Heilemann and O'Donnell: Obama Will Demonize Victorious Republicans Just Like Clinton Did

If the Republicans are victorious at the polls next Tuesday, President Obama will demonize them the same way Bill Clinton did after the 1994 midterm elections. 

So said New York magazine's John Heilemann and NBC News's Norah O'Donnell on this weekend's "The Chris Matthews Show" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

NORAH O’DONNELL, NBC: Can you imagine if Obama did what Bill Clinton did in 1994 and 1995, got together with Gingrich on welfare reform, on a balanced budget, on tax cuts creating a lot of people thought were millions of new jobs by them coming together.


O’DONNELL: Imagine if Obama did something like that model, that’s one of the…

MATTHEWS: One of the reasons he can’t do it is the Tea Party has an alternative out there, the counterpunch out there, is the, the left, the Netroots won’t go along with it.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: No, there used to be Blue Dogs, now there’s the Tea Party. That’s the balance in the middle that’s changed. It used to be a conser, there was a budgetary conservative middle of Democrats back in the 90's that Bill Clinton had built his presidency on, really. He was the pro-business, moderate Democrat.

MATTHEWS: Well, you cover the Hill, Norah, what happens?

O’DONNELL: I think you have gridlock. I think you have gridlock, and that it’s more of a Truman sort of model, and that President Obama then runs against sort of this obstructionist Republican Congress led by these evil men like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.

MATTHEWS: That’s pretty depressing for the American people who want solutions, isn’t it?

JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I just people forget that there was another part of the Clinton strategy. Yes, he cooperated with Republicans on certain very big things, but the other part was he demonized them like crazy.

MATTHEWS: This does not look good. This is depressing.

HEILEMANN: He took advantage, he took advantage of Newt Gingrich's extremism to make Republicans look bad. Obama can play that part of the game possibly very effectively.

MATTHEWS: Anybody got any good news?

And the liberal media blame Republicans for the toxic political tone in the nation. 

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