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Hillary's New Friends?

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 2, 2007; 11:10 AM

This may be more of a blip than a trend.

Maybe even a mini-blip.

It may mean less than Fred Thompson's yes-I-was-a-skirt-chaser-and-I'm-not-embarrassed line that could clear the way for his candidacy.

Still, the question arises: Could some Republicans support Hillary?

My knee-jerk reaction is that you could probably fit them in a phone booth, even if she was once a Goldwater girl. After all, who drives conservatives up a wall faster than the Clintons? Who accused her opponents of orchestrating a vast right-wing conspiracy against her husband? Who gets their blood boiling faster than you can say Rose Law Firm?

But now comes veteran conservative columnist and author Bruce Bartlett (who turned on Bush with his last book) to say that Hillary Rodham Clinton may be the best of a bad lot from the right's point of view. And, on that basis, he says, she is worth a second look. I await the formation of Republicans for Clinton, but here is Bartlett's argument:

"As each day passes, it becomes increasingly clear that the Democrats will win the White House next year . . .

"If I am right, conservatives are going to have to make an important decision at some point. Do they go down with the sinking Republican ship, or do they try to have some meaningful influence on the next president by becoming involved in the Democratic race? . . .

"To right-wingers willing to look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative. John Edwards is the most liberal, and Barack Obama is somewhere in between . . .

"Given the views of the Democratic base and the enormous unpopularity of the Iraq War, it is a real act of courage for her to steadfastly refuse to say her vote for the war was wrong. Of course, like all Democrats and most Americans, she opposes the war today and favors a rapid pullout . . .

"On economics, it is reasonable to assume that Sen. Clinton's policies would not be altogether different from Bill Clinton's. This is not a bad thing. On trade, his record was outstanding, and on the budget was far better than George W. Bush's . . .

"At some point, politically sophisticated conservatives will have to recognize that no Republican can win in 2008 and that their only choice is to support the most conservative Democrat for the nomination. Call me crazy, but I think that person is Hillary Clinton."


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