Matthews for the Senate? A small rant ... Posted by: McQ
on Monday, July 28, 2008
It is just hard anymore to find a good article full of juicy quotes that allows you at least a tiny bit of fisking, but this article about Chris Matthews possibly running for the Senate provided a nice bit of blog fodder.
First, just imagine Chris Matthews in political office. Other than Al Franken I can't think of a less qualified guy. Well, except for Barack Obama, but hey, this is about Congress where you have to work exceedingly hard to be less qualified than say Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. But listening to Matthews for years has given me the impression that somehow he is.
"I have a point of view about things. ... I have an attitude," the host of MSNBC's "Hardball" [says].
So does Dennis Kucinich, but even Kucinich doesn't get a thrill up his leg when some politician speaks. And having an attitude and point of view matches about, oh, I don't know, 300 million other Americans.
So putting those rather common assets aside, what else does Matthews bring to the table?
"We need leadership in this country to solve the problems of the mayors here, which are really the nation's problems," Matthews says later in a brief interview.
See, here's a perfect example - the 'country' doesn't need 'leadership' to solve the problems of 'mayors'. Cities need leadership in the guise of their mayors to solve their own problems.
Matthews, of course, would nationalize those problems in order to gain access to money to assuage them. The old "moral hazard" problem Lance wrote about lately.
And Matthews is not at all atypical of many, many Congressmen and women today. A local problem is always a 'national' problem, or at least they try to make it one. It is, truly, an ideological thing. But more than that, it is an employment ploy of the oldest stripe. Hand out the goodies and always have friends - powerful friends.
Instead of insisting that problems be solved at the lowest level possible (good governance), they insist on elevating all local problems to national ones because that is where their power lies. It seems to be the nature of politics today. And, of course, they only have one thing they seem to be able to do to 'fix' anything - throw money at it. That's what, in reality, political wannabes like Matthews mean by "leadership".
Atlanta is presently shutting down fire stations because it doesn't have the money to keep them open. The mayor is forced to make 26 million in cuts. Do you know why she is having to make cuts? Because, unlike the federal government, she can't print money. So like the rest of us poor schlubs, she has to run the city on the money which she takes in.
That concept is totally lost on the likes of Matthews. He wants to 'fix' the 'problems' that 'mayors' are facing - and we know what that fix would be.
That brings us to the most terrifying quote of the entire article:
"Did you ever want to be something your whole life?" he asked host Stephen Colbert. "When you grow up, some kids wanted to be a fireman. I wanted to be a senator."
People who say things like that should scare you to death. Anyone who has had the lifelong desire to hold national office should be disappointed as often as possible.
I'm not talking about someone who says they want to be president when they're twelve. Instead I'm talking about the Clinton-style single-minded pursuit of higher national office. A career in national politics. In my estimation, regardless of the ideological side they come from, those that are career politicians are the least trustworthy and most dangerous creatures on God's green earth.
There is a certain ego and certain personality type that seems to gravitate toward that goal, and I've yet to see one of them I thought was worth much. And, in my estimation, that is because the real goal of their pursuit of office is the amassing of power and the trappings of power. It is an aphrodisiac to career politician types which cannot be ignored, an addiction that cannot be broken. And once safely ensconced in the cocoon of the beltway they are forever hooked on doing whatever it takes to stay there.
As a consequence of that and the fact that the system runs on seniority, which is, essentially, nothing more than outliving your rivals, we get "leadership" like Hastert, Pelosi and Reid. Can you imagine a Sen. Matthews being any different at all?
"It's a big part of my life, public service," he said. "It's clear that my heart is with politicians. I respect them, I look up to them."
"He also loves politics, and I think the idea of being a U.S. senator is one of the most romantic things he can think about, so he's got to make a tough decision."
He would, of course, run against Arlen Specter, who, I think, is eminently beatable (and pretty much fits the profile I just laid on Matthews in my book, just not as flamboyantly). In terms of positions, many believe Specter, a more liberal Republican, and Matthews, who many see as a conservative Democrat, wouldn't be that far apart.
Eh, I don't see that. I think old "thrill up his leg" Matthews would become a party dog in the worst sense, putting loyalty to party leadership above all else. And that, of course, is precisely the type of guy any party would love to have sitting in a Congressional seat and every Congressional constituent should ensure never gets a chance to do that..
Would Matthews be able to pull it off? That's an pretty big unknown too:
A Senate run would demand discipline, said Chris Borick, a political analyst at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.
"It would be interesting to see if he could control himself under the spotlight of a senatorial campaign," Borick said.
Can you imagine Matthews controlling his mouth long enough to get through an election process?
Yeah, I can't either.
And thus endeth the optional Monday rant about nothing in particular and certainly nothing earth shattering or important. It's just that Chis Matthews irks me, and I figured I'd work on that today.
I doubt that Specter will run again (and he is a fool if he does). He has had at leas one operation on his brain and is battling cancer. Go home and see the grandkids before they think of you as an asterisk.
Besides, Chris’ brother, Jim Matthews ran for Lt. Gov (with Lynn Swann) as a Republican.
I just hope that Obama doesn’t want or get Ed Rendell for VP .. not because I like "Eddie" but because the Lt. Governor, Catherine Baker Knoll, is a nut job of the 1st order (who is just slightly better than former Treasurer Barbara Hafer, a total wack job).
Great piece, McQ. I also share your view of anyone for whom political office has been a long term goal. The lust for power becomes an obsession and results in the politician being willing to do almost anything to keep, or increase, his power.
I like President Reagan’s response to why he ran for office. "I was a citizen politician and it (running for office to help the state of CA and the country) seemed like the right thing for a citizen to do.