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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Caddell and Schoen Officially Join the Right-Wing Noise Machine

Anyone paying attention to the antics of two well-known Democratic pollsters-turned-strategists, Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, during the last year or so could see it coming. Both strongly opposed health care reform. Both started getting published and quoted a lot in conservative newspapers. Both joined Fox News as regulars. Both offered conservatives the delightful opportunity to claim a largely imaginary split among Democrats.
And now, in a joint column for the Wall Street Journal, the duo has made it official–they have become reliable members of the right-wing noise machine. I say that not because they are critical of Obama, but because their “case” for Obama’s “divisiveness” relies largely on some of the hoariest and least credible of conservative attack lines.
There’s a lot of nonsense in this column, particularly on Obama’s alleged refusal to pursue border enforcment (prosecutions for illegal border crossings have in fact gone up steadily since Obama was elected president). Attributing the atmosphere of partisanship primarily to the president is also absurd, as even fair-minded Republicans would admit. But the real smoking gun in terms of the Caddell-Schoen defection is the use of the entirely bogus New Black Panther Party “threat” to show Obama’s racial “divisiveness.”
The NBPP “scandal,” revolving around an isolated fool who yelled about “crackers” at an almost all-black polling place in Philadelphia (and who has been rewarded with regular Fox appearances to spout his inanities) has been entirely contrived by right-wing media who are always on the hunt for any evidence, however meager, of African-American voter fraud or intimidation.
Now Caddell and Schoen have every right to change their political allegiances and support the conservative line. It’s a free country. I wouldn’t have a problem if they chose to emulate Schoen’s old buddy Dick Morris, who finally just went ahead and became a familiar right-wing pundit after a brief period of playing the aggrieved-Democrat role. But if they are going to simply ape what their friends at Fox are saying, they need to stop calling themselves Democrats and trotting out their connection to the increasingly distant Democratic candidacies of the past. There’s nothing principled or honorable about posing as paper donkeys representing no one but themselves.

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