George Will

     One Allen supporter, who like many New Hampshire conservatives fled liberal Massachusetts -- ``I was like a Mennonite living in Las Vegas'' -- is the kind of Republican primary voter who relishes Allen's description of New Hampshire as ``what America was.'' As Allen drove from Massachusetts into this state -- one of just nine states without an income tax -- he noted approvingly of motorcyclists riding lawfully, if not wisely, without helmets.

     Allen's luncheon speech cited his achievements as governor -- welfare reform, school accountability and the end of ``social promotions,'' abolition of ``the lenient, dishonest parole system'' -- and his current interest in America's technological competitiveness. The product of a football family, he believes in meritocracy, is implacably opposed to taxation of the Internet, and favors government measures to encourage the education of more engineers.

     John McCain won New Hampshire's primary in 2000, but party activists regard as a betrayal, not a compromise, the deal he helped fashion to confirm some of the president's judicial nominees while preserving the right to filibuster others. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who is leaving the Senate to pursue the presidency, was hurt by that deal, which prevented him from pleasing the Republican base by ending judicial filibusters.

     Allen expects them to be ended, and hopes the occasion will be the confirmation of William Myers to the Ninth Circuit, the hyperliberal and frequently reversed court that declared the Pledge of Allegiance phrase ``under God'' unconstitutional. Allen says, let the Democrats define themselves by filibustering Myers to preserve the Ninth Circuit as it is, while also filibustering John Bolton to preserve the United Nations as it is. Bolton, says Allen, speaking the lingua franca of Republican activists, ``will not be seduced by the vacuous platitudes and meaningless pontifications of international bureaucrats.''

     Four of the first five presidents were Virginians, then one more was, John Tyler, but none since 1840. It could produce two candidates in 2008. Gov. Mark Warner, a red state Democrat, seems interested in asking Democratic primary voters, ``What red state can Hillary Clinton turn blue?'' Warner might challenge Allen in next year's Senate race, but not if he is as serious about the presidency as Allen is. Instead, their paths could cross here.


George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
 
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