The Blessed Return of Schoenpitches

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 15 2013 1:34 PM

The Blessed Return of Schoenpitches

Too much time had passed since Doug Schoen or Pat Caddell—or when we're lucky, both of them—filed a turgid column about Barack Obama's impending doom. Such columns were a joy of Obama's first term. No mistake or poll dive could come without a Schoen/Caddell column responding to it, explaining what the president needed to abandon (everything) if he wanted to win.

In this trying time, Schoen is back. His latest comes with all the classic dullness we crave: "The Republicans’ flaws are fairly obvious, but the Democrats have more work to do than is commonly acknowledged." 

Advertisement

But what's the agenda? Democrats need "a new set of policies to encourage growth, tax reform, and entitlement reform." Indeed, "the notion that Democrats can’t back at least some modest spending cuts and reforms to entitlements is dangerous and counterproductive." Why, "there is an opportunity to create a movement on the left that’s based on the economic centrism, national security, and entitlement reform that provided [Bill] Clinton such success during his two terms."

I suppose the White House is at a low enough ebb that columns like this can run without showing their work. The problem with "entitlement reform" is twofold. One: As a party-building act, it's not popular—it's never been popular, if the cuts are to general social welfare programs like Social Security and Medicare. Two: The current crop of Democrats have indeed cut into the future cost of Medicare by a number usually rounded up in Republican campaign ads to "$800 billion." Schoen's arguing, generally, for the Democrats to abandon social welfare, but that's orthogonal to their current problems. They're trying, and failing, to prove that a regulatory state and system of subsidies can redistribute wealth in the health care market to save money down the line.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 4:33 PM Walmart Is Killing the Rest of Corporate America in Solar Power Adoption
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.