All you really need to know about MSNBC is that Matthews isn’t the first host on the network to make this claim. This isn’t some special fever dream born of one too many leg tingles. This is, to some degree, network groupthink.
And the point, now as before, is to create a special standard for Precious that spares him from the crap that other presidents routinely deal with. It’s a corollary to RodeoClownGate: Bush was delegitimized in vicious and sometimes violent ways (Nazi comparisons, chimp imagery, heavy-breathing about Diebold and the 2004 election, etc), but a guy in an Obama mask being chased around a ring by a bull was national news for days. The double standard extends to terminology, too. “Bush tax cuts” is a fact of political life, but back in the early days of our new health-care boondoggle, the term “ObamaCare” was dismissed as derogatory by liberals ranging from Jon Stewart to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Eventually they stopped fighting it because, I guess, the term had stuck, with even O deciding to use it, but the impulse was there. Special rules for The One.
Anyway: Give me a name. If there’s some deliberate effort by a prominent conservative to refrain from calling Obama “President Obama” or “the president,” that should be easy enough to prove. Sift through the transcripts of their last 10 or 20 public remarks about O and, if the honorific is conspicuously missing, that’s a good sign that it’s been left out intentionally. Who is it, supposedly, that insists as a rule on calling Obama by his name instead of by his title? Ted Cruz? Rand Paul? Rush Limbaugh? Sean Hannity? Like I say, easy to prove in theory. It won’t be.