Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's All About Obama

By Karl Rove

The Wall Street Journal

June 26, 2008

Many candidates have measured the Oval Office drapes prematurely. But Barack Obama is the first to redesign the presidential seal before the election.

His seal featured an eagle emblazoned with his logo, and included a Latin version of his campaign slogan. This was an attempt by Sen. Obama to make himself appear more presidential. But most people saw in the seal something else – chutzpah – and he's stopped using it. Such arrogance – even self-centeredness – have featured often in the Obama campaign.

Consider his treatment of Jeremiah Wright. After Rev. Wright repeated his anti-American slurs at the National Press Club, Mr. Obama said their relationship was forever changed – but not because of what he'd said about America. Instead, Mr. Obama complained, "I don't think he showed much concern for me."

Translation: Rev. Wright is an impediment to my ambitions. So, as it turns out, are some of Mr. Obama's previous pledges.

For example, Mr. Obama has said he "strongly supported public financing" and pledged to take federal funds for the fall, thereby limiting his spending to roughly $84 million. Now convinced he can raise more than $84 million, he reversed course last week, ditching the federal money and its limits. But by discarding his earlier pledge so easily, he raises doubts about whether his word can be trusted.

Last month he replied "anywhere, anytime" to John McCain's invitation to have joint town hall appearances. Last week he changed his mind. Fearing 10 impromptu town halls, Mr. Obama parried the invitation by offering two such events – one the night of July 4, when every ambulatory American is watching fireworks or munching hotdogs, and another in August. His spokesman then said, "Take it or leave it." So much for "anywhere, anytime."

My former White House colleague Yuval Levin pointed out that Mr. Obama, in his first national TV ad rolled out Friday, claims credit for having "extended health care for wounded troops," citing the 2008 defense authorization. That bill passed 91-3 – but Mr. Obama was one of only six senators who didn't show up to vote. This brazen claim underscores the candidate's thin résumé and, again, his chutzpah.

Mr. Obama has now also played the race card, twice suggesting in recent weeks that Republicans will draw attention to the fact that he's black. Who is unaware of that? Americans overwhelmingly find it a hopeful, optimistic sign that the country could elect an African-American president. But they rightly want to know what kind of leader he might be. They may well reject as cynical any maneuver to discourage close examination of him by suggesting any criticism is racially motivated.

The candidate's self-centeredness has been on display before. Having effectively sewed up the Democratic nomination, he could have agreed to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations (states Hillary Clinton had carried). While reducing his lead by 50 to 55 delegates, it would not have altered the outcome. But Mr. Obama supported cutting these battleground-state delegations in half. At a time when magnanimity was called for, the candidate decided he'd strut.

Mr. Obama's alpha-male attitude was evident even as he stumbled towards and over the primary finish line. First, his campaign announced in May it was talking to Patti Solis Doyle after Sen. Clinton fired her as campaign manager. This served only to pour salt in the Clintons' wounds.

Then, after the primaries ended June 3, Mr. Obama's campaign leaked word that Leon Panetta (a Clinton supporter who'd apparently angered the Clintons by persistent criticism of their performance) and Ms. Doyle would conduct its outreach to the Clinton camp. Ms. Doyle was named chief of staff to the as-yet-to-be-chosen vice presidential running mate. All this was pointless, but reveals a disposition certain to manifest itself in other ways.

Mr. McCain will be helped if he uses Mr. Obama's actions to paint his opponent as someone driven by an all-powerful instinct to look out only for himself. In a contest over who is willing to put principle above personal ambition and self-interest, John McCain, a war hero and a former POW, wins hands down. That may not be the most important issue to voters in electing a president, but it's something they will rightly take into account.

Big Issues for the Next President

By David Wessel

The Wall Street Journal

June 26, 2008

Presidents get more credit and more blame for short-term swings in the economy than they deserve. And they get less scrutiny for decisions that have long-lasting economic consequences, say the bipartisan agreement to expand Medicare to cover prescription drugs without any visible means of financial support or the price tag on the Iraq war.

