I’m going to New Hampshire next week, and am a bit fretful about it. First, as far as I can tell, there hasn’t been much snow and there’s not much on the horizon. That means no snowbanks, which are an essential feature of the New Hampshire Primary. The snowbanks are what people stick signs into. You drive up to a high school, or an opera house, or an American Legion hall — packed snow and ice and sand crunching under your wheels — and you expect to see hundreds of candidate signs jammed into snowbanks. I believe in tradition.

Also, I’m worried that I haven’t paid close enough attention to the presidential campaign and can’t even tell you how Romney and Gingrich and McCain and Dole and the rest of them are doing this year. I don’t want to be the dope who files a story from New Hampshire saying that Phil Gramm’s support is slipping, only to discover that he’s surging. Before I go anywhere I’m going to Google “Lamar Alexander” and find out how he’s doing. I need to maintain my reputation for accuracy and insight.

Right now I can’t tell the difference between the Republicans who favor a drastically smaller government and the ones who favor no government at all. Some have serious aspirations to be the chief executive, while others are merely promoting books, or hoping to land a gig on “Dancing With the Stars.”

The only thing I know for sure is that Ron Paul thinks our foreign policy has been completely out of whack since Gen. Braddock marched on the Forks of the Ohio in 1755.

Four years ago I’d logged a lot of miles in Iowa and New Hampshire. I’ve always preferred New Hampshire. That may come through in the piece I wrote four years ago about the two states that guard the entrance to the campaign trail. Mostly, I like how small New Hampshire is — it’s easy to get around, so long as you don’t get lost. In Iowa, every event is 180 miles away. The caucuses are also a weird format for picking a candidate. You have to stand up in front of your friends and neighbors and declare your support. I don’t think that’s fair to the candidates who are on the fringe and borderline insane. Their supporters ought to be able to cast those votes secretly.

I may be overthinking this.