There seems to be a growing consensus that the disenfranchised Democratic delegations from Michigan and Florida is a problem that will have to be solved somehow. Senator Clinton's position is that the delegations elected in the state's primaries -- in Michigan she was the only candidate on the ballot, and in Florida, all candidates had agreed not to campaign -- should be seated, despite their deliberate violation of the rules. An alternative -- first proposed here by Paul Starr -- is for the states to vote again, in caucuses. (If it's sponsored by the party, rather than the state, it has to be called a caucus, but can be made somewhat primary-like, with longer hours and none of the public haggling that characterized Iowa or Nevada.)
So what should Barack Obama's position be? My first reaction is, nothing. Support the rules. The Florida and Michigan parties made their choice and have to live with the consequences. But what if that's untenable -- because it seems potentially damaging to the Democratic nominee in November to have two large states disenfranchised, or if you assume that something is going to happen eventually? What's the backup plan?
Here's the answer, and it's a little off the wall: He should offer a major concession. Agree to seat the Florida delegates from the January primary, along with a do-over caucus in Michigan. Don't concede the full legitimacy of the Florida primary, but just acknowledge that all the candidates were on the ballot and the expense and political cost of a do-over is too high. Seating the Florida delegation would be conditional on a do-over caucus in Michigan.