The Corner

For Toomey

Jonah: President Bush will support the Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, whether it’s Specter or Toomey. Also, it’s not clear to me that Bush’s top priority for November is to attract swing voters. Everybody’s calling this a “base” election, in the sense that there aren’t many people who don’t have a firm opinion of Bush and his re-election. The key to victory for both sides is to motivate the people who are already for you and against the other guy, i.e., the party base. Toomey on the ballot in November will give Pennsylvania conservatives an additional reason to show up on Election Day. Specter as the nominee could have the reverse effect. Have you ever heard Karl Rove complain about the evangelicals who stayed home in November 2000? Finally, I dispute this notion that Specter is magically unbeatable in the general election, simply because he’s the incumbent. In 1992, Lynn Yaekel came out of nowhere and lost to Specter by only three points. I’m happy to admit that Specter would be the favorite against Rep. Joe Hoeffel, the Democratic nominee, but he’s not necessarily a slam dunk, especially if John Kerry catches fire.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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