Kathryn Lopez

Don't hold your breath, though. Clinton supposed "respect" for pro-lifers leaves something to be desired. While giving her now-famous speech early last year, she began by comparing them to brutal tyrants -- reminding listeners of inhuman practices in Communist Romania and population control in China. As Ponnuru puts it, "The idea that the alternative to abortion-on-demand is Ceausecu's Romania is the kind of thing that one would expect in a paranoid feminist novel." But the media gets nuance and compromise out of it and don't question her record -- opposing prohibitions on partial-birth abortion and federal funding of abortion, opposing parental-notification, voting against pro-life judges.

Hillary probably won't give that fictional abortion speech anytime, too soon because of her record, and how wedded her party is to abortion and emanations and penumbras from its legality. But she's smart and the media has shown a willingness to work with her -- so it's not completely implausible.

In short, whatever her contradictions and other problems, the election could be hers if Republicans don't get it together. With every legitimate criticism from the right of Republicans in Washington -- on spending, on immigration -- Hillary should be writing thank-you notes. My friends on Capitol Hill and in the White House will argue many legitimate "buts," though when even Republicans are souring on the White House -- and not only presidential, but congressional poll ratings are the pits (50 percent of Republicans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, according to the latest Fox News poll), then Grand Old Party -- you've got a problem.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.