Should Republicans Really Be Taking Advice From Eleanor Clift?

Democratic flack Eleanor Clift offers some “helpful” advice to Republicans (Shouldn’t we be the ones giving them advice since they keep losing elections?):

“Conservatives will have to decide who they hate more in 2008, Hillary Clinton or John McCain. That’s how a veteran of the Reagan White House sizes up the current field. The religious right loathes Hillary, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and they love Virginia Sen. George Allen, an amiable, Reagan-like figure whose father once coached the Redskins.

Allen will do well in the Republican primaries, but polls will show him losing by 7 percentage points to Hillary at the same time they show McCain handily beating her. That will be the moment of truth for evangelical Christians. What they do depends on how hungry they are to win. If they go with McCain, he could ease their anxieties by choosing Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as his running mate.

Improbable, you say, but this comes from a savvy observer of the political scene. Brother Jeb is beloved among the Christian right for shepherding the case of the brain-damaged Terri Schiavo into the national spotlight, and the Bush dynasty is yearning to be established. Tucked in a New Yorker article last month on McCain was the revelation that he assured conservative activist Gary Bauer that if elected president he would nominate pro-life judges. Bush refused to make such an explicit promise, which is why Bauer endorsed McCain in the 2000 primaries.

McCain broke with the religious right over the gay-marriage amendment, but he is pro-life and has a 100 percent voting record in Congress to prove it.”

There are several things worth commenting on here, so let me start at the beginning:

1) A poll of the American public done in 2005 on who would beat whom in 2008 is essentially worthless to begin with given how far out we are and that the real campaign hasn’t even started yet.

Moreover, a poll pitting a candidate like Hillary who is essentially a known quantity vs. George Allen who has very low name ID is even more pointless than usual. 80% of America probably couldn’t pick George Allen out of a line-up at this point, so the poll means nothing.

2) Despite the fact that McCain has a small Republican fan club and he’s beloved by the MSM, he would be as disastrous a candidate for the GOP in 2008 as George McGovern was for the Democrats in 1972.

In part, that’s because the mainstream media that dotes on McCain today because he’s a “maverick” who irritates other Republicans would turn on him with a vengeance if he went head to head with Hillary. Once McCain becomes the Republican standard bearer, the free ride the press gives him today would end in a hurry.

Moreover, for every Republican who really likes John McCain, there are probably 3 who hate his guts because of his stance on judges, illegal immigration, gay marriage, McCain-Feingold, and most of all, his endless catering to the MSM at the expense of other Republicans.

Personally, I think John McCain is an egomaniacal, grandstanding blowhard who would make a terrible President and while I would prefer him over Hillary, I could not recommend that any conservative contribute money to his campaign or volunteer to help him out. Furthermore, I can assure you that the number of people on the right who feel that way about McCain is legion.

3) Despite what some people would like you to think, Hillary Clinton is just a smarter version of John Kerry in a skirt. Like Kerry, Hillary is a liberal, with a liberal voting record, from a liberal state who’s going to have to try to convince the voters that she’s really moderate while spinning away the considerable amount of baggage she has. While chances are it’s not going to work very well, in today’s polarized environment, it’s likely that Hill will at least be in the hunt.

However, that works the other way as well. Unless the Republicans put up a candidate like McCain or Giuliani who’ll split the base, our candidate should be in the hunt, too. As long as the nominee passes the smell test on immigration and isn’t a total dog, he/she’s going to be able to raise money, appeal to the base and the American people, probably sweep the South just like Bush did in 2000 and 2004, and will likely beat Hillary who — like most MSM favorites from liberal states — is wildly over-hyped.

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