The Tingle's Gone
When a media supporter as ardent as Chris Matthews starts venting like this, you know you're dealing with a serious case of disillusionment. His famous leg tingle for Obama is the most obvious example of that blatant liberal media bias that helped elevate the undistinguished half-term senator to the White House. But this new rant with MSNBC's Alex Witt (during which Witt could hardly get a word in edgewise) is almost its mirror opposite:
There is no Peace Corps, there is no Special Forces, there is no 15-mile hikes, there is no moon program. There's nothing to root for. What are we trying to do in this administration? Why does he want his second term? Will he tell us? What's he gonna do with his second term? More of this? Is this it? Is this as good as it gets? Where do we go? We gonna do something in his second term? He has yet to tell us. He has not said one thing about what he's doing his second term. He never tells us what he's gonna do with reforming our health care systems, Medicare, Medicaid, how he's gonna reform social security. Is he gonna deal with long term debt? How? Is he gonna reform the tax system? How? Just tell us. Why are we in this fight with him? Just tell us, Commander, give us our orders, and tell us where we're going. Give us the mission. And he hasn't done it. And I think it's the people around him. Too many people around him are little kids with propellers on their heads. They're all virtual. Politics, this social networking, I get these emails, you probably get 'em, I'm tired of gettin' 'em, stop giving 'em to me. I want to meet people. Their idea of running a campaign is a virtual universe, of sending emails around to people. No it's not, it's meetings with people, it's forging alliances. It's White House meetings and dinners, parties, that go on 'til midnight, and he should be sitting, late at night now, with Senators, and members of Congress, and Governors, working together on how they're gonna win this political fight that's coming. I don't have a sense that he's ever had a meeting. I hear stories that you will not believe, not a single phone call since the last election... They don't call. He never calls. That's the message. Members of Congress, I keep asking, "When did you hear from him last?" He doesn't like their company.
Part lament and part old-school critique of the new social media, Matthews' utterance is also a fascinating peek into the servile mind of the legacy media ("Just tell us, Commander, give us our orders, and tell us where we're going...") – and a piercing indictment of the President's ineffectiveness as a leader and player in the legislative process.
Here we are a year before the election and Obama's supporters no longer feel compelled to keep their dissatisfaction with him under wraps. We may reach a point in the coming months when they again close ranks around him, as they did in 2008. But it will be too late by then; the air will be filled with Republican campaign ads, written by and starring the likes of Chris Matthews.