Tags: Chris Matthews

Gibbs, Matthews — Who Will Criticize Obama Next, Joe Biden?


The midweek edition of the Morning Jolt features a big roundup of the coming storm of Obamacare, further evidence that the IRS isn’t good at math, and this point about what happens when a very comfortable administration suddenly finds that its old spin and excuses don’t work anymore:

BOOM: The Implosion of the Obama Excuses for the Scandal Parade

Just how bad has it gotten for the Obama administration?

Not even his old spokesman Robert Gibbs can say his boss is handling this stuff well.

Former Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs — now an MSNBC contributor — explained to Andrea Mitchell this afternoon that President Obama made White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s job more difficult due to his passive response to the scandals surrounding his administration

Carney would have had an easier time defending the president, suggested Gibbs, if the President had spoken out on the IRS scandal over the weekend.

“The problem is this — the tenor of this briefing would be different if the president had spoken about this on Saturday or Sunday and not on Monday,” Gibbs explained shortly after Carney struggled to answer reporters questions in the White House Press Briefing.

Gibbs added that President Obama sounded like he was “losing patience” with the issue “which is what I do with my 9-year-old.”

Gibbs explained that Obama should have used “more vivid” language and proposed a tough commission to look at the issue while waiting for the Inspector General to release his report on the scandal.

Well, at least Obama still has Mr. Leg-Tingle himself, Chris Matthews, who — wait, what?

Matthews: President Obama has got to stop taking advice from sycophants who keep telling him he’s right and only they can be trusted. He needs to act. He needs to fire people. He needs to grab control of his presidency. He needs to surround himself with people who are ready to fight on every front, because the three problems he faces now, Benghazi, the IRS and the FBI are less likely to be two problems by this time next week than there are to be four and counting. Why? Because, as I said, it’s not just that he’s under attack. It’s that he’s vulnerable. And that is obvious to everyone this side of the White House gates.

Who’s going to denounce the president next, Joe Biden?

What we saw in Tuesday’s White House press briefing, where the press corps appeared ready to break out the pitchforks and torches and go French Revolution on Jay Carney’s dishonest tush, is what happens when a very comfortable, very confident administration suddenly finds that none of the traditional scandal defenses work.

Dennis Miller: “Carney blows more smoke than a Rastafarian’s death rattle.”

Tuesday afternoon, Ace of Spades came up with the idea of a scandal-excuse prediction game in the form of an NFL-style draft, and Twitchy collected some of the best.

Ace began with, “low level employees”, took “Obama gives a historic speech” in the second round (overrated, I would argue that player peaked a few years ago and has really seen less playing time in recent years) and concluded the third round with a very versatile selection who gets a lot of playing time, “Some procedures may need review/Procedures have let us down again.” My first-round selection was the offspring of the Hall of Famer that everyone remembers from the breakout 1998 season, “The real story here is the shadowy network behind our critics making these baseless accusations.” In the second round I went with a player who has been on the field almost constantly since the start of the 2009 season, “If you look back to the Bush administration . . .”

It’s easy to predict these because anyone who has followed the news during more than one scandal has seen them before. There is a playbook in these sorts of matters: It wasn’t me, it was that other figure/local office over there. I was out of the loop. I was in the loop, but the concerns were never adequately communicated, in violation of established procedures. I knew about it, but I didn’t approve of it. There’s an ongoing review, I can’t comment. All of this happened a long time ago, you’re obsessed with ancient history. This is a distraction from the real business of the country. Finally, don’t you understand that my political enemies are behind this?

All of the above lines are meant to get you to focus on something besides what happened, who’s responsible, and who should be held accountable. All of this is mean to persuade us that their decisions and actions aren’t the problem; the problem is with us, for asking questions about it.

To hell with that.

“In my defense, you guys always swallowed these lines before.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Robert Gibbs , Chris Matthews , Scandals , Jay Carney

Chris Matthews Melts Down Over ‘Biblical’ War


At this point, mocking Chris Matthews for sounding unhinged is a cliché, as Jonah observed last week. But tonight the face of MSNBC seemed to have a particularly bizarre and conspiratorial talking point, that most of the Republican contenders, except for Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, are itching for war for “Biblical” reasons.

“I don’t want to think about the promises this crowd will make down South about bombing Iran and going into war . . . These guys are making crazy, Biblical commitments about going to war with Iran.”

(Has Matthews noticed the tensions in the Strait of Hormuz? Has he noticed Obama’s former special assistant on Iran, Dennis Ross, now telling reporters that Obama is prepared to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons if sanctions and diplomacy fail? Does he feel that potential military conflict with Iran exists only in the minds of Republicans?)

