During a panel discussion on Wednesday’s broadcast of Morning Joe, conservative pundit Nicolle Wallace made the claim that President Obama sees himself “as a victim” and is as much to blame for Congress’ refusal to govern as House Republicans. She also stated that the President must be listening to a lot of Fox News and conservative talk radio, since he stated that Republicans have labeled his presidency “imperial.” Her reasoning is that nobody ever says that on MSNBC or other networks, failing to realize that Republican lawmakers routinely complain about President Obama’s abuse of power and utilize every single media outlet at their disposal, not just Fox News.
The discussion was centered on President Obama’s recent speech where he stated that he wasn’t going to sit around and wait on a do-nothing Congress to take action on issues such as immigration reform and infrastructure spending. With Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) threatening to file a lawsuit against the President over POTUS’ use of executive orders, the President told House Republicans in plain, unfiltered language, “Sue me.” The Morning Joe panel brought up the speech, as well as the crisis on the border where tens of thousands of children who are in the country illegally are being detained in federal detention centers. The conversation revolved around whether or not the President is in the right to bypass Congress and use his pen wherever he can take action.
With no Joe Scarborough on the panel, it was left to Wallace to denigrate the President and claim that we are only at this place because of his weakness as a leader and his inability to work with Republicans. She knew that she couldn’t claim that Obama is abusing his power, as her former boss, President George W. Bush, issued far more executive orders than President Obama has. Therefore, she just spun it in a way where she made President Obama appear to be a hapless leader who would rather embrace victimhood and is far too concerned about what’s being said about him on Fox News.
Below is video of Wednesday’s segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
Rather than acknowledge that recalcitrant House Republicans forced Obama’s hand, she tried to soft-peddle the GOP’s role in creating the current gridlock on Capitol Hill by playing the ‘both sides do it’ card. Obviously, she knew that she could sell Obama as being completely in the wrong for wanting to finally bypass Congress to get things done, but there was no way she could give the President any credit. Therefore, she declared him as having a victim’s mindset and that his inability to lead has brought on this situation in Washington. At the same time, she actually tried to pass off President George W. Bush as a good example of how to lead on the immigration issue.
Claiming that Obama sees himself as “a victim” plays into a couple of different narratives. One, it plays into the long-running Republican narrative that President Obama was too inexperienced when he was first elected, making him unqualified to lead this country. However, it also plays into a much darker and ugly narrative. Basically, by claiming the President feels he is a victim, it brings up ugly racial stereotypes of African-Americans who feel that they are owed something. This goes along with conservatives complaining about entitlements and people dependent on the government. All of it is a way to use dog whistles to complain about blacks and other minorities in this country.
Wallace, a former communications director for the Bush Administration and a senior advisor to John McCain’s Presidential campaign, knew exactly what she was doing by saying that President Obama thinks he’s a victim. It was obvious and unseemly. Wallace really should be ashamed of herself.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).