Similarly, presidential campaigns -- when they move beyond coverage of the candidates' wives dresses -- can bog down in details of proposals that will never be implemented as proposed. Neither President McCain nor President Obama, no matter what he says, can do much that will make an immediate difference to higher energy prices, falling house prices, rising unemployment, sagging wages. And no matter how many briefings by learned advisers or position papers posted on Web sites, no candidate can honestly tell us exactly what he'd do in office

So ask not for details and spreadsheets, ask for broad brush strokes. Here are four of the biggest economic issues about which the next president, and those who elect him, ought to be thinking.

The budget deficit. It isn't a problem now. It's getting bigger, as it should in a recession or near-recession. And foreigners are still willing to lend the U.S. money. The problem is tomorrow: The U.S. government has made promises to pay health and retirement benefits that will cost far more than projected taxes will yield. Neither candidate talks much about how -- or even if -- he'd try to fix this; most voters don't want to hear about it. All one can glean is that Sen. Obama leans toward bigger government (more taxes, more spending) and Sen. McCain leans toward smaller government (less taxes, less spending.)

Health care. Until the housing bust and credit crunch, the political system was inching toward tackling this one after the election. That seems less likely now, despite the consensus that the U.S. doesn't get its money's worth from its health-care spending. The system is so complex it's hard to describe; same applies for proposed solutions.

"What we want to know from each candidate is his broad approach toward creating a health system that is affordable and accessible to all...and spends less than we would otherwise spend," says Robert Reischauer, the head of the Urban Institute think tank who, despite the cynicism that accumulates from a lifetime inside the Beltway, is one of the loudest, clearest advocates for common sense in Washington.

Sen. Obama offers a mix of changes, many but not all involving government money, and argues the best solution will emerge from some experimentation. Sen. McCain would, instead, make the market for health insurance more like the market for computers or cars, relying more on individuals shopping for insurance to create competition now largely absent in health care.

Inequality. The gap between economic winners and losers in the U.S. is growing; the trend didn't begin with President Bush's election, but he didn't do much to arrest it. Economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Thomas Piketty of the Ecole d'Economie de Paris calculate that even excluding capital gains, 75% of the pretax-income growth in what they call the Bush expansion (2002-2006) went to the best-off 1% of American families versus 46% in the Clinton expansion (1993-2000). There is significant disagreement among politicians and voters about how hard the government should restrain market forces that are widening the income gap, particularly how much the tax code should redistribute income.

The differences between the candidates are sharp: Sen. Obama would wield the tax code more aggressively than Sen. McCain.

Globalization. It isn't going away. But for all the benefits it brings American consumers (and Chinese workers), the toughening competition is frightening to Americans, both as workers and as parents. Sens. Obama and McCain both assert the virtues of globalization (at least some of the time). The next president needs to respond to calm public anxiety about it. The backlash is intensifying, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. A new Council of Foriegn Relations report by lawyer David Marchick of Carlyle Group and Matthew Slaughter of Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business warns of a "protectionist drift" in government policy toward foreign-direct investment. And that ought to be the easy-to-sell form of globalization, the Mercedes-Benz factory in Alabama or the desperately needed Middle East capital shoring up the foundations of big U.S. banks.

The solution doesn't lie in tweaking trade laws (though they could use tweaking) or in applying band aids to an archaic, inefficient system of assisting laid-off workers (though that system needs replacing). It probably lies in assuring Americans that they aren't fending for themselves in an increasingly competitive economy -- that their health insurance won't evaporate if they lose a job and that the U.S.'s schools are preparing their children to succeed.

On this issue, the candidates risk becoming caricatures -- Sen. McCain harping on the benefits of free trade, Sen. Obama on its costs. But the debate is likely to evolve now that Sen. Obama no longer has to worry about Hillary Clinton.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Democracies Can't Compromise on Core Values

By Natan Sharansky

The Wall Street Journal

June 16, 2008

As the American president embarked on his farewell tour of Europe last week, Der Spiegel, echoing the sentiments of a number of leading newspapers on the Continent, pronounced "Europe happy to see the back of Bush." Virtually everyone seems to believe that George W. Bush's tenure has undermined trans-Atlantic ties.

There is also a palpable sense in Europe that America will move closer to Europe in the years ahead, especially if Barack Obama wins the presidential election.

