I was the sole general chairman of the New Hampshire campaign of Pat Buchanan in the winter of 1995-6.
I was alone because my co-chairman, faced with unmoving single-digit poll numbers, had fled for the Dole campaign.
I remember Pat's consternation about our seemingly stagnant poll numbers. And yet, when New Hampshire voters began focusing on the election, those polls became meaningless. Just a few weeks before the primary.
The "pitch fork" brigade carried New Hampshire. And I am convinced that had there not been shenanigans in South Carolina, a GOP under a Buchanan banner would have defeated Clinton and rewritten history -- unlike -- the sleazy stand-for-nothing Dole.
So -- what do you want to know about New Hampshire?
(1) New Hampshire Is A Conservative State
In 2006 and 2008, many conservatives, including me, either sat out the election or supported Democrats.
We did this because we were stick-and-tired of Bush's massive government spending, ballooning deficits, national ID cards, warrantless wiretaps, and other Orwellian innovations.
In addition, like a duck riding a tidal wave, New Hampshire floated with the national mood.
Democrats -- and a lot of Washington "experts" -- concluded that New Hampshire was the "new Vermont" and they suffered for it.
In 2010, the voters gave the GOP nearly three-fourths of the 400-member House, 19 out of 24 seats in the state Senate, all five seats on the governor's "executive council," both U.S. House seats, and the U.S. Senate seat.
True, 2010 was a "tsunami" year, but it was, I think, closer to the norm than 2008.
(2) No One Has New Hampshire "Locked Up" Now
Most New Hampshire residents get mostly Boston television (on the commercial channels).
They remember Romney's rabid support for abortion, gun control, same-sex rights, and RomneyCare.
They also remember when, as governor, he brought "staties" (Massachusetts state troopers) up to his place on Winnipesaukee to keep locals off a portion of their lake.
Romney has reached a "flexible wall." Virtually everyone knows him and has an opinion of him. He is not going to get the votes of peole who hate him -- perhaps not even in the general election.
And, if he can't carry New Hampshire, Romney threatens to be 2012's "Bob Dole."
(3) Social Issues Play a Major Role
Gun issues are huge. In addition, there is a very significant evangelical community centered around laces like Nashua, Amherst, and Concord. The Catholic pro-life contingent is also very influential. If undivided, this is enough to carry the state.
Most (but not all) of these people loved former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, and they will probably not forgive Rick Santorum's role in ending his political career.
Similarly, Michele Bachmann has done all of the right things in Washington and could have been (and perhaps still could be) a formidable candidate. But she seems to have conceded the state.
(4) ObamaCare Is The Issue Which Turned This State From Deep Blue to Blood-Red
We knew the end was near when an incumbent Democrat congresswoman -- forced to finally hold a town meeting -- required constituents to go through a metal detector and refused to answer questions from anyone not issued a "question-asking ticket."
You may remember the spin placed on last Tuesday's elections.
Among "mixed" results, the one time when the word "overwhelmingly" was used was when critical swing sate Ohio -- fresh from repudiating the GOP on unionization -- overwhelmingly rejected the ObamaCare mandate.
And yet, over and over again, Speaker John Boehner and Leader Mitch McConnell forgo the opportunity to make this an issue.
Given the D.C. Circuit's recent 201 decision to uphold the law, it is even less clear that Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote to overturn it.
But, even if he does, the GOP needs to spend the next seven months reminding Americans that:
- Obama resorted to unthinkable and varied sleaze and corruption to slam the bill through;
- Obama spent a year trying to nationalize health care, rather than creating jobs;
- To accomplish this, Obama put massive tax increases on the poor and middle class; and,
- The horrific burden of the mandate will fall most heavily on the youthful core of Obama's 2008 base.
Yes, ObamaCare can be repealed immediately a year from January by a majority vote in the Senate if Republicans control the Senate, House, and White House. (Details at another time.)
However, if Americans don't hear anything about ObamaCare repeal until October 15, 2012, don't expect them to believe Republicans are serious.
(5) Here, and Nationally, Candidates Need To Take On The "Obama Smear Machine"
Obama cannot win the upcoming presidential election.
But Republicans can lose it.
Obama's sole winning strategy, as I said last summer, is to "Barry Goldwaterize" every GOP candidate who becomes prominent. And he has thus far done this with incredible success.
I don't know who leaked the Cain allegations to Politico. But I know that they became national news because the Obama worshipping media chose to make them so.
So remember these words:
"Obama Smear Machine"
Every time the media undertakes to assassinate the character of another Republican, people should, in a Pavlovian way, remember these words.
by Michael E. Hammond, former General Counsel Senate Steering Committee 1978-89 and a Dunbarton, New Hampshire resident.