BOSTON (CBS) – Finally, mercifully, the campaigning in New Hampshire is over.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
No more endlessly repeated stump speeches with little or no content barked out in front of a motley mix of bored media, bloggers with mini-cams, autograph hounds, Occupy protesters biding their time before jumping up and shouting, campaign volunteers for the candidate, with maybe a few actual undecided voters mixed in, if they could manage to find a parking space in the lot.
The TV ads packed with distortion and spin and the endlessly-repetitive debates showcasing preening media bigwigs will continue to show up on your set, but at least they won’t be cluttering up our backyard.
And now the interesting part begins – the actual voting.
But will anyone really be listening to what it is New Hampshire voters have to say?
For instance, if, as the polls suggest, they give Mitt Romney a ringing endorsement, will that be the seal of approval voters elsewhere desperate for a new president need to affirm Romney as their nominee?
Or will it just intensify the anger and frustration of those on the right who find Romney too flexible and moderate to stomach, spurring them on to several weeks or even months more of trashing him?
Or will New Hampshire deliver a confused verdict, say, a narrow win or even a shocking loss for Romney, boosting an alternative moderate in Huntsman or elevating one of the arch-conservative pack to prominence?
That would blow a huge hole in one of Romney’s core arguments – that whatever you think of him, you can’t deny his superior electability.
And it would leave the final sorting-out to confused voters elsewhere.
I spent awhile last night listening to a local voter vent about his frustration with Romney, the candidate he’ll vote for today, and what he felt was Romney’s failure to rebut the attacks being made on his business background.
Maybe by tonight he’ll feel better.
Maybe we’ll all feel bettter just to have this endless and unedifying campaign move on.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.