Bruce Bartlett

As each day passes, it becomes increasingly clear that the Democrats will win the White House next year. It’s not quite 1932, but it’s getting close to a sure thing. All the energy is on their side, they are raising more money from more contributors, and there is little if any enthusiasm for any of the Republican candidates—even among Republicans.

Of course, one can never rule out the ability of the Democrats to seize defeat from the jaws of victory. But sometimes the trend in one party’s direction is so strong that even the grossest incompetence can’t keep it from winning. I think 2008 is shaping up as that kind of year for the Democrats.

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 and have some meaningful influence on the next president by becoming involved in the Democratic race?

I’m sure that the first reaction of most conservatives will be to say that any involvement in the Democratic Party is unthinkable. Many view it as the party of treason and socialism. They could no more involve themselves in Democratic politics than a God-fearing Christian would consider working with Satan just because it looked like he was going to win.

For those of you who feel this way, stop reading. There is nothing more in this column for you. But for those conservatives who don’t see the 2008 election as a race between good and evil, but merely a contest between rivals within the same league, I think there is a good case for participating in the Democratic nominating process.

Here’s why. Although all the Democratic candidates are more liberal than all of the Republicans, they are not all equally liberal. Among the Democrats, some are more to the right and others more to the left. It is a grave mistake to assume, as most conservatives do, that they are all equally bad and that it makes no difference whatsoever which one is elected.

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.


Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett is a former senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis of Dallas, Texas. Bartlett is a prolific author, having published over 900 articles in national publications, and prominent magazines and published four books, including Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action.

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