MATTHEWS STILL DOESN’T GET IT…. On “Hardball” yesterday, New York writer John Heilemann noted that President Obama and his health care reform effort have come under fire from “the Democratic left.” Host Chris Matthews was dismissive of the critics:
“I don’t consider them Democrats. I consider them netroots, and they’re different. If I see that they vote in every election or most elections, I’ll be worried. But I’m not sure they’re regular, grown-up Democrats. I think a lot of those people are troublemakers who love to sit in the back seat and complain. They’re not interested in governing this country. They never ran for office, they’re not interested in working for somebody in public office. They get their giggles out of sitting in the back seat and bitching.”
Whether Matthews likes the netroots or not is of no real consequence, but it’s probably worth taking a moment to highlight some of the flaws in his thinking.
For example, arguably the highest profile Democratic detractor on health care is Howard Dean, who’s “run for office” many times, including having served five terms as a governor. There are plenty of other netroots voices who’ve also sought elected office. Similarly, there are plenty of bloggers and blog readers who have ample experience “working for somebody in public office.” Former Hill staffers and campaign aides are a staple of the community. Matthews is condemning a group he knows very little about.
Just as important, though, it’s striking to hear Matthews condemn those who “sit in the back seat and complain.” The last time I checked, Matthews receives several million dollars a year to do exactly that.
I get the impression that Matthews, even now, considers media professionals who publish political commentary and analysis online to be pajama-wearing, basement-dwelling amateurs — who apparently don’t vote, aren’t “grown up,” and have no background in professional politics.
It’s nearly 2010. Shouldn’t we be past this by now?