But while Mr. Bush is widely seen by Europeans as a religious cowboy with a Manichean view on the world, Europe's growing rift with America predates the current occupant of the White House. When a French foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, declared that his country "cannot accept a politically unipolar world, nor a culturally uniform world, nor the unilateralism of a single hyper power," President Clinton was in the seventh year of his presidency and Mr. Bush was still governor of Texas.
The trans-Atlantic rift is not the function of one president, but the product of deep ideological forces that for generations have worked to shape the divergent views of Americans and Europeans. Foremost among these are different attitudes toward identity in general, and the relationship between identity and democracy in particular.

To Europeans, identity and democracy are locked in a zero-sum struggle. Strong identities, especially religious or national identities, are seen as a threat to democratic life. This is what Dominique Moisi, a special adviser at the French Institute of International Relations, meant when he said in 2006 that "the combination of religion and nationalism in America is frightening. We feel betrayed by God and by nationalism, which is why we are building the European Union as a barrier to religious warfare."

This attitude can be traced back to the French Revolution, when the forces fighting under a universal banner of "liberty, equality and fraternity" were pitted against the Church.

In contrast, the America to which pilgrims flocked in search of religious freedom, and whose revolution amounted to an assertion of national identity, has been able to reconcile identity and freedom in a way no country has been able to match. That acute observer, Alexis de Tocqueville, long ago noted the "intimate union of the spirit of religion and the spirit of liberty" that was pervasive in America and made it so different than his native France.

The idea that strong identities are an inherent threat to democracy and peace became further entrenched in Europe in the wake of World War II. Exponents of what I call postidentity theories – postnationalism, postmodernism and multiculturalism – argued that only by shedding the particular identities that divide us could we build a peaceful world. Supranational institutions such as the EU, the International Court of Justice and the United Nations were supposed to help overcome the prejudices of the past and forge a harmonious world based on universal values and human rights.
While these ideas have penetrated academia and elite thinking in the U.S., they remain at odds with the views of most Americans, who see no inherent contradiction between maintaining strong identities and the demands of democratic life. On the contrary, the right to express one's identity is seen as fundamental. Exercising such a right is regarded as acting in the best American tradition.

The controversy over whether Muslims should be able to wear a veil in public schools underscores the profound difference in attitudes between America and Europe. In Europe, large majorities support a law banning the veil in public schools. In the U.S., students wear the veil in public schools or state colleges largely without controversy.

At the same time severe limits are placed on the harmless expression of identity in the public square, some European governments refuse to insist that Muslim minorities abide by basic democratic norms. They turn a blind eye toward underage marriage, genital mutilation and honor killings.

The reality is that Muslim identity has grown stronger, has become more fundamentalist, and is increasingly contemptuous of a vapid "European" identity that has little vitality. All this may help explain why studies consistently show that efforts to integrate Muslims into society are much less effective in Europe than in America, where identity is much stronger.

Regardless of who wins in November, the attitudes of Americans toward the role of identity in democratic life are unlikely to change much. Relative to Europe, Americans will surely remain deeply patriotic and much more committed to their faiths.

Europeans, meanwhile, may move closer to the Americans in their views. The recent shift to the right in Europe – from the victory of conservative leaders like Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi to the surprise defeat of the leftist mayor of London, Ken Livingston – might partially reflect a belated awareness there that a unique heritage is under assault by a growing Muslim fundamentalism.

The logic of the struggle against this fundamentalist threat will inevitably demand the reassertion of the European national and religious identities that are now threatened.

Europeans are now saying goodbye to Mr. Bush, and hoping for the election of an American president who they believe shares their sophisticated postnational, postmodern and multicultural attitudes. But don't be surprised if, in the years ahead,
European leaders, in order to protect freedom and democracy at home, start sounding more and more like the straight-shooting cowboy from abroad they now love to hate.

Mr. Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident, is chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. He is the author, most recently, of "Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy" (PublicAffairs).

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's Time for Another Obama Race Speech

By Juan Williams

The Wall Street Journal

June 6, 2007

Now what? How does Barack Obama, fresh from claiming the Democratic nomination, put Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger behind him, before they ignite yet again and blow up his general election campaign?

How does he pre-empt advertising images, sure to be circulated by his opponents, that link him to outrageous racial rhetoric and fears that he is open to the most radical left-wing ideas – including using the power of the White House to exact racial vengeance?

