When Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour let the world know he didn't have the "fire in the belly" (no snickering, please) required to mount a presidential campaign, Republican political hired hands Mike Dennehy and Paul Young were left holding the bag.
They'd spent more than three months putting together a New Hampshire campaign operation before Barbour pulled the plug, and the decision to quit was surprising, to say the least. But it's not the first time, and it won't be the last, when a politician dips his pinky toe in the presidential waters and finds it either too hot or too cold, even before a single vote is cast or a debate held.Already this campaign cycle, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Indiana Congressman Mike Pence have toyed with the idea of running - even visiting New Hampshire - but thought better of it. And it says here, they won't be alone, well before the chairs are set up for the first caucus in Iowa.Name that agencyFor an understanding of the world view of certain members of this year's Legislature, look no further than Henniker Republican Sen. Andy Sanborn's attempt to remake the Department of Resources and Economic Development.Sanborn - who has since admitted his ambitious plans need some further mulling over and agreed to back a commission to study the ideas - had proposed a rather interesting name change for the moniker-challenged DRED. His idea is to call it the Department of Business Assistance.All well and good. But what of the "Resources" over which the department also has authority - most notably, the state's parks and forests? Merely an oversight, or perhaps a signal that we don't need the "resources" anymore.Gold mettleBefore Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul wowed the crowd late last month at a Laconia fundraiser for Republican state Sen. Jim Forsythe, those in attendance were treated to a rather interesting blend of paranoia and hucksterism on, of all things, paper currency.Before introducing Paul to the crowd, Larry Lepard - a Massachusetts hedge fund manager and devotee of Rand's father Ron, the Texas congressman and presidential wannabe - attempted to put the fear of the god of your choice into his audience by doing his best imitation of Glenn Beck.Calling paper money "an illusion, a sophisticated fraud" that "will go the way of the dodo bird," he warned of nothing less than an economic apocalypse on the horizon.
"We are Germany in the 1930s," he said. "We are beyond the point of any return. This monetary system is going to collapse." He then essentially implored the audience to buy gold and stocks in mining companies.Interesting factoid: In introducing Lepard, Forsythe told the audience that he and the hedge fund manager enjoyed "a valuable and profitable friendship."And Lepard's introduction of Paul? Suffice it to say he got the crowd warmed up when he told the audience he had known the younger Paul since 2007, "before (Sarah) Palin, (Michelle) Bachmann and all the other morons got involved."F&J TOTE BOARDDavid Boutin: The Republican senator from Hooksett is only slightly injured after being hit by a car while crossing a Concord street.Mitt Romney:The former Massachusetts governor leads President Obama in a pre-dead Osama Dartmouth College poll.Linda Dalianis:The new Supreme Court Chief Justice does a 180 — at least for the time being — on her plan to consolidate Hillsborough County Superior Court operations in Manchester.Ron Wilbur:The former president of Merrimack County Savings Bank is nominated by Governor Lynch to be the next banking commissioner.Mike Dennehy:The GOP political operative is left high and dry, for the time being, by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision to call off his presidential bid.Matt Bonner: The New Hampshire native and NBA basketball player adds his voice — through his Concord radio show — to the chorus of opposition to the Northern Pass project.Ryan Williams:The former state Republican Party communications director signs on with Mitt Romney’s presidential bid as a regional press secretary.It's been making the rounds...• So if you have to show a photo ID each time you vote, does that mean you have to whip it out each time you vote at town meeting?• Does it only seem like David Wheeler is even more aggressive in his second go-round on the Executive Council?• Talk about going from night to day: From Peter Hildreth at banking to Ron Wilbur (if he’s approved, of course).• We’re coming close to the point where it’s game, set, match for Ovide Lamontagne and his bid for the 2012 GOP gubernatorial nomination.• With the congressional delegation split 2-2 on Northern Pass — Ayotte and Bass in clear opposition and Shaheen and Guinta hedging their bets — who comes out on top when it’s all over?
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This article appears in the May 6 2011 issue of New Hampshire Business Review