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Jewish World Review
Nov. 19, 2012/ 5 Kislev, 5773
New Hampshire 2016
CONTOCOOK, N.H. -- Drive through town, turn up the hill and swing into an old orchard homestead that has been in the hands of only two families since 1760. The air, and the huge wooden crates out by the barn, is filled with the autumn aroma of apples.
Here, on Gould Hill, New Hampshire's choices for the season are on display: McIntosh, the establishment selection, here in North America almost as long as this orchard has been in operation. Hampshire, the native favorite but a relative newcomer. Empire, with a name reflecting the muscular outlook of the country. Fuji, an immigrant with popular appeal. Northern Spy, hard and tart. Plus others: Winesap. York. Cortland. Baldwin.
After a long, difficult political contest, this choice -- which apple is richer, which juicer, which more versatile, which more enduring, which better for baking -- is about the only decision New Hampshire is ready to make right now.
On the horizon on a day like this, which in the crisp glow of a New England afternoon is etched with the peaks of the White Mountains, is Thanksgiving. At the foot of Hardy Hill up in Grafton County that means two kinds of stuffing (Jane DeGange's mother's recipe and a newfangled mushroom and leek bread pudding variety) plus squash made with cream cheese and nutmeg, and boiled onions -- not the dinky kind from the bottle on the supermarket shelf or freezer but big onions slathered in heavy cream and seasoned with salt, pepper and butter. I need not add that dessert is apple pie with crumb crust, pecan pie, mince pie (only the husband eats that one) and the famous pumpkin chiffon pie that, every year, dirties every dish in the house, or maybe it only seems that way.
(An article of conviction around here is what is known as the Cattabriga principle, named for the redoubtable Enola Cattabriga, wife of a postman and renowned in these hills for her tortellini and for pickles made from the white part of the watermelon rind: Never, never buy a turkey smaller than 14 pounds because if you do you are paying for bone. No wonder thrift is a part of the local political scene.)
There was frost here the other day, and up in Enfield there is a thin crust of snow on Whaleback Mountain, and on a hill in Lebanon, Raymond Farr is cutting and splitting two truckloads of logs into 30 cords of wood. But right now the priorities are cider (richer now in autumn because the apples have matured, thicker and more pungent than it was in the first press late in summer) and high school football (with the town rivalry games completed, the divisional playoffs still linger).
So dare we say the New Hampshire primary is but 38 months off? Dare we toss around candidates' names like field apples, known in these parts as "blow downs," rotting on the moist, mushy earth? Dare we shatter the tranquility with the horrible word "viable," used only in hospital waiting rooms and political campaigns?
Maybe we do, given that former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida already have asked to be invited to Lincoln Day Dinners and only the serious or foolhardy volunteer to travel to New Hampshire in February.
We plunge in with reluctance, but also with the knowledge that 2016 will be an especially intriguing contest, both party nominations being open with no incumbent eligible to run. And with the knowledge that New Hampshire next time will provide unusually interesting terrain, for after this month's election every member of the congressional delegation (and the governor) is a woman, the first time that has happened anywhere.
That sounds revolutionary, especially for a state that until recently was steeped in a certain brand of conservatism, the kind that resists change. But in 2008 New Hampshire became the first state with a female majority in a legislative chamber. So women are a powerful part of the political scene here, which is a fact that surely has not escaped the attention of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won here in 2008, and Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who went to college up in Hanover and is fired with ambition if not visibility.
Because columns of this sort are supposed to be loaded with names, here they are. Republican candidates might include Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Mike Pence, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, whose great advantage is that his sister works for Dunkin' Donuts, the most revered company in the region. Democrats might include Andrew Cuomo, Martin O'Malley and even Joe Biden, whose six visits since Labor Day cannot be a coincidence. Does it matter that John Hickenlooper has started to make contact with locals, and do you have any idea who he is?
Yet it isn't personalities but politics that first must be worked out. The Democrats must contemplate the world after Barack Obama and decide whether they can sustain their coalition of women, minorities and immigrants with him in retirement.
But the biggest challenge is the Republicans'. They cannot again tie their fortunes to a base that is aging rapidly and losing its vitality. They cannot afford to get clobbered among voters under 30 and among minorities, even though there aren't many minorities here, where the voting-age population is 96 percent white.
