Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Republican attacks on Hillary: a double-edged sword?

It is no secret that Republicans love to bash Hillary. She is the most uniting force the party has, one on which all its factions (social & fiscal conservatives, social moderates & fiscal conservatives, etc.) agree: she is the devil incarnate - and a guaranteed fund-raiser.

But Hillary-hating is only part of the equation. Republicans also think she would be the easiest Democrat to run against. Which brings us to the "double-edge" part of the sword. Suppose that all the negative attacks on Hillary (it's hard to find anybody who says anything positive about her) result in her not getting the Democratic nomination. The two most likely alternatives are Edwards and Obama, who both benefit by being underneath the radar. (Hillary is like a giant shield protecting the two of them from the right-wing smear machines.) Republicans would then find themselves facing, according to their own calculations, a more competitive rival.