Debra J. Saunders

As Team Romney talked up the prospect of a Romney surge leading up to Super Tuesday, I envisioned my worst nightmare: A Hillary Clinton/Mitt Romney contest.

A Clinton/Romney race, no doubt, was a Democratic operative's dream, starring the easiest Republican to beat.

The Dems could have dusted off all of the 2004 campaign spots on John Kerry's flip-flops and revamped them with Romney as the windsurfer, shifting positions on a number of issues -- and I'd be stuck arguing that, flip-flopping aside, Romney would be better on Iraq.

Now, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

If Clinton wins, she'll be easier to beat than Barack Obama. Polls -- for what they're worth -- suggest Clinton or Obama could beat any Republican, unless there is a Clinton/McCain face-off, in which case, McCain could win. And McCain is the man to take on Clinton's support for the Iraq war, when it was popular, and her opposition to a troop surge that reduced U.S. and Iraqi casualties, when it was not.

And if Obama wins the nod, at least Clinton won't be president and the country won't have to go through four more years of the Hillary-As-Victim soap opera.

In an odd plot twist last week, conservative warrior Ann Coulter said that if McCain is the GOP nominee, she would campaign for Clinton because Clinton is "more conservative" than McCain.

Now, McCain is not always a good conservative. Witness his sponsorship of proposed -- and wrong-headed -- global-warming legislation. And McCain rankled conservatives, not only by pushing for amnesty for illegal immigrants last year, but worse, by compounding that mistake when he dismissed critics as emotional and undignified.

But McCain has been solid on Iraq. He wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. In a culture of big spending, McCain has been righteous in his fight against legislated pork. McCain also has been a reliable anti-abortion vote. He campaigned tirelessly for George W. Bush in 2004. His lifetime American Conservative Union rating is 82 percent. Only an ignoramus would call McCain's record to the left of Hillary Clinton's.

California Republicans are not fools. Party biggies excluded independent voters in a primary that seemed rigged for Romney, but voters themselves delivered an estimated 161 out of 173 delegates to the out-funded McCain. If you go by the votes, the McCain-Over-My-Dead-Body Crowd is vocal, but tiny -- despite the wrath of talk-show giants and the deluge of Mitt's millions.

Debra J. Saunders

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