With the near coronation of McCain and the near deadlock between Hillary and Obama, I’ve been reminded of the scene in the crappy (but mildly amusing) Steve Martin remake of Sgt. Bilko where Ernie Bilko explains how he almost got busted by Phil Hartman’s character, Major Thorn.

Bilko was fixing the base’s finals boxing match by telling one of the fighters to take a big payoff to take a dive.  In the comedic confusion, the actual money goes to the other fighter, who figures he’s being told to do the same thing.

The result is that both fighters avoid each other and then finally “knock each other out.”  All the onlookers in the crowd know it’s fixed, and as Thorn gets a hold of the money to confront Bilko, Bilko rats Thorn out as the bad guy…he’s literally holding the bag, after all.

Because it’s a movie, Bilko gets away with it and Thorn gets shipped to Alaska.  Both fighters took a dive at the same time and it was patently obvious to everyone what was going on.

So what does this have to do with the 08′ elections?

Here’s the deal.

There are factions within each of the parties that are playing to lose in 2008.  These respective factions want their party to lose the White House.

Both parties have people who have come to the same conclusion:  whoever wins 2008 is most likely not going to get re-elected in 2012.  I happen to agree with that sentiment for a couple of reasons, but the main reason is the fact the economy is going to fall apart and leave millions of Americans destitute, and either Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, or a combination of the above are going to explode into full scale war that will almost certainly include Iraq and certainly go regional.

This of course is assuming we have elections in 2012.  Those elections are nowhere near 100% certainty at this point, either.  A lot could happen in four years and ten months.

Hell, a lot could happen in ten months.

The reasoning goes like this:  if things are bad enough, the party that wins in 2008 is going to lose Washington for a generation.  2012 would usher in the kind of margins in Congress that people dreamed about having in the early 20th century, with a series of Presidents of one party and ample opportunity to reload the Supreme Court as well.

It’s the kind of margins in Washington that brought about the New Deal, civil rights legislation, and Roe v . Wade.  It’s also the kind of margins that gave us the Patriot Act and the Iraq War.

Both sides can see it coming again in 2008, the fulcrum point.  2008 to 2012 is going to be a hideous time in America.  It may get bad enough to require those Halliburton camps.  Whoever is in the White House is going to get full responsibility for it, deserved or not.

The right wing is warning of dire consequences if John McCain wins.  El Rushbo, Coultergeist, Malkinvania, and the snake-handler wing of the party are all furious with McCain.  They want Hillary or Obama to win so they can get a real conservative in office in 2012.

But there are those on the left side who point out that the Dems’ super-delegate mess is also a civil war in the making that could spilt the party and put McCain in the White House.  I haven’t heard anybody say that “Well that’s actually not a bad thing, because in 2012…” yet. Not publicly.  Not yet, anyway.

But the super-delegate super mess story is gaining traction and play.  People are getting worried about it, if the delegates went one way and the super-delegates went the other, it would cause a massive schism.  Hell, the wingnuts are getting their jollies off the idea.

But others seems to think the Democrats are playing to lose 2008 to make a major sweeping comeback in 2012.  The super-delegate mess and backroom deals at the convention would be in effect Bilko paying the fighter to take that dive in November.

Meanwhile, there are those who believe that the ascendancy of John McCain is proof the fix is already in on the other side, especially with Romney throwing in the towel today.  

So the question needs to be asked, are both sides trying desperately to take a dive because they know absolute disaster is just around the corner and neither one wants to be on the hook for the next four years of pain?

What the hell does that say about our economy, where it’s going, and who our leaders are?

More importantly what does that say about America where in 2008 the theory that both parties are taking a dive is even remotely possible?

Finally, what can we do about it?