The Good News for Republicans:

The chances of Barack Obama being our next president are in rapid retreat.

The Reverend Wright catastrophe is an avalanche. In the next month, things are only going to get worse for Obama (we can only wait and see how much his press conference today accelerates the descent).

The Bad News for Republicans:

If the Democrats have any sense at all (which is always a big "if"), Barack Obama is probably going to be our next vice president.

The obvious solution to this Democratic Party dilemma has always been a unity ticket. It is only common sense. That obvious answer is coming back into focus for more and more strategic thinkers within the party--and will likely take hold as an idea whose time has come in May and June.

A few months ago this "agent of change" looked like he could "paint the map blue" with his post-partisan, post-racial, flawless charisma. But all that confident generational realignment chatter is gone with the wind (especially after today). Obama is battered and deeply shaken and trying desperately to limp toward the finish line.

What about the Math?

While Obama will end the primaries ahead on pledged delegates, he continues to need a significant bloc of superdelegates to win the nomination. And there is no longer a compelling positive reason for the supers to select Barack Obama as the Democratic standard bearer.

In fact, there is a growing sense that Obama equals big and unnecessary risks in the General Election. Ironically, just as the call for the superdelegates to decide early gains momentum, Obama's precipitous fall threatens to leave him at his lowest point at the most unfortunate and vulnerable time.

Of course, there is a very serious negative reason standing in the way of a Obama humiliation at the hands of the Party elite. They face a potential tsunami of resentment from Obama fanatics (young people and African Americans), if they deny him his duly earned prize.

How to finesse this potential pitfall?

The unity ticket: Clinton and Obama.

For a forty-six-year-old half-term senator running for president, the personal associations were well worth emphasizing. However, Obama can get away with the Rev. Wright (and William Ayres and Tony Rezko) baggage, if he is only running for vice president. Of course, logically, we understand that the VP is merely a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, but traditionally we do not get that worked up about veep associations.

Much more importantly, a Hillary-Barack ticket preserves the energy of the “millennials” and staves off the bitterness from the African American community. Granted, vice president is not big casino, but, if Barack puts his heart into it, he can inspire his followers into a powerful and only slightly blunted enthusiasm.

As for Hillary, she is tough and ready, and she can beat John McCain. It will be close, but the Democrats have always held all the high cards in this cycle. Hillary maintains the shortest path to a November victory of any 2008 candidate. The Democrats tried to get too fancy. It has turned into a looming disaster. Now they need to get back to the fundamentals.

The Question: is it too late for them? Have they blown their advantages with this flight of fancy?

Probably not. Hillary’s obvious problem is that circumstances forced her to chase Barack into the left-wing weeds on Iraq and NAFTA; however, with some work, she ought to be able to maneuver her way back into the middle of the road between now and the fall.

Moreover, to her good, and this is of inestimable value, this nomination contest has made her much more human and appealing. She found a sympathetic identity in all this: a scrappy fighter who never quits and finds some way to win in the end. Also, because of this experience, Team Clinton is leaner, less arrogant, and unlikely to take their next opponent lightly.

Expect a full-court press from the opening tipoff.

One last thought: Bill will be back in form and in favor for the fall. Does anyone doubt that the mainstream media will once again see his brand of political warfare as not only fair game but endearing.

The next month ought to be interesting.