There is no doubt that Rev. Wright's inflammatory racial rants hurt Sen. Obama badly during the primaries. His once-ascendant popularity with white men faded in a flash after Rev. Wright emerged as a walking contradiction to the candidate's claim to be above the old racial divides. Even this week, at Mr. Obama's moment of historic triumph, a quarter of voters in Montana and a third of voters in South Dakota said the senator's 20 years of membership at Trinity United Church – the scene of racial rants by Rev. Wright and Father Pfleger – was an important issue for them. In both states, more than half of these voters voted against him.

Since Rev. Wright became an issue in March, the senator's favorability rating, according to a Pew poll last week, has dropped eight percentage points. The sharpest slippage was among white women who explained that their problem with Mr. Obama has to do with "personal attributes," more so than his race. The major personal attribute unveiled during that time was the senator's close relationship to Rev. Wright and the likes of Father Pfleger. Now, with the general election contest beginning, there will be more white voters, including the all-important swing voters. They'll have to decide whether they are willing to see beyond race and invest their trust in the young, biracial senator who seeks to be their president.

Mr. Obama's strategies for dealing with the racial demagogues in his past have failed. The first strategy for dealing with Rev. Wright's proclamations – including damning America and offering baseless charges that the government was spreading AIDS among black people – was to say he was absent from church. Then Mr. Obama equated Rev. Wright with a crazy uncle to be found in every family. Then he asked for a pass, saying that everyone has heard their pastor, priest or rabbi make statements they don't agree with.

When this didn't work, the senator made a major political speech on race relations – a subject he'd avoided, to prevent being boxed in as the "black" candidate. The Philadelphia speech in March was most notable for what it did not do. Mr. Obama did not condemn Rev. Wright as a racial provocateur. Instead, he made it a point of virtue to stand by his minister of 20 years. He said Rev. Wright was a member of an older generation of black people still stung by their years of humiliation under segregation.

Incredibly, the speech was celebrated by supporters and most of the press. Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, said it would "go down as one of the great, magnificent and moving speeches in the American political tradition." The New York Times editorialized that "Mr. Obama's eloquent speech should end the debate over his ties to Mr. Wright since there is nothing to suggest that he would carry religion into government."

Well, that speech didn't end the controversy, either – because Mr. Obama never spoke honestly about Rev. Wright's sermons as destructive and racist. Instead he offered soaring talk about the nation, as a matter of faith in God and one another, needing to "move beyond old racial wounds." His only criticism of Rev. Wright was to chide him for a "profound mistake," of speaking "as if no progress had been made" on race.

And his poor judgment in remaining a member of Rev. Wright's church? Mr. Obama skated by with appeals for other people to have serious conversations about race. Instead of turning his fire on racial pandering in his own church, he criticized those who would "make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with [Rev. Wright's] most offensive words."

Allies rallied to the senator's side, arguing that the controversy was really all the fault of TV news programs that played the reverend's bellicose "sound bites" too often and out of context. But in a matter of weeks, Rev. Wright went on another rant, this time at the National Press Club in Washington. Only then did Mr. Obama condemn him for racially offensive jeremiads. And last week, Father Pfleger – with his mocking of Sen. Clinton and claims that whites all over America are crying because they feel a black man has stolen the nomination – has renewed the bitterness. His rant has also called a new round of attention to Mr. Obama's long ties to unsavory racial characters both inside and outside the church. In response, the senator has resigned from the church.

He has to do more.

The heart of Mr. Obama's problem is that he risks being defined by Rev. Wright and Father Pfleger. Most American voters know him only as a fresh face with an Ivy League education, an outstanding credential – editor of the Harvard Law Review – an exciting speaker, and a man who stands for much-desired change. Beyond that he is a political mystery with a thin legislative record. But when voters look at his past for clues to the core of his character, they find religious leaders calling for God to damn America and concluding that America is the greatest sin against God.

To deal with this controversy effectively, Mr. Obama needs to give another speech. This time he has to admit to sins of using race for political expediency – by knowingly buying into divisive, mean messages being delivered from the pulpit. He has to say that, as a biracial young man with no community roots, attaching himself to Rev. Wright and the Trinity congregation was a shortcut to move up the ladder in the Chicago political scene. He has to call race-baiting what it is, whether it comes from a pulpit or calls itself progressive politics. And he has to challenge his supporters, especially his black base, to be honest about real problems at the heart of today's racial divide – including out-of-wedlock births, crime, drugs and a culture that devalues education while glorifying the gangster life.

