Hardball host and syndicated columnist Matthews (Kennedy and Nixon, 1996, etc.) serves up another helping of his political pronouncements.
For this author, our unique American attitude and the distance ordinary people feel from educated elites is best defined by a statement he heard from citizen-philosopher Sergeant Leroy Taylor: “The little man loves his country, Chris, because it’s all he’s got.” Though he began in the capital as a speechwriter, then graduated to being a .38-toting US Capitol officer, Matthews shares this average-Joe perspective. Weighing the events of the last presidential election (musings already brown-edged by recent horrific events that have put all thought of who actually got the electoral college majority into the trash barrel), he believes Bush won the election, despite the pundits who thought Gore prevailed in the third debate, because ordinary people saw Bush as “a man with the sun in his face” (like Reagan and Kennedy) and not a desk-jockey bound to the Oval Office like Gore. Even so, he says here that Gore will run again (“because it is the one, the only thing he wants to do in life”), while Bush has no “apparent national mission” or “quickening rhythm” and runs “a presidency without parades.” Matthews detests—well, has a problem with—Bill Clinton because our boomer-generation Chief Executive had no “anti-Communist fervor, and none of the awe for the presidency which he found so easy to win and to abuse.” The wisemouthery doesn’t always make sense, but Matthews is on firm ground describing the recent unveiling of a statue to FDR, calling it a mistake that conveys little sense of the hope he brought to the country: FDR’s real monument, the pundit asserts, is “the Social Security system that he insisted be financed by workers and employers alike.” Matthews hits home most strongly describing his travels and the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
Pretty much what you’d expect, but Matthews has a locked-in readership.