Op-Ed: Pat Caddell's Heartfelt
Advocacy for America's People & Ideals
February 21, 2019
Patrick Caddell, who died over the weekend, was already a political legend when he came into my life five years ago. I was in the middle of a political campaign running as an independent for the U.S. Senate against a three-term Republican incumbent in Kansas. Our race was getting a lot of national attention, which piqued Pat’s interest. When we talked on the telephone it became clear that he shared my conviction that our system of government was leaving too many people behind and that we needed to re-empower average Americans. Pat came to Kansas to help me try to do that.
“We have created in this country a dangerous income inequality that threatens the very existence of the middle class, which is an essential prerequisite for a Democracy like ours to prosper,” he said. “Yet from the two parties in Washington all we hear are platitudes and slogans.”
I was taken with Pat immediately. He spoke with such passion and conviction about the American people. He never once asked to be paid for his time or his advice. He simply wanted to have a meaningful impact on the lives of people we felt were being neglected. He helped me find my voice.
Although known as a pollster with remarkable analytical abilities, at his core Pat was a student of U.S. history. He had a contrarian’s fondness for some of our lesser-known Founding Fathers. I wonder if he saw himself in the portraits of those men who shaped American history but whose own legacies were obscured by others whose lights shone brighter. And whatever his ambitions as a young Democrat who helped put Jimmy Carter in the White House, the Pat Caddell I was fortunate to get to know didn’t want attention. He didn’t seem particularly interested in fame and fortune.
A regular on Fox News in recent years, he used the platform to talk about what Americans were really thinking. He had spent decades studying voter attitudes and realized that the electorate was feeling more and more alienated from their government. As he wrote to me in October of 2014:
Three-quarters of American voters believe that their children and grandchildren will not have a life as prosperous or better than that of our generation. In itself, that constitutes the undoing of the sacred social contract that... Continue Reading.