Just about every conversation between political types these days includes the so-called "Dream Ticket." They're talking, of course, about Clinton and Obama running together. While no one knows yet who would be number one and number two, it doesn't matter. The mere thought of that arrangement causes many Democrats to have fantasies as intense as the kind you don't discuss in public, not even on Oprah.
The question though is would this "dream" end up being a nightmare. It could end up igniting a titanic battle between the top people in each candidate's organizations.
Look at war going on right now in Camp Clinton. Right now, everybody's favorite stomping boy is Mark Penn. All the other big egos behind the bunkers want to make sure they're not splattered with any of the blame for blowing a nomination that originally seemed to be a "slam dunk".
While everyone is dumping on Penn at the moment, the truth is there's plenty of responsibility to go around. Many of his fellow legends-in-their- own-minds have been so cut down to size that Hillaryland could easily be renamed Lilliput.
Call me crazy but that operation and Obama's might not be an easy fit. But let's suspend disbelief and assume for a moment that the organizations could mesh, if for no other reason than possible book deals later on. There are still impediments. Paradoxically they rise from the very obstacles the two are trying to overcome.
It goes without saying that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama stand for historic possibility, each one of them. As potentially the first woman and first African-American President of the United States, each represents the hopes of the two most oppressed groups in this country. It might be a bitter pill to swallow for those who see their aspirations relegated to number two. Instead of unifying the party it might be divisive or at least deflate some of the intense enthusiasm needed for strong voter turnout
Not that the Republicans don't have their own problems. John McCain still has to peddle himself to all those outspoken conservatives the party needs, particularly the leading ones. After all, they have to make sure they don't lose power to raise all their alarmist money or to rile up their embittered listeners.
And John McCain might have a running-mate problem of his own. No, I don't mean the person he chooses as Vice President (Do you think it'll be another white guy?). I'm talking about George W. Bush, the one whose job performance is at a two-thirds disapproval rating according to the polls.
Does McCain really mean it when he says he'd welcome the President to campaign with him? Actually, the Democrats will make sure they're lumped together at every opportunity, so it might not really matter.
Right now those Democrats are following the best traditions of their party. They're squabbling. The question is will they create so much bitterness on their own side that no "Dream Ticket" in the world would be enough to stop them from snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Again.