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The Spin Starts Here

Posted on November 4 2009 4:14 pm
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chris matthews

The Dems are spinning so hard today that the earth may be in danger of flying off its axis.  Some of the intellectual chaos they have generated was on display this afternoon on Chris Matthews’ “Hardball.”

Admittedly, being on the Matthews’ show is a challenge for guests, who have to struggle to get a word in edgewise as the hyperkinetic host asks questions and immediately answers them himself and generally acts less like an interviewer than someone on sodium pentatol.

But a few attempts at explaining last night’s Democratic debacle got past Matthews’ logorrhea and all of them were calculated to protect St. Obama from blame. Democratic Party  hack Steve McMahon contradicted himself at least twice every sentence when he said the lesson of the election was that the Republicans who won in Virginia and New Jersey were non ideological but also that Republicans were becoming a “white male Southern party” taken over by the “far right”; that the voters were concerned about the economy and other problems but also that the Republican sweep was “anti incumbent rather than anti Obama.”

Next came Chuck Todd, more knowledgeable than Matthews, although allowed to speak fewer words.  His message was that the White House knew that it was implicated in the vote.  In fact it had acted admirably in deciding to “own” the results in Virginia and New Jersey.  And, as David Axelrod had told Todd, it couldn’t let politics continue to be local in 2010 but rather had to move quickly to “nationalize” next year’s elections—that is, make them about Obama with Obama as the central player.  Then people would presumably respond as they had in 2008—with an outpouring of robotic adulation and the Dems would be okay.  But can the President go back to the well with a message of “change,” when the changes he has made so far have been so disastrous?  Can he really re-use last year’s hope-a-dope strategy again when the people are so much sadder and wiser?  Matthews didn’t ask and Todd didn’t say.  No one wants to disturb the white noise of vanity inside the Obama cocoon.

The New York Observer’s Chuck Kornacki even offered a “silver lining” from last night’s louring clouds.  The results really represented a potential failure for Republicans, he suggested, because they would now be lulled into a false sense of well being and fail to deal with internal conflicts that will prevent them from redefining their tarnished identify.  The results in Virginia and New Jersey were caused by a poor economy, not a poor president, and if/when the economy comes “roaring back” in 2012 the Repubicans would still be taboo and Democrats still sitting pretty.

Matthews should have handed each of his guests Occam’s Razor.  Instead, he ended the show by putting  on a Phillies cap and endorsing Pedro Martinez for tonight’s game, even though “Petey” has admitted that the Yankees are his Daddy,  just as — for one election evening any how–the Republicans are clearly the Daddies of the Dems.  No other explanation required.

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