A Reflection On Electability

Does Edwards have a more plausible electability argument?

In national polls, he beats Republicans by a larger margin than Clinton does -- or by the same margin. In the two states holding special elections -- Ohio and Virginia, Edwards consistently outperforms Clinton general election head to heads. And the two new Republican members of Congress did invoke Hillary Clinton in their campaigns. In Virginia's first congressional district, Republicans sent a mail piece headlined, "As we get to know Phil Forgit, we see that he is just another tax and spend liberal like Hillary Clinton." And in Ohio's fifth congressional district, Republicans used a web video to attack Democrat Robin Weinrauch's "extreme liberalism," which they compared to that of Hillary Clinton.

There's no way to know whether these anti-Clinton attacks hurt the Democrats, both of whom lost for more obvious reasons. And because base voters are so important in special elections, there is a premium on demonizing the opposition and firing up your own side.