The surprise came in the form of Liberal Marc Lamont Hill gaving a rather harsh political assessment of President Obama. Here is just a taste of what Hill had to say about Obama, followed by more criticism in the transcript below the fold:
He's absolutely overplayed his hand. He kind of came in arriving the -- riding the wave of his own awesomeness. ...The fact that he had done 110 interviews and 110 talks on health care and the American people weren't persuaded, it showed that people like him, but they didn't find his argument persuasive. It was almost as if he said if they just see my face one more time and listen to me one more time, they'll be convinced...
Hill was also highly critical of Dick Cheney which can be expected but the really surprising part is how downbeat he is on the subject of Barack Obama as you can see in this transcript:
CANDY CROWLEY: Marc, listen, let's -- let's be fair.
When the president was in the midst of two wars, certainly in the year or so past 9/11 and every year of his administration thereafter, the president was attacked a lot on terrorism and how he was handling it. And yet when you hear it, it does have a dissonance to it.
Is there any way to kind of squeeze the politics out of this?
MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: No. This is thoroughly and it's completely political here. And it's unfortunate, but it -- that's just the nature of the political moment.
When we look at what happened during Bush years, people attacked the way President Bush was prosecuting the war. We may have said that he overreacted to 9/11 in terms of going into Iraq. I mean there were all sorts of critiques coming from the left. But nobody really suggested -- there was no public critique from former presidents or vice presidents suggesting that it -- that it was the president's behavior that started the war or instigated terrorism.
But that's exactly what Dick Cheney is saying, which, to me, is completely misguided.
...You would think -- you would think that President Obama was in Amsterdam, you know, giving -- giving out visas or letting the guy on the plane. I mean there was nothing that the Obama administration could do...to stop this guy from getting on a plane.
...Well, and Ben, I think we might actually agree on this point, tightening up security and making the bureaucracy operate more efficiently is the key. And if we do that, we don't necessarily need -- in fact, we don't need to profile. We don't need to ethnically and religiously and culturally profile.
In this case, we had 500,000 names on a tide (ph) list. If we had simply put those people on a no fly list, we wouldn't need to profile. The guy wouldn't have gotten on a plane in the first place.
So instead of operating under the presumption that we need more profiling, all we need to do is get the pieces that are currently in place to operate more efficiently.
Then the excuses for Obama suddenly stopped as Hill launches into his criticism of the President:
HILL: But what I do share is your pessimism. I -- I don't think -- I don't have much good news for 2010. I think that Barack Obama has expended so much political capital on health care and the health care bill that we've gotten is so -- all of the teeth have been taken out of it. So I'm not very optimistic about where that's going to go. It's going to pass, but it's going to be a very, very watered down bill with no public option, obviously.
...I was just going to say and people -- people will be very much be -- people will very much be mad, at least on the left. But what you'll also see is moderate Democrats continuing to scramble away from Barack Obama, because -- particularly because it's an election year. It's a midterm election year and people are not going to want to stand next to him as he loses more and more political capital, particularly around this issue of Cap-and-Trade. Cap-and-Trade is not going to go through, even though it's going to be wonderful for -- for the environment and wonderful for the economy. Moderate Democrats are going to run from it. And then in terms of foreign policy, I think we just may find ourselves with a major problem with Iran. Ahmadinejad seems to be committed to developing uranium. He seems committed to ignoring Sarkozy, Brown and Obama, no matter how tough they scowl their faces at the press conferences. It seems to me that we're going to have a major problem with Iran, that we're going to continue to have problems in Afghanistan, that we're going to continue to have major problems with Iraq. And -- and that we're going to have no good news.
The Republicans, sadly, just may gain some significant ground in the midterms in next November.
CROWLEY: Holy cow. We may not want to ring in this new year.
Why Candy? Because the Republicans "sadly" may gain significant ground in the midterm elections? Okay, back to Marc Lamont Hill painting his gloomy political prospects for Obama:
CROWLEY: ...I guess the question here is -- the question we started out the year, has the president, with all that political capital, overplayed his hand?
HILL: He's absolutely overplayed his hand. He kind of came in arriving the -- riding the wave of his own awesomeness. It seemed like he never actually read press clippings. I mean one of the...
HILL: And I -- I agreed with the health care initiative. But when you looked at the town hall meetings last summer, when you looked at what everyday American people -- at least a certain sector of American people were saying, it was almost as if Obama didn't understand that people didn't like him. The fact that he had done 110 interviews and 110 talks on health care and the American people weren't persuaded, it showed that people like him, but they didn't find his argument persuasive. It was almost as if he said if they just see my face one more time and listen to me one more time, they'll be convinced. That's the type of Obama mentality and the type of Rahm Emanuel mentality that I think has undermined Obama's effectiveness this year. I hope they learn that lesson in 2010, by not having not so many unprecedented moments and not having so many -- such -- such a need to put Obama in front.
Of course, Hill's criticism of Obama comes from the left but it does illustrate just how much of Obama's media generated magic has worn off.