Matthews Worries About Obama Cabinet: 'Why No Lefties?'

Looks like Chris Matthews is actually disappointed in Barack Obama, but only in the sense that he's worried Obama isn't moving to the left fast enough. Throughout Monday night's "Hardball," after reciting recent appointments like Robert Gates, Jim Jones and yes even Hillary Clinton, Matthews repeatedly asked his guests questions like: "What happened to the victory of change, and I hate to use the phrase, the Left? Who won this election?" and "Why do we have no lefties in this Cabinet?"

Matthews even invited on two "lefties," Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America and David Corn of The Nation, to blast Obama for not going left enough and offered them regular spots on his show to "Keep the guy [Obama] where he ought to be."

A little later in the program, Matthews had on Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg news and Roger Simon of the Politico and fretted about his perception that there weren't enough leftists in the cabinet: "Why no lefties? Why nobody that talks like Barack Obama talked when he got elected?"

The following exchanges occurred on the December 8, edition of "Harball":

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well one thing you, you guys [can] do, for a living, the next year is come on this show and keep the guy where he [Barack Obama] ought to be. He ought to be where he said he was gonna be. Fair enough?




CARPENTER: That's our job, Chris. That's what we're doing tonight.

MATTHEWS: Thank you Tim. Well that's what seems to me a reasonable request that a President be asked to be what he promised to be. And if he is gonna change his politics he ought to-

CARPENTER: Well it's our role to keep him honest, Chris, just like we have to keep you honest.

MATTHEWS: Well you won't be on the show again. I'm just kidding. Thank you very much. That's very true. I'm vulnerable to review as anyone. Thank you David Corn and thank you Tim Carpenter.


MATTHEWS: We're back with Roger Simon and Margaret Carlson, two pals of mine and the topic is politics, and the question is ideology. A lot of people who voted for Barack Obama voted for a shift from what we have. The theme was not just hope, change. Change. And now we've got Senator Clinton who represents the votes supporting the authorization of war in Iraq. Robert Gates, the current Secretary of Defense. And who else? General James Jones as National Security Adviser. What happened to the victory of change, and I hate to use the phrase, the Left? Who won this election?

ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: The guy who won the election is Barack Obama who has promised change by appointing people who know how to get things done. He didn't promise ideology. He didn't promise-

MATTHEWS: Are you saying this because you didn't agree with him?

SIMON: No, no, no. I mean he really, he really, he really-

MATTHEWS: I never thought of you as a, as a lefty. Roger Simon, you're no lefty.

SIMON: I'm a journalist.


SIMON: He really put together, or is putting together a cabinet of people who are gonna accomplish things.


SIMON: He doesn't have an ideological checklist. So the left is mad at him this week, okay...


MATTHEWS: Why do we have no lefties in this cabinet?

MARGARET CARLSON, BLOOMBERG: Because you have pragmatists in the, in the people who will be there.

MATTHEWS: Why no lefties? Why nobody that talks like Barack Obama talked when he got elected?

CARLSON: I don't think Obama talked like a lefty. He talked like a person who wanted to change the things were done.

MATTHEWS: Total difference on fiscal policy. Total difference on tax policy. Total difference on energy policy. And total difference on foreign policy. That's how he beat the Bush party.

CARLSON: The tax and fiscal policies are determined by events. On the war I think he, he still wants to get out of Iraq and he still wants to concentrate on Afghanistan.

MATTHEWS: Has put together a team for change?


SIMON: Are you arguing that Hillary Clinton is some raving moderate now? That, that she is not in the progressive wing of her party?

MATTHEWS: No I'm just going by her foreign policy, which is the same as Bush's.

SIMON: I think her...

CARLSON: Her, her foreign policy will be Obama's foreign policy.

SIMON: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: I'm waiting for change. Anyway thank you Roger Simon, thank you Margaret Carlson.

Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]


Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

MSNBC Hardball MRC/NB News Obama Watch Tim Carpenter Roger Simon David Corn