Howard Fineman: No Leadership From Obama

Monday, 21 Nov 2011 07:42 PM

By David A. Patten

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Veteran political journalist and commentator Howard Fineman included President Barack Obama in a blanket indictment of leadership in the Nation’s Capital Monday, following the news that the joint committee on deficit reduction had failed to reach a compromise.

Speaking on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” Fineman said that President Obama, who stayed out of the committee’s deliberations and embarked on an overseas trip as the failed negotiations entered their final phase, would have been criticized whether or not he interjected himself into the negotiations. But he should have seized the reins anyway, Fineman said.

“I often find myself in the role of Monday morning quarterbacking with this president, who I think his heart is in the right place, but he often doesn’t know how to execute the politics of it,” Fineman said.

“He probably should have gone in there and said, ‘I’m gonna have to lead us in doing it. Somebody’s got to lead.’ There’s no leadership anywhere in this city,” the journalist lamented.

Host Chris Matthews appeared to echo Fineman’s criticism, stating of Obama: “I think his values are very good. I’m not sure his guts are always there in terms of what has to be done, because you never know when to put your guts on the line. You never knew when to bet it all at the table.”

Those remarks appeared to be part of a growing frustration among the mainstream media and progressives regarding the president’s management of Washington. Democratic pollsters Doug Schoen and Patrick Caddell penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, urging the president to step down for the good of his party and support a Hillary Clinton presidential bid in 2012.

“Put simply,” they wrote, “it seems that the White House has concluded that if the president cannot run on his record, he will need to wage the most negative campaign in history to stand any chance.”

GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama slammed Obama in a Fox News appearance on Monday, after the supercommittee admitted it was deadlocked.

“The commander in chief is absent from battle,” said Sessions. “He should be leading in this.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney fired back at lawmakers, however.

He said they should quit “pointing fingers” and fulfill their responsibilities.


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