Is Chris Matthews Turning on Obama?

by Matt Lewis

It may be time for President Obama to worry. On Friday, the Gallup Poll reported that his approval ratings fell below 50 percent approval for the first time. That same night, perhaps not coincidentally, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews launched into a tirade against the president.

This marked a turning point – the first time Matthews had seriously questioned Obama’s presidency in any way other than a perfunctory one. During a segment on Friday with Susan Page of USA Today and Ron Brownstein of Atlantic Media, Matthews said:

“. . . When politicians begin to get a little too intellectual, they lose connection with the American people. I look at [Timothy] Geithner; I don’t think he’s a great political spokesperson. I look at this decision to put the trial up at New York City. I look at releasing a mammogram report that says we could do better with less testing. And I begin to think – this administration is getting almost like one that you’d imagine Adlai Stevenson running – highly ethereal, highly intellectual, egg-head. Not connected to real people and their emotional gut feelings about things.”…

…Matthews, famous for never having entertained a thought he didn’t blurt out, can be easy to dismiss. But if you think about him not as a thoughtful political commentator but as a kind of overgrown canary in the Pennsylvania the coal mine, this turn of events may be an early indication that the president has entered truly tenuous territory. It’s hard to exaggerate just how pro-Obama Matthews has been. Who can forget that during the so-called Potomac Primary, Matthews went so far as to announce on MSNBC that during an Obama speech, “I felt this thrill going up my leg”?…

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