Bill Kristol has an article on Time.com suggesting five reasons why the GOP can afford to be a little more hopeful than for some months:
- The Baghdad surge: Whilst George W Bush was promising to stay with a course that wasn't working the Republicans were unsettled. The change of course represented by the surge strategy gives hope to the majority of Republicans who still think success is possible in Iraq.
- The Pelosi Congress: Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been outmaneuvering the Democrats on tactics and lifted GOP spirits. Fred Barnes has more on this.
- The very beatable Clinton. Hillary still looks likely to be the Democrats' 2008 nominee and she looks beatable. Her unfavourable ratings are almost the same as her favourables - a very different picture from Giuliani's 2-to-1 net favourability ratings.
- The strong GOP field for 2008. Kristol quotes Noemie Emery on Giuliani, McCain and Romney from an article entitled The Rise Of The Metro Republicans: "None hails from the South, none looks or sounds country, none is conspicuous for traditional piety ... [but] each is a strong conservative on many key issues, while having a dissident streak on a few. Each has a way of presenting conservative views that centrists don't find threatening, and projecting fairly traditional values in a language that secular voters don't fear."
- Fresh ideas. "I don't sense that conservatism is exhausted. There's new thinking on domestic policy that could serve as the basis of an interesting agenda for the G.O.P. nominee. Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam explain in their forthcoming book on "Sam's Club Republicans" how the G.O.P. can do a better job of responding to the anxieties of working and middle-class Americans in areas like tax policy and health insurance, and the Ethics and Public Policy Center's Yuval Levin suggests a complementary policy agenda--"Putting Parents First," he calls it--aimed at those same swing voters. In foreign policy, the U.S. will still be at war in 2008--and despite Bush's travails, Republicans still seem likely to be able to claim to be the party of American strength."