The “liberal news media” seems to be turning against President Obama and his administration in light of a string of scandals rocking the White House and a poor showing of leadership by Obama on key liberal legislative issues.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC and Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, two well-known liberal media figures, expressed their extreme discontent of President Obama’s performance on Wednesday. On his show Hardball, Matthews said that Obama “obviously likes giving speeches more than he does running the executive branch.” Stewart lambasted President Obama’s responses to the Benghazi, the Department of Justice, and the IRS scandals, in which Obama has stated over and over again that he only heard about these events through the media. With both of these hardcore liberal media figures harpooning President Obama, it looks like Obama has lost the support of the liberal media.
Liberals like Matthews and Stewart are not wrong to be angry and discontented with Obama’s current leadership. The failure of the comprehensive gun control legislation in the Senate was a huge blow to Obama’s administration. Obama has been criticized as being lackluster in his leadership role during the gun control debate as Obama purposefully avoiding entering the fray in fear of poisoning the debate with his input.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), one of the largest liberal successes, has been a regulatory nightmare for Obama as implementation of the comprehensive health care law by federal agencies has been slow and mostly incomplete. Comments by Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the drafters of the ACA, about the “train wreck” implementation of the law have added on to the frustration concerning the ACA.
Even key platform promises of Obama’s 2008 campaign have not been met, especially concerning the shutdown of Guantanamo Bay. Obama has renewed his promise on the issue but has yet to take action while a hunger strike among Guantanamo Bay detainees has added to the media fire.
In addition to all of these disappointments, a plethora of scandals surround the Obama administration. According to a report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, the IRS had singled out conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) and delayed their application process through unnecessary screenings. The Associated Press revealed that the Department of Justice collected two months of telephone records for reporters and editors. The Benghazi attack also continues to be a controversial topic for the administration, with Republicans' unyielding accusations that the State Department executed a cover-up. For liberals, these highlight leadership problems and are frustrating as they seem to distract the Obama administration from completing other important matters.
Even though liberals are disappointed with Obama, they are not disenchanted. Liberals still believe that Obama can lead the way to progress on certain issues but demand that Obama takes a greater leadership role on many these issues. This is the source of discontentment for Matthews and Stewart.
The next big test for Obama’s leadership will be immigration reform. The bill is currently going through the mark-up process in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Obama will be able to show his leadership prowess when the bill reaches the Senate floor in June by helping to pass the bill through the Senate and then the House.
If Obama is to win back the support and confidence of liberals and the liberal media, his words and promises will not be enough. He will have to fight.