Chuck Todd gets a little too close to the truth for Chris Matthews’ comfort in this clip from MS-NBC. Radio Vice Online has its own take on this, but before you hear from either of us, watch the clip first:
MATTHEWS: But Chuck, let me get back to you again. Is there such a thing as an Obama believer? In other words, is there a set of beliefs he holds which can be shared by other politicians of the Democratic Party?
TODD: You know, it’s funny you say that. I think right now you’re seeing an argument on the Left take place where you’re seeing some criticism of the President — “Hey, where’s all the change?” So I think this is all trying — I think they’re all trying to figure this out. The White House seems to be about, and this President seems to be about pragmatism and — you know, trying to get something done, trying to figure out a solution in Afghanistan, trying to compromise and get health care through.
But you’re right, there isn’t this core set of principles that were so easy to say and do — “change you can believe in” in 2008. I think he’s struggling to translate that to policy. We’re seeing it, this whole Organizing for America wing of the DNC is struggling to work correctly. I think they haven’t figured it out.
Jim Vicevich at the link thinks that Obama has a core set of principles that run to the hard Left, but has kept them hidden thus far. Why? Jim argues that Obama couldn’t get elected on those principles, and so he has kept them hidden while pushing them through his legislative agenda.
Actually, I think Todd is closer to it. Obama wanted to be President, not to lead, but just to win. Now that he has won, he has no core set of governing principles other than what impacts Barack Obama. He has offered no leadership on any part of his agenda all year long, content to have Nancy Pelosi run it for him. His foreign policy thus far consists entirely of making himself personally popular with the world. On Afghanistan, Obama has thus far allowed Robert Gates and David Petraeus to make his decisions, only balking at the moment because the McChrystal strategy puts him at odds with his base, which could erode his popularity.
We’ve complained a number of times about the cult of personality that surrounds Obama, but as Todd implies with this answer, it’s really all Obama has.