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Amid the celebrating and fist-pumping after last's election victory was a slightly sour (but still valid) comment from Chris Matthews about what President Obama failed to do during the last 4 years.

As I've said to other people in my circle, I'd like to see Obama do a little more celebrating of fellow Democrats. He doesn't have many opportunities to do it. Conventions are great, but by the time they occur, writing a party 'narrative' is often too late. Perhaps I was so glad he/we won last night that I didn't bother to scrutinize his words. Who can argue with themes like 'unity' and 'progress?'

Chris Matthews, that's who!

This is Chris Matthews NOT having a good time:

Believe it or not, staunch Obama supporter Chris Matthews was unimpressed with Obama’s victory speech after winning the 2012 presidential election.

According to Matthews, Obama did not properly credit those who helped him win and did a disservice to the Democratic Party by not recognizing others who tasted victory.

“I may be the only one here who’s not satisfied with that speech,” Matthews began (and he was correct). He quickly went on to lambaste the president:

The Democratic party really wasn’t given any attention tonight. The president is the leader of the Democratic party. Whatever forging of relationship he’s going to do with the other side, it’s going to start with unity.

They did very well, these Senate candidates, because they ran on the same platform, basically, as everyone pointed out tonight: stronger regulation of Wall Street, redress of inequality in income through tax policy, real fighting for that stuff. Dealing with industrial policy: We really go in and work for a company, like the auto industry, and save it. You don’t sit around and watch it. You don’t talk about bankruptcy.

There’s real policy aggressiveness here that’s come about over the last several years with the Democratic party at the front of it, and I didn't sense that he acted as a party leader, or even as a leader of a faction. It was him, again, alone.

I think Chris has a point here. As I said, no one can argue with what Obama said. But I'd like to see more team-building in the Democratic Party, and you can't do that when you talk about across-the-board unity all the time.

Perhaps Obama realizes he's a divisive figure (to dumbass republicans, anyway), so he feels obliged to talk about unity and calm whenever he speaks. But I almost never hear him cheerlead for his own party.

Beside simple gloating, Chris provided another valid reason for spreading the 'blue' brand:

He then pivoted to Obama having to unify Republicans and Democrats but doing it with “power,” something Obama hasn’t done: “They [Democrats need to] go to the table and say, ‘Look, we’ll give you some stuff to get you aboard, but we’re coming with our program.’ And I think that’s something that he’s going to have to do or we’re going to be stuck with this fiscal cliff again, with the dicking around — excuse me — about debt ceilings again — all this stupid stuff that gets him involved with weakness.”
The reason the GOP has been able to stonewall President Obama is because of their control of the House. Short of filibuster reform, the only thing that will 'encourage' some bipartisanship is the threat of losing control of that chamber in the 2014 elections.

When groups of people are voted into or out of office, a narrative is always behind it. It's either "They will save us" or "They will destroy us." Guess which one Romney created?

I used the word 'created' because it was entirely due to the actions of Romney and fellow republicans. Democrats benefited enormously from Romney and his cohorts shooting themselves in the foot on every social issue during the election, so it was easy for so many social groups (gays, women, latinos, blacks, middle class) to favorably compare Democrats to Republicans, then vote accordingly.

But what if they didn't screw themselves in epic fashion? What if we never saw the 47% video? (BTW, we all owe James Carter IV a drink.) In word and deed, Romney painted himself as an evil, lying, outsourcing plutocrat. It was easy for voters to vilify him without any help from Team Obama.

If Democrats intend to take back the House in 2014, we need to reach people in 'red' states who normally 1) don't vote at all, or 2) vote republican.

I believe the economy will skyrocket in the coming year. That will help to address the issues of voter turnout and party loyalty more than a little bit. But Democrats need to be the ones who dial up the anger and division for once, instead of the republicans providing a terrible candidate who creates it for us. And this time, it has to come from the top.

Chris seemed to be less optimistic than Rachel Maddow about the likelihood of Obama providing explicit support to fellow Democrats:

“Rach, Rach, you congratulate your fellows, you support your confederates, you unite your party, and then you go into negotiations with the other party. That could have been done tonight.”

“It’s been a problem, It’s been a problem with the president,” he continued later. “I know he won tonight, it’s fabulous he won tonight. … But I would like to see a united leadership here, not just a solo act.”

When Maddow responded that comes “Wednesday,” Matthews delivered his most scathing critique.

“I keep waiting for Wednesday. I’ve been waiting for four years.”

