On the op-ed page of this morning’s Wall Street Journal, two Democratic pollsters make the unexpected case that Pres. Obama should drop out of the race for a second term in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Remember Pat Caddell, the long-ago wunderkind of Dem polling when he worked for Jimmy Carter in 1976? He and Doug Schoen, who polled for Bill Clinton, argue that if Obama has to filter all his words and deeds through a reelection paradigm, he will be unable to govern effectively during 2012. They assert that Obama might be able to be reelected, but only by running a relentlessly negative campaign against the Repubs. They note that Hillary Clinton has big approval ratings and in trial heats easily beats the potential Repub nominees. They predict that after winning big in 2012, Clinton would be well-positioned to strike the kind of historic bipartisan deficit reduction bargain that her husband did during his second term.
I doubt this is going anywhere, but it’s a big suggestion. Here’s a taste of it in the two pollsters’ own words, along with their disclaimer that the Clintons put them up to it:
“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 to such a degree that the scorched-earth campaign that President George W. Bush ran in the 2002 midterms and the 2004 presidential election will pale in comparison.
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.”