November 6, 2011

Chris Matthews on Barack Obama: "He doesn't like the company of fellow politicians."

This was on "Meet the Press" this morning. David Gregory was asking Matthews about his statement that "Obama is a `transactional' politician; he cuts deals with people, but he doesn't forge bonds. When is he going to bolster this political forces? I keep waiting." Matthews comments:
I know. And he doesn't like the company of fellow politicians. You have to like their company. This forging of bonds is essential in politics. It's what I always thought politics was....

Jack Kennedy started to accumulate troops in high school, when he was in the Navy. He saved the lives of 10 crewmen. They, they looked up to him. He went out and risked his life in the, in the middle of the South Pacific to save their lives. He looked out for his troops. That... word like that gets around. "Hey, this guy looks out for his troops."

The Kennedy party, which my old boss, Tip O'Neill, recognized was a unique party of people that looked out for one guy: Jack Kennedy. And he was their hero. They wore the tie clasp from the PT 109 days. They fought for him, they died for him, they killed his enemies for him. Bobby Kennedy was the number one enforcer. Who is Barack Obama's Bobby Kennedy?...

[JFK]  had to create a political party which was loyal to one person, him. And he built it from the ground up. Obama cuts deals. He raises money, he makes people ambassador, he does all the normal things. But there's no, there's no sealing there.
The reference to making people ambassador is a reference to Jon Huntsman (who was on the show earlier). Matthews imagines Obama's thoughts on the subject: "I made you ambassador to the most important country in the world, and you come back and run against me in the same term?"

In the same vein, Matthews compared Obama to the Clintons:
There are more Clinton people out there today than there are Obama people. Today they're ready to move. If Hillary calls up and says, "I'm going," I mean they're there. She won't do it, but of course. But, I mean, it's--but they're ready....

35 comments:

Kevin said...

"And he doesn't like the company of fellow politicians."

Actually, Obama doesn't like the company of people very much, outside a small circle of cronies.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Aloof, supercilious, emotionally empty. It's not that he doesn't like them, it's that they don't like him. That's why the glad-handing, foot-in-mouth buffoon Biden was brought on board.

America's Politico said...

At the Oval Room K-street super-consultant shindig, one thing was clear. More and more Clintons folks are insanely loyal to the POTUS Obama. Each day goes by, it is likely that Perry's 20 Million will kill Romney. Then the GOP will have to nominate Perry or Cain.

This is what the Committee to Re-elect is hoping for. There is a constant desire to see GOP kill-off Romney. Then everything, I mean everything, is insanely clear for the re-election.

If you ask anyone in the Committee anything about Perry or Cain, they will not answer. Instead, they will mention how good they are to Romney.

The game is afoot. You can feel it. What Matthews thinks is a non-issue.

POTUS Obama is the best. On January 2017, there will be calls for Mt. Rushmore to have another bust.

LarsPorsena said...

"..And he doesn't like the company of fellow politicians..."

I don't see this as a character flaw.

robinintn said...

"They fought for him, they died for him, they killed his enemies for him."

Violent language there, pining for BHO to have people like that. Good thing he's not one of those teabaggers, or might there might be a problem with his tone.

Hagar said...

I do not think Obama is a politician. I don't quite know what he is, but his political career looks very odd to me. He has run for and won all these offices, but it does not seem like he himself had much to do with either the running or the winning.

madAsHell said...

PT-109??
Kennedy's boat was destroyed, and he lost 2 crewmen. I guess you could say he saved the other 10.

pm317 said...

There was a phrase during primary 2008, 'post turtle' as in how did the turtle get up on the post -- well, somebody put it there. Obama could never be where he is on his own -- he never had it in him to achieve that. People with money shone light on him and the public fell prey to a superb marketing campaign where the media was complicit in hiding everything that would have swayed them away from him. A donkey with a Dem label would have got elected in 2008 and it did.

YoungHegelian said...

Is it just me, or does what Matthews describes as the cabal around JFK sound like something more out of Mussolini's Italy than the 1960's USA?

Then, again, considering the quotidian evil that flourished around the Kennedys, both Matthews and I might be right.

Hagar said...

nor, apparently, did he show up for work much after he had won these offices.
It is all very curious.

Ralph L said...

Oh come on, Madashell, don't piss on the myth!

