Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 14, 2010

THE SCHOEN/CADDELL FARCE.... I'm beginning to notice a pattern -- Doug Schoen and Patrick Caddell, ostensible "Democratic" pollsters, write silly op-eds bashing their party and the Washington Post runs them, over and over again.

It started in March, when the pair argued Democrats would be far better off with the electorate if they failed to pursue their policy agenda. A month later, Schoen and Caddell were at it again, this time insisting that Democrats do what Tea Partiers tell them to do. President Obama and congressional Democrats should, they argued, work on an agenda focused on "reducing the debt, with an emphasis on tax cuts."

Last month, the not-so-dynamic duo had another WaPo op-ed, blasting the president for being "divisive." Today the Post runs yet another Schoen/Caddell piece -- the fourth piece in eight months -- and this time we learn from the Democrats who hate Democrats that President Obama should respond to the midterms by refusing to seek re-election in two years, because it would bring people together.

The piece is a little too absurd to excerpt -- go ahead and click on the link if you're inclined, but keep a bottle of Maalox handy -- but the argument is ridiculous on its face. I obviously don't know what political conditions will be like in two years; no one does. But the notion that an electoral shellacking necessitates retirement is not only silly, it's at odds with all recent history -- Clinton, Reagan, Truman, and FDR all saw midterm setbacks on par with Obama's. They all won re-election soon after. Indeed, it's an inconvenient point, but Obama's electoral standing is actually slightly better now than at comparable points in the Clinton and Reagan presidencies.

Adam Serwer noted that "asking Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell not to be one-note hacks would be like telling Maury Povitch to stop doing shows involving paternity tests." He added, with dripping sarcasm:

Why wait? Shouldn't he and Joe Biden just resign effective immediately, making John Boehner president? In fact, this whole two-party system thing is absurd and just leads to partisan acrimony. One party rule would be better. The Democratic Party should just disband and let Republicans control Congress and the White House. That way, there would be no doubt about our national identity and common purpose, and no opportunity for resentment and division. Letting the American people actually vote on whether or not they want Obama to serve a second term would just lead to more polarization.

But I'm also struck by the larger context. Matt Gertz noted that Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell are regular Fox News contributors, who supported Republican congressional candidates this year, and who'll soon join Republican politicians and pundits at a right-wing retreat founded by activist David Horowitz.

Maybe now would be a good time for the Washington Post to stop running their tiresome screeds as if they have Democratic interests at heart?

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

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Comments

Schoen and Caddell deliver uncomfortable but important truths that democrats would be wise to heed.

Posted by: Al on November 14, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

hate to use the term, but I think maybe its time to blacklist anyone who contributes to Fox "News". It's one thing to know that its just a GOP propaganda setup - it's quite another to treat those who enable it as if they have any shred of legitimacy.

Posted by: andy on November 14, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

These guys seem to be part of a new Republican strategy to move the Overton window. Create totally fake Democrats with crackpot right-wing views, then make a show of compromising with these Potemkin Democrats. Got to admit, Republicans have made an art out of being devious, amoral bastards.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on November 14, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

>>reducing the debt, with an emphasis on tax cuts>>

That phrases such as this don't engender laughter is a bad sign

Posted by: foosion on November 14, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Democrat v Republican is an oversimplification of a very vast problem we "avoid" through politics alone.

Posted by: Dredd on November 14, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

And there's Al with his Concern Troll of the Day.

Schoen & Caddell are the Washington Generals to the Fox News Harlem Globetrotters; they need a team to play against, and these are the guys.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on November 14, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

These two alowns are but the most recent examples of Republican wolves clothed as Democratic consultant sheep.
I seriously think that almost EVERY Democratic consultant I've seen on TV, heard on radio, or read in the paper in the past few years has nothing - zip, zero, zilch, nodda, in common with what the Democratic Party stands for. Or, at least what it once stood for, before they became Whoreporatists.
Or, if these clowns aren't Republican operatives, they may be corporate ones. The difference is trifling... But then sos the difference betweent the two parties.

When can we get a party that represents regular people and not just corporations and the rich?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on November 14, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

There is nothing new about pretending to be something you're not in politics. These two hacks are so transparent that even the most uninformed or apolitical person can see right through them to their Rethug roots.

I agree that if journalism will have any claim to credibility then being a regular on Fox Faux News automatically disqualifies that person from appearing on any other news program or media outlet. There has to be a clear and visible line between propagandists, reporters, commentators, and entertainers. Increasingly there is not.

