Much Ado About New Hampshire
What reporters say and do when there’s nothing to be said or done.
Jan 23, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 18 • By P.J. O'ROURKE
Which brings us to the non-smoker’s Marlboro Man, Rick Perry. First, people were worried whether America was ready for another cock-sure, way-too-pleased-with-himself Texan as president. Then people were worried that Rick Perry might actually be George W. Bush with Botox, speech therapy, and a wig. But the speech therapy didn’t work. And Perry has been pretty much left standing around saying he created a million jobs. “Gracias, Señor,” say the million job-holders.
The other Rick wasn’t getting much attention in New Hampshire either, other than when college kids were yelling at him for being pro-life unless you’re a guy who wants to lead that life in a dress. Santorum is good on the social issues—in an election year that doesn’t have any. Abortion may be a grievous moral wrong and the reproductive privacy rights embodied in Griswold v. Connecticut may be as important as George Stephanopoulos insists they are. But, at the moment, who cares? What with men down in the dumps about not having a job, moping around the house all day playing Wii in their underwear, and women all weepy and sad about how the Hope and Change thing didn’t work out, nobody has gotten lucky since 2009.
Meanwhile Jon Huntsman would seem to be an ideal candidate. But he ran into a marketing problem. The Huntsman campaign asked, “Would you like a multimillionaire Mormon with experience in government, moderate political views to attract independent voters, a good head of salt-and-pepper hair to give him gravitas, and a swell-looking family?” Nope, already got one of those. That left Huntsman in the role of Mitt Romney’s stunt double. (Okay, in this scene the Mitt character is supposed to speak Mandarin . . . )
And so we have Romney, or, as we call him in JD’s Tavern, “Bob Dole without the sparkle.” Mitt Romney—wealthy mature representative of the baby boom heeding the call to public service, or rich old white guy whose ego’s gotten too big for the private sector? At least he likes to fire people. Me too. Alas, I’m self-employed, leaving me with only myself to hand the pink slip to. Not that this doesn’t seem like a tempting option at times.
One more for the road, Emily. Got to drive back to my hometown, take a bullet for the team, and put my X on the ballot for Big Mittens.
P. J. O’Rourke is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.