Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Hampshire roundup

So, who were the big winners in the New Hampshire presidential primary? Well, Hillary Clinton, of course -- she was supposed to lose big and instead she won small. That's good news if you're a fan of endless war, an overreaching state and are really, really lukewarm on civil liberties. That's a shame, because the donkey party has a credible candidate on offer in the form of Bill Richardson, who is reasonably friendly to both economic and civil liberty, favoring both lower taxes and medical marijuana. Of course, he's going nowhere in the polls.

Not that the Republicans chose better. Ron Paul, the most pro-liberty candidate in the race (and the only anti-war Republican), came in a distant fifth, trailing just behind Rudy "9/11" Giuliani. New Hampshire, with its strongly libertarian ethos, was supposed to be Paul's breakthrough state; it didn't happen. Instead, the top vote-getter among GOP candidates was, as expected, John McCain.

Which may make the big winner Matt Welch, the Reason magazine editor who penned McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, a definitive exploration of the rigid, authoritarian core of an uber-hawkish politician with little tolerance for public criticism. The book seemed doomed to gather dust in remainder bins when McCain's campaign got caught in the doldrums, but it deserves a new look now that the Arizona senator is again a serious contender for the nomination.

We're still early in the political season, and nobody in either of the major parties is a lock for the nomination. But indicators so far suggest that there will be little to like about what we get.



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