Perhaps it is time to pass a federal law stipulating that any winner of the New Hampshire primary is henceforth disqualified from running for President. Constitutional considerations aside, it might just be the only manner in which America could neutralize the circus that increasingly results from the Granite State's belief in its inherent right to identify the latest presidential "non starter" when it holds the nation's first primary.
Yesterday's primary results offered no more insights than have past events, other than to inarguably convince the nation that it has no desire for the excessively long and drawn out campaigns that are now the norm. But the situation actually went downhill from there. The reappearance of "inevitability" on the part of Hillary Clinton virtually guarantees that Republican campaigning and voting patterns will remain, for the foreseeable future, in "stupid" mode.
The Republican base has yet to become solidly motivated around any particular candidate. Sadly, this is so mainly because the Republican Party, along with far too much of the "grassroots," is not currently looking to establish and advance a traditionally Republican agenda. Rather, responding to a visceral but totally unwarranted fear of Hillary Clinton, the entire effort appears to be to find the candidate and/or posture that can be employed as the best defense against the scary but politically unremarkable former First Lady.
Most of the so-called "top tier" GOP candidates, amid episodes of claiming sole proprietorship of the Reagan mantle, are offering measured responses, hoping to "thread the needle" between right and left on a host of topics from environmentalism to Social Security reform. Rather than boldly asserting a conservative vision for America and a past record of governing in that direction (Few can honestly claim the latter), they seem preoccupied by a need to assure the electorate that, lurking in their background is some version of "Hillary Lite."
Nor has the response from the base been any more noteworthy. As one candidate after another jockeys towards the very temporary "frontrunner" position, public scrutiny highlights all of the reasons why said candidate cannot genuinely lay any claim to the perception of conservatism that might briefly catapult him to that point.
Some analysts are incessantly attempting to determine the particular reasons why the leading candidate of the day may be receiving such support by delving into the details of his past political record or governing philosophy. But to presume any relationship between current popularity and present or past policy decisions is invariably a mistake. Sadly, the situation is completely lacking in the substance necessary for such a conclusion.
Unrelated to any real consideration of past governing or possible future actions in light of the candidate's past, the public is itself reacting out of the same mindless fear of Hillary Clinton. Apparently, the mistaken interpretation of the 2006 mid-term election persists. Far too many people believe that the country reacted negatively to an overly conservative Republican agenda, when in truth it recoiled over its frustration with the abandonment of that very thing by Congressional Republicans and President Bush.
So, acting not on principle but out of fear of more repercussions, and seeing Hillary as the country's standard bearer, the so-called "top tier" waffles and postures, and with few exceptions (such as the War on Terror), offers everything but truly heartfelt conservative alternatives to the platform of the Democrats. And in the wake of Hillary's resounding mandate (or so we are told) in the New Hampshire Primary, the situation is in all likelihood only going to get worse.
A loss for Hillary might have sealed, in the eyes of the American public, the eventual collapse of her campaign. And such a scenario could have opened the doors for the GOP to begin planning a presidential campaign based not on the terror instilled in it by the Clinton political machine, but instead focusing on a candidate who could truly represent Red-State America and its overwhelmingly conservative, patriotic, and traditional political philosophy.
So, John McCain is the Republican star of the moment, an entirely expected result from New Hampshire. Yet McCain will never rise to the stature necessary to inspire and coalesce the Republican base. Even in his post primary commentary, he clearly showed that he intends to shift to the middle, from where he believes he will rise to universal popularity. And he plans to employ the same strategy when he campaigns in Michigan. Rhetoric aside, he is no more interested in real conservatives or real conservatism than he ever was.
If McCain receives any bounce from his New Hampshire victory, it is only liable to last until the public recalls his despicable track record of undermining conservatism through, campaign finance "reform," enabling Democrat judicial filibusters, supporting their pro-tax agenda, and of course, the ugly crown jewel of his worldview, amnesty for illegal aliens.
But even in the unlikely event that he were somehow to take the GOP field and gain the nomination, his campaign would be second to Giuliani's in the speed with which it would irreparably implode, when his media allies turn on him, which they will surely do the moment he has outlived his usefulness to them.
Copyright ©2008 Christopher G. Adamo