Coming on the heels of Chris Matthews’s recent comments about President Obama as reported by Steve here, an article in today’s Wall Street Journal is interesting. It was written by two Democrats, Pat Caddell, a pollster for President Carter, and Douglas Schoen, a pollster for President Clinton. Here are a few quotes.
When Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election to the White House, both men took the moral high ground and decided against running for a new term as president. President Obama is facing a similar reality—and he must reach the same conclusion.
The authors are suggesting that President Obama step aside and allow Hillary Clinton to run as their nominee. They hasten to add that they have no idea whether she would accept if asked. Their reasoning, and the thought behind it, are interesting.
With his job approval ratings below 45% overall and below 40% on the economy, the president cannot affirmatively make the case that voters are better off now than they were four years ago. He—like everyone else—knows that they are worse off. …
One year ago in these pages, we warned that if President Obama continued down his overly partisan road, the nation would be ‘guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it.’ The result has been exactly as we predicted: stalemate in Washington, fights over the debt ceiling, an inability to tackle the debt and deficit, and paralysis exacerbating market turmoil and economic decline.
Humm, maybe the stalemate isn’t Republicans’ fault after all.
…Mrs. Clinton [is] better positioned to win in 2012 than Mr. Obama, but she is better positioned to govern if she does. Given her strong public support, she has the ability to step above partisan politics, reach out to Republicans, change the dialogue, and break the gridlock in Washington. …
By going down the re-election road and into partisan mode, the president has effectively guaranteed that the remainder of his term will be marred by the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity, common purpose, and most of all, our economic strength. If he continues on this course it is certain that the 2012 campaign will exacerbate the divisions in our country and weaken our national identity …
It seems obvious that these are two Democrats who are greatly concerned about the future of their party. Indeed,
We write as patriots and Democrats—concerned about the fate of our party and, most of all, our country. We do not write as people who have been in contact with Mrs. Clinton or her political operation. Nor would we expect to be directly involved in any Clinton campaign.
Even if the President doesn’t, it is obvious that the authors see a gradual degradation of their party and their country. To that extent, I doubt that they are out of step with many of their colleagues.