Last week, the national media focused its evil eye on Washington, fixated on the political dramas playing out at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. Ron Paul won the 2011 CPAC Straw Paul for the second year in a row. Donald Trump was both booed and cheered for his headline grabbing quote, "Ron Paul cannot get elected, I'm sorry." And voters got an early preview of the would-be Republican presidential candidates who may compete in the 2012 election.
Meanwhile, this blogger suffered through feelings of inadequacy as the spotlight temporarily turned away from New Hampshire. We here in the First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary State did our best to compete with CPAC 2011, hosting two - count 'em two - potential candidates for presidents over the weekend: Rick Santorum and Herman Cain. On Monday, local ABC affiliate WMUR made viewers take a night off from Fitz Weatherby and NH Chronicle so it could air "Commitment 2012 Kickoff", a special reminding voters that the 2012 New Hampshire Primary is just a year away. Andy Smith and the UNH Survey Center even released the umpteenth poll showing Mitt Romney as the "early frontrunner" here in the Granite State.
Voters in other states may look upon New Hampshire's ritual hosting of the First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary with wonder, asking themselves, "Why does such a small, insignificant state deserve to play such a critical role in choosing the president every four years?" A little perspective:
1. Daniel Webster (pictured on left) - Though somehow overlooked by Stephen Vincent Benet in The Devil and Daniel Webster, legend holds the legendary New Hampshire statesman won his home state's right to host the First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary during his epic battle of words with Old Scratch.
2. Live Free Or Die - As home to the nation's greatest state motto, New Hampshire has set itself apart from the other 49 states. This memorable quote is attributed to local Revolutionary War hero General John Stark, who they say single handedly won America's freedom at the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Battle of Bennington. NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner is said to summon the spirit of General Stark and his loyal army of ghost militiamen any time a threat to to the state's First-In-The-Nation status arises.
3. Free State Project - We had the Tea Party before it was the Tea Party. Often overlooked as a fringe group of outsiders, this dedicated band of Libertarians has been making politics interesting in New Hampshire since 2003. Thus the bands of Ron Paul loyalists hoisting "Don't Tread on Me Flags" all over downtown Manchester back in 2008.