Matthews: Remember when US had a real leader, like … George W. Bush?

posted at 10:01 am on September 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Looks like Chris Matthews isn’t going to get a tingle over Barack Obama’s latest pivot. On last night’s Hardball, Matthews ripped Obama for a lack of leadership and focus, complaining that the President jumps from issue to issue with no particular purpose or plan.  Matthews even went so far as to suggest that he misses George W. Bush … a little, anyway (via Jen Rubin on Twitter):

Chris Matthews took Obama to task on Wednesday for being too “reactive” to events and not controlling or focusing the discussion on issues he wants to talk about. Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank agreed, saying that there is a deficit of “forceful leadership” from the Obama White House.

In fact, Milbank even went so far as to credit George W. Bush for this quality sorely lacking in Obama. At least with Bush, Milbank argued, “he got stuff done, hammering away for taxes, for war… whereas Obama sort of flits and flies from topic to topic.” Matthews wished Obama would be tougher against Republicans on key issues, while HuffPo’s Sam Stein noted Obama’s pushed a little, but not quite enough.

Matthews vented a little, saying “this Mini-Me stuff has got to stop.” Milbank said Obama’s political nuance looks too much like “muddled thinking” to people, suggesting he needs to start campaigning for big issues with bumper-sticker slogans. Stein made it clear part of the lack of action in Washington is derived in part from Republican obstructionism.

“Republican obstructionism”? Obama had control of Congress for the first two years of his presidency, and the only issues that concerned the White House then were a health-system overhaul that’s becoming more and more unpopular as it becomes more and more unworkable, and a stimulus bill that failed to meet its own metrics, let alone create the normal jobs boom that follows after sharp recessions.  Republicans gained control of the House because of Obama’s policies, and they may well take control of the Senate in 2014.  Throwing up one’s hands isn’t leadership, either.

The solution offered to this conundrum is risible on its face.  Matthews and his panel want bumper-sticker slogans and campaigns for policies.  Obama has been offering nothing but both for his entire presidency, while leaving the actual governance to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  When Obama tried applying that approach to foreign policy and Syria by glibly mentioning a red line, doing nothing for a year, and then attempted two weeks of sloganeering to get support for an act of war, Obama wound up with egg on his face and Vladimir Putin as the leader of Western diplomacy. Now he’s Putin’s Mini-Me, to use Matthews’ analogy.

Perhaps Obama would be better off trying a new leadership model.  I’m sure George W. Bush would be happy to counsel him.

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Schadenfreude on September 12, 2013 at 7:10 PM


Bmore on September 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM


rogerb on September 12, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Mugabe on fair elections.
Castro on free speech.
Kim Jong-un on prison reform.
Xi Jingpin on Law Enforcement & crowd control.
Hassan Rouhani of Iran on Religious Tolerance
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Empowering Women

workingclass artist on September 12, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Ted Kennedy on sobriety.)
(hell, any Kennedy, living/dead, on sobriety.)
Bill Clinton on fidelity.)
John Kerry on consistency.)
Joe Biden on the need for thoughtful consideration before speaking.)
Harry Reid on gentlemanly behavior.

massrighty on September 12, 2013 at 8:49 PM

If only we wore our Mittens….

The Nerve on September 12, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Sheesh. Another liberal who is shocked — shocked! — to learn that the Rodeo Clown is incompetent. Give me a break. It isn’t the incompetence that has Matthews et al in a lather; it’s that the incompetence is so visible, so obvious, so undeniable, that they can’t cover it up. They’re pissed because the Rodeo Clown has robbed them of their Plausible Deniability.

Rational Thought on September 12, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Chrissie in a hissie, looking for some tingles from Killary perhaps ?
Barack Hussein….. We hardly knew ya !!!!!

FlaMurph on September 13, 2013 at 12:28 AM

Chris, haven’t you figured out yet that Obama wants to live like a king without doing all the hard work of being a real king.


herself on September 13, 2013 at 3:28 AM

“Another liberal who is shocked — shocked! — to learn that the Rodeo Clown is incompetent.”
Rational Thought on September 12, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Don’t you mean “Another liberal who is shocked — shocked! — to learn that the Rodeo Clown was prescient?”

drunyan8315 on September 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Can you really not see the connection?
rogerb on September 12, 2013 at 1:01 PM

No, but let me try…
So…are you saying that my inference…
verbaluce on September 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Dang. I guess you really couldn’t.
Seriously, I’m sorry. I was joking. I figured you were just trying to pretend you didn’t understand where the hypocrisy was. I didn’t expect you to admit it again.
Show of hands, please:
Did anyone else have a problem seeing the connection?

rogerb on September 12, 2013 at 1:27 PM


Regardless, and as I asked before, did anyone else besides verbaluce have any problem understanding the relevance of the “credibility” posts?
rogerb on September 12, 2013 at 1:42 PM

So no one else had a problem, and two other folks even responded explaining how easy it was to understand.

Sorry, verbaluce. Looks like it was just you again.

rogerb on September 13, 2013 at 12:13 PM

workingclass artist on September 12, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Chris Matthews on Journalistic Independence and Objectivity
Bill O Reilly on Playing Both Sides
David Brooks on Presidential Hosiery
Anderson Cooper on Tears for Ratings
Tom Friedman on Impossible Generalizations on World Affairs
Paul Krugman on Justifying Policy Du Jour
Maureen Dowd on Cute Remarks about Nothing
Sean Hannity on The Perils of Repetition
Bill Clinton on The Importance of Character
Hillary Clinton on That 3am Call/ Voicemail
Tim Geithner on Fiscal Integrity
Eric Holder on Equal Treatment of Our Subjects
Susan Rice on Don’t Make it up, Read the Script
John Kerry on Plain Speaking for Simpletons
John McCain on Being a Team Player
Lynsey Graham on Principles Before Compromise

virgo on September 15, 2013 at 1:11 PM