And Joe Kennedy paid for that party and made most of the decisions.

Obama doesn't even have a Bebe Rebozo.

LarsPorsena said...

'madAsHell said...
PT-109??
Kennedy's boat was destroyed, and he lost 2 crewmen. I guess you could say he saved the other 10.'

Yes, the only US naval vessel rammed and sunk by an enemy ship in WWII. Someone was goofing off.

edutcher said...

The word, "snob, comes to mind. GodZero fancies himself an intellectual, but, if it weren't for PC, he wouldn't last 10 seconds at Haavahd.

I guess the tingle has finished running down Chrissy's leg.

But he is right about the Ozark Mafia. If Willie says, "Do it", the organization will be up and running before Willie can sneak off to McDougal's.

YoungHegelian said...

Is it just me, or does what Matthews describes as the cabal around JFK sound like something more out of Mussolini's Italy than the 1960's USA?

More like the SS.

Think Night of the Long Knives.

traditionalguy said...

They are dancing around the leadership question.

Obama is a 2 and Cain is a Perfect 10.

The art of politics is making your circle of friends bigger than the other guy's circle.

The GOP race is informative here:

Romney has his 25% circle of RINOs that will not grow, but

Perry has his Texas Circle which admits no one new and wants to hamstring the others, so it leveled off as 8% and is winning no new friends, and

Newt has his 8% % size circle showing some growth, but is unlikely to attract many more , and

Cain's show of leadership has grown to a 30% size circle, and yesterday he welcomed in Newt's 10% into his circle.

Cain is always welcoming new people to the circle built around his leadership. He is out growing the field.

ndspinelli said...

Howdy Doody interviewing a stupid shanty Irishman. It's like Mortimer Snerd interviewing a stupid dago like Al D'Amato. Trooper would be pissed if he were here.

dennymac said...

PT-109??
"Kennedy's boat was destroyed, and he lost 2 crewmen. I guess you could say he saved the other 10."

Actually General Douglas MacArthur thought he should have been court-martialed for negligence.

Sean said...

I think Matthews knows as much about Obama's personal side as I know about Albanian poetry.

What is striking is what a tiresome old geezer is Matthews. It's all about dead Kennedys and the decrepit machine politics of old Boston.

He could replace Andy Rooney.

edutcher said...

I'm wondering if Chrissy's little whine isn't in expectation of a far worse scandal about to envelop GodZero.

dennymac said...

PT-109??
"Kennedy's boat was destroyed, and he lost 2 crewmen. I guess you could say he saved the other 10."

Actually General Douglas MacArthur thought he should have been court-martialed for negligence.


When the movie came out, a lot of Navy officers who served in the Solomons said the same thing.

FWIW, what would appear to be heroics worthy of the Navy Cross only received the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

I wonder if old Joe had to pull a few wires just to get that.

Psychedelic George said...

Just finished a book called "Credibility" by Kouzes and Posner. "Why leadership is a relationship and credibility is a cornerstone."

People all around the world have been asked to rank (in importance) the characteristics of a good leader. They are in order...

Honest, forward-looking, inspiring, competent, intelligent, broad-minded, dependable, supportive, fair-minded, straightforward, determined, cooperative, ambition, courageous, caring, imaginative, loyal, mature, self-controlled, independent."

Maybe JFK screwed up royally at sea, but he recovered and saved his crew, and they loved him for the leadership he showed when their lives were at stake.

When has Obama ever had anything resembling an experience like that?

Never been tested.

Unlike McCain.

It would be interesting to look back at rankings of presidents and see which ones faced severe leadership tests prior to their elections.

ricpic said...

Obama is the most SWPL person of them all.

glenn said...

One thing Chrissy is missing about the PT-109 story is that had JFK been Lt Bob Jones he would have been court martialed for losing his command. His Dad powered up and got him bailed out. And I voted for him.

jacksonjay said...

I wonder if Tingles has the same love and admiration for Allen West? West was Court Martialed in Iraq for abusing a prisoner in an attempt to prevent his men from being ambushed! It cost him his career. I readily await his book on the Lt. Colonel.

Mike said...

Geez, I don't know about troops and all that, but JFK was always looking for the next "friendly" lady to share some time with.

SMGalbraith said...

Matthews' JFK analogy is specious.

