LOS ANGELES, CA – I normally don’t watch Senate debates but I tuned in after hearing of the bizarre attack on Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc in New Hampshire right as he was entering the venue for his debate, which coincidentally occurred right after President Biden’s terrible speech stoking division and anger towards half the country. Connection there, maybe? Extreme rhetoric, perhaps?
This week also happens to produce the first NH Senate poll showing Don Bolduc (R) is ahead of Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan. New Hampshire also happens to be one of the races initially written off as an extremist MAGA Republican with no chance in the general election so it was considered safe until these final weeks leading up to election.
New Hampshire also happens to be ground zero for Machiavellian and cynical Democrats of the political class deciding it would be amusing, not to win by their own merits but to meddle in Republican primaries, pumping money into a class of candidates they predicted would lose the general election for being too “extreme” or who they tagged with the label “election deniers”. These include Bolduc but also l Blake Masters in Arizona to JD Vance in Ohio, both now looking favored win. Don Bolduc is quickly joining that group, and this debate will seal the deal.
What I saw tonight was a stark contrast from the media narrative. Bolduc was not extreme but instead, very relatable and he showed it in the words he chose, positions he took and his refreshing approach to debating which included real talk and calling Hassan out on the spot. This was a stark contrast to the wooden political creature that was Senator Maggie Hassan, who clearly has hung out in the DC elite too long and has forgotten how to be shocked at high milk prices (in the debate she referenced her husbands shock but not her own).
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Old political rules don’t apply anymore, a memo Hassan seems to have missed. There was a brief moment many months back when I was saddened that popular NH Governor Sununu didn’t run for this seat, but in hindsight it all worked out. I don’t see Sununu giving the kind of performance Bolduc delivered tonight or to deliver the much needed contrast between a hardcore Democrat political insider and a regular everyday man earnestly trying to get important points across while advocating for the people.
Bolduc captured a collective frustration most of the mainstream media misdeeds despite obvious high inflation and costs. He also demonstrated on camera and in his sincere tone, the desire to redirect the conversation back to basics, while Hassan was clearly out of touch and parroting Democrat leadership talking points speaking from a political bubble, and without any true conviction or sincerity.
The debate started predictably with abortion, a turnoff to people who are not obsessed with an issue the media and Democrats seem to use a distraction from their incompetence at governance. Bolduc did his job by utilizing the important distinction that it’s a states rights issue and as it is a federal position he’s running for, that the question was irrelevant and motioning to move on. Hassan began using this as one of many examples of Bolduc’s supposed extremism and even plugged a bogeyman website to project her own disingenuousness on this outsider candidate who has never held political office.
Hassan spent most of her time talking down to the audience, refusing to answer straight even when the moderators called her out on things like her refusing Syrian refugees. NIMBY much? This elitism was apparent throughout as she repeated the words “bipartisan” God knows how many times, even name dropping Susan Collins at one point as an example of her “working across the aisle”.
After hearing this from the likes of John McCain over the years, the “bipartisan” cliche fell flat in an environment with more pressing priorities than knowing these political figures grab lunch or coffee even if they’re from different parties, which they seem to love to remind us. Who cares? Like Bolduc said, people are more concerned about “eating and heating”.
Surprisingly on foreign policy, Hassan took a position of war hawk and suddenly started singing a tune about securing the border, even name dropping work with former President Trump at one point. Hassan touted unpopular positions like “financial aid to Ukraine” and chose Zelensky as her favorite world leader, to justify meddling in foreign wars. Unfortunately for her, I think this is the wrong calculation and Bolduc did a great job striking this important contrast that goes beyond partisan parties. Americans are tired of war. Hassan seems to think that appealing to Republicans means being a war hawk. Maybe in the Bush days but she misses that Trump’s appeal was that he actually kept us out of wars.
We have enough problems domestically. Bolduc though, used his extensive military experience to deliver some real talk around foreign policy that make sense to the layman but communicated his deep understanding do what works. Hassan, like a robot, defaulted to committee name-dropping and “supporting investigations” to address problems she has a hand in creating, which boiled down to cliche political speak. Bolduc was happy to call these instances out, which was honestly refreshing for the viewer.
At one point Bolduc said “she doesn’t stand up to Joe Biden. She agrees with Joe Biden.” Well said, as Hassan tried to tout supposed bipartisan credentials and appeal to Republicans, probably calculating that the GOP is more fired up to vote this election and miscalculating that Republicans are neo-cons. Sorry that iteration of the GOP is dead but you missed the memo, Maggie. (see Liz Cheney)
Hassan did a great job reminding everyone why politicians are so disliked and Bolduc was accomplished what he needed to do: show his humanity in light of nonstop smearing that he’s a supposed extremist. Bolduc said so well and simply, “Hassan doesn’t do townhalls. I’ve done 76 so far in my state”.
Hassan spoke of “toning down the rhetoric” but the hypocrisy was glaring as she herself was engaging in that same rhetoric, throwing charges of “extremism” for points of view and policy positions she wanted to negate and suppress as invalid to distract from accountability asked of her.
That hypocrisy and her robotic delivery were glaringly obvious during the debate and likely lost the seat for her. People aren’t going to fall for the “end social security / election denier / pro life / climate change denier” bogeymen she was doing her best to conjure like any good Democrat foot soldier. It’s the economy, Maggie.
For the remaining undecided, it is likely the unknown but relatable alternative would be easier to support over the known quantity with the terrible track record who went to DC to be part of a “bipartisan” club and is clearly out of touch with the people that it takes her husband’s reaction to high milk prices to even have an inkling there’s a problem. Her own words.