I want to take back the House in 2014. Between control of the House for the last 2 years of his presidency, his appointment of 1 to 3 Supreme Court judges, and an improved economy, Obama might be able to accomplish more in his last 2 years than his first 4. Imagine that for a second.

To do that, will Obama continue to be 'Nice Guy-in-Chief,' or will he have to go 'Alan Grayson' on America?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah so... (9+ / 0-)

    He's right about uniting the party.  And I expect he will, starting today.  

    That speech wasn't for the party, which is where Matthews went very, very wrong.  That was for the country.  Get started uniting that; the party can wait - and can be handled in an appropriate venue.

    •  I read the news today --- Oh Boy! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots, DarkestHour

      Not much there like you what  you expect.

      Maybe tomorrow, eh?  Or the next day  Or sometime real soon.

      Or maybe it'll all be handled in the "appropriate venue" behind closed doors and finally emerge  full grown for  an astonished world to admire --   sometime around  August  2015.

      Meanwhile, (no snark) an Obama presidency will , at least, be MUCH less bad than a Romney administration -- if only because the people President Obama will surround himself with will be MUCH less bad than what a President Romney would install in in the WH.

      And the  Radicfal Teabaggers HAVE been handed a pretty staggering rebuke  -- at least the more blatantly misogynistic/homophobic examples of the breed have, not that the others will ever admit it.

      And there's  a good chance that Obama nominees for Supreme Court  won't be TOOOOO far to the Right of Justice Sotomayor -- and even if they're not, they will not be of the Thomas/Alito stamp ...

      But remember how "we"  (the ones we had been waiting for) we supposed to have "held" his "feet to the fire" ??  Well did THAT work out for Occupy and the Hippies.  I sort of remember being treated to all sorts of scolding and lectures on Party Unity .

      That's the sort of Center Center Business Friendly FreeTrade BIpartisanship(tm)  Unity I expect the WH to embrace faithfully  in the years to come.

      Nah .,. Matthews nailed it.  We can fantasize that something boldly progressive is being discussed behind closed door and will explode in the Media some day really really soon ...  and doesn't the WH hope we may enjoy ourselves doing it?

      But face it: rank and file Democrats are like the Abused Wife, and the WH knows it.   It's Our LOVE:  which forgives all, forgets all,excuses all ... and asking nothing in return --  receives it IN ABUNDANCE.  

      I think the Democratic Party needs to start organizing itself under new leadership immediately ...  as if  Romney HAD won he election and the Ryan Presidency as only 4 years away ... which it very well may be if the Party looks to Obama for partisan leadership.

      But ... it's not as if they're listening to  $50 contributors, ferpetesake!

      •  I really wish people would stop using this (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yella dawg, edrie, Nespolo, Larsstephens

        'holding feet to the fire' metaphor. It is an ugly torture method, after all. And it misunderstands the situation. You can't force the President. You have - by re-electing him - created a more favorable environment for yourself to organize for a progressive majority. So go ahead - organize for your opinions to become majority convictions. And stop complaining.

        He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

        by Sophie Amrain on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 03:23:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Stop Complaining" ?? (0+ / 0-)

          Well ... that's a nicer way of saying "STFU Hippie Punching Bag!"  So .. while I appreciate the niceness -- I've also heard the song before.

          You do know (I assume) that "Hold my feet to the fire " comes from President Obama's inauguration speech.  /And a lot of us who helped him get elected the FIRST time thought that gave us the right to complain a bit if and when he "disappointed."  I guess you figure that he didn't really mean it.  It was just a little "sugar for the bird" ... nice words on a happy occasion -- nothing more.  

          Because that's who the man is?  One who says what he must to get what he wants ... and afterward -- not even cab fare home?   I always thought better of him that that.;

          So here we are,  this is the SECOND time ... and now the Party Line  is  "don't complain" .   (But, which Party, I wonder?)

          Instead, you say, we must persuade  the 49% mixed bag of  obdurate  racists, homophobes, grifters, States' Righters, misogynists,  job-creators  and "temporarily inconvenienced millionaires" that progressive values are the ones they ought to adopt as their own.  Not merely as "opinion" but as their new CONVICTIONS, no less.

          And when we're done with that,  there's another 11 Labors for Hercules to undertake -- right ?

          THEN we can "complain. "  Maybe.

          But not before! Absolutely

          You just have to love it.

