Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen offer a very frank warning to the current leadership of their party in the Washington Post:
"As pollsters to the past two Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, respectively, we feel compelled to challenge the myths that seem to be prevailing in the political discourse and to once again urge a change in course before it is too late. At stake is the kind of mainstream, common-sense Democratic Party that we believe is crucial to the success of the American enterprise.
Comprehensive health care has been lost. If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate's reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls. Wishing, praying or pretending will not change these outcomes.
Health care is no longer a debate about the merits of specific initiatives. Since the spectacle of Christmas dealmaking to ensure passage of the Senate bill, the issue, in voters' minds, has become less about health care than about the government and a political majority that will neither hear nor heed the will of the people.
Voters are hardly enthralled with the GOP, but the Democrats are pursuing policies that are out of step with the way ordinary Americans think and feel about politics and government. Barring some change of approach, they will be punished severely at the polls."
Only time will tell if President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid can break out of the Washington bubble long enough to see just how badly the have misjudged the meaning of the 2008 election. Voters wanted change - in that they wanted an end to the Bush administration - beyond that simple fact it is increasingly clear that there was no larger mandate.