Chris Cillizza Thinks Pissing Off Liberals With Tax Cut Deal Made Obama 'Look Big'

As Digby noted, apparently the hippie punching by Obama has the Villagers terribly excited... and losing 8% of liberals while gaining 5% of moderates adds up to a big "win" in the eyes of Chris Matthews and Chris Cillizza. The New
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As Digby noted, apparently the hippie punching by Obama has the Villagers terribly excited... and losing 8% of liberals while gaining 5% of moderates adds up to a big "win" in the eyes of Chris Matthews and Chris Cillizza.

The New Compromise:

Whether or not it made Obama look "bigger" to the country is unknown. But hitting the left where it hurts certainly made him look like a big, big hero to the Villagers. And I feel quite confident that the White House knew that would happen. After all, it's not like it's an original tactic.

And as she also noted in that same post, the "gasbags" over at CNN were talking about Obama alienating his base as well and basically saying it didn't matter since they had no where else to go and I agree with her on this point.

I'd say he'd better worry just a teensy bit about liberals in the congress even if he agrees that liberals in the country can be taken for granted since "everyone" knows they have no choice but to vote for him anyway. Congresspeople have to be responsive to their constituents. And many of them represent that same liberal base. They might want very much to support the presidents long march to the right so that he can get all those moderates out there who allegedly want tax cuts for millionaires, but they may just start feeling the same kind of pressure from their liberal constituents that the conservatives face from the their Tea partiers (who for some reason, these gasbags never seem to think can be safely ignored.)

The Tea Party has shown that successful primaries against stalwart conservatives gives them power. Do the Villagers think the left didn't notice that? Do they think that the liberals in congress didn't notice it either?

She's right and even if the Obama administration thinks they can still win elections while ignoring their base, you can't say the same thing about the Congress. I hope to hell that no one who is as disgusted as I am about what's going on right now decides to sit it out during primary races. House races are the one place we have to push back that don't cost a fortune most of the time, although the Supreme Court just made that battle harder as well in some cases.

Any more gloating over the hippie punching from Matthews and his Broder wanna' be Cillizza and I'm about to break my television set. Everything is wonderful in their eyes as long as that imaginary "middle" is satisfied and the liberals are angry and marginalized. We'll see how long that "middle" stays happy if they start talking about cuts to Social Security.

Transcript via Nexis Lexis below the fold.

MATTHEWS: Chris Cillizza’s managing editor of Postpolitics.com down at the White House and an MSNBC political analyst. Thank you, sir, for joining us...

CILLIZZA: Hey, Chris.

MATTHEWS: ... from "The Post." You just heard Congressman Frank. You know, he sort of did a pretty good summation of the year. He threw in -- of course, he did a lot of work on it. He was the lead guy, the point guy on finreg, and of course, the health care bill, he was very active on that, and energy on that point he played on that committee. And then you get what’s happened since the election.

But you know, that was a hell of a point. It was the Republicans who basically trashed Clinton after they got beaten, basically, in the 2000 -- or rather 1998 election.

CILLIZZA: Well, first of all, it’s always hard to follow Barney Frank on anything because he’s damn good on television. I’ll leave it at that. But what I would say is -- here’s what’s different, Chris. Health care, financial regulatory reform, economic stimulus, all pre-lame duck, obviously, all not sold that well by the president. The policy (ph) disagree on. Plenty of people do. The messaging clearly not good. Republicans won the messaging war.

Fast forward. After the lame duck, the president takes credit and gets credit for the economic -- the tax proposal here, which includes as big piece of it the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

MATTHEWS: Well, how come his PR was better in overtime?

CILLIZZA: Well, Chris, you and I both know this. Elections have a tremendous clarifying quality to them. And I think that’s in some ways what happened with this president. Look, I think people were saying the message is screwed up, the message is screwed up, the message is screwed up. And he said, Let’s wait and see.

MATTHEWS: OK...

CILLIZZA: Well, when you lose 63 seats in the House, six Senate seats, you lose governorships, you lose broadly at the state legislative level, you know, I think he gets the message and says, Wait a minute. I’m the best communicator...

MATTHEWS: OK...

CILLIZZA: ... that I have for me. I’m going to go out here and sell it more. And that’s what I think the difference has been...

MATTHEWS: OK...

CILLIZZA: ... him selling it better to the public.

MATTHEWS: And the other end is the proof people are listening. Here it is, a new CNN poll shows President Obama’s approval rating among moderates rose 5 points. Since last month, it dropped 8 points. Fair enough. It looks like the liberals were watching and the moderates were watching. They both got the message. He moved to the center.

CILLIZZA: And Chris, I would say the best think that happened to President Obama from a purely political perspective during this lame duck, House liberal Democrats expressing their displeasure with the tax cut compromise. He looked big. He looked kind of like the level-headed voice, the guy who was looking at the big picture -- Let’s do what’s good for America. I don’t know if they did it on purpose. My guess is they probably didn’t. But that worked to -- that accrued to the president’s benefit.

Again, the bigger a president can look -- and I mean, sort of bigger magnanimous, like you’re doing the right thing for the country and not partisan, the better for your poll numbers. Look, Ronald Reagan was great at that. He always looked big. He always kind of looked above things. Bill Clinton’s worst moments were when he was too in the weeds, getting in fights over smaller things. His great moments were when he was big.

Barack Obama during the campaign was almost always big. He was almost always grand speeches, big visions. This election’s about something big. During his presidency, at times, he got bogged down talking about cloture and Senate arcana, debating little things. He looked big in this lame duck, and I think that’s why you’re starting to see the numbers tick up a little bit.

MATTHEWS: Well, there he is. We’re watching him shake hands with Mitch McConnell. Does that augur anything for the future? There she is -- there he is next to Allison Schwartz (ph), probably somebody he’s never met before, the woman for the -- the suburban Philadelphia congresswoman, a liberal. What do you make of this guy?

CILLIZZA: Well...

MATTHEWS: The president of the United States and Mitch McConnell! Are they going to ever meet again during the next two years?

CILLIZZA: Both pragmatists, Chris. Both pragmatists, I would say. You know, I think Barack Obama got elected, everyone thought he was a liberal ideologue. I actually think he’s more of a pragmatist, if you go and look back at his career. I would say the same thing about McConnell. They both cut this deal because they thought it was good for them in the long run politically. It’s like when you make a trade in the NBA. Both teams think they’re helping themselves. If one team`s got the other one over a barrel...

MATTHEWS: Yes. Right.

CILLIZZA: ... almost never happens. So you know...

MATTHEWS: OK...

CILLIZZA: ... both sides think that they have the political gain here. You know, time will tell who was right.

MATTHEWS: You’re so reasonable. Thank you, Chris Cillizza.

(LAUGHTER)

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Happy holidays. Merry Christmas to you, buddy.

CILLIZZA: You, too.

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