HARDHEADED ON HARDBALL…. During last year’s presidential campaign, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews had some annoying habits. Particularly when it came to sizing up Barack Obama, the “Hardball” host repeatedly questioned whether the candidate was disconnected from regular ol’ America.

For example, Obama ordered orange juice in a Pennsylvania diner, and Matthews complained ad nauseum — real Americans order coffee at a diner, not o.j. When Obama demonstrated poor bowling skills, Matthews whined incessantly about Obama’s alleged difficulties in making a “regular connection.”

By April, Matthews argued on the air that Obama’s appeal may be limited to “people who come from the African-American community and from the people who have college or advanced degrees,” but not with “regular people.” It was an observation that was offensive on multiple levels.

And yesterday, the MSNBC host re-embraced the talk that made “Hardball” largely unwatchable for most of the campaign. “President Obama has his chin out on just about every hot issue out there,” Matthews told viewers, adding, “Health care. Terror trials. Job losses…. Is he just too darned intellectual? Too much the egghead? Why did he bow to that Japanese emperor? Why did he pick Tim Geithner to be his economic front-man? Why all this dithering over Afghanistan? And who thought it was a wonderful idea to bring the killers of 9/11 to New York City, the media capital of the world, so they could tell their story?”

Remember, when conservatives attack MSNBC as in the tank for the administration, they count Matthews as a liberal partisan.

It’s a challenge to respond to this nonsense quickly; Matthews said a lot of dumb things in a short period of time. But it’s worth noting that Obama isn’t “leading with his chin”; he’s tackling the issues in front of him. That’s what presidents do. Obama bowed to the Japanese emperor as a matter of protocol, and no one cares except the media establishment. Obama isn’t “dithering” — though it’s good to know Chris Matthews is willing to read directly from Dick Cheney’s script — he’s crafting a forward-thinking U.S. policy, which is what Bush/Cheney should have done a long time ago.

And Khalid Sheikh Mohammed isn’t being invited to NYC for story-telling — he’ll be on trial for mass murder.

As for the general nonsense about “eggheads,” anti-intellectualism, alas, remains alive and well.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.