The holiday season is a time to give back. Over the past 10 months the Republican presidential candidates have given us so much — Michele Bachmann taught us American history, Rick Perry shared with us his photographic memory and Herman Cain reminded us that maybe Papa Gino’s isn’t so bad. We have taken so much from the highs and lows of these candidates that we decided it was time to give back. So in the spirit of the season we are going to give each candidate a holiday gift. Some could use some better polling numbers, a more consistent message or just a hug. Local politicians could use some gifts as well. We made sure not to leave them out.
Jon Huntsman: A new campaign manager, more specifically Bono — Huntsman is a talented musician, cares deeply about issues going on around the world, looks good in a pair of sunglasses and practices politics that transcend a particular party. Basically, he’s Bono without the popularity. Imagine Huntsman’s poll numbers if his campaign were also the opening for U2’s national tour. Bonus: it could bring U2 to NH!
Michele Bachmann: Lexington and Concord: The Beginning of the War of the American Revolution by Arthur B. Tourtellot, available at Amazon.com for $11.91. Bachmann was the Tea Party darling very early in the campaign but she got off on a sour note in the Granite State by declaring it was the location where the Revolutionary War began. Since Bachmann’s strategy led her to Iowa and away from New Hampshire this was a lasting mistake for many voters.
Mitt Romney: An evil twin. It’s been tough for Romney, who has always been the frontrunner and has had to go against a different flavor of the week seemingly every week. A lot of people don’t gravitate to Romney because he seems too perfect. This is why his evil twin would help. Imagine Romney, his hair messed up, his shirt hanging out and ketchup on his jeans. This is a man the American people could relate to. If Romney got into a two-person duel not with Perry or Cain or Gingrich but with himself, well, then his odds of winning would be much higher.
Rick Perry: Britney Spears’ sophomore album, Oops!... - I Did It Again. Many believe Perry’s campaign hit an insurmountable roadblock during 53 seconds of a debate when Perry could not remember the three government agencies he would cut as president. Perry famously said, “Oops.” Plus, the song of the same name is 3 minutes and 32 seconds, so Perry could keep his meltdown on loop almost four times without having to switch songs.
Newt Gingrich: The Personal Brain, a new piece of software from thebrain.com that allows people to organize all the different thoughts they have and then easily call upon them. This is perfect for Gingrich, who is known as an “ideas man.” Unfortunately, many pundits have suggested that Gingrich gets infatuated with an idea and then starts talking about it before really thinking it over. By using the Personal Brain, Gingrich will be able to categorize his ideas and then call upon the best ones during debates.
Rick Santorum: A stress ball. Andy Samberg often portrays Santorum on Saturday Night Live as high-strung and easily flustered. But that is essentially the end of the shtick. If Santorum had a stress ball to work out some of his low-percentage-in-the-polls frustration, perhaps he would be immune to parody, which would give him a certain gravitas.
Ron Paul: South African gold krugerrands. Unlike some of the candidates, Paul has never changed his views in more than 30 years of politics. He is adamant about getting rid of the Federal Reserve. If that happened, it would certainly be beneficial for him to have a reserve of gold coins as backup. He’s going to need some money to buy holiday gifts for his son, Rand Paul, a Kentucky senator.
Herman Cain: A hug... and a thin-cut pizza.
Buddy Roemer and Fred Karger: An attentive audience. The two presidential candidates probably know they don’t have a shot in the presidential primary, but that hasn’t stopped them from tirelessly working in New Hampshire. Both have distinctly unique and interesting messages, but who is listening?
Gary Johnson: A time machine. Johnson is reportedly considering, at this late stage in the game, switching to Libertarian in the presidential primary. Who knows how the move would turn out, but we’re guessing, given what he knows now, that he’d have been better off running as a Libertarian from the start.
Gov. John Lynch: A re-do on education funding — Lynch’s proposal for an education funding amendment was rejected by the House last month, but there still appears to be interest from Republicans to get something done. If he could do it over, his roll-out of his proposal might be a bit smoother. We’re guessing Lynch would like to leave the corner office as the governor who helped get the education funding issue taken care of.
William O’Brien: Seven Republican votes. That’s how many votes kept the House from overriding Lynch’s veto of right-to-work legislation. O’Brien, the House speaker, needed seven more Republicans to vote with him on this issue. So far, the right-to-work issue has been the only major setback for O’Brien as leader of a House with a massive majority. House leaders have said this isn’t the last the public will hear of right-to-work.
Ovide Lamontagne: A time shifter. It’s not that Lamontagne needs to go back in time; he needs to shift time so that his high popularity of earlier this year matches up with the actual gubernatorial election a little less than a year from now. Lamontagne would have seemingly been unbeatable in the gubernatorial race in the spring and early summer of this year when he achieved kingmaker status in the presidential primary, or at least that’s what major national news organizations like the New York Times were writing. It’s not that Lamontagne is necessarily faltering, but he might have peaked a little early. He’s still probably the frontrunner in the gubernatorial race, but the field could be getting much more crowded soon, with at least one other formidable player.
Ted Gatsas: A balanced city budget. A difficult budget season is perhaps the one major obstacle to Gatsas’ entering the gubernatorial race. We also considered giving the Manchester mayor a time machine so he could go back to earlier this year and not say he would serve the full two years if re-elected this fall. But we weren’t sure he’d say anything different at that time.
Maggie Hassan: A primary. That might sound weird, but a serious primary challenge might be just what Hassan needs to elevate herself into the statewide political discourse. Now if the primary challenge came in the form of Stonyfield Yogurt CEO Gary Hirshberg, that’s another story.
Ray Buckley: Gov. John Lynch to reconsider. It’s not a shot at Maggie Hassan, but Buckley’s life would be a whole lot easier if Lynch would just run again, for a record fifth term. Lynch, who fended off a serious challenge from John Stephen in 2010, would be extremely difficult to beat in 2012. Buckley can dream.