Posted by: rrk1 on November 14, 2010 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

It's time for the President to step aside in the 2012 election for the good of the Democratic Party. That action would take away a valuable vehicle the Republicans plan to use and leave them searching for a new strategy. A new Democrat in the race for president would not carry the baggage of four years of Fox propaganda.
Don't get me wrong, this president has accomplished great things but if he loves our party as much as the rest of us he should do the right thing and history will reward his legacy.

Furthermore, given the huge "lie" machine of the Republicans maybe four year terms should be our long term strategy. What would be the pros and cons of such a strategy?

Posted by: Tom on November 14, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Every time there is a Democratic president, the Wurlitzer spins up and every effort is made to delegitimize him. Every. Single. Time.

Then, when Republicans are in power, they spend spend spend, cut taxes for rich people, and increase the deficit. But the deficit never seems to matter when Republicans are in power. Every. Single. Time.

Then, when people get fed up with Republicans, they vote in Democrats. Suddenly, any attempts to fix the Republicans' mess and actually help the non-rich, suddenly, deficit reduction is front and center. Every. Single. Time.

Why people cannot recognize this dynamic is beyond me. Fool me once, fool me twice...at some point soon, reasonable people might just throw up their hands and get the heck outta here.

Posted by: terraformer on November 14, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

How much do trolls on internet sites get paid, anyway? It seems like the most pathetic existence ever.

Posted by: Rathskeller on November 14, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

These two crossed over to the dark side years ago. They're Democrats just like Phil Gramm was. They just haven't made the switch to "R" after their names cause they get more money from Fox, WaPo.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on November 14, 2010 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

These Rethugs aren't pollsters, they are market makers as they are clearly trying to influence the future outcome of an election by throwing in their contrived 2 cents on what's "best" for the Democrats. Is the Wapo rely that desperate for opinions they have to print this crap? I guess the answer is yes and that's why I don't read them anymore.

Posted by: Just guessing on November 14, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

...to stop running their tiresome screeds as if they have Democratic interests at heart?
Oh, my, I just can't stop laughing. Srsly, Steve, are you naive or blind? The WaPo has made a living, albeit a less good one than their educational company (the mind reels), by being contrarian. Except when Republicans are president, I mean.

Hiatt and his familiars aren't interested in giving voice to reason.

Posted by: Tom M on November 14, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

WaPo left the reservation about two years ago. Their aging cabal of neocon commentators are basically a gang of Republican con men pretending to be journalists. The "stealth" approach of using Schoen and Caddell as supposedly objective observers is just a variation on the theme. Use their Op-Ed section to line your birdcage, read the news section with skeptisism, and enjoy the Metro, Style, Travel and Business sections; the only reasons to buy this rag for us locals. Contrary to what I read in WaPo I think the President will do very well in 2012. The Senate will be paralyzed for the next two years by its own arcane rules - the Democrats can do it this time - and very little will reach the President's desk for the ritual veto/photo op. Anything from this new House should be considered DOA and propaganda to be lampooned, delayed, and ditched by the Democrats. Obama needs to do what Truman did in 1948 - run against Congress and the Republicans, and make sure they are rightfully identified as the well-fed party of the rich, the large corporations, and essentially enemies of the middle class. Truman gave an interesting speech in Omaha during the '48 campaign regarding the 1946 mid-term elections in which his party was savaged. He chastised voters to "educate yourselves," and told them when two thirds of them stay home as they did in 1946 they will get the kind of Congress they had. He blamed the voters for not understanding the real issues and for staying home. Obama always said the elections are about the people, not him. Nothing has changed. A dumbed down, disinterested electorate is a formula for disaaster like the one we just had. "Give'em hell Barry!" with apologies to HST, might be the best approach.

Posted by: max on November 14, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Dunno if anyone else has mentioned it, but these two guys say they worked for Clinton and Carter. Didn't Clinton and Carter both run for reelection even though they had tough times? Isn't it rather odd that they now demand a Democrat to not run for reelection when their own guys in the past ran?

Posted by: Dan on November 14, 2010 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

and, as harry said in response, "i don't give 'em hell. i just tell the truth and they think it's hell."

Posted by: mellowjohn on November 14, 2010 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

That action would take away a valuable vehicle the Republicans plan to use and leave them searching for a new strategy. A new Democrat in the race for president would not carry the baggage of four years of Fox propaganda.

And we have a winner of the "Not Paying Attention to the last 20 years of American Politics" award. Any Democrat running for President is going to be viciously attacked. Do you think Hillary Clinton wouldn't get the same treatment? Or any other candidate? Remember what they did to Gore? Withdrawing in the face of opposition is usually known as cowardice, not a winning strategy.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on November 14, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be rather amused if the Democratic party did disband.

When everyone's a Republican, is there the same urgency to follow Republican leadership? Can you imagine the infusion of the 53 Democratic Senators into the GOP?

