Democrat Civil War Watch: Shuler Moves to Oust Pelosi, Reid Neutralizes Schumer (Update: Pelosi wins)
It's fair to say that both the Republicans and Democrats are engaged in some post-election, and to some extent internecine and ideological, jockeying. This tends to happen with changes of party power, especially on the losing side. On the Republican side, there was a brief skirmish over earmarks, with Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina waging a successful insurrection against incoming majority minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell. That battle isn't quite over yet, but it's just minor gun play compared to what's going on on the Democratic side.
A couple of weeks before the midterms, I highlighted a local Texas incident as evidence that a national Democratic crack-up was likely. In that case, a centrist Democratic county chairman resigned his position with the party -- a position to which he had been elected by Democratic primary voters just a few months prior -- to endorse a Republican running for state House against a liberal Democrat incumbent (and that Republican went on to win easily). Call that the first shot in the looming Democratic civil war.
Now bigger guns are rolling out, and they're aimed at the Democratic leadership. On Monday, Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen came out with op-ed arguing that President Obama shouldn't seek re-election in 2012.
This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.
To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.
Caddell was Jimmy Carter's pollster, while Schoen worked for the Clinton White House. So they were major figures inside the last two Democratic administrations. This isn't the first time they've taken aim together at Obama. Back in July, they wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed blasting Obama for being "divisive" and playing politics with serious issues like border security. It's tempting to see the "one and done" idea as an attempt to get Obama to opt out to make room for a Hillary Clinton run in 2012, but Caddell is no fan of the Clintons. During the past few years he has been vocal in criticizing the Clinton-led Democratic Party, to the point that the Sorosbots at Media Matters have compiled a dossier on him. MM notes that Caddell has the gall to appear on conservative radio talk shows. The horror!
As for Schoen, yeah, he's probably just trying to pave the way for Hillary. If Obama has to do an LBJ to make that happen, fine. Lest anyone be fooled, Hillary is no less of an Alinskyite than Obama. She just took a different route to arrive at the threshold of power. Nevertheless, a direct attack on a sitting president of your own party by figures like Caddell and Schoen is significant.
The knives in the Senate came out when it looked like Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrats' leader, was going to be boiled in Tea. Sens. Chuck Shumer and Dick Durbin plotted a post-Reid Senate leadership. But he won, and has now offered Schumer a newly created "leadership" position meant to effectively neutralize Schumer as a threat to Reid's status as Senate majority leader. It's a "messaging" position, which among other things shows that the Democrats still haven't absorbed all that Nov 2 shellac.
Guns are also rolling out to take on the Democratic leadership in the House. Specifically, Nancy Pelosi. And she's facing battles on two fronts as she seeks to be elected minority leader.