Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Chris Matthews should know his road to the Senate has a lot of pitfalls

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Originally published on on Fri, 12/05/2008 – 10:55am

The tom-toms are beating, the speculation is rising. The MSM, always desperate for a star political candidate, has turned to its own for the latest speculation: will Chris Matthews run for Arlen Specter’s Senate seat in 2010?

The fuel on this speculation also has to do with the fact that Matthews’ contract with NBC/MSNBC expires in June. So all this may be a contract ploy?

There has even been a poll taken on what a Matthews/Specter battle would look like right now, 23 months before an election.

But true to form, the MSM’s dance forgets one key point: Specter may not be the dance partner even if Matthews joins in the hunt.

If you have forgotten the name Pat Toomey, you will be forgiven. If you know who Toomey is, you know the GOP side is still very much in the air.

Toomey, president of the anti-tax Club for Growth, ran against Specter with fervor in the GOP primary in 2004, and came very close to defeating the incumbent Senator. As much as the Democrats feel like this seat should be in their column, conservative Republicans have been charging after Specter for not being, well, conservative enough.

And Toomey has to think his chances are even better, given Specter’s health problems in the last 6 years and the fact that he will be 80 in 2010.

Matthews, a carpetbagger at best, should know that Pennsylvania Democrats have been thirsting for that seat for some time. If he takes the plunge, there is a real possibility he may not be the Democratic nominee.

Three names that have been mentioned are U.S. House members Joe Sestak and Allyson Y. Schwartz (a 2000 Senate candidate) as well as state Rep. Josh Shapiro. David Sirota mentioned former Rep. Joe Hoeffel as a possibility.

I don’t think this is a ploy to get more money from NBC. I do think Matthews is serious in his interest in serving in political office. Matthews did run for the House seat in Pennsylvania’s 4th district in 1974, losing to the incumbent in the primary, receiving about 23% of the vote. But if Matthews were to win, he’d be 65 years old when he took office to be the very junior Senator from Pennsylvania. How much could he really get done?

I could pull up numerous Matthews faux pas that could endanger his chances of pulling off a victory. Then again, Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t exactly pro-women in some of the things he said and he got elected governor.

But the video that might make some think twice about Matthews is his classic interview with Jon Stewart. Books written by the candidate (especially if they are actually written by the candidate — i.e., Barack Obama) do reflect on the philosophy one would bring to political office. The way Stewart trashed Matthews’ philosophy of life (but not his book) still lingers, and would be a constant reminder if Matthews took the plunge.

Yes, Chris Matthews vs. Arlen Specter would make the MSM very happy, but politics is more than just a cool race to pump up a few points in the ratings. The Democrats have made huge strides in the Keystone State, winning the governor’s chair as well as the other Senate seat. It wasn’t very long ago (2002) when the GOP held the governor’s post as well as both U.S. Senators. If the Democrats win Specter’s seat, they will have a clean sweep. This is a serious race, and if Matthews is going to join the crowd, he better be ready for whatever comes.


Written by democracysoup

December 5, 2008 at 10:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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