10 January 2012
New Hampshire proves nothing?
The former governor of Massachusetts appears to have won a primary in a New England state -- how shocking? But Mitt Romney's win will confirm his standing as an unassailable front-runner for many observers, at least until the tournament moves to a southern state. If New Hampshire proves anything, it may be that Ron Paul is assured of at least 20% of the vote anywhere he goes -- but that depends on the South as well. It's said his anti-interventionism won't play in that jingoist, militarist part of the country, but we'll find out soon enough. The only things New Hampshire proves indisuputably are facts about itself, the primary fact being that the traditionalist social conservatives aren't welcome there. Consider this: according to the latest returns as I write, which are sufficient for Romney to claim victory and Paul to concede the state to him, those two candidates and the apparent third-place finisher, Huntsman, have combined to win 78% of the Republican vote. The three traditionalists -- Gingrich, Perry and Santorum -- combined for barely 20%, the Texan getting not even 1%. That would seem to prove that there was no point, after all, in the social-conservative cabal picking one from the three last weekend, since that chosen one would have gotten clobbered, anyway. Better to wait for South Carolina, where the verdict of the coming conclave might mean something, unless all of those three are thought to have sinned too much against the holy dollar to merit the votes of the righteous. One thing seems certain regardless of New Hampshire: things can still get crazier in the Republican race, and probably will.