Tomorrow's Times carries a story by Patrick Healy with the headline, "Allies Ask Obama to Make 'Hope' Specific." It's actually worse than that: they're all over the place. Make it short, make it concrete. "Pragmatic ideas that bring hope and change to life," is what Governor Strickland of Ohio demanded.

The fact is that the economy is in such terrible shape that, if there are "pragmatic ideas that bring hope and change to life," they are contradictory and, in any case, most unlikely to work. Which is why one chooses the candidate whose instincts one trusts.

So what's relevant on domestic issues is this: Republicans are indifferent to families that make, say, $150,000 or less--although many of such families vote for the G.O.P. for other reasons. I'd bet that not many Republican office holders know many families that make $150,000 or less and almost none who make less than $30,000.

And, sad to say, there's nothing true you can say on foreign policy that's strong and realistic because the Russians have just handed us a big defeat. Not the Democrats. But not just the Republicans, either. They've handed us, the Americans, and our democratic friends not a sock in the jaw but a direct blow to the solar plexus.

Here it is: a top Soviet, no, Russian general has threatened both Poland and the Czech Republic with nuclear attack if they join the western anti-missile system.

Now for the dumbest of the Democratic critiques of Obama, this one from Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee: "Instead of giving big speeches at big stadiums, he needs to give straight-up 10- word answers to people at Wal-Mart about he would improve their lives."

Ten words would be a lie, and so, too, a hundred words.