"The 2004 New Hampshire primary turned out to be spectacular political theater. When we began this project, we couldn't have imagined the drama that lay in store. In hindsight, there were plenty of signs: the number and caliber of the staffers, the money, the technology, the poignancy of the issues, and the spectrum of the candidates' personalities and ideologies. Add to that the most intensive media presence and scrutiny in New Hampshire primary history, and you have the ideal conditions for the political show of a lifetime."
"Like the plot in a Broadway whodunit, this election was in a constant state of change -- the frontrunner became the long shot, the insurgent became the frontrunner, and everyone in the middle fought for a moment in the spotlight. When the curtain finally came down, all but two were still on the stage, and the long shot was, once again, the frontrunner. The campaign staffers are the producers, writers, directors, set designers, and stagehands in this political production. When they do their jobs well, the audience doesn't notice them. They may feel exhausted and depleted as they exit the theater on opening night, but in fact, they are leaving enriched. The official results of any election are a permanent record of the vote count, but not of the tremendous personal growth, the lifetime friendships, and the emotional roller coaster that the staffers experience. The best way to get a sense of the electoral process is to read the words of those who've lived it. Their voices also help us understand campaign culture and why so many young people are drawn to it."
"This book and accompanying exhibition were made possible by the generous support of the Office of the president, New School University and the New Hampshire Political Library. For information about individual and bulk book sales or the installation of the exhibition at your institution, please contact the authors at http://www.PrimarilyNewHampshire.com LINK
If you love presidential politics, you'll want to buy yourself at least one copy of this incredible work. LINK
Your special Friday entertainment section:
We are usually the last folks to trumpet any kind of unscientific opinion data. However, an interesting phenomenon is occurring at the Golden Theater on West 45th Street in Manhattan.
First a little "Avenue Q" scene setting:
The Tony Award winning best musical's final number is entitled, "For Now." The 20- and 30-somethings of Avenue Q sing of how if things are going wrong in life, not to worry, most things are only temporary in nature. The cast shouts out examples ranging from bad hair to heartbreak, each being followed by the musical refrain — "for now."
But the biggest audience reaction comes from the lyric, "George Bush … for now." The cast has to pause the song entirely for several moments to allow for the hoots, hollers, and applause to die down.
Granted, this is taking place on the West side of Manhattan. Nobody in their right mind would consider it a battleground or a bellwether of any sorts. However, when you compare (as we did) the difference in audience reaction between summer 2003 and summer 2004, it is quite astonishing.