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MeToo Plays Hardball

I will miss Chris Matthews. Maybe some attractive women invited to go on the show to comment won’t. The MeToo movement is expanding like a Red Giant, consuming anything in it’s path at least in the newsrooms of NBC. It is insane to think his sort of low level, infrequent flirting was some sinister menace. Political junkies, male and female, are worse off for it.

There is something particularly poignant about him missing the comeback on Super Tuesday of the most Matthewsian candidate, Joe Biden.

Matthews’ autobiography Hardball aged well. His account of working for Tip O’Neill is one of the best memoirs by a political staffer…a better one does not come to mind. Matthews brought a certain savoir faire for the political game and authentic energy to the broadcast that is sadly absent in most of his replacements. How many of them love the political trail? Are aware of, much less experts on, the rivalry between Kennedy and Nixon?

Matthews was a regular on the McLaughlin Group when I worked there in the summer of 1991. The panelists like him would swoop in on a Friday and leave just as quickly so I didn’t know him but in my limited experience he was gracious and ready with a chuckle. He appreciated all the interns male & female for having caught an early stage of Potomac Fever.

It seems unlikely that reporters deeply flustered by off-hand, (thoughtless?) compliments on their attractiveness ever will break a big scoop. Is the protest some made against Matthews just cognitive dissonance, that they don’t want to realize that they’re on television mostly because they’re attractive.

Matthews passion for politics was often visceral, even sexual. It was of Obama, not a fetching twentysomething gal, that he most famously gave the most expressly sexually charged evaluation: a thrill up the leg. Is it bombastic to say that Sanders winning Nevada is like France falling? Sure, but something like that was being said in Biden campaign HQs and it captured the moment.

Now Matthews’ moment is gone. And I’ll miss him.

Published inPolitics

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