So as Democrats gather to launch the stretch run of the 2012 election cycle, those Foxy “friends” of the Donkey Party, Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, take advantage of one last opportunity to tell their former compatriots they should make a U-turn and embrace their inner Paul Ryan. And they do so, of course, in that go-to authority for all progressives, the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Drawing on their many years of experience, Caddell and Schoen offer this brilliant analysis of the race:

What voters are looking for—and particularly what swing ­voters, independents, and disillusioned Obama voters are looking for—is a new direction for America based on fiscal discipline, a balanced budget, and economic growth and leadership.

More than anyone else in this race, Paul Ryan has spoken of the need for fiscal discipline and economic growth—two themes that have been largely absent from the Obama-Biden campaign—which explains a large part of the Ryan-inspired Romney bump.

After counseling what is for all practical purposes a unilateral surrender to Republican priorities, Schoen and Cadell, of course, try to associate themselves one last time with Bill Clinton, using his name in vain almost as often as Mitt Romney’s ad crafters:

It has been said before, but only because it’s so true: Mr. Obama should follow the lead of President Bill Clinton, who ­emphasized in both his terms in office the need for unity and consensus to achieve fiscal restraint. Inviting Mr. Clinton to speak at the convention Wednesday night is a sure sign that the Obama campaign understands the need to move to the center, if not in substance then in style.

Bill Clinton, of course, pushed his first budget through Congress without a single Republican vote, amid cries that its slightly higher income tax rates on the wealthy would devastate the economy. But whatever. Clinton can and will speak for himself tonight, and I am reasonably sure he’s not going to urge the president to show a little more love and compassion for the very rich and for the opposition party that is using the 42d president’s image in ads to smear the 44th’s record on welfare.

So one last time, before their act becomes too ludicrous even for the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Caddell and Schoen will have one more belt at the Concern Troll bar, bleating one more time that all would be well with the Democratic Party if it just gave up its silly fidelity to the New Deal and the Great Society and the poor and minorities and all that atavistic jazz.

Drink up, boys. It’s definitely last call.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.