Two weeks ago (Feb. 16), before the gloom of talking-head certainty set in, I wrote:

The nomination is coming down to the super delegates. If they voted today, they would vote for Obama because he seems unstoppable. The good news for Clinton: they are not voting today. She has time to punch a hole in his balloon.


It will be very tough, but Clinton must sweep the upcoming final big three states (very difficult but not impossible). For all that has gone sour in her campaign, Hillary has consistently excelled in these upscale high-stakes contests. Then, most importantly, she must somehow break the "spell" of Obama by casting doubt on him in some way between now and the day of decision.

I have always seen Obama as a big gamble: he could prevail in a huge way ("painting the map blue" as he says). Or we could wake up from our trance midway through the coming fall election season and suddenly look at this guy and say: "what in the hell are we doing?"

Between now and this summer, I can certainly envision a moment in which strategically minded Democratic Party bigwigs entertain grave doubts about Obama's electability. In that scenario, three for the price of one (Obama as VP) may emerge as a much safer bet.


Texas and Ohio: mission accomplished.

Now what?

It seems impossible now that a candidate will finish the primary season with enough "pledged delegates" to win the nomination. We can also assume, even under the rosiest Hillary scenario, that Barack Obama will finish with a slim lead in pledged delegates.

Inconceivably, after tens of millions of Democrats have cast their votes, 795 super delegates ultimately will decide this nomination.

Both sides will make persuasive cases before this political "college of cardinals."

Obama will argue that his plurality of delegates entitles him to the nomination.

What will Hillary say to that?

1. Why are we not counting the delegates I won in Michigan and Florida? Are we not the party that believes in enfranchisement and counting all the votes?

2. My wins have been more meaningful. I have won the most important Democratic Party stronghold general election states (CA, NY, MA, OH, etc.). Barack Obama keeps winning Southern states and Mountain states where we know the Republicans will prevail in November.

Important Caveat: She needs to keep winning. This discussion is purely academic, if she does not capitalize on this moment of new life. Specifically, her case is much stronger if she is able to move ahead in the popular vote (again this adds to her democracy-centric line of argument).

Most importantly, however, she must create the impression among party insiders (obviously ultra-strategic thinkers) that she is a better bet in the fall. She must continue to create doubts concerning Obama's readiness. She must have a compelling "moral" argument for the nomination--but, much more importantly, she must convince the princes of the Democratic Party that she is the one who can deliver when it counts.

Why now? We are suddenly aware that Obama is not infallible or unstoppable.

The Bottom Line: If the super delegates believe that Hillary equals victory, they will find a suitable rationale for giving her the nod.

One more important component, Mrs. Clinton must deftly insinuate into this campaign the notion that Obama is a better candidate for VP than the top of the ticket. She began that process today.

Why do I continue to believe we will eventually end up with a unity ticket with Mrs. Clinton on top?

Simple Answer: it is the smartest and most logical use of talent in the Democratic Party field.

"Ready on Day One" plus a "Change We Can Believe In" equals a tremendously explosive combination.

Picking Obama and shutting out the Clintons leaves too much talent on the table. Love them or hate them, the Clintons are hall-of-fame caliber politicos. Why bet your whole bankroll on the rookie? Especially when such gratuitous recklessness is not necessary. A unity ticket allows Democrats to spread the risk. Consolidation offers an opportunity to capture three top performers for the price of one.

An Aside: frankly, nothing less than a Clinton-Obama ticket can unite the party, if Hillary finds a way to slip in and "steal" this nomination with the clock winding down.

As I have said before, a Hillary-Barack ticket with Bill, Chelsea, and Michelle added into the mix is the most powerful combination of charismatic personalities since the Kennedys combined with the Johnsons.

In short, it is only common sense.