Mr. Obama also has to raise the bar for how political criticism is handled in his camp. Step one is to acknowledge that not every critic is a racist. His very liberal record and his limited experience, like his association with Rev. Wright, is a fact, not the work of white racists. Just as he calls for the GOP not to engage in the politics of fear over terrorism, Mr. Obama needs to declare that he will refrain from playing the racial victim, because he understands such tactics will paralyze political debate and damage race relations.

Only by admitting to his own sins can Mr. Obama credibly claim that he has seen the promise of our country, in which Americans of all colors work together. Only then can he convince dubious white voters that he is ready to move beyond racial antagonism and be their president.

Mr. Williams is a political analyst for National Public Radio and Fox News.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Argument for Nominating Hillary

By Lanny J. Davis

The Wall Street Journal

May 31, 2008

After the votes are in from Puerto Rico tomorrow and South Dakota and Montana on Tuesday, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton will be able to make a facts-based case that they represent a significant majority of grass-roots Democrats.

Chances are Sens. Obama and Clinton will virtually split the more than 4,400 delegates – including Florida and Michigan – elected by more than 34 million people over the past five months.

Sen. Clinton has already won the most votes, but there is controversy over including the over 300,000 votes from Michigan, since Sen. Obama was not on the ballot (by his own choice). But if Sen. Clinton wins a substantial victory in Puerto Rico tomorrow – with an expected record turnout exceeding two million voters – she could well end up with more popular votes than Sen. Obama, even if Michigan's primary votes are excluded.

Worst case, she could come out with a 2% deficit in elected pledged delegates. But that gap can be made up, if most of the remaining 200 or so unpledged superdelegates decide to support Sen. Clinton as the strongest candidate against John McCain – or if others committed to Sen. Obama decide to change their minds for the same reason. A number of superdelegates previously committed to Sen. Clinton later announced support for Sen. Obama, so it's certainly possible that, when confronted with growing evidence that Sen. Clinton is stronger than Sen. McCain, they might switch back.

The final argument for Hillary comes down to three points – with points one and two leading to the third.

First, Sen. Clinton is more experienced and qualified to be president than is Sen. Obama. This is not to say Sen. Obama cannot be a good, even great, president. I believe he can. But Sen. Clinton spent eight years in the White House. She was not a traditional first lady. She was involved in policy and debate on virtually every major domestic and foreign policy decision of the Clinton presidency, both "in" and "outside" the room with her husband. She has been a U.S. senator for eight years and has a record of legislative accomplishments, including as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

With no disrespect or criticism intended, Sen. Obama has been an Illinois state senator for eight years and a U.S. senator for just four years. He has, understandably, fewer legislative accomplishments than Sen. Clinton. That's just a fact. Therefore, it is reasonable to argue that Sen. Clinton would be less vulnerable to criticism from Sen. McCain on the "experience" issue.

Second, Sen. Clinton's position on health care gives her an advantage over Sen. McCain. Her proposal for universally mandated health care based primarily on private insurance and individual choices is a stark contrast to Sen. McCain's total reliance on private market insurance, HMOs or emergency rooms for the 45 million or more uninsured. Sen. Obama's position, while laudable in its objective, does not mandate universal care and, arguably, won't challenge Sen. McCain as effectively as will Sen. Clinton's plan.

Despite the fact that Sen. Obama's campaign made the Iraq war a crucial issue in the Iowa caucuses and early primaries, there has never been a significant difference between his position and Sen. Clinton's. Sen. Obama deserves credit for opposing military intervention in Iraq while he was running for the state senate in early 2002.

But in 2004, Sen. Obama said he "did not know" how he would have voted on the war resolution had he been a senator at the time. That summer he told the Chicago Tribune: "There's not much of a difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage" of the Iraq War. (This is a statement that Sen. Clinton would not have made.) While he served in the Senate, he voted 84 out of 85 times the same as Sen. Clinton on Iraq-war related votes. The only exception is when he supported President Bush's position on the promotion of a general that Sen. Clinton opposed.

