Agent Ovide
I was engaged in my usual (schizophrenic) morning routine of toggling between NPR and conservative talk radio, when I stumbled upon Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne as guest on The Laura Ingraham Show. Ingraham introduced Lamontagne as a conservative rising star and agent of change in the Granite State. In fairness to Ingraham, she hasn’t actually lived in New Hampshire since she was a student at Dartmouth College in the early 1980s. Much to his credit, Lamontagne kept the maverick/outsider shtick to a minimum, instead focusing on his experience and credentials in state politics.
Lamontagne was understandably thrown off his game a bit, when Ingraham quite forcefully dismissed the experience/credentials argument, in favor of a singular focus on conservative values. When given a subsequent chance by Ingraham to whack his opponent, former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, on these grounds, Lamontagne was less forceful than he probably would have liked, had he known in advance that this was where Ingraham was headed.
While Ingraham promised to also invite Ayotte onto the show (and to have Lamontagne back again), I took away two points from this initial encounter. First, the line on Ayotte among movement conservatives will likely be that she is a faux-conservative who is in cahoots with status quo-loving institutional elites in the Republican Party. Second, it remains to be seen whether Lamontagne’s primary challenge will benefit from any of the national energy generated by these movement conservatives, tea baggers, etc. Ingraham’s warm reception for Lamontagne at least holds out the potential for some spillover next year.

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