Saturday, October 09, 2004

Watching the Debates with Chris Matthews

Why do I continue to watch Chris Matthews on MSNBC? I suspect it’s because I want to see the moment live when Chris finally slips into a full-blown testosterone-induced psychotic break. (Hide the pointy objects.)

Watching Chris provide instant analysis of the debates is like watching a serial killer on the couch talk about his daddy.

Like much of America (the part that scares me), Chris speaks from the gonads rather than the brain. Instead of an authentic blow-by-blow account, round by round, as MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann does with his liveblogging, mixing style points with the content points, Chris cares only about strength versus weakness -- Who’s your Daddy? Who strutted the most? Who shouted loudest? Who threw the best manly punch?

The only damper on Chris during the first debate was that Bush’s arrogant performance made it harder for him to fall in love with Bush (as he does again and again). But within seconds after the vice-presidential debate ended, Chris made it clear that Darth Vader had won handily by bitch-slapping the Breck girl.

The meaner Cheney got, the more Chris “respected” him. I cringe watching the tortured Mr. Matthews play out the psychodrama of his upbringing, where his Catholic guilt and his undoubtedly anguished relationship with father obviously set the stage for his adult love/hate of all male authority figures.

But just about the time I feel sorry for Chris for exposing himself like this on TV (and it's clear he worries a lot that his is smaller), I remember that he surrounds himself with men on the panel by choice.

Last night, Chris sparred with “objective analysts” like Ben Ginsburg, Pat Buchanan, and Ron Silver. (Can you imagine having dinner with that crew?) For hours, the only woman on screen was Andrea Mitchell, normally a competent woman who begins to stutter uncontrollably like a domestic violence victim waiting for Chris to assault her whenever she opens her mouth.

Apparently, Chris’ idea of a fair, balanced, and complete panel consists of a succession of male Republican hacks and one lone female reporter. Does Chris really believe that Andrea somehow represents both gender balance and a voice for the left? How many Lefties do you know who get the hots for Allen Greenspan? (Andrea's married to him.:

Speaking of looks on a person’s face, I saw Matthews go blank when another woman reporter said that Bush wasn’t manly but rude when he shut down Charley Gibson. Shouting, cutting off anyone who challenges you, these are the reasons Bush is dangerous, not reasons to revere him.

I watch Matthews and his fellow phallus worshippers in the same way I watch the hurricanes that periodically threaten our coast – because it is important to keep an eye on them in case you have to evacuate. Canada O Canada.

3 comments: said...

Bush did quite well. Bush did well defending and explaining his position on everything from the environment to homeland security. Certainly an improvement from his performance at the first debate. He did seem, though, to have a uncomfort in his jaw. I realize that's me just being picky. He came across "cool" too. Not that cocky attitude that was on display last week. Good for him. You know what he believes in and he doesn't pander. I think Bush could've done a better job answering the final question about his mistakes. He should've been better prepared for that one.

Kerry, as expected, seemed comfortable [he's done plenty of these townhall meets] some of the time and stiff at other times. Surprisingly [he's been trained well], Kerry actually put some zest behind some of what he talked about. Still on certain questions he insisted that he "respects" a difference in opinion (eg, abortion) to the point that he comes across as pandering in an attempt to attract voters for the sake of doing just that. [Really, really, did you hear Kerry repeatedly say "really"?? Ok, enough, we gotcha Mr. Kerry.] And, that's problematic in that he doesn't seem genuine. Kerry enjoys to hear himself talk, doesn't he?!

Kerry's ongoing problem is that some of his past [eg, votes] doesn't quite gel with some of what he said [and continues to say on the trail]. How do you believe someone who says one thing today, but did/said quite different in the past? Votes in the Senate to cut intel funding, while now he's all for mucho spending. [At one point during this debate, Kerry even admitted that he's going to have to cut back on some of his "favorite programs." As scary as it might seem, it begs the question about how many "favorite programs" he really has. Yikes. $$$$]

Yes, different circumstances, and yes things aren't always cut and dry, but it's still not clear who Kerry is and what he stands for. Kerry says things now, portraying himself as a moderate, but his nearly 20 years in the Senate clearly shows a different man. Hysterical how Kerry tries to wiggle out of it by complaining about how we shouldn't "label." Yah, but all your leftist surrogates can label your opponent, Senator? [Senator, in all fairness, you did refer to Bush as the "compassionate conservative" and mocked it.]

Wasn't it the nonpartisan National Journal that, after going through Kerry's voting record, placed the Senator left of the ideological center? If that's who he was for so long, how can it be that he's changed just in time for the presidential elections? Or, should we simply ignore Mr Kerry's voting record and fall for whatever he shovels our way?

Overall, no low blows or gaffes. Bush, 2; Kerry, 1.

jeff said...

The first commenter to this post shows the dangers of getting your information from Bush himself and campaign commercials. The commenter talks of Kerry's votes, but only mentions some vague thing about voting for cuts in Intelligence Funding (notice how the commenter doesn't even mention when this vote was made, or what alternative proposal Kerry had to offer). Kerry does stand for something, and if you listen to him, it's easy to pick out. He approves of the War on Terror, but not the way Bush is fighting it. He approves of the Patriot Act, but not the way this administration has implemented it. Unlike Bush, Kerry's eyes are not closed to the reality of people's rights.

Bush wants us to believe that everything is cut-and-dried, that the war on terror can only be fought one way, that the Patriot Act only works one way (I guess if you're not for the Patriot Act, you're not a patriot. Is that how it works?). Bush showed himself last night incapable of admitting making a mistake. He doesn't have to admit to mistakes in Iraq (that's how he steered the question). I would respect the man alot more if he would admit to any mistake! (Appointing the wrong people to posts is not admitting to a mistake, it's passing the buck, saying even his mistakes are someone else's fault.)

Finally, the commenter disses Kerry for "respecting" other people's opinions. Kerry made it clear that it's not the job of the president to define morality for the whole country. Bush would have you think so, whether he's wanting to change the constitution to suit America's homophobes, or forcing America's women to jump through hoops before getting an abortion. (I personally am against abortion in most cases, but don't feel that we should have laws that only apply to women! What sort of unfairness is that?) This "respect" the commenter ridicules is the real difference between the two candidates--Kerry respects people and their opinions, and Bush seems incapable of respecting anyone who disagrees with him.

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Thomas J. Brown said...

Wow, one post and already you've sparked a heated debate. As an award-winning documentary filmmaker, I'd say you're on the path to success. -)

In any case, I like your writing style. Keep us updated on your progress with your docs; I'll definitely be tuning in again.