Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

John McCain Defeats Mitt Romney in New Hampshire

Posted by Mike on January 8, 2008

John McCain has won his second consecutive New Hampshire primary, comfortably defeating Mitt Romney. As a result, some in the media are now rushing to call McCain the Republican frontrunner. Poppycock. The GOP has no frontrunner, but the dynamics of the race have indeed changed.

Our party had a frontrunner at one time, but he was defeated in what was, in effect, the earliest primary ever held. I’m talking about the 2006 Virginia Senate race in which Jim Webb defeated George Allen. Way back then, Allen was the only viable candidate who appealed to the three main factions of the Republican Party (fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and foreign policy conservatives). With Allen’s political career prematurely terminated, Republicans were left without an obvious frontrunner and many of its voters, myself included, were left in undecided limbo.

When the race began, Mitt Romney was the moderate Governor of Massachusetts whose national poll numbers were in the low single digits, but he had a plan. Realizing that our party had no frontrunner and that each candidate would have to pick and choose states in which to fight their battles, Romney wisely chose to invest his time and resources in Iowa and New Hampshire. As the campaign progressed, he shifted his tone if not his positions on some issues in an attempt to appeal to all three of the Republican Party’s factions. This strategy was somewhat successful. Although his national numbers were not that high until very recently, he became the frontrunner in both Iowa and New Hampshire. He chose his battlegrounds.

Unfortunately for Romney, other candidates who were not true national frontrunners also chose their battlegrounds. Mike Huckabee chose Iowa. John McCain chose New Hampshire. Fred Thompson chose South Carolina. Rudy Giuliani chose Florida. Thompson and Giuliani still have winnable battlegrounds left to fight. Huckabee and now McCain are in even better shape, having won their chosen battlegrounds.

Unlike these other candidates, Mitt Romney has been defeated in not one, but both of his hand-picked battlegrounds. He now risks losing his “home state” of Michigan as well. This string of defeats for Romney should cause his conservative supporters to consider the only other candidate who appeals to all three GOP factions. With Mitt Romney losing the crowned jewels of his early state strategy, with tax-hike Mike Huckabee stronger than ever, with pro-amnesty John McCain surging, with pro-choice Rudy Giuliani waiting in the wings, and with winnable South Carolina on the horizon, it is time for conservatives to come home and support one of their own. It is time to support Fred Thompson.

AP photo

One Response to “John McCain Defeats Mitt Romney in New Hampshire”

  1. Ryan said

    I still think that it’s too early to count anyone out on the Republican side: three contests plus three different winners equals no clear frontrunner. While things might look bad for Romney, I’d wait until we have some primaries where non-media bluffing actual conservatives can vote in large true numbers to select their candidates. Iowa and New Hampshire play against the perceived conventional wisdom and too many independents muddy the waters. Without a clear frontrunner, one needs to wait until a few more contests are decided. If Mitt can make himself still seem electable (despite the MSM’s best push to thwart him), he’s not finished, nor is anyone until Super Tuesday as I see it. 29 states will have already had their contests by Wednesday morning, 22 of them on Tuesday itself! When the dust settles, we could still see a distinct Giuliani v. SWMNBN race by the end of February.

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