Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, admittedly more centrist than most of their Democratic counterparts, penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal urging Obama "to abandon his candidacy for re-election." The authors conclude that the only way Obama could possibly win in 2012 would be "to wage the most negative campaign in history," because he has no successful record to run on. If he would happen to win in that way, he wouldn't be able to govern, they say, so he should step aside and allow Hillary Clinton to run.
Their main beef with Obama seems to be his extreme partisanship, which is a particularly damning indictment coming from fellow Democrats. Should he resign, they argue, he would be in a better position to work with Republicans toward "a more constructive dialogue about our nation's future" instead of obsessing over whether he or George W. Bush is more to blame for our problems.
I don't agree that Obama would be any easier to work with if he were to withdraw from the race, but it is significant that two credible Democrats, both still loyal to their party, concede that Obama is hyper-partisan and hopelessly mired in the quicksand of scapegoating his predecessor.
Even more interesting was the viral video of Chris Matthews explaining to fellow MSNBC host Alex Witt why his Obama-thrill is gone. This represents quite a fall from Matthews' previous perch of Obama hero worship.
Matthews clearly believes that Obama peaked about the time his campaign ended and his term in office began, because "the day he was inaugurated, with the Mall filled with people, African-Americans and everyone else, he sent us all home and said, 'Thank you. Now watch how smart I am.' That's the worst kind of a notion of the presidency."
Matthews is also upset that Obama is running a "virtual presidency," through endless impersonal emails, rather than building and exploiting the interpersonal relationships that are vital for effective governance. On that score, he laments: "I hear stories (from members of Congress) that you will not believe. Not a single phone call since the last election."
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