to the governor of Texas when he’s jogging. You will remember the coyote he killed with his laser-sighted Ruger. No word on whether a pistol was involved in this latest revelation.

Ron Paul is still in competition, as is Newt Gingrich, who appears to be running mainly on rancor, the candidate of the I Want to Eat Mitt’s Liver Party. And Rick Santorum, who continued the excitement of Iowa by flying into New Hampshire for a rally at a nursing home.

Mitt Romney himself was greeted in Manchester by a group of people cordoned off into half a high school auditorium. This helped disguise the crowd’s small size but not the fact that it appeared to be made up mainly of Ron Paul supporters, dragooned teenagers and refugees from Occupy Wall Street.   The highlight of the event was supposed to be an endorsement from John McCain, whose innermost thoughts we would love to be privy to. Or maybe not.

McCain’s old loathing of Romney has now been totally overshadowed by his hatred of President Obama. “You can’t hide from your record of making this country bankrupt, from destroying our national security and making this nation one that we have to restore with Mitt Romney as president of the United States of America!” McCain snarled into the mic. It was an endorsement, but not the feel-good moment we were sort of looking for. Fortunately, they did play the new Kid Rock theme song that implicitly compares Romney to a wild stallion.

Can’t wait to see what the Republicans do next. You have to admit they’re desperate. Rick Santorum. Geesh.

Did I ever mention that Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped to the roof of the car? The dog’s name was Seamus. New Hampshire Republicans, if you can’t think of anybody to vote for on Tuesday, consider writing in the name Seamus when you go to the polls. Maybe we can start a boomlet.

Makes as much sense as the Newt Gingrich moment.


By: Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, January 4, 2012

January 6, 2012 - Posted by | Election 2012, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , ,

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