Commentary Magazine


On a Republican Comeback

In Britain’s Times Online, Tim Hames takes a narrative approach in analyzing the probability of a Republican comeback, and determines that the GOP can, in fact, win in November.

Although Republicans have been given a 38 percent chance of victory, Hames cites three factors upon which they can capitalize their way into the White House. One is the prevailing non-Bush qualities of the Republican candidates; another is the Democratic Congress’ abysmal approval ratings; and last are the beatable natures of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—Clinton because she’s so disliked, and Obama because he’s too far left.

So, the general election should go to “a moderate Republican with an established reputation who commands respect beyond the party faithful.” In short, Giuliani or McCain. Hames has counted Giuliani out and, therefore, sees a distinctly possible McCain presidency.

The big problem with this analysis lies in McCain’s relationship to that first factor. On the most problematic issue—Iraq—McCain is extremely Bush-like. And on the safest issue—tax cuts—he’s been trying to downplay his opposition to the President. However, the tortoise-and-hare reality of a McCain-Obama showdown would certainly lend the Republicans more than a 38 percent chance. The air of inevitability that first adorned Hillary and now sweeps up Obama is both too early and too fantastic to last.