Hillary, Al Gore and House Republicans

Dick Armey today predicted in an interview with a Nevada newspaper that Hillary Clinton will be our next president.

He said that no Republican was tough enough or smart enough to beat her, an analysis that is getting increasing traction inside the Beltway.

I predicted months ago that Al Gore would eventually get the Democratic nomination, a prediction that seems more wrong each day. But then again …

It is interesting how many Democrats just don’t love Hillary. For example, the extraordinary money that Barack Obama is raising says as much about Hillary as it does about Obama’s good looks. And the sudden groundswell of support for Al Gore amongst the Hollywood set shows that Hillary has some work to do within her own party.

What is most interesting to me is a possible result if it does look like Hillary will win the presidency.

Most people inside the Beltway are writing off the chances for Republicans to recapture control of the House. But in those 24 districts that will decide who runs the House of Representatives, Hillary Clinton is not the asset she is in Democratic strongholds. In fact, she may be a disaster for the Blue Dog Democrats.

Hillary polls well among lower-income unmarried women, but does poorly among married women with children, a traditional strength of Republicans. These women abandoned the GOP in the last election, hence the blowout. But there is a very real chance that these voters could come back to the Republican fold in the face of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Hillary also polls poorly with independent men. And in the most competitive House races, especially in those seats that President Bush won in 2000 and 2004, Hillary polls very poorly.

I can see a scenario that if Hillary gets the nomination and then goes on to win the presidency, Republicans could win enough seats to recapture control of the House this election.

Being a check on Hillary would be an effective campaign message for many of those Republicans in the most competitive seats. And if I am Baron Hill or Heath Shuler, I am not loving Hillary Clinton as my standard-bearer.

And given that the Democratic stewardship of the House has yielded approval ratings in the same league as Charles Manson, House Republicans have a good chance at knocking off several vulnerable Democratic incumbents, just because of Democratic incompetence.

And keep in mind, the GOP only needs to win 16 seats to capture control.

Bill Clinton won the White House in 1992, but his party lost seats. That trend may only get worse for the Democrats in 2008.

Don’t write off the House Republicans just yet. Hillary might just lead them to the promised land quicker than anybody thinks.