In Fla., Mich., scorched-earth tactics may doom both Dems

Some of my best friends would make super superdelegates. That’s because they are smart, savvy and very political. They are just the kind of people you want to pick the next president of the United States.

I’m not sure how they feel about the prospect of do-over elections in Michigan and Florida (seemingly no longer an option in the latter state anyway). What I do know is this: Scorched-earth campaigns in these states will hurt the eventual Democratic nominee this fall.

So what are Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) options heading back into the Wolverine and Sunshine states?

If you are David Axelrod or Mark Penn, chief strategists of the Obama and Clinton camps, respectively, you might be inclined to go for the jugular now, since there really is no tomorrow (with apologies to Pennsylvania’s primary voters).

For weeks, the issue of who is best prepared to take the 3 a.m. call in the White House has dominated the airwaves. Candidly, after having met both candidates last year, I believe Clinton and Obama are equally qualified to take that call. An informal poll of my superdelegate friends confirms my belief.

If Obama and Clinton can remain focused on what they perceive as President Bush’s and Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) failures, then both will look and sound presidential when it counts: the day of the proposed revote in Florida and Michigan.

Remaining positive in the heat of a presidential campaign is a little like trying to sell newspapers full of good news. Most of the time, the public isn’t buying it — either the political message or the local paper.

In the case of this unprecedented primary season, voters have come to expect the unexpected. That certainly was the case with McCain’s near-death experience.

For all intents and purposes, his political bones were left lying in the street last summer.

Ditto for Hillary Clinton. A year ago, conventional wisdom had her waltzing from Des Moines to Denver just in time to pick up her crown. I guess no one thought to inform the junior senator from Illinois that Hillary’s dance card was full when he entered the race for the White House.

Over the course of the next several weeks, I hope Obama and Clinton set their sights on the failed policies of Bush and McCain, and not obliterate each other in Michigan and Florida.

If they do the former, then I am confident either of them can answer the phone at 3 a.m. with the clarity and determination it takes to be the next president of the United States.

Laguna Beach, Calif.