Political cartoonist Jeff Danziger was joking around recently when he suggested that Vermont needs to piggy back on New Hampshire’s First in the Nation© Presidential Primary. In his opinion piece, Danziger cuts comically right to the heart of the matter:
It’s not only the money that the New Hampshire primary brings to that state. It’s the … well, OK, it’s the money. Their television stations will be rolling in dough, their restaurants will be crowded with journalists and hangers-on, and their merchants’ registers will jam.
And now the idea has gone from spoof to legislation sponsored in Vermont by state Senator Anthony Pollina, who has put forward legislation almost duplicating Danziger’s same day as New Hampshire “proposal.” Like the humorist (but in more nuanced language) Senator Pollina also sees an “economic shot in the arm” and claims it would give Vermonters a greater role in choosing a president.
“There’s a lot of money generated during primary season, and there’s no reason why Vermont shouldn’t reap some of the benefits of the early primary,” Pollina said.
He notes that towns along the Connecticut River might benefit most from a once-every-four-years burst of border-town business for motels, restaurants and of course media buys: “This ad was paid for by friends of …”
And Pollina hopes more-liberal Vermont voices may help “shape the debate” or as Danziger put it, with all the false modesty he could muster:
We here in Vermont, who, God knows, are much better equipped to make an intelligent decision about the future of the country, are ignored wholesale. […] But actually it’s the money.
And how about the money? Well the dollars trickle down into the First in the Nation© Primary State in all kinds of ways. Jebbie Bush (the “smart one”), for example, who is expected to run for the Republican Presidential nomination, is handing out money in New Hampshire (and Iowa) through his PAC. Bush cash gifts include $10,000 to the New Hampshire Republican Committee and the legal limit $5,200 each to NH Congressman Frank Guinta and Senator Kelly Ayotte.
So yeah, about the money: it flows all kind of ways, and why do we assume Vermont’s liberal views will transform the debate? The reverse is possible — the primary debate could transform our political landscape. Imagine the extra thousands of dollars windfall the Vermont Republican Party or conservative Vermont candidates might receive.
Yup, we need some of that PAC money here in Vermont … Oh, and Danziger was just joking.