The Spectacle Blog

Dem Pollsters Say Obama Shouldn’t Seek Reelection

By on 11.15.10 | 10:38AM

Democratic pollsters Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell are out with a new op-ed today in the Washington Post arguing that the only way for Obama to become a great president is to announce that he won't seek reelection.

First, some context. Schoen and Caddell, who often appear on Fox News, are viewed by liberals the way conservatives view the likes of David Brooks and David Frum. That is, people who get attention for going after their "own side," even if it isn't clear that they're still on that side. That said, Caddell polled for Jimmy Carter and Schoen polled for Bill Clinton, and their warnings against Democrats have at times proved prescient. In March, they were attacked by Media Matters as "Fox News Democrats" for cautioning that Democrats would face "unmitigated disaster" in the midterms if they rammed through the overwhelmingly unpopular national health care legislation. We now know how that turned out.

In today's column, they make the case that if Obama were to announce he isn't running for reelection, that it would allow him to return to the image he had of being a post-partisan, above the fray leader, during the 2008 campaign. That would help ease the gridlock and allow him to work with Republicans and Democrats to work on the nation's problems in a less toxic manner. The problem with the column is that even if this sort of thing were within the realm of possibility -- which it isn't -- I don't think that it would be some magic bullet to usher in an era of bipartisanship. At the end of the day, there are genuine philosophical differences on these issues. And Obama is committed to his ideological point of view. That won't change, even if some of the immediate political conflict is mitigated. Furthermore, if Obama were to announce he isn't running for reelection, he'd become an immediate lame duck.

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