Sitting in a Brew Ha Ha in north Wilmington, DE, trying to finish* David Halberstam's Playing for Keeps, I overheard a girl who'd just come back from New Hampshire talking to her dad and one of his friends. She was talking about her work in a physical rehabilitation center but the friend wanted to know if she'd seen any candidates.
"Out on this main street there were dozens and dozens of people waving signs for Obama," she said. "I'm starting to look at Obama. Actually, I think I might vote for Ron Paul. You heard of Ron Paul?"
The two men thought, then nodded.
"He wants to end the war," she said. "And he's for alternative medicine. The FDA keeps holding back on approving natural medicines, you know, and he wants to get them off the case, you know, deregulate things."
Her dad's friend "hmmed." "Well, I like that 'end the war.' I guess everyone wants to end the war now."
"Not Bush!" A tracksuited lady at the cream-and-sugar stand had overheard this and butted in. "He's not gonna end it. Thank God he can't run again."
If we apply Tom Friedman rules and extrapolate this conversation wildly, we learn:
1) People in the primary states are actually hearing the more outre parts of Paul's agenda and liking it. The first TV ad was right!
2) People want the hell out of Iraq. (Not the biggest breaking news.)
*Not actually a difficult task. It's a great book.