          •  What do you plan to do? (0+ / 0-)
            Instead, you say, we must persuade  the 49% mixed bag of  obdurate  racists, homophobes, grifters, States' Righters, misogynists,  job-creators  and "temporarily inconvenienced millionaires" that progressive values are the ones they ought to adopt as their own.
            It is a democracy, after all. We need a majority. And it better be not only 51%. We need some room for error (less than optimal candidates next time around etc).

            Also, you are even worse than Romney with his 47% comment. You crap on 49% of the population.

            He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

            by Sophie Amrain on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:53:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am "worse than Romney" ? ... Charming ! (0+ / 0-)

              And so persuasive, too!

              And Wow!  I "crap on the 51% " ... of  whom you imagine yourself to be the Best and Foremost Representative and Defender, I suppose.

              Well, the first thing I intend to do is "carry on" with Movement politics outside the Party establishment as I have for several decades.  I intend to "complain" a lot at local Democratic Party  meetijngs ...  And you can be damnsure that I'll be restricting my  campaign contributions to candidates that show a spark of being at least a little to the Left of Blue Dog Bill Clinton.

              And (it goes without saying) giving excuse makers and creators of impossible ore-conditions  (like your own sweet self) as little brain space as possible.

  •  I caught that part (7+ / 0-)

    on MSNBC last night - and nearly broke my neck nodding in agreement.

    Here's hoping they get Howard Dean back to run the DNC and restart the 50 state strategy. They're going to need it not only for 2014 but all the way through 2020 so we can control redistricting in more states the next time around.

    •  Yep -- CM seems to have decided finally to let (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim H

      it all hang out, first going OFF repeatedly on the R lying and then immediately playing gadfly (a compliment) even at BO's moment of triumph.  I never woulda thought he had it in him, but his apparent decision to get a spine makes me feel a little bit better abt my alma maters, whose 2 most famous alumni otherwise  are Clarence Thomas & Jerry Sandusky.

    •  I heard about this from a friend (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim H

      Who said Matthew pissed him off.  And I was ready to agree, and asked him what he said.  

      And with each point I found myself saying uh yeah, Matthews is right.  I usually am not a huge matthews fan...but I wasn't hearing anything I could really disagree with.

      I think one could argue about when...this speech or today... But the idea that the President has to dance with those that brung him instead of lurching for Republican approval and allowing surrogates beyond his inner circle is incredibly accurate.  

      Thought the speech was great...but Chris really did have a good point.

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 04:57:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, in a lot of states our candidates (14+ / 0-)

    had to steer clear of Obama.  Like IN, ND, MT, etc.

    I'm sure the campaign considered how much they should link him to Senate candidates, and made decisions based on whether it would help or hurt.

  •  I thought Matthews' comments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim H, Sunspots, DarkestHour

    last night were telling.  He also talked about Obama not doing robocalls for fellow dems (Matthews said he only did one) and, in Calif in particular, not having dems who were in tight elections with him during appearances.

    I think it's a valid criticism if true.  It would suck if he used my state as an ATM and didn't do anything to assist our down ticket candidates.

    Obama is not a dark-skinned anti-war socialist who offers free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus.

    by DMiller on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 02:15:20 PM PST

  •  At least the disappointment won't be a shocker (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to me in this term. The President has another opportunity to be the transformational President that he claims to want to be. My expectations are not high. I'm still ecstatic that Romney doesn't have the chance to make things even worse.

  •  Chris had a point (7+ / 0-)

    But, as usual, he picked a poor time to make it.  Last night's speech wasn't about cheerleading for the president's party.  It was important for President Obama to strike a theme of unity for the country.  Think about how pissed we would have been if the shoe were on the other foot and a newly re-elected Republican president had used his victory speech to proclaim the greatness of the Republican party.  Wrong time, wrong place.  

    I don't see why Chris couldn't realize that and wait a few hours to make the point later on his show.  But he just apologized for the insensitive comment he made about Hurricane Sandy, so maybe this also was attributable to his tiredness, lack of sleep, and inability to understand how churlish his carping about the President's lack of partisan cheerleading would sound in the wake of that great speech.

  •  Party building is important, but I think Obama (11+ / 0-)

    would have looked silly and weak thanking anyone except the American people in general on election night (we'll give wives/families a freebie.) I mean, there are probably 25 people who are important enough to be mentioned in a campaign on election night if it wins, and another 50 who should be mentioned, and another 100 who did as much work as the high profile folks.

    Maybe thanking Bill would have been politically cool, but how do you thank him and not Axelrod specifically, and if you thank Axelrod specifically, why not a whole bunch of other people.

