Long-time Democrats in the Mahoning Valley, especially those involved in Jimmy Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign, will remember the name Patrick Caddell. He served as pollster for Carter and was quite familiar with this heavily Democratic region.
Caddell and another Democratic pollster, Douglas E. Schoen, have attracted national attention because of their opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal. It’s headlined, “The Hillary Moment.” The thesis of the article is as follows: President Obama should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable of not only saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president’s accomplishments.” And the clear alternative, Caddell and Schoen argue, is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
That should pique the interest of Democrats in the Mahoning Valley, given that the Clinton name is still political gold here. Bill Clinton carried Mahoning and Trumbull counties by huge margins during his two campaigns for president, and Hillary Clinton beat Obama convincingly in the two counties in the 2008 Democratic primary. It is also telling that while Obama’s approval rating remains below 50 percent, Hillary Clinton has an approval rating of 69 percent.
Caddell and Schoen have put in print what many Democrats in this region and around the country are saying about the party’s political fortunes in 2012 with Obama leading the ticket. Republicans believe they not only have a a good chance of winning the presidency, but of taking over the Senate from the Democrats and increasing their majority in the House.
Democratic leaders in heavily Democratic Mahoning Valley need to have the kind of honest discussion about President Obama and Hillary Clinton that Caddell and Schoen have in their opinion piece.