The Democratic presidential nominee this fall—whether Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton—is going to be flawed.
And this is long before the Republicans and their wild-eyed, right-wing allies unload on either one.
Senator Clinton bears more of the blame than her younger rival. At nearly every crazy turn in this long race, she has behaved as if she is entitled to the nomination come hell or high water.
Clinton's husband has done his part, too, to make things difficult for a Democratic Party that boosted him into the White House for two terms, the latter one seamy.
Patching things up late this summer to run against GOP Sen. John McCain is not going to be easy. The hard feelings continue every day as the two Democrats clash with little or no regard for the damage being done.
Let me cite an episode from that ABC debate in Philadelphia in which Senator Clinton could have made a leap toward peacemaking. When Senator Obama was asked the silly question about not wearing the American flag in his lapel, she should have interrupted and said:
"Stop right there. That is the silliest thing I've ever heard. Senator Obama is a loyal, patriotic American, and so am I. Perhaps the moderators can finally get down to some serious matters?"
Of course, she didn't. She was waiting for a chance to clobber him on some issue like his pastor's controversial sermons.
(I thought we had gotten past the guilt by association in this country after the rampages of GOP Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin in the 1950s, but apparently not.)
Obama is not without fault. He has inspired huge numbers of young people, but largely with lofty rhetoric whose only specifics have been promoting "change" from George W. Bush.
The Democrats could still win the presidency in November, but the two senators left standing are not helping much.