Then maybe we could follow Jon Stewart's suggestion of pitting the corrupt against the less corrupt rather than parties. We could judge candidates as people, not letters after their names. All the Fox viewers couldn't hope to keep up with Rush O'Hannity's pleas against individual candidates. They'd see 100 R's in the Senate and just stay home figuring the differences didn't matter because they were all Republicans.

Take away the kindergarten cheat sheet of pushing the R button, and they're out of their depth.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on November 14, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree Col Bat Guano,

It's not that Fox will not attack new candidate, it's that the relentless attacks over the four years compound the damage in the publics mind. A new candidate would have less damage and fewer enemies. Just read the posts on this page to see what governing does to the good will of your base.

Posted by: Tom on November 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

The Thugs in the media have decided that they can win public opinion by planting trolls everywhere and calling the Democrats. e.g. Harold Ford, Evan Bayh, Heath Shuler. Then they are the voice of reason. Unfortunately, with the corporatist Wimpy Obama at the helm, this practice works very well.

Posted by: candideinnc on November 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

The only Washington Post link that I click on...ever...is a direct click Ezra Klein's blog. Every one of our clicks is a money maker for them, and I won't give them mine.

That said, I'm glad Steve reads them, Maalox at hand, so we don't have to.

Posted by: Chris on November 14, 2010 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on November 14, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Funny idea but Fox would still put a "D" behind their name every time a repub got caught with their pants down.

Posted by: Schtick on November 14, 2010 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's been obvious for some time that the WaPo editorial page, like the WSJ's editorial board is held in the hands of far right wing conservatives. Fred Hiatt is a tool.

Posted by: beb on November 14, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

This is how the CIA and military intelligence used to run elections and media campaigns in Third World countries. Now they're doing it here.

Posted by: Speed on November 14, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe now would be a good time for the Washington Post to stop running their tiresome screeds as if they have Democratic interests at heart?

Assumption of facts not in evidence.

At this late, Steve, what possible reason might you or anyone else have to assume that anyone at the WaPo or any other part of the corporate-owned MSM has the interests of anyone but the GOP and its clients at heart?

I'm not snarking. I'm being perfectly serious. Why insist on maintaining the charade that we're talking about a "liberal", or even a nonpartisan, media?

Posted by: Chet on November 14, 2010 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

this time we learn from the Democrats who hate Democrats that President Obama should respond to the midterms by refusing to seek re-election in two years, because it would bring people together.

Do they complete the farce by recommending the White House just be given to the Republicans?

Posted by: g on November 14, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Washington Post should cease publication and make room for a real newspaper.

Posted by: OldEditor on November 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Why are Schoen and Caddell considered "ostensible" Democratic pollsters? Am I supposed to know or care who they are? If so, why? If not, why repeat their bullshit? Why do so many of you guys read and listen to this crap?

Posted by: NealB on November 14, 2010 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Another thing that is quite amusing about Caddell/Schoen, beyond their ludicrous attempts to pretend to be Democrats, is that this argument doesn't even make the slightest bit of sense on its face. How, exactly, would an announcement that Obama won't run in 2012 drain "the poison from our culture of polarization"? How would that end the national "resentment and division"?

So we're supposed to believe that suddenly, miraculously, Mitch McConnell would become cooperative, Republicans would decide they could work with Obama, and unity would join all in a great big work-together-fest?!? Of course the subtext that the authors try to hide is clear: if Obama didn't need to worry about re-election, he could transform himself into a Republican. That's the ticket, then we'd have real bipartisanship!

This op-ed is truly one of the most idiotic things I have ever read.

Posted by: E.Hatt-Swank on November 14, 2010 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK


Where would millions of parakeets be without the Washington Post to line their cages?

Posted by: winner on November 14, 2010 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Jimmy Carter may be the best ex-President, but he was the least President the Democrats elected in the 20th Century, and Pat Caddell was a good part of the reason why. That anyone besides the wingnut scum now running the Washington Pest pay attention to this failed idiot always surprises me.

Posted by: TCinLA on November 15, 2010 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Schoen and Caddell are hired political guns. Find out who is paying their salary.

Posted by: Dan Kervick on November 15, 2010 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK

I disagree Col Bat Guano.


It's not that Fox will not attack new candidate, it's that the relentless attacks over the four years compound the damage in the publics mind. A new candidate would have less damage and fewer enemies. Just read the posts on this page to see what governing does to the good will of your base.

I think the opposite is true. After four years there will be a record Obama can point to to refute the lies (whether he's capable of doing it is a different question). A new candidate will be attacked with obscure old quotes, friends with memberships in out of favor groups or ministers with radical views. These work much better than lies about Obama's actual policies.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on November 15, 2010 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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