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.”
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.