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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Time to End the Caddell-Schoen Masquerade

I don’t think much of anybody in the Democratic Party is more dedicated to the principles of open and civil intraparty debate than us folks at TDS. We go out of our way to avoid favoring factions (if the facts allow it!) and actively want a big-tent party where dissent is welcome as much as common values are cherished.
But sometimes there are self-identified Democrats who clearly are anything but that, and use this identity to gain money and fame eagerly participating in every right-wing attack on the Donkey Party. Two who have taken this masquerade beyond the point of self-parody are Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen.
These two characters, regulars on Fox News who also enjoy some peculiar access to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post, do nothing, so far as I can tell, other than degrade Democrats. They have no policy ideas, no fresh takes on public opinion, no strategic insights, and indeed, no advice for Democrats other than “surrender.” That was particularly the message of their last WaPo piece, which in a tone of more sadness than anger, called on President Obama to end his political career and invite Republicans into his administration to help run the country. They didn’t ask the president and vice president to resign right away; presumably that advice will be held in reserve until Speaker Boehner is in place to accept the transfer of power.
Dave Weigel, who is no Democrat, reacted this way to the Caddell-Schoen “One and Done” column:

On Friday, the Washington Post published the worst column of the year. It’s been a long year, and a stupid year, so this is no light accusation. And pollster-pundits Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell write a lot of bad columns–they are good ways to spend the slow hours between Fox and Friends and Hannity, more productive than knitting or Sudoku. Still, the hackwork in their call for President Obama to retire after one term was something special.

As an update, Weigel pointed out that Caddell and Schoen are going to be strutting their stuff at David Horowitz’ right-wing “Restoration Weekend” bacchanalia at the swank Breakers resort in Palm Beach that kicks off today:

Sure, we all appear at conference[s] where [we] don’t agree with the content, but what a place to be token liberals-who-hate-liberals! Horowitz, of course, is a former Communist who’s spent the last 20 years trying to prove that modern liberals are as bad as he was. Caddell has definitely appeared before, and is in heated competition with Horowitz to see how long you can use your experience working with Democrats as a chit for bashing liberals. Other speakers: Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Fred Thompson, Geert Wilders, Phyllis Schlafly, Andrew Klavan, George Gilder, Jonah Goldberg, Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney, Steve Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Bruce Bawer, Congressmen Ed Royce and Thaddeus McCotter, General Paul Vallely, Liz Cheney and Jim DeMint.

In the end, Shoen and Caddell may be doing some good for the Democratic Party by deluding their conservative buddies into thinking they actually represent anyone other than themselves. But they don’t, and while anyone is free to change his or her mind and change political allegiances, they shouldn’t have the privilege to perpetually pose as something they clearly are not. Caddell and Schoen should join another former consultant to a Democratic president, Dick Morris, in letting their Republican freak flag fly.

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