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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

False Friends

Today’s big whoop in the manic conservative drive to kill health care reform is a Washington Post op-ed by Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen urging Democrats to abandon reform and work with Republicans on “bipartisan” proposals like “purchasing insurance across state lines, malpractice reform, incrementally increasing coverage,” and so on and so forth.
Now normally I don’t like to get into the motives or personality of people making political arguments, but in this case it’s inavoidable. The only reason anyone on earth is paying any attention to the views of Caddell and Schoen on this subject is that, as they note prominently in the WaPo piece, they used to work as pollsters for Democratic presidents (Schoen for Clinton, though it was really his business partner, Mark Penn, who had the White House account, and Cadell way back in the Carter administration). But the impression they give of being good Democrats who have finally spoken out in exasperation at the folly of health care reform is completely false. Schoen has never been much of a loyal Democrat; his latest enthusiasm has been encouraging a third party. And Caddell has a history of cranky eccentricity dating back at least a few decades. As Jon Chait points out, both of them have become fixtures on Fox News recently.
They are entitled to their opinion like anyone else, but Schoen and Caddell should check their worn-out Party Cards at the door before they write a piece repeating Republican talking points on health care reform.

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