Nikki Haley beats Ron DeSantis in New Hampshire

In contrast, DeSantis, who spoke at the so-called Medical Freedom Town Hall in Manchester — it might have been called the COVID-19 Rules Resentment Rally — channeled negative energy. He had some nice words, saying that when the federal government’s medical experts don’t want to approve something, they’ll need “something like, ‘War and Peace’,” but when they want to approve something, “six rats.” , come in and out, they are alive.

However, more than that, his stump speech seemed full of anger.

Haley’s pitch is forward-looking, with broad policy proposals. (Some of them probably won’t pass the policy test or fact-check.) He’ll start reducing the national debt by restoring the $500 billion in unused COVID-19 funding and targeting COVID-19 fraud, he said. He has vowed to freeze any spending that does not bring the country back to pre-COVID spending levels. In addition, he would save money by sending as many programs as possible, and funding, to the states to manage.

After giving an informed opinion on the issues facing veterans, Haley said she will make sure they get the best health care by forcing members of Congress to create similar programs for veterans. He raised concerns about education, saying that only 29 percent of eighth graders are in grade school and only 26 percent are proficient in math.

He also spoke confidently about the need for a strong US foreign policy, making it clear that he was square with Israel in its war with Hamas and that he had no truck with MAGA neo-isolationism when it came to Ukraine, which he called a “pro. – America was attacked by a pirate. “

Discussing term limits for Congress, which would require a constitutional amendment, he had a job to do: He was asking each member of Congress to sign a term limit pledge — and if they didn’t, voters could reject it based on that. to refuse.

He did not avoid the culture wars, but they were an afterthought rather than a central theme. When talking about his border plans, he threw, “Let us pay for the cities of the holy places once and for all.” In a discussion of modern military development, he added: “And for God’s sake, stop the gender pronoun categories that happen in the military.”

All in all, his presentation showed an attempt to make MAGA acceptable even though it was filing a complaint under a broad, forward-looking, center-right appeal.

In contrast, DeSantis’ pitch, made with the company of Florida surgeon general Joseph Ladapo, was Florida-centric and backward-looking. So what would a DeSantis presidency be? Based on this event, however, it is mostly a settlement of old scores.

“One of the reasons I’m running for president is because I think we need to be held accountable for the federal government’s handling of COVID-19,” he began. “If you think about how the dignitaries handled this, on almost every … point … they were either wrong or they were lying.”

In his telling, government health research and policy bodies are secretive, self-serving, law-enforcement swamps that must be drained.

DeSantis then ran through a list of all the things he thought the so-called elite got wrong — and believed he got right. He even blamed inflation, a global crisis, on the federal government’s fiscal response to COVID.

“The focus was on people like Anthony Fauci,” who oversaw the country’s response to COVID as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infndrome Diseases “and all these other people who are selling fear and confusion across the country,” he said. The core of his presentation, then, was our anti-right-wing populism-driven worldview.

These two events left three impressions.

First, Haley gives a great insight into why she wants to run. Second, he makes a good conservative case without overdoing the outrage and complaints.

Finally, he is not only a very skilled politician but also a natural one – and it’s not a close call.

Scot Lehigh is a columnist for the Globe. He can be reached at scot.lehigh@globe.com. Follow him @GlobeScotLehigh.