Primaries: Candidates show colors

It used to be that New York state would find the presidential candidates. Now the Bay State has been finding its share. From the evidence garnered so far, it would appear that our former governor, Mitt Romney, will be the GOP presidential candidate.

I have said from the very beginning that if the Republicans want to win, he is their only choice. Tell that to Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsay and so many moderate Republicans of the old style. Their problem, and we all know it, is that those men were in the wrong party. Only a small group of people come out to vote in primaries, and it is an immutable law of contemporary politics that the further right you are in the Republican Party, the more certain you are to participate.

The Democrats in Massachusetts are not above electing tall, handsome Republicans with jackets thrown over their backs, walking through gardens with their wives and kids by their sides. Just look at Scott Brown, same cookie-cutter. It works every time. Despite being the milquetoast, two-faced candidate that he is, Romney has the best chance of capturing the American middle class. The right-wing fringe crowd cannot win a general election. They won’t capture the voter in the middle. Romney’s Republican opponents are already throwing his early words back at him.

If you examine the virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses, you can see the split between the right-wing “we don’t care if we win, we want to stay pure” versus the “we need to win to fund the party, make the judges and get the power.” The middle class, urban Iowa voters went heavily for Romney. The rural voters went overwhelmingly for Rick Santorum.

In New Hampshire, the bedroom state that shares a Boston media market, it would appear that Romney is a sure bet. Nevertheless, there are some things to look out for. I have been hearing from my students and from Vox Pop radio callers that Ron Paul, now in his mid-70s, has become the favorite of a lot of young voters who previously went for Obama because he offered the promise of change.

The Libertarian philosophy is tricky. The young people love the idea of not policing the world. They love the idea that the government should not dictate our personal behavior. When it comes to government spending, however, they have reason to fear that some of the programs from which they had expected to reap benefits, such as education and health care, will not be there for them.

Also, young people are very impatient. They want someone who is not above demanding dramatic change now. In fact, many of our younger people saw that as the primary message of Barack Obama.

Ron Paul may be 76, but right now he is a potential wild card — figuring he doesn’t have that many years left so, should he lose the fight for the Republican nomination, he may well run on a third party, Libertarian line. That could be a catastrophe for the Republicans. One can only expect that this is going to be a very close primary.

Closer to home, it appears more and more likely that Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. is looking up a lonely road in his quest for the 1st District Congressional seat. The incumbent Congressman, Richie Neal, who will run for the newly drawn district that includes this county, has been getting the royal treatment from everyone when he shows up in the Berkshires. He recently received a tremendous ovation as he met his public at the Colonial Theatre’s presentation of “A Christmas Carol” with James Taylor and was spotted in Great Barrington touring our Mahaiwe Theatre. I like Andy Nuciforo, but some Dutch uncle ought to read him the facts of life.

Finally, if Obama runs as strongly as I think he will in Massachusetts, it will spell good news for U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and bad news for the Romney-like Scott Brown.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 1/7/12


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