CAN CHRIS MATTHEWS HANDLE REAL HARDBALL?
by Steve Young
Steve Young columns
News Item: A Pennsylvania Democratic party leader says MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews may be considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2010.
please tell me you're kidding. I know you're a Philly guy, but that doesn't mean you need to run for public office to prove it. Eat a cheesesteak. Root for the Eagles. March with the Mummers. But run for the Senate? Puh-lezze. Philly loves the Phil's all-star second baseman, Chase Utely, but it's not like voters want him hitting legislation out of the box and that's not counting how many Democratic Pirates fans would be lining up to join the Specter team.
You run against Arlen Specter and the Right will eat you up alive. The Left will chew up the leftovers carcass. When you have Sean Hannity and The Daily Kos on the same side you know your political foothold is about as solid as quicksand.
As you are a card carrying member of TV's Lords of the Loud, might I ask, who is your constituency? Hardball fans? Half your audience tunes in so they make sure they don't miss Countdown. Moderates? When were you ever moderate? The fact that you've taken passionate potshots at both Democrats and Republicans doesn't make you objective and evenhanded any more than it makes Bill O'Reilly fair and balanced. Chris, it doesn't matter where you started, you're no more a Pennsylvania personality today than Bob Saget.
Arlen's ad budget would be as small as the bulls eye you've painted on your back is big. Do you have any idea of the reams of video and soundbites you've produced over the years that your opposition can edit into devastating 30 or 60 second spots that will make you look, well, look like a big mouth talk show host? Think your primary opponent won't dip into the Hardball archive?
How about the Dems who came out in droves to elect Barack Obama? Think they'll remember any of these gems?
On Barack Obama's discomfort with regular, white people:
"(Obama) can't walk into a diner with five or six guys there, white guys, in some cases."
On Obama's patriotism:
"...a gut sense of Americanism is a hard thing for someone like Barack Obama, as sophisticated as he is ... to express." And what seemed to be your belief that Obama's dearth of patriotism was so low that his VP choice be "[s]omeone who's palpably patriotic."
Think Bill C will headline your campaign dinner? Not if he remembers, "We're stuck in Iraq; 4,000 people are dead now because of decisions made by politicians like the Clintons."
I'm sure the Hillary supporter will be climbing aboard the Matthews "Tact" Express:
"It's almost like she's the Al Sharpton of white people"
How about the women voter? They'll be jumping on the Matthews' bandwagon, right? Wrong. Not when the Specter campaign plays your in depth analysis of the depth of the female, political intellect. "[W]omen are low-hanging fruit."
African Americans? What was that you asked the Washington Posts' Gene Robinson about Obama's debate performance? Oh, yeah. "Did it surprise you that (Obama) was so un-ethnic tonight?" Yup. That'll wrap up North Philly for you.
Sports fans? Arlen shows up every Monday morning on Philly sports radio to analyze the Eagles latest fumble. You want to dish with a morning sports zoo every week?
And I'm sure the Republicans will love that you "felt this thrill going up my leg" -- or that you "teared up" -- when Obama spoke.
Above all, Chris, it will be your core -- the Democrats and Independents -- who will look forward to getting behind the same type of fearless and staunch opposition you exuded as you courageously stood up to the Bush Administration's march to war - telling your viewers that the invasion was "brilliantly put together...a dazzling success" (March 26, 2003); that you thought "it achieves our political as well as our military ends, which is to try to begin to put a foothold in that part of the world for democracy and some kind of reasonable level of moderate government and reasonably disposed positively to us" (March 28). How about on March 25 where you compared Bush and Blair to Roosevelt and Churchill, or March 24 when you went all giddy over Rumsfeld: "This is a war of great strategy, and Rummy impresses the
hell out of me all the time -- every time I see him I go this guy's got something deep inside his brain we didn't even know about."
But you saved the best of your fourth estate responsibility to question the powers to be when you melted down into a puddle of goo as Bush
landed on the aircraft carrier a few weeks later for his "Mission Accomplished" speech, comparing Bush's "amazing display of leadership"
to Reagan, while replaying again and again the video of Bush strutting in his flight suit: "Women like a guy who's president. Check it
out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president."
You don't think the Specter and anyone outside of MSNBC won't be having pre-victory-over-you party in the editing room putting those clips into hours of anti-you commercials.
Chris, for your own self-esteem and any Democratic hopes of pulling the seat from a pretty popular incumbent. Stick with MSNBC. Give some other Democrat a chance of losing to Arlen.
Award-winning TV writer and author of Great Failures of the Extremely Successful, Steve Young was an original talk show host at L.A.'s KTLK and blogs at steveyoungonpolitics.com
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Albion Monitor December
5, 2008 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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