Fareed Zakaria has let it slip in the past that he regularly talks (even consults) with President Obama (although he changed his characterization of those conversations after the fact). So maybe it should come as no surprise that he took to the airwaves yesterday to chastise those liberals who have recently taken to criticizing the president.
"Over the last week, liberal politicians and commentators in America took to the air waves and OpEd pages to criticize the debt deal that Congress reached," Zakaria explained on his CNN program. "But their ire was directed not at the Tea Party or even the Republicans, but rather at Barack Obama, who, they concluded, had failed as a president because of his persistent tendency to compromise. This has been a running theme ever since Obama took office."
He continued, pointing out that the president can's solve problems by simply giving moving speeches:
I think that liberals need to grow up. As "The New Republic's" Jonathan Chait brilliantly points out, there is a recurring liberal fantasy that if only the president of the United States would give a stirring speech, he would sweep the country along with the sheer power of his poetry and enact his agenda.
According to Zakaria, "Obama is a centrist and a pragmatist who understands that in a country divided over core issues, you cannot make the best the enemy of the good."
Translation: Obama did the best he could with the cards he was dealt, and critical liberals need to back off and be happy.
You can watch Zakaria deliver the remarks below:
Zakari's comments, however, have stirred quite the debate. Over at NewsBusters, Noel Sheppard thinks it's a joke to suggest that the president is bearing the brunt of the criticism:
Exactly what news outlets does Zakaria frequent if he believes the ire of liberal politicians and commentators last week "was directed not at the Tea Party or even the Republicans?"
From the moment stocks began declining after the debt ceiling was raised, the blame has all gone to the Tea Party and the GOP.
Did Zakaria somehow miss all the left-wing talk about the Tea Party Downgrade? Is this man completely oblivious to what happens around him, or does he believe much like New York Times columnist Paul Krugman that there should have been absolutely no reporting of conservative views concerning the debt ceiling?
Beyond that, Zakaria also believes any of the left's criticism stems from the narrative that paints Obama as "messiah." Anything less of perfection and miraculous, then, spells disappointment:
Maybe this "recurring liberal fantasy" was fostered by folks like Zakaria that presented Barack Obama to the American people as a messiah. If the public has a Hollywood-like view of this president, it's because the media put him on a pedestal like nobody before him.
It is therefore quite hypocritical of Zakaria to scold citizens for behaving exactly the way he and his colleagues trained them to.
Tommy Christopher at Mediaite, who admits he's a liberal, explains that the left has cause to be upset, and it doesn't have to do with a Messiah complex:
It’s true that liberals have been too hard on President Obama at times, but not out of some magical belief in his powers. Many were disappointed that health care reform didn’t include a public option, or that the President didn’t pass a larger, less tax cut-heavy stimulus package, when he had control of both houses of Congress. A lot of us blamed weak “conservadems” for undercutting stronger measures, but as President of the United States, Barack Obama should have been able to heel those blue dogs.
It wasn’t his silver tongue that we expected to save the day, but rather, the overwhelming public support for his position, and the near-universal agreement that the threat of a default was unacceptable. Instead, they got the Bad Haggler-in-Chief.
Christopher doesn't hold back in his conclusion: "The Tea Party, and the Republicans, will rightly take heat for having put a gun to the head of the US economy, but liberal angst at the President has to do with the fact that he negotiated a resolution that allowed them to shoot each hostage in the leg."
Don't tell Zakaria.