Third and finally, there is recent hard data showing that, at least at the present time, Sen. Clinton is a significantly stronger candidate against Sen. McCain among the general electorate (as distinguished from the more liberal Democratic primary and caucus electorate).

According to Gallup's May 12-25 tracking polling of 11,000 registered voters in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Sen. Clinton is running stronger against Sen. McCain in the 20 states where she can claim popular-vote victory in the primaries and caucuses. In contrast, Sen. Obama runs no better against Sen. McCain than does Sen. Clinton in the 28 states plus D.C. where he has prevailed. "On this basis," Gallup concludes: "Clinton appears to have the stronger chance of capitalizing on her primary strengths in the general election."

The 20 states, Gallup points out, not only encompass more than 60% of the nation's voters, but "represent more than 300 Electoral College votes while Obama's 28 states and the District of Columbia represent only 224 Electoral College votes." Sen. Clinton leads Sen. McCain in these 20 states by seven points (50%-43%), while Sens. Obama and McCain are pretty much tied. But in the 26 states plus D.C. that Sen. Obama carried in the primaries/caucuses, he and Sen. Clinton are both statistically tied with Sen. McCain (Clinton 45%-McCain 47%; Obama 45%-McCain 46%).

Gallup's state-by-state polling in seven key battleground "purple" states also shows Sen. Clinton winning cumulatively in these states by a six-point margin (49%-43%) over Sen. McCain, while Sen. Obama loses to Sen. McCain by three points – a net advantage of 9% for Sen. Clinton. These key seven states – constituting 105 electoral votes – are Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Arkansas, Florida and Michigan.

Meanwhile, Sen. Obama holds about an equal advantage over Sen. McCain in six important swing states that he carried in the primaries and caucuses – Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri. But these constitute less than half – 54 – of the electoral votes of the larger states in which Sen. Clinton is leading.

The latest state-by-state battleground polls (published May 21-23) by other respected polling organizations verify Gallup's findings that Sen. Clinton is significantly stronger against Sen. McCain in the key states that a Democrat must win to gain the presidency. According to various poll data within the last 10 days:

- Pennsylvania: Sen. Clinton leads McCain 50%-39%; Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain are effectively tied.
- Ohio: Sen. Clinton leads Sen. McCain 48%-41%, Sen. Obama is down 44%-40%.
- Florida: Sen. Clinton leads Sen. McCain 47%-41%; Sen. McCain leads Sen. Obama 50%-40%. (Sen. Clinton has a net advantage of 16 points!)
- North Carolina: Despite a substantial primary victory, Sen. Obama is down 8% vs. Sen. McCain, (51%-43%), while Sen. Clinton leads by 6% (49%-43%).
- Nevada: Sen. Clinton up 5%, Sen. Obama down 6%.

Even the theory that Sen. Obama can open up significant numbers of "red" states has not been borne out by recent polling. For example: in Virginia, which Sen. Obama won substantially in the Feb. 12 Democratic primary, he is currently down in at least one recent, respected poll by a significant 9% margin – one point greater than the 8% margin Sen. Clinton is behind Sen. McCain.

Finally, one unfortunate argument is making the rounds lately to convince superdelegates to go for Sen. Obama. That is the prediction that if Sen. Obama is not the nominee, African-American and other passionate Obama supporters will conclude that the nomination had been "stolen" and will walk out of the convention or stay at home. On the other side are the many women and others strongly committed to Sen. Clinton promising that if she is denied the nomination, they will refuse to vote for Sen. Obama.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are progressive, pro-civil rights, pro-affirmative action, pro-choice Democrats. Neither Obama supporters nor Clinton supporters who care about the issues, the Supreme Court, and the need to begin withdrawing from Iraq can truly mean they will actively or passively help Sen. McCain get elected. Threats of walkouts or stay-at-homes by good Democrats are not the answer, nor should they be a factor in superdelegate decisions.

But there is one possible scenario that avoids disappointment and frustration by passionate supporters of both candidates, that combines the strengths of one with the strengths of the other, and that virtually guarantees the election of a Democratic president in 2008:

A Clinton-Obama or an Obama-Clinton ticket.

Stay tuned.

Mr. Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton in 1996-98, is a longtime friend and supporter of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.