Matthews had a Huntsman surrogate, Pennsylvania senator and Vietnam veteran Tom Ridge, as his guest, and asked him why the veterans in the GOP field tended to oppose war (he seemed to imply Huntsman was a veteran; Huntsman is not, but his sons are in the armed services) and asked why the “chickenhawks” are always looking to start a war. “Your party always seems to have a war on the on-deck circle. It’s always Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Libya.”

(Er, who committed U.S. forces to Libya? And all of one Democrat voted against U.S. military action in Afghanistan.)

“We have to do this for some Armageddon reason.”

Ridge responded that was hyperbolic, and Matthews responded, “When is the last time they haven’t had one? Bush went to Iraq the first time, Reagan went to Grenada . . .”

Er, and Clinton committed U.S. military forces to Haiti and the Balkans.

Matthews concluded his rant with the succinct summary, “Maybe I’m overstating it, but it’s a fact.”

Is this a trial balloon for some new line of attack from the Obama campaign and the DNC?

Tags: Chris Matthews , Iran

For Obama, Yes, This Really Is as Good as It Gets


Back on August 29, I used a particular phrase to sum up what Obama and his allies would be left arguing:

[Jonathan] Alter writes:

When Obama took office, the economy was losing about 750,000 jobs a month and heading for another Great Depression. The recession ended (at least for a while) and we now are adding several thousand jobs a month — anemic growth, but an awful lot better than the alternative. How did that happen? Luck?

Notice the extraordinarily low bar for a not-bad president: merely ceasing to lose 700,000 jobs per month. Why are we not losing 700,000 jobs per month? Because we hit bottom, and we are now “bouncing along the bottom,” a phrase recently used to describe the housing markets. From Alter’s perspective, this current stagnation is the best anyone could possibly hope to “enjoy.” He’s Jack Nicholson arguing that this is as good as it gets.

Now, the thrill is gone for Chris Matthews, and even he’s incredulous that the administration has been effectively forced to make this argument:

What are we trying to do in this administration? Why does he want a second term? Would he tell us? What’s he going to do in his second term? More of this? Is this it? Is this as good as it gets? Where are we going? Are we going to do something in his second term? He has yet to tell us. He has not said one thing about what he would do in a second term. He never tells us what he’s going to do to reforming health care systems, Medicare, Medicaid? How he’s going to reform Social Security. Is he going to deal with long term debt? How? Is he going to reform the tax system? How?

Video here:

Undoubtedly Obama fans will argue that those of us who gripe that Obama spends too much time campaigning and fundraising and not enough time governing shouldn’t call on him to lay out his second-term plans. But therein lies the problem for Obama: why wait? How could Obama lay out some brilliant vision and then insist he couldn’t begin enacting it before January 2013? His only argument would be that he needs a Democratic House to enact the ideas — but the country experienced all-Democratic governance from January 2009 to January 2011 and decided it didn’t like that one bit in the midterms.

In other words, Obama has no compelling argument that his governance would dramatically improve in his second term. What you see is what you get. For America, our current circumstance is not “as good as it gets.” But in terms of what we’ve seen from our president . . . yes, this is as “good” as we’re going to get from him.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Matthews

Matthews on Obama Going Negative: ‘From Hope & Change to Dig Up & Destroy’


Raise your hand if you expected Chris Matthews of MSNBC to label this report, about Obama planning a highly negative campaign against Romney, as “the return of Swiftboat attacks” and “going from hope and change to dig-up-and-destroy.”

John Heilemann of New York magazine, who’s usually well plugged-in with the administration says that Obama is expected to unveil a jobs plan “sometime in September.”

After Obama’s vacation in late August, then.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Matthews , Mitt Romney

If Not Coleman in 2012 for Minnesota’s GOP... Bachmann?


This is not really a surprise, but former Sen. Norm Coleman said he won’t be challenging Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2012.

Considering the fund-raising tear she’s on, and her recent high profile, Rep. Michele Bachmann certainly seems to be a possible Klobuchar challenger.

I note that with her higher profile, she’s driving a particular MSNBC host around the bend. Chris Matthews has been even more unhinged than usual in discussing Bachmann, but apparently yesterday he suggested she is illiterate, declaring, “she’s lucky we don’t have literacy tests out there.” Hey, Keith Olbermann jumped on the last nerve of MSNBC executives and experienced the consequences. Any chance any grownup at MSNBC will step in and stage an intervention for Matthews?

Tags: Amy Klobuchar , Chris Matthews , Michele Bachmann , Norm Coleman

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