Arianna Huffington: Nobody Believes Obama's Top Priority Is Jobs - It's Getting Reelected
In the wake of liberal disappointment over December's budget agreement and this week's debt ceiling deal - both not including tax hikes - there's been a lot of squabbling from far-left media members about Barack Obama betraying them.
On Wednesday, AOL Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell that nobody believes the President's top priority is jobs - it's getting reelected (video follows with transcript and commentary):
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, HOST: Going forward, how does he run, how does he govern and run this reelection campaign at the same time?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, AOL HUFFINGTON POST: Well, as we can see, running the reelection campaign is clearly the highest priority, because he’s already had 37 fundraisers this year, and it’s been a pretty tense year.
O’DONNELL: But that’s, but it’s not an unserious priority. He’s trying to keep Democratic control of Supreme Court nominations, all sorts of important presidential things for the next four years going forward. That is not something people should think, “Oh, you know, why is he spending time on reelection?”
HUFFINGTON: Oh, absolutely not. It’s a very legitimate priority.
HUFFINGTON: But the point is that the most important number going into 2012 is going to be the unemployment number. And there is absolutely no prospect at the moment that would make us believe that unemployment number is going to be below nine percent. Now that is really the greatest fear for the White House. And of course Mitt Romney again and again is talking about the failure of the President to produce jobs, and he doesn’t have to tell us how he would have done it. He just has to point out to that failure. And when the President again and again talks about how, I mean, I went through and looked since 2009 how many times he has said, “Jobs priority number one,” “The sustained focus of this administration,” “The relentless focus of this administration,” “We’re pivoting to jobs.” Nobody believes it any more.
And Arianna wasn’t the only one at the Huffington Post coming to this conclusion, as earlier in the day, Alex Wagner was Chris Matthews’ guest on “Hardball” saying equally surprising things:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Did he think that the -- the recovery was under way? Did he just get the numbers wrong? Did he think that thing we were talking about -- Bob Casey was just talking about it, the senator from Pennsylvania, just a couple minutes ago. Look, we keep forgetting. We all have ADD in this country. We forget the beginning of this year looked pretty good, 200,000 jobs a month. It was moving in that first quarter. The second quarter was terrible, at least in terms of jobs. We added 18,000 new jobs last month, nothing. We don’t know what is going to happen this Friday. But did he get the idea we’re already rolling into recovery? Let me go on to -- let me go to Alex for that.
JONATHAN ALTER: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Did he get the idea we’re rolling in the recovery, therefore, he could start to put the brakes on --
ALEX WAGNER, AOL HUFFINGTON POST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: -- safely?
WAGNER: Well, I mean, the -- forget the "car in the ditch" metaphor. You know, at the end of the year, he was saying, the car is level, we’re out of the ditch, you know, the predictions, Christina Romer, et al.
MATTHEWS: The tide has turned.
WAGNER: Yes, exactly. And -- and now unemployment is ticking back up.
And I think, you know, to the earlier points, look, it is about jobs. And vis-a-vis the base? Look at what’s happened with the black community. Look what’s happened with the Hispanic community. Look what’s happened with youth unemployment. It’s edging up 20, 25 percent -- 16.2 percent unemployment among the black community?
I mean, there is a real feeling, if not that he is a tool of the right, people are demoralized. And I think this -- you know, the White House loves talking about inflection points, this was an inflection point for the Obama administration. This war -- I think the debt war changed a lot of people’s perceptions --
MATTHEWS: I agree.
WAGNER: -- about what he is going to be capable of. […]
MATTHEWS: We’re talking about the president who just announced today, the White House did, and we’ve conveyed, Alex and Jon, that he’s going to get in a bus and drive around the Midwest. And he is vulnerable in that bus to -- I would think to picketing, and shouts from the crowd.
MATTHEWS: We don’t want you on the bus here. We want construction jobs. We want the roads fixed and the bridges fixed and brought up to code. We don’t want you riding around here campaigning this August.
WAGNER: Yes, and there’s a bit of hucksterism to it. It’s like recovery summer of last year. It’s like of sort of White House that was so good with messaging back in the day.
What has happened?
And I think, you know, to Jonathan’s earlier point, look, green jobs? I mean, these are --
MATTHEWS: What does it mean to you, that phrase?
WAGNER: Renewables. Battery plans. If we see Obama in another battery plant in the next three weeks, I think everybody is ready to give up on wind, solar and hydro. I mean, the idea that that’s going to pull us out of the ditch that we are remain in.
I mean, you know, I was talking with Emanuel Cleaver earlier this week, and he was saying, look, you know, to a certain degree, there’s bound to be disappointment, people pin hopes on Barack Obama. But, at the end of the day, people don’t understand what these green jobs are, you know? And if that’s the only plan he has, I think the White House is in serious trouble.
Wow. Two HuffPosters in one day saying negative things about Obama on MSNBC.
Was that a pig I just saw flying by my window?
Of course, this by no means is an indication the President has lost the Huffington Post. Arianna, Alex, and everyone at this liberal abomination will be campaigning for the former junior senator from Illinois next year as if he's a close relative.
But the disappointment on the left is palpable, and if the economy really is double-dipping, it will be interesting to see whether the rats leave the ship or figure out a way to blame it on Republicans.
Whether or not the American people will buy it is another thing altogether.