Among the moderate Republicans who remain fixtures here, there is worry the party just spent a year talking about the destruction of the American character and then was surprised that those Americans supposedly undermining the national character turned against them. The view here: The Republican campaign was exclusionary, not inclusive, a major misreading of what politics is about.
Memo to Republicans contemplating a New Hampshire visit: Republicans here are concerned about fiscal issues, not social issues. Likely GOP primary voters here support abortion rights more than Americans as a whole, and they don't recoil at gay marriage. New Hampshire Republicans didn't even mount an effort to repeal gay marriage when they had a chance.
One last thing. The other day some folks around here were sitting with their coffee cups wondering -- actually speculating -- who would be the first damn fool to cross state lines to write about the 2016 election. Now they know.
Comment by clicking here.
David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
11/12/12 Obama's second chance
11/05/12 America's first martyr to free speech
10/29/12 Making hay in Iowa
10/15/12 When two men confronted each other from afar as civilization hung in the balance
10/08/12 If you look at the election a certain way, things don't seem so terrible
10/01/12 Debating the debates
09/24/12 Pessimists R Us
08/20/12 Obama remains a puzzle even as he asks the American people for a second chance
08/13/12 With Ryan, Romney upends the conversation
08/06/12 The real Romney remains hidden behind other people's opinions
07/30/12 What summer is for: How August can matter, and how Romney might use it
07/23/12 The Independent son of independent Maine promises to shake up Washington
07/16/12 The Rambler American
07/09/12 The Telstar revolution: Fifty years ago, a 3-foot orb was sent aloft and spawned a new era in communications
07/02/12 It's got only four electoral votes, but Romney and Obama will be fighting for them
06/25/12 A little noted rebellion over a lonely stretch of land helps tell the American story
06/18/12 You're nothing special: Luck is what you make of it . . . and what it makes of you
06/11/12 Anybody can talk authoritatively about the presidential election. Here's how
06/04/12 Candidates love to ally themselves with admired presidents, in sometimes unexpected ways
05/29/12 Americans aren't in a new burst of patriotism but they are in a new burst of appreciation for the military
05/21/12 Inside out: Almost nothing about this year's presidential election conforms to conventional analysis
05/14/12 Lugar grew into an elder statesman, which is why he'll be leaving the Senate
05/07/12 50 years later, MacArthur's farewell to arms continues to inspire
04/30/12 The likability factor: We're going to find out how important it is in these troubled times
04/23/12 Romney's four battles: With the nomination essentially in hand, he must turn to new challenges
04/16/12 For GOPers, expect the frustration to build, not abate
04/09/12 The political battles you cannot see
04/02/12 Romney's roadmap: Doing better in Democratic states may complicate his fall campaign
03/26/12 Romney struggles with same GOP forces his father faced long ago
03/19/12 The writer and the president
03/12/12 Romney could learn from his rivals after Super Tuesday
03/05/12 The GOP race continues, and Republicans continue to grouse about their choices
02/27/12 The turnout threat: when voters vamoose
02/20/12 The Winter's Tale: Republicans are engaged in a 'problem play,' full of psychological, and real, drama
02/13/12 Which Ike to like?
02/08/12 A tale of two elections: Voters today are making their most profound choice since 1912
01/30/12 Whither the GOP establishment?
01/23/12 The Democratic coalition is breaking up
01/09/12 The verdict that wasn't
01/02/12 These are the keys to who will persist
12/19/11 Another Gingrich rebellion
12/12/11 A defining fight for the GOP
12/05/11 A distinct lack of enthusiasm
11/28/11 For GOPers, the winds are beginning to pick up, the horizon is darkening
11/21/11 Today's polarized politics . . . blame FDR and the political scientists
11/11/11The sporting life
11/07/11 Ron Paul, true believer
10/31/11 Why Cain isn't able
10/10/11 GOP starting over
10/03/11 The Forgotten War of 1812
09/26/11 The way we live now
09/19/11 The crisis this time
09/11/11 But what will it mean?
09/05/11 A horse race column: Who might win the GOP nomination and how it might unfold
08/29/11 The vacuum calls
08/22/11 Passion and politics: How Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got crowded into the same dangerous corner
08/15/11 Eleanor's little village
08/08/11 The agony of August
08/01/11 The politics of the impossible: What a country this might be if the political class served the broad interests of the majority
07/25/11 Pennant fever grips 'Burgh
07/18/11 Exemplar of an era
07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar
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