To be sure, JFK had a devoted "Kennedy Mafia" that looked out for him. They still do long after his death (try getting access to the Kennedy Library in Boston; nearly impossible).

But this didn't translate into legislative success. He had few political friends or allies (the novelist Allen Drury who covered the Senate for the AP said Kennedy was "smart but distant") and was not an accomplished legislator in the Senate.

In fact, nearly all of JFK's legislative agenda was held up in the Senate. It wasn't until after his death that most of it was passed. And historians like Richard Reeves have called his a "Crisis Presidency" since the thousand days of his Administration was filled with crises from Vienna to Berlin to Montgomery to the Bay of Pigs to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Matthews is way off the mark with the JFK history lesson here.

glenn said...

When you are a Dem you don't have to be a success. the press is always with you.

Carol_Herman said...

I'm not so sure Chris Matthews has a handle on who Barack Obama really is. He's way too old. He was around with John Kennedy. And, he worked for Tip O'Neill. The House was also different, then.

Chris Matthews isn't in the group where Boehner plays, either. (and, Matthews should know the House like the back of his hand.)

Now, when Chris Matthews said he felt a "tingle up his leg," I thought him odd.

And, going back to when Chris Matthews knew JFK, he also knew JFK had to beseech Eleanor Roosevelt for her approval. Before the democratic convention was willing to nominate him as their presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, Truman stayed home.

Or wasn't asked.

And, Truman said "if you want a friend in Washington, you gotta get a dog."

Can Obama win re-election?

What if it's a one-horse race? And, the republicans can nominate a candidate capable of engaging the majority?

Chris Matthews is probably more worried that other politicians can't see Obama coattails. (He's got none.)

I don't think being an insider ... in any one of the 8 contendah campaigns ... can lead to long time employment opportunities, ahead.

Who has a Kitchen Cabinet? (Besides Sarah. And, Palin says she's not running.)

Lucia Synge said...

Chris Matthews on Barack Obama: "He doesn't like the company of fellow politicians."means what?http://bit.ly/vcAvbz

Tim said...

"Yes, the only US naval vessel rammed and sunk by an enemy ship in WWII. Someone was goofing off."

Indeed. A faster, more nimble vessel rammed and sunk by a slower, less maneuverable ship. Someone was fucking around instead of doing their job.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Matthews imagines Obama's thoughts on the subject: "I made you ambassador to the most important country in the world, and you come back and run against me in the same term?"

So Matthews thinks of Obama as a Mob Boss?

Chip S. said...

I thought the "Kennedy mafia" consisted of guys who did the grunt work in exchange for a shot at JFK's leftover fuck bunnies.

How else do you explain Arthur Schlesinger's career? Besides nepotism, I mean.

Scott M said...

Besides nepotism, I mean.

You know, it's a tad off topic, but since you mentioned it, I've only really noticed that people have a real problem with nepotism when the person in question is incompetent. If that person is good at the position they got due to nepotism, nobody seems to care much. The last gasps of our aristocratic past?

Chip S. said...

@ScottM--The simpler explanation is probably heritability of ability.

Chip S. said...

ScottM--The situation that seems most puzzling is the tendency of voters to elect the wife (usually) of a politician who dies in office.

Zach said...

Matthews does have a good point about JFK. In any biography you care to read, you'll notice that he's constantly surrounded by extremely bright people vying for his attention. Bobby's first, of course, but how about Ted Sorenson? Teddy Kennedy also had a reputation for getting the best staffers when he was in the Senate -- that's how he was able to be such an effective Senator despite the other aspects of his lifestyle.

The ability to attract and retain good people is a major skill for a leader. Obama is very noticeable for not having a "mafia" of longtime loyalists and aides. There's Valerie Jarett, I guess, but what is her actual job?

Zach said...

I thought the "Kennedy mafia" consisted of guys who did the grunt work in exchange for a shot at JFK's leftover fuck bunnies.

When it comes to charisma, JFK has the huge advantages of being rich, handsome, intelligent and never having to work a day in his life. But even granting those things, he was genuinely charismatic. Those guys really were loyal, and they stuck with him.

Obama's handsome, too, and he's never worked a day in his life, either. So where are the crowds of competent people that have followed him from his community organizing days? Why doesn't he have any friends from the University of Chicago faculty to appoint to minor agencies? Obama's a bit of a lone gun as politicians go.