I have long advocated that Democrats and progressives refrain from appearing on Fox News (see Starve the Beast). To some extent that advice has been heeded and many prominent Democrats are staying away or curtailing their visits.
Consequently, Fox has had to fabricate their own version of Democrats and they have created them in their own image. They start by wrangling has-beens who are probably desperate for attention and then promise them airtime and the respect of Fox viewers who love to hear bad things about Democrats, especially from reputed Democrats.
Tonight’s analysis of the primary in Pennsylvania provides a good example of this. On Greta Van Susteren’s show, “Democratic” pollster Doug Schoen appeared to offer this cretinous take on Joe Sestak’s victory over Arlen Specter:
Van Susteren: This Specter loss is a huge shift, is it not?
Schoen: Absolutely Greta. This is an anti-Washington, probably anti-Obama vote that makes clear that incumbency and being a Washington insider or a political insider is just not good.
Van Susteren: So what does it mean? I mean you have Sen.Bennett losing a few weeks ago. So is it anti-Washington or anti-Democrat?
Schoen: It’s both. I mean there’s clearly anti-Washington sentiment. On the Republican side it’s the Tea Party movement. On the Democratic side it’s more liberal anti-systemic sentiment. In November I think what we’re going to see is anti-Democratic sentiment because the Democrats control the executive branch and congress but there’s a lot of anger on both sides of the aisle, that’s for sure.
Where does Schoen get the idea that Sestak’s win is anti-Obama? The President and the Democratic establishment in Pennsylvania only backed Specter out of loyalty for his having switched parties. But Sestak ran as an Obama Democrat pledging to support health care, financial regulation, job creation, energy reform, and other White House initiatives. He was not against the President by any stretch of the imagination, and the White House will surely support him in the general election in November.
The vote for Sestak was an affirmation of Democratic principles, not a repudiation. Pennsylvanians were not interested in giving Specter, a Republican senator for over thirty years, another term based on his decades of support for the GOP. They had a real Democrat to vote for in Sestak, so they did. But somehow Schoen took that to be an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat position. And he added a warning that Democrats had better “move to the center” or they will “pay a huge, huge, price in the midterm election.” That advice is as bad as his election analysis.
Another Fox News Dem, Pat Caddell, delivered an opinion that was so harebrained that Rush Limbaugh quoted it:
“The Democratic Party is purging the Democrats. A lot of it is just anger, and this is anti-establishment. […] We have never had, in my experience of studying alienation – I started when I was 20 years old in polling, 19 in doing national politics, and I want to tell you: Never have I seen anger as great as it is.”
Wrong again. As I noted above, Spector’s loss was the purging of a Republican who had flipped to the Dems in a cynical attempt to retain his seat. And how can Caddell, who is 60 years old, say that he has never seen anger like this? If he was 20 when he started out, then he went through the Vietnam years and Watergate, as well as the Clinton impeachment. Does he really think that Tea Baggers are more angry than anti-war protesters or civil rights marchers were?
The truth is that Schoen and Caddell have been wrong for a long time. They co-authored an op-ed for the Washington Post in February that concluded with an ominous warning for Democrats:
“Unless the Democrats fundamentally change their approach, they will produce not just a march of folly but also run the risk of unmitigated disaster in November. “
Well, to the extent that the primaries held today represent a preview of November, Schoen and Caddell have completely missed the boat. Sestak’s win is a win for Democratic principles and gives Pennsylvania Dems a better chance at winning in November. And Jack Conway’s victory in Kentucky, and Bill Halter forcing Blanche Lincoln into a runoff in Arkansas, are further repudiations of the Schoen-Caddell cabal.
Schoen’s and Caddell’s careers consist almost entirely of repeated appearances on Fox. They frequently show up on Cavuto and Beck, and recently appeared together on Hannity’s show. They seem to have discovered that they can make a couple of bucks by pretending to be Democrats and advising the party to be more like Republicans. Their advice, however, has proven to be wrong time and time again. So the only thing stupider than the advice these phonies peddle would be for any Democrat to take it.