MSNBC’s Alex Witt Explodes: How Does Obama Overcome ‘Folks Who Say No On Everything’?

MSNBC anchor Alex Witt continued the tradition of liberal media hand-wringing over congressional Republicans on last Sunday’s edition of her eponymous show Weekends with Alex Witt. At the end of a discussion about President Obama’s renewed focus on the economy, Witt erupted against the GOP in a question to Ana Marie Cox of The Guardian:

"What do you think, Ana Marie, how does this president get past the folks who say no on everything, and is there no incentive for the GOP to work with the president on anything ever or do you think the disastrous poll numbers in terms of the congressional approval in this country, if those stay consistent people are going to be like okay, really, we actually do need to get something done because the American public is ticked off?"
 

This is sadly the type of griping we’ve come to expect from MSNBC. Cox, for her part, took this as an opportunity to paint the GOP as a party of old white people:
 

"[I]n the short term, I think the position the Republicans have taken will probably help them in the midterms because of the kind of electorate that turns out for midterm elections, which is older and whiter, and the kind of rhetoric that the Republicans are using appeals to them."
 

Witt seemed eager for someone to assure her that Obama would be able to bypass “the folks who say no on everything” and force his agenda on the American people. Earlier in that same segment, she had asked The Washington Post’s David Nakamura, “What are the options that the president has to institute some of these policies if he can't get anything passed with this Congress?”

Later, during the second hour of her program, Witt posed a nearly identical question to Andy Kroll of Mother Jones: “Andy, but what are the options that the president has in order to institute some of these policies if he can't get anything passed in Congress? To what extent can he use the power of the oval office to get things done?”

Apparently the checks and balances mandated by our Constitution are unimportant to Witt. The Republican House is just a pesky obstacle standing in the way of President Obama’s glorious economic program, and the president must find a way to jump over them.

Below is a transcript of the segment:

ALEX WITT: What do you think, Ana Marie, how does this president get past the folks who say no on everything, and is there no incentive for the GOP to work with the president on anything ever or do you think the disastrous poll numbers in terms of the congressional approval in this country, if those stay consistent people are going to be like okay, really, we actually do need to get something done because the American public is ticked off?

ANA MARIE COX, The Guardian: Well, in the short term, I think the position the Republicans have taken will probably help them in the midterms because of the kind of electorate that turns out for midterm elections, which is older and whiter, and the kind of rhetoric that the Republicans are using appeals to them. Now come next presidential election, I'm not sure how this is going to look for them, and moving towards the future, the electorate that responds to what the Republicans are doing is shrinking. The electorate that sees the income inequality growing, that has that experience for themselves, that responds to that message from the president is growing. I mean I think that the president – I'm not sure in the short term, I don't know what is going to happen. He is going to use the executive power that he has –  ironically, an executive power that was increased under Bush – but who knows what is going to happen, and sometimes I think that he’s really setting up a long game here, that we’re not going to see the kinds of policies he would really like to enact until much further in the future.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.