'Guest commentary' offers a younger perspective
The Republican candidates (or most of them who were invited) debated issues on Oct. 11 at Dartmouth College in Hanover. This was an interesting location for such a debate, there being a scarce number of GOP voters in that college town.The following morning, I received these comments from a 30-year-old voter of my acquaintance, who is both thoughtful and interested, although I do not suspect intending to vote for any of the candidates who shared the Hanover stage. I thought it appropriate to include them as kind of a "guest commentary":"Romney and his advisors have done a masterful job with the 'RomneyCare' issue, his answer to Perry's question/attempted jab at him regarding this was impressive, and he's handled it well throughout the campaign.""When Newt stops listening to advisors and says what he really thinks, his intelligence and understanding of politics is clear. Regarding his personal life, I think he's a slimy character, but if a Republican wins, he'd be an asset in their administration.""Cain is a fascinating individual, mathematician, rocket scientist, successful in the private sector -- but (and I could be very wrong on this) I don't think president of the United States should be anyone's first elected office.""Ron Paul's a little nuts, but he says what he thinks, no talking points/political BS with him, and that's very refreshing. Should never be president, but I'm glad he's in Congress where he doesn't have power to do some of the things he wants, but gets to bring his ideas to the table.""Bachmann, stop bragging about raising 156 children, raising kids isn't a numbers game and when you and your husband have such demanding careers you're not giving these kids, either adopted or not, the personal attention they need to develop/grow up properly. That said, my hat is off to the Republicans, a cheap stereotype is that it is the old white man's party, and with Bachmann and Cain winning straw polls (whatever they are worth) recently that is clearly not the case.""Santorum should drop out and enjoy his inevitable next job as a Fox News contributor."Pretty insightful comments that are refreshing for a number of reasons.They show the interest of a 30-year-old not only in public affairs, but also in the Republican candidate field, which recognizes that one of these folks could be president. They are blunt reviews without any politically correct polish, and while I might have been a little more diplomatic, sometimes things like these need to be said.*****With other states pushing up the political calendar, both Iowa and New Hampshire's secretaries of state have had to adjust the dates of their caucus and first primary. At this writing, it looks as if the Iowa caucus will be Jan. 3, and the New Hampshire primary will be Jan. 10.That is less than three months away, so candidates will have to focus their strategies and refine their messages. The accelerated schedule probably favors Mitt Romney in the Republican race, since he has been running the longest, has momentum, and good polling numbers -- especially in New Hampshire.*****In the New Hampshire Legislature, the differences between the House and Senate have been seen in subtle and not-so-subtle ways recently. The House has shown no reluctance to meet and hold hearings about a number of matters, while Senate President Peter Bragdon has made it clear that he does not intend to bring the Senate back to Concord until January.While both houses are controlled overwhelmingly by the GOP, style and substance differs widely between them.*****The state's largest city and a number of other cities have municipal elections in this odd-numbered year. However, in 2011, the election seems almost invisible.In Manchester, incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas seems to be the only candidate running, with school committee member Chris Herbert not making any noticeable showing, at least through the first two weeks of October.While Gatsas has formidable resources and support, elections need to be a contest of ideas, and no one is entitled to a free ride in a democracy, so where the Democratic Party has been in this election is a question a lot of people are asking.Several perennial quirky Manchester politicians are trying to make a run for various offices, and a lack of interest or viable alternative mayoral candidate might let some of them win, so voters need to pay attention to the election, even if it is not getting much visibility.In other cities, it seems to be a similar situation. If readers live and vote in any of these places, they should take the effort to inform themselves of who is running and what positions the candidates take on various issues, or the consequences could be severe.Brad Cook, a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green, heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He also serves as secretary of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.