The Chris Matthews Show: Can Obama Be A Populist When The Country Is So Anti-Government?

[media id=11927] (h/t Heather at VideoCafe) What an exercise in non-critical thinking and the wholesale acceptance of right wing talking points witho

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(h/t Heather at VideoCafe)

What an exercise in non-critical thinking and the wholesale acceptance of right wing talking points without relation to facts. Inside the specious bubble that encapsulates the Beltway and the media elites who reside within it, they've experienced a much different reality than you and I have. According to them, after a relatively "non-controversial" and "bipartisan" decision in Afghanistan, President Obama has aggressively pushed a liberal agenda, alienating the Republican minority and the American people, who have responded to this unapologetic move to the left by distrusting government, hence the overwhelming turnout for the tea parties.

MATTHEWS: ‘Kay, this is the key question. Helene, you’re at the White House too. Last question here: how can you be a man of …or a leader of the progressive movement, really do things that enlarge the role of government in the health care field, for example. And in financial regulations. And still make the country in this kumbaya-we-all-get-along mood? If you change, it bothers people.

COOPER: I think that is so much at the center of why President Obama is having so many problems right now. There’s this fundamental belief that he can change—that the power of his personality and the power of his oratory can change people and that just doesn’t happen. There’s this over-reliance, I think, at the White House if the President gives a very big speech, if he comes out there , that he can persuade people and he can do it and at the same time you don’t have anything changing at the bottom of the way Washington works.

As if. What color do you suppose the sky is in their world?

There are no facts that penetrate their dense skulls. They ignore that Obama was elected with a huge mandate for change, not just for the sake of change, but to do things differently than the train wreck that was the two terms of Bush/Cheney. People aren't afraid of that kind of change, Tweety, we're calling out for it. We are not a center-right country, you addle-pated bubblehead. If we were, why did we elect Obama over the center-right candidate? And please, spare me with the "liberal agenda" crap. Obama has ceded anything and everything that might have made health care reform liberal. There's no big government planned. In fact, that false meme is courtesy of the party who has time and time again been responsible for the expansion of government while blaming it on the opposition.

But all along the way, Obama has been faced with nothing but reactionary obstructionism from the Republicans, which apparently doesn't even rate a mention for the very concerned panel. But the tea-baggers, a scattered-brain group wholly without focus for their anger except for a few notions of "isms" being bad and keeping government out of their entitlement programs, masking their abject racism, they're taking over the country! Again, those pesky facts are ignored, like them being a tiny little segment of the population acting as useful tools for corporate interests . Since the Republicans in DC cravenly pander to them, that inflates their importance and influence for the bobbleheads.

Facts...whodathunk something like that would be in the rarest supply from "journalists" in DC? How far we've fallen from the days of Watergate and Woodward & Bernstein.

Transcripts below the fold:

MATTHEWS: Let’s find a template for success. Helene, he put together his Afghanistan policy; he really did listen to every side. And then he seemed to, in a very deliberative way, come to a compromise position, which avoided all the squabbling and back-biting. Why can’t he do that with domestic?

COOPER: I don’t know. I mean, he’s done quite…he’s done relatively well, I think, on the foreign policy, and in particularly now with these arrests of Taliban leaders in Pakistan. You had another two who were arrested last week. On other foreign policy items as well, he’s managed to be able…he’s managed to strike some sort of compromise. Some times, not necessarily to his benefit. When you look at what happened in Copenhagen with the climate change agreement, where he accepted a much more watered down agreement and came out afterwards and said, “Look, I wish we had international government, but the reality is these countries won’t do it. We have to take what we can get.” That was the essence of compromise that’s not something you see him do on the domestic front as much at all and I think that’s sort of the contradiction.

MATTHEWS: Yeah…The big question you hear from the netroots, the people on the left, is why didn’t he come in there last summer? With a very strong position, say “here are the principles I have on health care. Get in line. This is what I’m going to fight for, I’ll go down on this if I have to, but this is what I’m going to fight for.” He never really said what he wanted. And yet, even today as we speak, this weekend, he’s yet to do it.

HARRIS: Well, that’s the fundamental contradiction—so far—of Barack Obama’s presidency he’s yet to reconcile. He says, “I’m not an idealogue” but the fact is he is an ideologically ambitious president, who wants to do big things that you could call progressive or liberal or whatever you want to do. And yet he also wants to be a process-oriented president. Somebody who defines the center and gets people to work together. Those two goals are in tension with one another.

MATTHEWS: How did he think he could move to the left in terms of big healthcare, a big government role on a lot of fronts, financial regulation, without enraging the center right? How did he think he could do that?

IGNATIUS: I don’t think he anticipated the tea party phenomenon, the degree of anger in the country at big government. He ran on a platform of change, you know, speaking to people who were fed up with Washington. He didn’t realize people really meant it; they ARE fed up with Washington. That is part of his problem now. And I think part of what the White House is struggling with is how do we regain that high ground? How do we again be …the… articulate change? Blast Congress where Congress is not acting. Speak for the public’s interest in breaking through the log jam and having real government work. I think that’s where they’d like to be.

MATTHEWS: You know, if he says what he really believes, Savannah, based upon your reporting over there, would it be popular? That’s the key question. Can he be a populist when the country is so anti-government, anti-liberal, anti-spending? The things he wants to do, if he were truly honest, would the public want to hear it?

GUTHRIE: Well, I think that he is a practical president. I think that there’s a lot of tension and frustration; I hear it all the time. Why doesn’t he just get in there and crack skulls? Why can’t he be like LBJ and get Congress in line? Come on, you have the Democratic majorities. He is a consensus builder. This is his core identity. He ceded a lot of the health care reform bill to Congress, and perhaps that’s why some people view it as a left of center product, because he wasn’t in there, dictating the terms. But, this is the reason he ran for president. It goes back, and we all know the story, he feels that he has some ability to bring people together. And they’re very frustrated that he hasn’t been able to execute that.

MATTHEWS: ‘Kay, this is the key question. Helene, you’re at the White House too. Last question here: how can you be a man of …or a leader of the progressive movement, really do things that enlarge the role of government in the health care field, for example. And in financial regulations. And still make the country in this kumbaya-we-all-get-along mood? If you change, it bothers people.

COOPER: I think that is so much at the center of why President Obama is having so many problems right now. There’s this fundamental belief that he can change—that the power of his personality and the power of his oratory can change people and that just doesn’t happen. There’s this over-reliance, I think, at the White House if the President gives a very big speech, if he comes out there , that he can persuade people and he can do it and at the same time you don’t have anything changing at the bottom of the way Washington works.

MATTHEWS: He promised change. And yet when he said what the change was…

COOPER: You just can’t do it on the power of your personality…

MATTHEWS: Well, we’re learning that.

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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