Over Easy: Presidential candidates should promise smooth path for Jersey Mike’s opening

  • Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)

For the Valley News
Published: 9/15/2023 3:10:59 PM
Modified: 9/15/2023 7:59:38 PM

Presidential primary season is upon us, as it is every four years. Little deal New Hampshire gets to feel like a big deal and local pols hope to catch a rising star and win a key post in the next administration.

As a longtime New Hampshire voter, I don’t exactly feel a tingle at the thought of meeting a presidential wannabe in a diner. I mean, it would be sort of exciting, though not as much as well-cooked home fries.

I don’t know how much such meet-and-greets (or meat-and-greets) have to do with being Leader of the Free World, unless they want to serve red flannel hash at a state dinner someday. Maybe that would win over France, but I think they are fussy about their food, so I kind of doubt it.

Upper Valley voters, if they get the opportunity, should ask candidates about the issues that are chiefly on our minds. According to activity on local online forums, that is the opening of a Jersey Mike’s sandwich shop on Route 12A. It seems to be behind schedule, which might be because of supply chain issues, labor challenges or a world-wide shaved steak shortage.

We should ask any nearby candidate to take the Jersey Mike’s Pledge: to use the power of the Federal Trade Commission, the Small Business Administration, the Treasury Department, the National Guard or whatever to get this chain restaurant open.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew how to get things like this done, and don’t tell me the American can-do spirit is gone. Similarly, most of us Upper Valley citizens won’t sleep well until we know what business is going to take over the old J.C. Penney’s space, which is large — and should be a national priority.

We also need to know where they stand on traffic roundabouts, which vex bad drivers and conspiracy theorists. Who is behind them? China, Circle Enthusiasts, The National Alignment League? Isn’t it true that driving in circles causes tires to wear unevenly?

Anyway, our next chief executive should explain why we are getting roundabouts when what we really want is a Jersey Mike’s cheesesteak, extra everything. We are Americans, and we deserve extra, dammit.

I actually have learned a few things about seeing candidates up close. They are not always what they appear to be on television. My parents were visiting in 1984 when John Glenn had a small rally in Colburn Park in Lebanon. I thought he looked understatedly heroic, rather than dull. Years later, Al Gore seemed much less stiff in person than on TV, where he resembled a test pattern.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was good with irony, which might be too subtle for many voters. On the Republican side, Sen. Rand Paul gave a joyless lecture about taxes and deficits at the Kilton Library. Pennsylvania Gov. John Kasich also spoke there and appeared to be a genuinely nice guy, which doesn’t play well at this moment in history.

Sen. Bernie Sanders was, is and will always be Bernie Sanders, which is all you need to know about Bernie Sanders. I couldn’t even get close to Barack Obama, who in his first run spoke at Dartmouth in front of a large crowd of college students full of hope. It feels like a long time ago.

This time around, it seems that we are likely to wind up with Biden-Trump, which does not make me feel good about growing older. Recent health incidents have even made me feel bad for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who at moments I have regarded with seething disdain. I thought he looked frightened as he stared in frozen silence. With no spite at all, I thought let this man retire. Let all the political oldies retire. I don’t think you’d feel comfortable letting any one of them drive a tour bus, and yet here they are, carrying on as if immortal.

I recently watched the Trumpless Republican debate, which lacked a certain dignity. Having audience shills whoop and holler is just a terrible idea. As for the participants, I think you can put only so much effort into trying to make the other candidate look like a jerk without resembling one yourself.

That is pretty low-level political analysis, but there is some truth to it.

Lately I’ve been puzzled by radio ads promoting an independent candidate for president, Robert Quigley. I don’t know who he is or exactly what he is talking about, but he claims to be a problem-solver. We have more than our share of problem-causers.

I suppose I could wish him luck, but it would depend on his plans for Jersey Mike’s.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.

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