Another Hardball Hangover
I know I shouldn’t do it and every time I do, I hate myself in the morning. I watched Hardball with Chris Matthews again and in addition to his continued selling of Hillary Clinton as the Democrats choice in ’08 and the right wing slant of his guests, he is so insulated in his DC bubble (the one where the fat cats live, not the other DC) that everything he says has a deep and profound irrelevance. I guess he thought he was breaking news when he brought up a poll showing that average Americans don’t agree with Wall Street that the economy is doing great. It’s hilarious to see rich people who are making money hand over fist and getting tax breaks to boot, get news that the serfs aren’t happy supplementing their lifestyles. Especially when those same folks are filling up our television screens trying to tell us how we feel about the candidates we have to choose from and the issues of the day. Of course the economy is going gangbusters if you’re rich, but if you actually work for a living, things aren’t looking so good. Wages for most of us are stagnant while prices continue to rise, healthcare costs eat into our disposable incomes and higher education for our children is becoming a luxury fewer and fewer can afford. The only ones surprised by this “bombshell” were those in front of the camera on Hardball. I’m sure the crew working on the set could have clued Chris in on the reality of our economy long ago, had he cared enough to ask.
Media Matters has been dissecting the right slant of Mr. Matthews for a long time, even honoring him with the 2005 Misinformer of the Year award, quite a feat considering Bill O’Reilly is still performing his shtick over at Fox News five nights a week. Not only does Matthews openly express his manlove for Bush on a regular basis (declaring Bush should be on Mt. Rushmore should his plans to democratize the Middle East succeed, that only lefty wingnuts don’t like the President and even going so far as to compare Bush to Atticus Finch), but he has consistently favored conservative guests and always seems to find the bright side of Bush wrongdoing. Receiving a paycheck from handed down from GE has clearly moved his political leanings farther to the right, and news today that he has been receiving unknown amounts of money for speaking engagements to conservative groups may be another reason for his right turn. Hopefully this revelation will clue his viewers in on his utter lack of objectivity.
But beyond his conservative slant and his Friday roundup of political news featuring the “balanced” views of Joe Scarborough (former Republican congressman from Florida), Tucker Carlson (long time Republican talking head propped up by his bowtie) and Rita Cosby (formerly of Fox News and better qualified to illicit tears from grieving parents for higher ratings than political analysis), is his ineptitude in recognizing the mood of the country. In this he is not alone though. As the salaries of journalists and pundits have propelled them into the elite social strata of the politicians they are supposed to cover, they have joined the tone deaf, out of touch and insulated world of Washington DC. Matthews no doubt was surprised to hear that average Americans aren’t benefiting from Bush domestic policy, which is understandable on a personal level since he is clearly rolling in cash due to tax cuts for his income bracket, but as a political watcher and pundit, there is no excuse for not making the connection between tax cuts for the rich and the rich getting richer. Logic should tell him that the money moving up the ladder must come from somewhere down below.
Without the objectivity to present the political news of the day in an unbiased way and lacking any understanding of how the average voter feels about kitchen table issues, anything Chris Matthews says on his show regarding candidates running for re-election this fall or running for President in ’08 is useless. He, along with a whole host of other political hosts, is trying to force Hillary Clinton down our throats as the candidate of choice for the Democrats. Given Matthews’ slant, Democrats should recognize that Hillary is the candidate the Republicans want to run against making her the candidate we should run from as fast as possible. I’m with Molly Ivans on this one, Hillary will be the death knell of the Democratic Party should she get the nomination and I, for one, will do everything I can to help sink her early.
Hillary Clinton has nothing to offer other than her stockpiles of cash. She is a divisive figure and she has too much baggage when it comes to her position on the war. If Hillary is the candidate in ’08, we will only see a repeat of the ’04 election except she won’t pull as many votes as John Kerry did because Bush won’t be on the ballot. If the Republicans put up a religious right nut, Hillary may be able to squeak by, but if they put up a McCain or a Giuliani, she hasn’t got a chance. On the other hand, if the Democrats put up someone like Russ Feingold, who’s got a great record that the base will love and credibility on the war he voted against, the Democrats can pull off a convincing win that will reflect the mood of the country. We can’t be suckered into the “frontrunner” crap that Chris Matthews and crew are trying to sell us. They get their money from the right, not the left, making it quite clear where their loyalties lie and what their agenda really is.