The Wall Street Journal has a jaw-dropping op-ed today by Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen, who worked for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, respectively.
Not only do Caddell and Schoen urge Hillary Clinton to run for president, they implore Barack Obama to take a cue from Lyndon Johnson and Harry Truman: Decline to seek a second term for the good of the country.
Caddell and Schoen maintain that if Obama runs for reelection, we are in for the most negative campaign in history. So much for hope and change.
Certainly, Mr. Obama could still win re-election in 2012. Even with his all-time low job approval ratings (and even worse ratings on handling the economy) the president could eke out a victory in November. But 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.
Put simply, it seems that the White House has concluded that if the president cannot run on his record, he will need to wage the most negative campaign in history to stand any chance. 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.
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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.
If President Obama is not willing to seize the moral high ground and step aside, then the two Democratic leaders in Congress, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, must urge the president not to seek re-election—for the good of the party and most of all for the good of the country. And they must present the only clear alternative—Hillary Clinton.
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