New Hampshire

Mitt At CPAC: Severely In A Bind
February 10, 2012

Mitt Romney’s high-stakes speech today at CPAC, the conservative summit in Washington, is getting attention for a single word. “I was a severely conservative Republican governor,” he told an audience whose ambivalence about his candidacy was no secret. Severely. The modifier was not in his prepared text, and plenty of commentators have noted that it was an odd word choice, and not only because Romney one decade ago was describing himself as “progressive” during his 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor.

Why Santorum’s Not Going Away Anytime Soon
February 08, 2012

Maybe Republicans in their anti-Romney desperation have inadvertently stumbled on an artful new way to fuse religion and politics—every presidential long-shot gets not one but two resurrections. Rick Santorum is officially back from the crypt, and his period in limbo has done him well. For the first time during the 2012 campaign cycle, it actually seems sensible to take Santorum seriously for the long haul. You couldn’t say that after his narrow victory in Iowa.

The Zombie Candidate: What Newt’s Campaign Looks Like Going Forward
February 01, 2012

After last night’s bitter defeat, Newt Gingrich is vowing to stay in the presidential race for a long, long time (“six to eight months” he said in Florida yesterday). Of course, that’s what candidates usually say just before and immediately after bitter defeats (see Jon Huntsman’s “Ticket to Ride” sound bite after finishing a poor third in New Hampshire), even if they have every intention of cutting a deal with a better-positioned candidate and getting off the campaign trail.

Romney Took Florida, But the Real Prize Was Sheldon Adelson
January 31, 2012

In that moment just before New Hampshire, when it was briefly possible to imagine Jon Huntsman fighting deep into the primaries, New York magazine’s John Heilemann made an astute observation. He pointed out that Huntsman’s real audience on election night wouldn’t be the country or the voters in other early states or even the political media. It would consist of exactly one person: Jon Huntsman Sr., the billionaire chemical magnate who, if the mood struck him, could take out his checkbook and completely upend the race. “An investment of, say, $10 million — a rounding error on the Huntsman Sr.

Newtonian Theory, Right And Wrong
January 31, 2012

Things are shaping up predictably enough in Florida today that I will venture my punditry in prebuttal form, like those congressmen who put out their responses to the State of the Union address long before it's been given. My aim now is not so much to look ahead to what comes after Florida as to correct some misinterpretations of the 2012 primary roller-coaster that I've seen floating around in recent days.

Doing It For the Gipper: Why Old People Could Be Newt Gingrich's Saving Grace
January 30, 2012

During the 1960 West Virginia primary,  John Kennedy campaigned in tandem with Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. to claim that he—and not liberal stalwart Hubert Humphrey—was the rightful heir to FDR. The biopic shown at the 1992 Democratic Convention showcased difficult-to-locate footage of Bill Clinton shaking hands with JFK at the White House in 1963 as an Arkansas delegate to Boy’s Nation.  Even by these bygone standards of the-torch-is-passed iconography, it is hard to top the battle for Ronald Reagan’s legacy being waged in the Florida primary.

Just Call Him Barack O'Tarmac
January 26, 2012

What is it with Barack Obama, contentious blonde political rivals and airport tarmacs? Obama's testy encounter yesterday with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer out on the blacktop at the Phoenix airport put me in mind of his famous showdown at Reagan National Airport with Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.

The Guy Who Fires You
January 25, 2012

Randy Lavallee is a proud member of the American working class. A New Hampshire resident, he works as a calibration inspector for a jet-engine plant just across the state line in Maine. Four years ago, the plant went through a downsizing that resulted in the layoffs of one-sixth of its 1,600 workers. After the cuts, Lavallee told me, the “CEO and management got big bonuses.” I met Lavallee, 58, recently in Rochester, New Hampshire, where he lives.

The Inheritance
January 25, 2012

It’s not quite right to say that the hundreds of millions of dollars Mitt Romney amassed as a private equity baron were the cause of his South Carolina drubbing. But they didn’t exactly help, either. Newt Gingrich trounced the former Massachusetts governor among just about every demographic group that might nurse a grudge against a slick quarter-billionaire.

An Ethnographic Theory Of The GOP Primaries
January 24, 2012

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