Why indeed? In an interview with his MSNBC colleague Alex Witt, Chris Matthews summarizes the reasons not to get excited about a Barack Obama re-election campaign, the primary reason being that he hasn’t articulated a reason himself. What programs will he launch in a second term? How will he get them accomplished? Matthews says, “I hear stories you would not believe” about Obama’s leadership — and lack thereof — but suffice it to say that anyone who pointed out his lack of executive experience in 2008 would not be surprised to find that Obama is incompetent at political governance (via QandO):
“He doesn’t like their company,” Matthews says about Obama’s relationships with his fellow Democrats. Finally — something Obama has in common with Republicans!
Speaking of a lack of leadership, guess who gets back from almost two weeks out of the country today, a period during which Congress spun its wheels on debt reduction? Politico correctly deduces this foreign-policy junket as blame avoidance, but it’s not going to work for long:
The president’s critics have carped that his nine-day Asian Pacific trip — which came in the middle of the supercommittee’s food fight — was ill-timed and off-point. But, from Obama’s perspective, he couldn’t distance himself far enough from the flaming political garbage dump that is Washington, and the old political headaches returned anew when Air Force One went wheels-down at Andrews in Sunday’s wee hours.
Obama spent more than a week looking relaxed and presidential while he pitched a jobs agenda to some of the country’s most important trading partners — interrupted only by a semi-gaffe that’s become grist for Fox News. Now, as international flattery gives way to domestic sniping, he will seek to avoid getting sucked into another partisan battle over deficits and government spending. …
Back inside the Beltway, an Obama ally explained his aversion to diving into the supercommittee morass by saying, “They want to drag us into the frame, but it’s their show.”
That’s leading from behind, which is a theme of this administration, and yet another reason to feel a distinct lack of enthusiasm for another Obama term.
Update: I honestly didn’t think much about this, but others in the comment section picked up on something else Matthews said in this clip, emphasis mine:
“He has not said one thing about what he’d do in his second term,” Matthews continued. “He never tells us what he’s going to do with reforming our health care systems, Medicare, Medicaid. How he’s going to reform Social Security? Is he going to deal with long-term debt? How? Is he going to reform the tax system? How?”
“Just tell us — why are we in this with him? Just tell us, commander. Give us our orders and tell us where we’re going. Give us the mission.”
People are jumping on Matthews for demanding “orders” from Obama, hardly a responsible statement from a journalist. I think we know that Matthews is not a journalist, though, but an activist with a TV show. The “give us our orders” statement also sounds less like a request and more of a criticism of Obama’s lack of genuine leadership. Your mileage may vary, of course.