Chris Matthews is at it again. The man who believes that "Life is a campaign" alternates hot and cold with Obama like no one else in the corporate media, but never with any kind of reasonable logic. One good speech and Tweety is effusively telling us about tingles running up his leg. Get a few Republicans to spin some lies about health care and then all of the sudden, he starts likening Obama to Nero.
Now, with all the obstacles and obstruction Obama has had to face in the last two years, Matthews looks at the economy and an approval rating in the low 40s (the lowest it's been), Matthews wonders if Obama isn't ready to just hang it up and refuse to run for re-election.
Mind you, no one on the panel things this is even close to a real possibility, but look how Tweety's face lights up when WaPo's Michael Gerson (also formerly GWB's speechwriter and a member of the WH Iraq Group) suggests that perhaps Hillary could step in for the departing Obama.
But ridiculous Matthews/Machiavellian fantasies aside, this is just part of a larger media meme to continually reinforce in consumers' minds the Obama presidency is a failure. Never mind the fact that his economic plan (as milquetoast-y as it admittedly was) pulled us back from financial collapse and has constantly had the plan lied about and derided by the Republicans. Never mind that the economy failing was the result of 30 YEARS of Republican economic practices and that we can hardly expect to bounce back in 20 months. Never mind that there has been no measure, no bill, no platform for which the Republicans won't try to obstruct. Never mind that job growth is slowly coming back. Never mind that the election is not for another two years. The corporate media wants you to associate "failure" with "Obama" before the mid-term elections too.
Funny how the GOP is in complete disarray, what with the tea baggers kicking out establishment candidates but who will struggle to gain traction in general elections, internecine fights to be the voice of the opposition (I'm looking at you, Boehner and Cantor) and the most popular GOP figure being a rogue, uncontrollable figure who has substituted tweets for press conferences. Yet the discussion on the Sunday shows doesn't reflect that, it instead throws up improbable hypotheticals like Obama declining to run for a second term.
Transcripts below the fold
MATTHEWS: The jobs situation remains desperate, as everybody knows, and the President’s approval rating remain very low, our big question this week: if that does not improve dramatically, do you see any chance that the President might decide not to run again? John Heilemann?
HEILEMANN: I think it’s close to zero. And it’s not because I don’t think there’s part of him that actually would like to hang it up. You hear things like that from people around him, near the White House, in the White House. But his competitiveness and his focus on his place in history is too great to let him back down from a re-election fight.
TUCKER: I agree with John and I’d add one more thing: this is a man who wants to accomplish things in the policy arena. And some of those, like an energy policy, are most likely things he couldn’t get done until his second term.
O’DONNELL: Yeah, I think there’s no chance. I think he runs…I think he runs.
MATTHEWS: No chance…no chance…
GERSON: I think there’s a very low chance—unless you were to have Hillary Clinton leave, you know, position herself to run. That would be a serious race. It was a 50-50 race, you remember, in the primary…
MATTHEWS: Gerson, you’ve been on best behavior this whole show and then you’re causing trouble…