A couple of months ago I came to the realization that no Republican can win the White House next year. It doesn't matter who the party nominates; the deck is stacked so heavily against it that a Democratic victory is virtually inevitable. The way I see it, the Republicans won the last two elections by the skin of their teeth against lousy candidates who ran dreadful campaigns. Next year, without the advantage of incumbency, with severe voter fatigue, an unpopular war and other factors against them, the Republicans were going to have an uphill struggle even if they had a great candidate and a unified party, neither of which are likely. On the other hand, the Democrats only have to run a half-competent campaign. With perpetual loser Bob Shrum no longer running the Democratic campaign, I think this is likely.
Having come to this realization, it became necessary to judge the Democratic field to determine which candidate would be the least bad from my point of view. I concluded that Hillary Clinton was less objectionable than the others. She appeared to be a clone of her husband on economic policy--which is good as far as I am concerned--and a realist on foreign policy. Given the choices facing us, I concluded that conservatives ought to consider supporting Hillary in order to ensure that a more liberal candidate such as Barack Obama or John Edwards didn't become our next president.
For daring to view Hillary as anything other than the Devil incarnate, I was lambasted by conservative columnists and bloggers. Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth said I was crazy. So I found it very interesting that Bill Kristol appears to be coming around to my point of view. In this morning's Washington Post, he is quoted as saying, "Obama is becoming the antiwar candidate and Hillary Clinton is becoming the responsible Democrat who could become commander in chief in a post-9/11 world."
Now, I think Bill is completely wrong about the war--I'd pull out of Iraq today if it were possible--but he's a pretty smart political handicapper. So if he's saying nice things about Hillary it is because he has come to the same conclusion I have about the inevitability of a Democratic victory. Rich Lowry and Ross Douthat appear to have made similar calculations. I predict that when the time comes and Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee, which I expect, she will be endorsed by a fairly substantial number of prominent Republicans.
Note: Just today, Rich Lowry praises Hillary for refusing to demonize lobbyists the way John McCain does.
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