When Matthews Attacks!

For those of you who weren’t watching MSNBC last night, the above clip is courtesy a bumbling Texas senator, a fortunate Ohio representative, and a Chris Matthews who forgot to take his pills.

As is only logical, the Clinton campaign are sending this out to as many people as will listen.  And why wouldn’t they?  It’s gold.

I only have a few minor problems with it.  I think it was unfair to challenge the guy like that for what was clearly meant to be a fluff piece, but the fact that he was so clueless (this guy is a senator, for god’s sake) kind of overrides my outrage on that point (but not the complete stunned silence that greeted Matthews when the cut from the interview and back to the studio).  My main problem is that Matthews failed to direct the same question towards the Clinton surrogate who was only too happy to play along with what was happening.

Neither candidate has given specifics of their time in the senate — and I mean actual specific information of what they’ve done.  For all the speeches and memos that I’ve heard and read from either side, I couldn’t name anything legislation they’ve worked on.

That said, the Obamaniacs are out in force online today, citing the 152 bills Obama wrote and the 427 bills he co-sponsored in his first year alone.

The funniest moment had to have been when they returned from the interview and, after a second or two of stunned silence from the studio (because it really was a crazy attack), Keith Olbermann said, and I’m paraphrasing, “in his defense, it would be hard to come up any legislation that anyone in the senate has produced in the last seven years.”  And everyone in the studio laughed because, you know, W. has pretty much been bending them over for seven years.

Matthews retorted that questions like that were why it was called “Hardball” (the name of his show), to which Keith responded that this wasn’t Hardball, but the election coverage.

What I find particularly interesting is the implication that came with Matthews challenge.  Up until the point we had seen a shift in rhetoric, from McCain to Obama.  Hillary was no longer a player in their speeches.  Over the course of the night it was become more and more clear that she was being written out of this particular story.

Matthews’ challenge wasn’t a primary challenge, it was a general election challenge.  He even went so far as to say afterwards that Obama needs to be vetted (update: re-thinking, I think Matthews was actually referring to the esteemed senator from Texas, who clearly hadn’t been vetted all too well, but I stand my thoughts on the implications of the question), but that kind of vetting is usually reserved for the more contentious presidential election, not a primary that must maintain some semblence of party unity.

I’ll also be really interested to see what kind of legs this thing has.  There’s a debate Thursday night and gut instinct would be to say that Clinton will bring this up.  The problem, however, is that Obama would surely be ready for it, and after defending his experience in the senate he could then turn on hers, which is current book ended by voting for the Iraq war and not voting at all on the FISA issue.  I don’t think she wants to head down that road.

At this point, however, I don’t know what other choice she has in the matter.

2 thoughts on “When Matthews Attacks!

  1. I was actually watching this. I was cringe-inducing. Geez, you’d think that you’d at least have a couple of legislative accomplishments in your back pocket, given that this has been the main attack on Obama. Funny thing, MSNBC ran hour-long profiles of the candidates last night. Watson could have used some help.

  2. Watson actually posted on his blog the next day that he just completely blanked. He said he wasn’t expecting that question and his mind just shut down, even though he knows the extent of Obama’s legislative accomplishments. His blog was actually pretty funny — very self-deprecating.

    The more I think about it, the more I think that it was an attack on Watson himself. Matthews covers politics, so it’s not like HE doesn’t know what Obama has done in the senate.

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