Inside New Hampshire’s Wacky GOP 2016 Cattle Call
New Hampshire Republicans are not the same as Iowa Republicans. They’re blunt and talk fast and are in no way intimidated to ask a governor or senator or ambassador whatever’s on their mind, in a shrewd, distrusting what’s your angle here? sort of way. There’s a libertarian bent to the state’s conservative politics and, by and large, no one wants to waste any precious time talking about, say, gay marriage.
This is not to say that the conservative die-hards in New Hampshire don’t have their own quirks. The ones in attendance at the FITN summit, at least, care a lot about ISIS establishing beachheads on the continent and the scourge of “illegals.” If you were wondering last fall why New Hampshire GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown kept going on about ISIS fighters crossing the southern border to infect Americans with Ebola, a few conversations at the Crowne Plaza in Nashua would make it quite clear. There’s a paranoid style to New Hampshire politics.
“He’s trying to destroy the country,” a woman in black-and-white shoes and a Diane Keaton-style tie/vest combination, whispered to me during the speech from former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. She was referring to the current Democratic president — or “Democrat president,” in the parlance of right-wing conferences. Bolton had just said that the “principle responsibility of the President of the United States is to protect the country,” and for this woman, and presumably everyone else in the room, Barack Obama has performed poorly on that score.