Last week, Chris Matthews got all verklempt over his perception that President Obama is a loner who really just doesn't care much for people, after reading Scott Wilson's Washington Post article where he engaged in some pretty stupid hand-wringing. This followed some of the more ridiculous speculation I've seen in the Villager press like John Cook's speculative article that our President is clinically depressed.
The argument seems to go like this: President Obama isn't listening to anyone, not the Villagers Who Are Very Serious And Know Everything, nor his cadre of advisers who have thus far steered him in some pretty awful directions. Is it coincidence that the Very Serious Villagers are suddenly concerned about the President's mental health about the same time that he adopts a more populist (and popular) approach to this wretched economy? Get a load of the collective handwringing:
MATTHEWS: Scott, I`ll tell you, a few pieces jump off the page at me, yours did. This president, what is it? Because he seemed to spend a lot of time with us during the campaign. Not a lot of personal one-to-one time with reporters, obviously, we sensed that.
But the people felt something from him, I felt something from him obviously.
Why does he avoid people and contact with individual people now?
SCOTT WILSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think part of what you`re describing was the genius of that campaign. People projected what they wanted to on this president. He was wonderful on the stump. He gave sophisticated serious speeches, treated the public with a lot of respect, but the public in abstract largely.
And when it comes to governing, the model is very different. It requires a lot of person to person contact, whether it`s with Hill Democrats or donors, and he is not interested in that. He does not like doing that from what I`ve been told.
So we're clear here, what has Tweety's panties in a bunch seems to be the fact that the President of this United States doesn't hang out with him anymore, doesn't toss back a couple of home brews with him like the heady days of the 2008 campaign.
Really? Oh, and yes, Tweety goes there, saying he isn't loving Ed Rendell enough these days. Rendell is a Tweety favorite, as Digby wrote in 2008:
Tweety has been fellating Rendell for the past year, giving him all kinds of face time, particularly throughout the run-up to the Pennsylvania primary, when he was practically on every day. It's been the most gruesome and blatant suck-up session I've ever seen in public.
What is this really about? Does Tweety really expect the President to just ring him up and invite him up to the White House for a beer? Yes, I think he does.
MATTHEWS: Franklin Roosevelt was probably the greatest president of the 20th century. I think that`s a nonpartisan assessment. He got us through everything, the Depression, the war. He would -- here`s FDR felt the need to sit down and play cards every night with members of the Senate and Congress so that he could establish that rapport. He would win card games, he would win money from them, but he would -- you know, he knew when he lost -- they would never cash the check anyway because they wanted the signature.
But he spent quality of time with the big shots of Capitol Hill.
Does Obama do that?
WILSON: You`ll remember when he started his administration, he usedto invite people over on Wednesday nights for cocktail parties, really madean outreach to members of Congress and others, to say I`m here, I want to know you. I want this to work.
It didn`t last very long. It never felt real to people. He didn`t enjoy it, and it faded away in a lot of partisan acrimony.
So the answer is no. He does not -- he has very few friends, personal and political. He`s a private person, and it`s an odd situation to be in when you`re the most public figure in the world.
Imagine that. Here's a flashback to times past, when Senators Snowe and Collins were invited to the White House and declined, when freshman Representative Jeff Landry declined his invitation, saying he didn't want to be "lectured", when John McCain declined his invitation to the 2009 Super Bowl party, and when Speaker John Boehner declined an invitation to an official state dinner, not once, but three times.
But the Very Important People have decided Barack Obama is just a guy who doesn't really like to be around people. He'd rather talk at them than to them, concludes Wilson and Tweety. Hmmm.
Here's some pictures from September and early October. You tell me. Is this a guy who has just isolated himself and hates people, or are Tweety and The Villagers simply melting down over the fact that President Obama isn't leaping when they say leap?