Political Animal


December 19, 2011 4:10 PM The Schoen/Caddell clown show

By Steve Benen

The question of the day: is it better to ignore the latest nonsense from Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell or mock it? I’ve gone back and forth on this, but I’m leaning towards the latter, primarily out of concern that some well-intentioned news consumers may not immediately recognize them.

Schoen and Caddell have a shtick that clearly works for them. They’re “Fox News Democrats” — guys who claim to be Dems, but who are actively hostile towards Democratic officeholders, Democratic candidates, and Democratic policy ideas. They leverage their superficial connection to the party for even more superficial credibility, convincing news outlets their anti-Democratic screeds are meaningful given their imaginary loyalty to the party.

Fox News, in particular, routinely touts its commitment to “balance” by inviting them on the air — Republicans who hate Democrats are joined by Democrats who hate Democrats.

With this in mind, Politico ran a piece today from Schoen and Caddell arguing — what else? — that President Obama should simply give up and let someone else run next year. As Jon Chait noticed, Schoen and Caddell have somehow managed to convince editors at major news outlets to run practically the same piece, over and over again.

Sure, they proposed this idea last year in the Washington Post…. And then again in November in The Wall Street Journal…. And then again today in Politico….

But I think there’s far more to be said about this fascinating idea. What if Schoen and Caddell were to write daily dispatches reporting from the ground about efforts among Democrats to challenge Obama in the 2012 primary, or to just cede the 2012 election? Certainly such Democrats exist — and if not, Schoen and Caddell could conduct man-on-the-street interviews with each other….

There’s just so much to this idea, I feel readers are being deprived by only being able to read Schoen and Caddell reviving it every few months. Any op-ed page editor who lets a single day go by without hearing Schoen and Caddell peddle their idea is depriving their readers.

Lest anyone be confused, Chait’s being sarcastic.

But the larger point is that the Schoen/Caddell clown show is well past the point of farce, and editors who keep publishing their tired, repetitious tripe should pause to consider whether we really need another 972 words about two Fox News Democrats not liking the president.

Because at this point, it’s just tiresome. Schoen and Caddell spent 2010 telling Dems to do what Tea Partiers tell them to do, supporting Republican congressional candidates, and participating in right-wing retreats with Republican politicians and pundits.

As Adam Serwer once put it, “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.”

This year, when they’re not publishing their latest op-ed begging Obama to quit, they’re publishing bogus anti-Occupy palaver and providing fodder for Republican attack ads.

Any outlet describing Schoen as a “Democrat” without context or asterisks is misleading the public.

Post script: Incidentally, a new CNN poll finds that 81% of Democrats want their party to renominate Obama for 2012, nearly the strongest intra-party support the president has enjoyed in two years. Schoen and Caddell may be persuading editors to run their ideas, but they don’t appear to be persuading voters to agree with their ideas.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • c u n d gulag on December 19, 2011 4:19 PM:

    If only these two were as entertaining and smart as the two grumpy old men in the balcony on "The Muppet Show" - Statler and Waldorf.

    They have found their career niche, and it's a lucrative one.

    They get paid to be like these other Quisling idiots:
    -Log Cabin Republicans
    -Black people like Cain who are Republicans
    -Women who are Republicans
    -Poor people who are Republicans

    Basically, it's anyone who's not part of the 15 but who acts like a whore* for them against their own better interests, and the better interests of the people who are like them, but decide NOT to whore themselves out for pieces of silver and air time.

    *And I apologize to real whores out there who earn their money and have professional integrity, unlike these pandering postulous, sphincterous, curs!

  • T2 on December 19, 2011 4:25 PM:

    Benen, quit watching these blow-hards. It's bad for your liver.

  • DAY on December 19, 2011 4:28 PM:

    The Kinston Trio sang:
    "The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
    The French hate the Germans. The Germans hate the Poles.
    Italians hate Yugoslavs. South Africans hate the Dutch
    and I don't like anybody very much!"

  • MattF on December 19, 2011 4:34 PM:

    But it's all fair and balanced-- you get wingers to make their talking points, and then you get fake Democrats to make the same talking points. No confusing disagreements!

  • Anonymous on December 19, 2011 4:36 PM:

    Lately WashingtonMonthly has been going beserk with ads that keep reappearing even after closing them, sometimes on top of what I'm trying to read. Also sometimes there are several lines of type overwritten by other lines of type. I'm using MS Explorer.

  • jjm on December 19, 2011 4:42 PM:

    Of course they want Obama to quit: he'd BEAT any of them handily.

    The man is so far from being a failed president it's completely laughable that these clowns repeat this so often. His accomplishments are multiple, even in the face of the solid nasty opposition of the GOP to anything he proposes.

    I still don't get why the GOP gets a free pass for acting like Rod Blagoevich every single day the Congress is in session: Obama wants something passed: we can't let this f**king golden opportunity go without extracting something huge for it.

