s Hillary Clinton pulls away from her opposition and edges ever closer to the nomination, Republicans should drop any pretense that beating her will be easy. She comes across polished, knowledgeable and –dare I say– attractively attired. She does not look like the Nurse Cratchett Republicans make her out to be. Compared to her opposition she seems down right reasonable and would even maintain the notion that we have a nuclear deterrent. So let’s talk electability for a moment on the GOP side. Rudy, of course, has been pushing this theme for some time, making the point that he increases the GOP’s geographic base by moving into play states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania and making Democrats spend time and money to secure California, New York and Illinois. This would of course expand the base and increase his chances of winning in November, provided prognostications prove untrue that one issue abortion voters will sit home. ( I tend to think Giuliani has the better of the electability argument, even if certain one issue pro-life voters would make the bizarre choice to let Hillary capture the Supreme Court. Even in this event, we operate with an Electoral College and small marginal tightening in Red states would likely be overshadowed by the prospect of chunks of new electoral votes from Blue or Purple states.) What about Fred Thompson, whose supporters would argue has a national following? True, but name recognition is not synonymous with political support. In his June fundraising approximately 79% of his money came from southern states. Spokeswoman Linda Rozett acknowledged that “Perhaps he is better known by southern state supporters.” It seems there is a difference between a national TV audience and political appeal. Rozett added that they “expect broad support” as the campaign unfolds. But is that expectation realistic? His sell in the primary- a tried and true mainstream conservative and his folksy southern appeal– is precisely what may limit his appeal in the general election and in areas outside core Republican areas. Does he make New Jersey competitive? Does he force Democrats to spend money in New York? Hard to imagine. Mitt Romney perhaps poses the biggest question mark. As a New England Governor and business executive he offers someone who stands a chance to expand outside traditional GOP strongholds. Nevertheless, he does poorly in current national polls
–trailing Hillary by an average of 9.7% and Obama by 13%. Is this low name recognition? A reaction by Independents and moderates to his strong push for social conservative voters? Too soon to say. And finally, what about John McCain? If he manages a comeback to rival the 1974 USC Trojan victory over Notre Dame (look it up, look it up) how would he fair against Hillary? He trails Hillary by an average
of 4% and Obama by 6.5%. Unlike Romney he has nearly universal name recognition so these figures may be more meaningful. Well, if the thought of Hillary measuring the Oval office drapes does not appeal to you, it is worthwhile to start following these polls and think about who in the GOP can not only embody conservative ideas, but sell them and himself to the rest of the voters.