Thinking Out Loud:

1. If the Democratic "super delegates" had to decide today, thinking strategically, they would pick Obama (as he seems unstoppable). But they don't have to pick today. The imperative for Team Clinton? They must win Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania (tough but not impossible); however, that is not the hardest part. In addition to that feat, the Clintons must knock a big hole in the mystical Obama aura of purity, righteousness, and invincibility.

2. Moreover, the Clintons must convince the Democratic Party establishment and decision makers that a Clinton/Obama ticket is the ultimate "sure thing." Conventional wisdom has it that Obama will trounce McCain. I am inclined to believe that. But, in truth, there are great risks. There are some very scary things about Obama (youth, inexperience, LBJ-style liberalism, his black nationalist church, etc.). If the Democrats pick Obama, they are hoping for a potential watershed election, but they will necessarily hold their collective breath for seven months (three months--whatever). Running Obama at the top of the ticket is a big gamble. It is a good gamble, of course, for there will be great reluctance among voters to deny America our moment of "racial redemption" and a "fresh political start." This could very well be an election in which ideology and logic go out the window. Nevertheless, there will be some very tense moments for Democrats during an Obama fall campaign.

What if the Democrats pick Clinton? The conventional wisdom holds that the contest between McCain and Hillary is very close--with McCain holding a slight advantage. I disagree. While it is the probably the best match-up for the GOP, she is more likely to slug it out with McCain and, in the end, probably win a very tight election.

Practical Drop-Dead Serious Question: even if McCain picks Florida governor, Charlie Crist (a distinct possibility and a smart choice), and Crist delivers Florida, what do you do for Ohio, which is seemingly irreparably poisoned for Republicans right now? And, if you don't win Ohio, how do you win the general election--if you are a Republican candidate?

FYI: For those who want McCain to pick Joe Leiberman, he simply cannot. McCain must try to reach out to conservatives. He cannot pick a running mate whom conservatives perceive as more liberal than he. Conservatives love Joe Leiberman when he is running against Ned Lamont or slamming Harry Reid--but they don't want his 95-percent liberal point of view in a position of real power.

Back to the Democrats: What of a unity ticket? The Dream Ticket (Clinton/Obama) delivers the enthusiasm of the "Obamanation" and the crafty experience of Team Clinton. Bill and Barack can travel the world "repairing the image of the United States," while Hill stays home, works hard, and grinds out laws and executive orders. In truth, it would probably be a very efficient administration.

If Obama takes the second slot, he has the leverage to write his own ticket. He will opt to redefine the recently redefined role of the modern VP, and he will position himself well to run for president in 2016 as the most qualified candidate in that field at the still very young political age of 54. Not a bad move. And maybe even Obama realizes that he is not quite ready for prime time. As smart as he is, he may realize that he needs eight years of seasoning before he takes over the most powerful office in the world.

By the way, if Hillary snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, and "steals" the nomination, and then offers the veep to Barack H. Obama, he cannot refuse. For if BHO refused the second slot, and Hillary lost, he would never recover from the ill will generated within the party. He would never overcome the perception of selfishness.

But Hill and Barack together? Forget about it. Roll Bill, Chelsea, and Michelle (not to mention Oprah) into the mix, and you have the most attractive combination since JFK, LBJ, and Jackie.

3. As for McCain, there is good news and bad news.

Good News: McCain is not a bad fellow; that is, he is a whole lot better than Hill, Bill or BarackO. The caricature created by his enemies bears almost no resemblance to the real McCain. Bad News: It does not really matter, he is not going to win.

Let us be optimistic and assume that somewhere between 92 and 95 percent of the currently irate conservatives come around to McCain. That is not enough. The GOP is running uphill this year. The victory of McCain is the result of a collective Republican funk (depression). If the GOP had any fight in them, McCain would never have won this nomination. Down deep in their bones too many Republicans believe that this race is futile. They are tired, worn down, and frustrated. Why? They see the myriad obstacles to victory, and they have a palpable sense of justified guilt over the lost opportunities of the last fourteen years.

Things are tough. To win in this particular cycle, the GOP would need 110 percent support. Ninety-two percent, 95 percent, or even 99 percent is not going to cut it.

Furthermore, Conservative Talk Radio has also sown the seeds of the McCain failure in 2008. McCain cannot appease these foes with any amount of conservative rhetoric, nor can he come up with a veep choice that completely repairs the damage done. Some conservative talkers are trying to undo the damage (like Hugh Hewitt--God Bless Him), but they are not enough. Too many (Rush, Hannity, the Great One) have gone too far in convincing their listeners (literally millions of us) that McCain is a liberal devil. Supporting McCain at this point would strike too many of those honest folks as a betrayal of conservatism. Frankly, Rush and his gang have created a monster that they cannot dismantle completely. Again, keep in mind that even 99 percent repair is not enough.

Nevertheless, at some point, I look for almost all of talk radio to support McCain to some extent--but it will not be of the genuine variety. The tenuous accords will be similar to when the Corleones made peace with Tataglia and Barzini; it will not be heart-felt support and will only mark a temporary interlude before the shooting starts again.