Earlier this week Matt Damon was interviewed by Elle magazine where he went off on President Obama for breaking everyone’s liberal hearts.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who worked for Obama at the grassroots level. One of them said to me, ‘Never again. I will never be fooled again by a politician,’ ” Damon says, his disappointment ringing with a now-familiar tone of wounded idealism. “You know, a one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better.”
I must admit I’ve never really understood this sentiment and perhaps it’s because I was never that caught up with the Obama phenomenon to begin with. I thought he was a better option than John McCain but that’s not even a partisan assessment – it’s mere common sense.
Also, I never believed he was going to transform the world. He just was not about to screw it up as bad as Bush. In the years since his election I have learned to loathe the kind of whiny, petulant “I didn’t get my BaggerVance/Will Smith/ Samuel Jackson President” that you hear from some White liberals. No Matt, it WOULDN’T be better for progressive America to have a one – term president with some ‘balls’ because everything he did would be reversed after his one term. Either way, perhaps Obama heard Matt, or Santa was listening because it would appear that just in time for the Holiday’s President Barack Obama got a brand new set of brass ones delivered early to his banana stocking.
Today the Republicans in the House caved on the payroll tax cut extension. And when I say caved, I mean like Biggie-style curled up in a ball on the floor saying Obama – don’t – hit – me – no – more caved. After huffing and puffing all week John Boehner and the House GOP realized that they were not going to win this fight and gave in to Obama’s demands without so much as an additional rider on the bill. This was an amazing victory for the president of the United States and the kind of thing that Democrats like Matt Damon have been begging to see all through 2011.
Throughout this week the president refused to budge on the tax cut extension telling the House to either accept the senate version of the bill or face the wrath of constituents whose first checks of 2012 would look a lot smaller. It was an amazing bit of political jujitsu for a president that seemed to always bring a knife to a gun fight.
Just over a year ago in a similar situation, Obama completely caved in order to save unemployment benefits and we all saw what happened in the debt negotiations.
This is a dagger 3 pointer for Barry the Bomber. First he showed some fortitude in the face of stiff opposition, second he managed to accomplish something legislatively with bi-partisan support, especially in the Senate. Lastly by extending this debate into the Spring, he will get to position himself as the tax-cutting economy saver right in the thick of the Republican primary process. So perhaps liberals shouldn’t give up on Obama just yet, he might be turning his presidential career around. And speaking of career advice and balls after challenging himself early in his career with roles in films like Good Will Hunting and The Talented Mr. Ripley, Damon’s latest outing is a tepid pay-check grabbing Lifetime special masquerading as a film called “We Bought a Zoo.” Maybe he’s not one to talk.
Dr. Jason Johnson, Politic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at www.drjasonjohnson.com or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson