They need to keep changing tactics, the two parties and the two leading contenders within the parties.

The Saturday surprises in Obama’s
sweep and Huckabee’s good showing set up the Sunday surprises of
Clinton’s campaign manager departure and  her increasingly weak
standing with party loyalists. Losing her campaign manager now is a
bombshell, treated as a softball by liberal media caught off guard when
it happened (are they ever on guard for these things?).

The weekend Journal had some good analysis of both parties and their serious considerations.

This piece
focused on the increasingly contentious struggle to count the votes of
the two renegade states that move up their primaries against party
rules, thus eliminating the outcome as relevant or countable. But
Hillary Clinton won, so she’s fighting to have them counted. That’s a
huge undertaking of political consequence, as this article makes clear.

In a primary season full of odd twists, consider this
one: Florida and Michigan, which currently don’t have a single vote at
the Democrats’ August convention, could determine who is elected
president.

With the Democratic nomination essentially deadlocked after this
week’s Super Tuesday primaries, and no clear resolution imminent in a
series of smaller contests this weekend, party attention is turning to
the unusual situation of the two big states. Voters have already cast
their ballots there, but the voting took place in violation of party
rules.

Because they voted earlier than they were supposed to, the two
states have been denied a say at the Denver convention. But leaders of
the state parties — backed by Hillary Clinton, who did well in the
nonbinding votes — are agitating for a voice.

In that same issue of the weekend Journal, Reagan’s former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane publishes a provocative piece about the situation the Republicans are in this year.

There’s an old Groucho Marx riff in which he launches a
new career as a stick-up artist — while worrying that his native
cowardice may not induce the requisite fear among his victims. Sure
enough, after a little time in a dark alley he springs out to confront
his first victim, points his gun to his own head and says, “Take one
step closer and I’ll kill myself.”

Such is the posture today among pundits on the far right of
the Republican Party as Sen. John McCain moves closer to receiving his
party’s nomination. Consider the destructive implications of their
pledge to work against Mr. McCain’s nomination and even — in the event
he is nominated — not to vote in the general election. Start with where
it would leave the country — presumably under the leadership of either
Democrat candidate — in the two domains where the U.S. will face
critical challenges in the years ahead: national security and the
threat of an economic meltdown….

The next president must prevent the spread of nuclear weapons by any
of the more than 40-plus nations that are capable of that step within
five to 10 years. Of course the U.S. must also prevent terrorist groups
from gaining access to nuclear materials — not a task for someone
learning on the job. Surely Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham
and Ann Coulter can agree that these challenges are terribly demanding.
Finally, there is the cost of their extremist rhetoric to the
Republican Party.

Not sure who’s calculating that cost most strategically right now.
Reagan had a keen eye and sense for reason. His political base had
better hold themselves together and figure out the best use of
political energy for the good of the party and the nation, adjusting to
the challenges of the moment.

As President Reagan once told me, “Going over the cliff, flags flying, is still going over the cliff.”

The Republican Party is lacking that kind of clarity and wisdom right now.

And the Democrats are only slightly less discombobulated, though anything could happen. And probably yet will.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....