At the Weekly Standard this morning, Daniel Halper noted a CNN panel discussion wherein the network's John King and guest Maggie Haberman of the Politico discussed how furious many Democrats are with President Barack Obama's leadership, especially in connection with the Veterans administration scandal. The broadcast also reveals that the Beltway press corps has been aware of Democrats' misgivings about Obama's leadership for some time. We sure haven't heard much about it, have we?
This is noteworthy because the press eagerly broadcasts evidence of disagreements among Republicans and conservatives, and rarely does so when there is disunity on the left. The odds that we'll see much more of what aired this morning on CNN are therefore quite low. Video and a transcript follow the jump:
JOHN KING: The veterans health scandal is much more than just another 2008 broken promise.
CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA (in 2008): I revere our soldiers and want to make sure they're being treated with honor and respect.
KING: Fast forward six years, and now more than two dozen VA facilities [are] suspected of covering up delays in getting veterans urgent care, some cases with deadly consequences.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (last week): We have to find out first of all what exactly happened.
KING: Now that moment, that wait-and-see statement last Wednesday at the White House might well be remembered as the breaking point.
GOP SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (on the Senate Floor): President Obama, the most powerful man in the free world, always seems to be the last to know about what's going on in his own administration.
KING: Forget for a moment that Republican outrage. More and more Democrats in key 2014 races are calling for the president to get a spine, they say, and fire his Veterans Affairs secretary. And, what more and more Democrats are saying privately is scathing, calling the president and his team detached, flat footed, even incompetent.
Maggie Haberman, that's what strikes me, what democrats are saying privately in the wakes of the healthcare.gov problems, they see a president who doesn't want to take command, doesn't want to act fast. Raising the competence question. Some Democrats, who believe in government, [are saying] this White House doesn't appear to have its hand on the lever.
MAGGIE HABERMAN: And you've heard a long time that this White House doesn't quite have its hand on the lever at various points. But this week really marked something, this past week marked a change where you saw Obama, with that very sort of tepid press conference, he was sort of in, sort of not in. Which he said - He had a meeting about foreign policy [scheduled] with senators who were expecting him to be there. He wasn't there. They filed out, one of them said that he thought it was the most bizarre meeting he'd been in in quite a while. All of this adds up to somebody who just doesn't seem at all involved.
With all due respect, Maggie Haberman, we haven't "heard for quite a long time that this White House doesn't appear to have its hand on the lever" because you and the rest of your colleagues in the establishment press have virtually never framed matters in that fashion.
Only when it hits them in the face so hard that they can't ignore it do they bring it up — and only now do we learn that even Obama's own party members have felt as they do for a long time. That is why I expect what was discussed at CNN to get little if any wider circulation in the establishment press.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.