Joe Scarborough: Top Senate Dems have told me privately that Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing

Via Verum Serum and Nice Deb, not only does he hint that most or all are committee chairmen but Mike Barnicle chimes in by supplying a hard number: Seven. Here’s the list of Senate committees and the names of current chairs. Lieberman’s a gimme, and Schumer’s been on the show a bunch so he and Scar probably have a certain comfort level with each other. Kent Conrad, Mary Landrieu, and the soon-to-be-retired Chris Dodd are probably also safe bets. Claire McCaskill’s a regular on “Morning Joe” too, I believe, but she doesn’t chair a (major) committee and she was an early Obama supporter so she might be more reluctant to backbite. But let’s say she’s one of the seven. That gives us six; we need another name. All theories welcome!

As for the substance of the criticism, two things. First, wasn’t Obama’s chief strategic blunder with the stimulus and, later, ObamaCare allegedly the fact that he let Congress take the lead in writing the bills instead of imposing his own plan on them? (Doing it that way in the health-care context was a reaction to the failure of HillaryCare in 1994.) That’s how the stimulus ended up so porky; he could have used his political capital from the inauguration to demand a cleaner bill, but he was content to be passive and see what Reid and Pelosi could work out. Which is to say, if senators really are whining in private about The One being clueless, it seems lost on them that a central element of that cluelessness was him being dumb enough to trust them. Which, assuredly, was awfully dumb.

Second, as to Scarborough’s point about Obama ignoring Republicans, check out what Deficit Commission chair Erskine Bowles — a Democrat — had to say just yesterday:

The Democratic co-chairman of a deficit-reduction panel convened by the White House said that the blueprint he unveiled Wednesday was the product of lengthy discussions with Republicans, and he appeared to question past efforts by the administration to engage with the GOP on fiscal matters.

“I told people in the White House I had spent more time listening to people in the opposition party than they had done as a whole group,” said Erskine Bowles, in an interview the day after he and Republican co-chairman Alan K. Simpson released a proposal for deep spending cuts and broad tax changes touching almost every aspect of the federal budget.

To repeat a point I made the other day, though, would grassroots conservatives be thrilled if the GOP took back the White House and both chambers of Congress and then immediately launched an outreach effort to Democrats to make sure their ideas were incorporated in new legislation? When you’ve got the numbers, you might as well pass as much of your big-ticket agenda as you can; that was Rahm’s strategy from day one in not letting a “crisis” go to waste. In that case, why bother listening to the other side, especially when the GOP was already gaming out a position of firm principled opposition to the Hopenchange program early on? Sure, sure, Obama said he’d be a “post-partisan” president who would “change the culture in D.C.,” but c’mon. Who among us really believed that? (Put your hand down, David Brooks.)

I’ll leave you with this bit from Politico’s piece today about the 2012 electoral map starting to look an awful lot like the 2004 electoral map. It’s even more brutal than the Scarborough clip insofar as it explodes the Obama mythos of a chosen one whose singular political talents would build a new progressive kingdom on Earth:

What many in the party believe — and more now are willing to voice publicly — is that 2008 may have been a referendum on President George W. Bush and that Obama’s victory was owed in large part to exhaustion with the outgoing administration.

“People wanted to get rid of Bush in 2004, but they just couldn’t buy into Kerry,” said Colorado-based Democratic consultant Mike Stratton. “So effectively running against a guy who was hugely unpopular was greatly to Obama’s advantage.”

“A ton of people who were for him just hated Bush,” added Jonathan Prince, another veteran Democratic strategist.

Exit question: What happened to the Great Liberal Realignment?