    I'm pretty sure the public, outside Fox viewers, is catching on to what rotters the GOPers are.

  • Steve M. on December 19, 2011 5:21 PM:

    The appalling thing is that 99% of the mainstream media doesn't even grasp that Fox is playing this game of trotting out phony Democrats for phony balance. It's as if 99% of sports reporters in America covered pro wrestling matches as if they weren't fixed.

  • TCinLA on December 19, 2011 5:29 PM:

    Remember, Caddell was one of that crew of Georgia peaches Carter brought with him to Washington. Two of the three are now thankfully doing their fourth-rate minstrel show in another venue. Too bad Caddell can't joint them. Soon.

  • Gummitch on December 19, 2011 5:44 PM:

    I'm sorry, but who?

  • sherifffruitfly on December 19, 2011 5:46 PM:

    (shrug) Sounds EXACTLY like anti-Obama "progressives".

    So we're used to this, and understand that they will be doing their best to achieve and Obama loss in the coming election.

  • Doug on December 19, 2011 5:57 PM:

    "...81% of Democrats want THEIR party to renominate Obama for 2012..."(my emphasis) CNN poll cited by Steve Benen

    I like being in the majority!

  • chopin on December 19, 2011 6:11 PM:

    I'm a life-long Republican. Hey Faux News, why don't you call on ME to represent the Republican point of view? I can hardly wait to tell your viewers what a steaming pile of shit my choices for GOP presidential candidate is and how much I find your Obama derangement syndrome just about the most childish stupidity I have ever seen. I dare you. I double dare you.

  • Roger Ailes on December 19, 2011 6:14 PM:

    FOX News Democrats is misleading. FOX News Douchebags is accurate.

    Chimps can't be taught not to fling their own shit. You should be bashing PoliticHo for broadcasting the shit-tossing.

  • Objective Dem on December 19, 2011 7:25 PM:

    I think the key fact that Dems need to start repeating is that Obama has no serious opposition and 81% of Dems favor his renomination.

    I take the Shoen/Caddell articles to be a very dangerous form of propaganda. What they are effectively doing is creating a sense that No one likes Obama and he should quit. It encourages opponents to say negative things about Obama and make supporters feel isolated and less willing to voice their support.

    I would also bet if you look a bit, there are financial reasons (maybe just Fox appearances, but likely more) that are encouraging Shoen/Caddell. We are heading for one nasty expensive election cycle.

  • Lolly on December 19, 2011 9:12 PM:

    Got a weird robocall today asking my to join a campaign to draft Hillary Clinton in 2012.

    The call listed all the disappointments liberals have had with Obama, and assured me that none of this would have happened under Hillary.

    I thought it was odd and out of the blue (and I voted for Clinton in the primaries), and I'm sure she's not behind it.

    Now it makes sense--looks like there is a concerted effort underway to undermine Obama's standing.

    Anybody else get one of those calls?

  • exlibra on December 19, 2011 9:26 PM:

    What they are effectively doing is creating a sense that No one likes Obama and he should quit. It encourages opponents to say negative things about Obama and make supporters feel isolated and less willing to voice their support. -- Objective Dem, @7:25

    I call people like that "dementors", after the creatures in Harry Potter books. They don't seem to have a single *constructive and feasible* idea, but hundreds of niggling, destructive, ones. Their only objective is to suck the souls of their victims (in this case ordinary, rank-and-file Dems). On this blog, square1 is the most persistent and aggressive, though not the only one.

  • Werewolf on December 19, 2011 9:35 PM:


    add stevio and FriscoSF. EmoProgs, Professional Left, whatever you want to call them. And then you have the Republican trolls. Feh

  • Spring Texan on December 19, 2011 9:38 PM:

    "81% of Democrats want their party to renominate Obama" -- precisely why this liberal hasn't been a Democrat in years. Some of the "Democrats" are Republicans/conservatives at heart like Obama, but many more pay attention only to what Obama SAYS and not what he DOES.

    I can't possibly vote for any likely presidential nominee of either party -- thank goodness for Occupy which is the only smidgen of hope.

    Undermining Obama? I'm for it! He betrays democratic principles daily, as in his recent signature of a bill authorizing indefinite detention of American citizens. Quit? I wish he would!

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  • toowearyforoutrage on December 20, 2011 4:14 PM:

    I heard some Obama haters saying Hilary should run against him.
    I set them straight.

    "Yeah, right. Run a primary challenge against the first black president. How do you plan to overcome the 20 point spread that's almost sure to be in the bag for your opponent from Day 1? What credible politician would like to defecate on their career by kissing an enormous voting bloc goodbye for eternity?"

    When conservatives tell each other that Democrats are stupid, it's just so sad that demonstrating evidence would likely bear no fruit.

    For the record, I am very fond of our commander in chief and will tell anyone who asks why.