Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell have this really interesting idea: Barack Obama should not run for reelection. For his own good. Don’t yet see what’s so exciting about this? There’s a twist – Schoen and Caddell are Democrats. Technically. Mainly they appear on pro-Republican opinion forums as the Democrats who are saddened by “their” party’s latest outrage. But still – Democrats! Who want Obama not to run again!
Sure, they proposed this idea last year in the Washington Post. (“The best way for him to address both our national challenges and the serious threats to his credibility and stature is to make clear that, for the next two years, he will focus exclusively on the problems we face as Americans, rather than the politics of the moment — or of the 2012 campaign.”) And then again in November in The Wall Street Journal. (“The kind of campaign required for the president’s political survival would make it almost impossible for him to govern — not only during the campaign, but throughout a second term.”) And then again today in Politico. (“Obama has been unable to build consensus and, with the polarizing campaign he is now running, will be unable to govern effectively even if reelected.”)
But I think there’s far more to be said about this fascinating idea. What if Schoen and Caddell were to write daily dispatches reporting from the ground about efforts among Democrats to challenge Obama in the 2012 primary, or to just cede the 2012 election? Certainly such Democrats exist – and if not, Schoen and Caddell could conduct man-on-the-street interviews with each other. They could compile their dispatches into a blockbuster alt-history, imagining a world in which Obama has decided not to run in 2012, thus devoting his energies to raising war bonds to launch a second invasion of Normandy to conquer Europe from Germany, whose grip on power is slipping under the feeble leadership of Adolf Hitler’s ailing son.
There’s just so much to this idea, I feel readers are being deprived by only being able to read Schoen and Caddell reviving it every few months. Any op-ed page editor who lets a single day go by without hearing Schoen and Caddell peddle their idea is depriving their readers.