  •  Mathews has apologized. He was wrong. (12+ / 0-)

    That moment as Al Sharpton noted, was the time to be the president to all Americans, not the leader of the Dem. Party.

  •  Yep, not much selling of "Brand Dem / Blue" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, Jim H, Sunspots, ybruti

    at the top of the ticket.

    As well as general reluctance to call out Republicans by collective name ("some in Congress.. ") since 2009.

    "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

    by New Rule on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 02:24:40 PM PST

  •  The only part of last night's speech (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkestHour, Nespolo

    I wasn't comfortable with was the failure to publicly thank Bill Clinton.  The guy worked his ass off in the last month and a private thank you doesn't cut it.  That was one of the first things Matthews mentioned last night and I agreed completely.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 02:29:29 PM PST

  •  it's valid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim H

    Obama should be more involved in down ticket races but i suspect he stays out of it for a variety of reasons.

    I for one would like to see Obama campaigning more in 2014.

    We need him!!!

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 02:34:06 PM PST

  •  I disagree with Tweety here. (5+ / 0-)

    The President Elect's victory speech is not supposed to be partizan. Its function is to close the campaign.

    It is a formal acknowlegement of the mandate granted or renewed by the people.

    It is a declaration of peace after a time of political warfare.
    It has a healing virtue. The President reaffirms that he is the President of all his constituents.

    Similarly, the opponent's acceptance speech acknowledges the legitimacy of the President Elect.

    I agree that President Obama has to give credit where credit is due, and he must be the leader of democrats and rejoice in his fellow democrats' success (as he certainly does) but the evening of Election Day is not the time for a display of partizan triumph of that sort.

    Obama - POTUS quondam, POTUS futurus The Once and Future President

    by French Imp on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 02:37:01 PM PST

  •  He didn't help the WI recall effort (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and the national party didn't help financially.

    Obama had time to go to lots of fundraisers in IL and IA, all around us, but never to come help us.

  •  Well, it's too late to vote for Hillary now. (0+ / 0-)

    (Or too early).  

    Might as well get used to this one, warts and all.....

    I can't believe our election is being decided by people who can't tell the difference between republicans and democrats...that's like letting a dog choose what color to paint your house.

    by PBJ Diddy on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 03:12:13 PM PST

  •  One way Erick Erickson cheered up his Red State (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    troops last night was using the same theme, that President Obama won by putting together a coalition of Barack Obama supporters, rather than a Democratic Party coalition that can survive beyond his final term.

    I need more time to think about it, but appreciate an insight that might improve our longer term chances of "progressive" progress into future decades.

    The vast funding advantage of the "regressive" and mega-corporate post Citizen's United "entities" is going to be an increasing challenge.  Several of the professional conservative "cultural warriors" who work full-time being paid six-figure salaries to lead the "battle for the soul of America" were busy rededicating themselves to their cause and distribution their fund-raising addresses today.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 03:13:16 PM PST

  •  Obama, Party Unity, etc. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yella dawg, Jim H

    I agreed with CM's comments (except that I did not think that the President needed to publicly thank former President Clinton last night...I think that this is something that is handed via prvt call).

    But, overall, I have been saying that the President's camp/Administration does a terrible job of communicating its strategy/selling its policies to the public.  Additionally, he needs better surrogates---whether its other members of the Dem party, members of the Administration (which means he might need to find some folks with a tad bit more charisma...) or outside folks...But, his job shldn't be done solo.  Additionally, part of getting your agenda through is having allies who support said agenda...

    •  that's it! (0+ / 0-)

      What CM said about the surrogates and communicating policies is what really had me agreeing with him. That bit wasn't included in the diary (unless I read to fast and skipped it).

      I agree with others that the victory speech wasn't an appropriate venue for what CM wanted Obama to say. But he was making bigger points that he unfortunately morphed into his criticism of the speech.

  •  For some reason, this whole story reminds me (0+ / 0-)

    of this Lenny Bruce narrated 'toon I used
    to see at the midnight movies decades ago.
    warning - not safe for work!

    Didn't take too long for some of the 'supporters' of
    our POTUS around here to get the kindling and tinder
    ready for 'feets to the fire'. I got my thank you email
    before he hit the stage in Chicago last night. Are there
    some members here who are in OFA that did not?

    Besides, it is not like there won't be future opportunities
    for a wider, and thus more diffuse shower of gratitude.
    I really do not require thanks for doing what I believe
    is the correct and right thing for myself and my nation.

    Perhaps at the inauguration, if not sooner.

    Thanks for all of your efforts.

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