New Hampshire makes itself known clearly as soon as you cross the border.
The sign says “Welcome to New Hampshire. Live free or die.” Okay, then.
Strangely, the tall trees started to be covered with snow just as I crossed the line. It’s a lovely, picturesque, New England look. As you approach the capital, Concord, the traditional steeples add to the ambience along with the signature building, the gold-domed state capitol.
I’m supporting Huckabee. I walked into his headquarters and they immediately put me to work making phone calls.
“Will you be voting in the primary Tuesday?”
They all say yes.
“Can we count on your support for Governor Huckabee?”
A few yes’s. Several no’s. A few “hell no’s”.
New Hampshirites take seriously their role as the vetter of future Presidents. They also value their independence. Some of those I called are likely to vote for Huckabee, but they refuse to tell callers or pollers what their intentions are until after Tuesday.
Later, I attended a rally outside the building where the big debate ocurred last night. Pro-life activists stood by the entryway holding giant signs of aborted babies. Also in the crowd were global warming activists and “Health Care Voters,” whatever they are (a Hillary shell group?).
I stood next to a guy who attended Talbot Seminary for two years and has been mixing it up in New Hampshire politics for 15 years. We talked Huckabee, Ron Paul, Steve Forbes, Pat Buchanan, Vince Foster, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Eastern Orthodoxy. After two hours standing in the snow, we all headed to a conference center to watch Huckabee in the debate.
My two cats stayed in the car.
After the debate, the candidate himself, Mike Huckabee, popped in to cheer on the troops. About 150 of us applauded eagerly as he began to speak. But he was interrupted by a guy holding a beer up high who wanted to make a toast. Huckabee said okay.
“To the only candidate who is willing to speak out openly for Christian values!” he proclaimed.
Light applause. Huckabee began to speak.
“And one more thing,” the beer holder said. “As a follower myself of Jesus Christ, the one who reached out to lepers, I’m wondering why you don’t accept people like me with AIDS . . . ”
Three or four other plants in the crowd cheered obnoxiously. The rest of the crowd shouted them down. I went over and got in front of a TV camera, so the intruders didn’t get undeserved press.
As they were being escorted away, Huckabee said, “Well, I guess I’ll mark them in the category of undecided.” Lots of laughter.
I’m staying with Toshi and Christy. Toshi is Japanese and Christy the daughter of missionaries to Japan. Toshi came here as an exchange student in high school. He’s a highly talented impressionist artist, guitar player, and flight attendant. Christy is also an artist and flight attendant, normally anyway. Right now she’s focused full time on daughters Serena (16 months) and Lela (6 weeks).
Serena loves the cats. Toshi is allergic to cats. So Storm and Jet spent the night in the car. Fortunately, it got suddenly warmer up here. The last I checked, they are alive and well.