Last night, after watching the wonderful movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel again, this time at home, we were getting ready for bed and I made my "media check" on the progress of the lawsuit against the president. There was one fragment of news based on an interview with Chris Matthews, responding to the question, "why is the popularity of the president so low, at 39 percent?"
Incredibly, Matthews said the polls rank the president so low because of his failure to give the American people something to do. I guess he's thinking of the President as national Scout Master.
Matthews, the author of a fine biography of John F. Kennedy, says that a lot of the blame with Obama's low poll ratings, rests with the president and his failure to "reach out" to the other side, the GOP. Incredibly, Matthews went on to say that the President doesn't socialize with the opposition, arguing that there's no late night phone calls from Obama to leaders on the other side.
This, in a word, is the worst kind of bullshit, the worst form of media nonsense. But it's the kind of bullshit that American media too often engage in.
One of the most startling pieces of news in the past decade about the American public and politics is that the public is not polarized around the central issues of today: from immigration reform, to health reform, to the national defense, or to getting out of Iraq.
The book that first opened my eyes to this startling insight was the 2005 book, Culture War: the Myth of a Polarized America by Morris Fiorina, Samuel J. Abrams and Jeremy Pope.
A recent article by Eric Boehlert, in Media Matters, repeats this crucial insight into our politics.