Sunday, December 28, 2008

Speculation has been rampant that MSNBC host Chris Matthews will seek Republican Sen. Arlen Specter’s seat in Pennsylvania in 2010. But if he runs, he’ll likely face serious heat from liberals over his on-air comments.

The left-wing group Media Matters for America fired an early volley against the “Hardball” host with a lengthy diatribe castigating Matthews for, among other things, expressing admiration for President George W. Bush and ridiculing Democrats.

“Few politicians are as aggressive as Chris Matthews in purporting to speak for average voters — or as quick to declare [liberal] politicians to be out of touch with those voters,” the group’s Web site states. “But there is no real accountability in cable news . . . Should he run for the Senate, however, Matthews might finally have to answer for his dubious track record.”

Included in that “track record” are a number of comments cited by Media Matters:

In 2005, Matthews said of Bush: “I like him. Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left.”

The following year, Matthews referred to Bush as “a wise man.”

When Bush gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003, Matthews lauded his “amazing display of leadership” and said, “He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.”

Later that same day Matthews gushed, “We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical.”

When Bush discussed his “strategy for victory in Iraq” in late 2005, Matthews praised the move and derided Democrats as “carpers and complainers.”

While Matthews has praised Barack Obama at times, he told viewers during the campaign that the candidate’s bowling form was insufficiently “macho,” and asserted that his lack of bowling skill “tells you something about the Democratic Party.”

When Matthews interviewed conservative pundit Ann Coulter and she called former Vice President Al Gore a “total fag,” Matthews said of Coulter, “We’d love to have her back.”

Matthews has also been criticized for his treatment of women. He said the reason Hillary Clinton was a senator and candidate for president "is that her husband messed around." He also said point-black, “I hate her,” and called her “uppity” and a “she-devil.”

He described House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “scary” and said she would “castrate” House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Media Matters opined, “If Matthews does run for the Senate, he may soon discover that Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters share neither his hatred of Hillary Clinton nor his view that Barack Obama is insufficiently ‘macho.’”

The group’s Web site added that Matthews may also find those voters to be “less indulgent of his cheerleading for Bush, his near-constant ridicule of Democrats, and his frequently offensive treatment of women.”

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