Democratic pollsters Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen both have impressive credentials. Caddell’s enjoyed a career serving George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Gary Hart, Joe Biden and several other prominent liberals. Schoen’s been a player for NYC Mayor Ed Koch and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The Washington Post is full of lower-profile Fox News Democrats, and they routinely allow their op-ed page to be co-opted by the combined weight of the duo’s specious reasoning. Just two weeks ago the paper offered itself as a conduit for Schoen and Caddell to compare President Obama to Richard Nixon (if you can follow the duo’s criminal logic, Obama and Nixon both “display such indifference to the majesty of his office”).
The Fox News Democrats also add their patented brand of Obama-bashing to Rupert Murdoch’s other properties: In July the pair wrote an op-ed called “Our Divisive President” in the Republican Press Release printing arm known as the Wall Street Journal. In it, they argue that “Mr. Obama has divided America on the basis of race, class and partisanship,” without ever mentioning Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart, the Tea Party or Arizona’s SB 1070 law.
Provided that context, their Washington Post op-ed today calling for President Obama to not seek re-election shouldn’t be seen as a serious nonpartisan message; rather, it’s a plea to producers for the pollsters to appear on as many cable TV outposts and in as many media-on-media stories as possible. They seemingly enjoy being used as politically entertaining mouthpieces for the noise machine, and this is their latest attempt to step up and play patsy. They’re more My Way than Third Way.
Today, Schoen and Caddell offered up this tripe:
This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.
To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.
If the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it. But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose.
Despite their assurances that they don’t “come to this decision lightly,” it’s some of the most half-baked ill-logic you’ll read in a punditry industry full of it. For example, if they truly believe in their bold blanket statement that “governing and campaigning have become incompatible,” why did they not suggest that all 435 members of the House of Representatives and those 33 Senators up in 2012 also promise not to seek re-election? They are campaigning for their jobs just as the president is campaigning for his.
The op-ed also ignores recent history. Schoen and Caddell live in a fairytale world where Republicans will ever concede anything to the Democrats. They suggest that if Obama were to not seek re-election, there would magically be bipartisanship, sunshine and lollipops: “Moreover, if the president were to demonstrate a clear degree of bipartisanship, it would force the Republicans to meet him halfway.”
Go fuck a rainbow, ya pollster hippies. President Obama’s first major piece of legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, offered $250 billion of Republican-appeasing tax cuts and a sharply reduced Republican-appeasing total cost worth of bipartisanship into the mix. Did the Republicans meet him halfway? No, every last House Republican voted against it.
But mostly this piece fails to mention anywhere that such a political misguided maneuver would make an already weak president lethally weak. The Republicans wouldn’t come over to the White House with a basket of muffins; they’d smell blood in the water and pounce. It’d paralyze the Executive Branch completely. Republicans, rightfully so, would just run everything at him with overwhelming success. The only bargaining chip Obama has left is that he will run and win in 2012.
Of course, Schoen’s not exactly a trustworthy “traditional Democrat,” as much as he wants to claim. He jumped into bed with “independent” pollster Scott Rasmussen on a right-wing money-grab called “Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System.” Rasmussen, according to FiveThirtyEight’s excellent statistical breakdown, was by far and away the most biased pollster in politics in favor of the Republicans.
If Schoen and Caddell truly believe want to get away from the “politics of the moment,” they’ll stop appearing on cable news shows and op-ed pages playing that very game.
What do you think of this op-ed? And what do you think of its ultimate suggestion: Should Obama not seek re-election in 2012 for the good of the country? Sound off below.