Yesterday on MSNBC Chris Matthews lost it in a discussion, aiming his diatribe at Reince Priebus, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Once Matthews got started, he couldn't stop himself, or so it appears. He is a moralist, as so many say about him, and feels strongly (VERY strongly) that the GOP is playing the wrong kind of hard ball in this campaign. Dirty pool is how he apparently sees it, and he is outraged.
Romney's recent remark about no one questioning whether Romney holds a valid birth certificate is, in Chris Matthews' mind, just a thinly veiled (if veiled at all) racist remark aimed at the pleasure of white folks who want justification for their anti-Obama prejudice. And Matthews doesn't like it.
What struck me as I was watching the rerun of the discussion, is the passion with which Matthews speaks. He is expressing his personal views on the matter and speaking straight from the heart. It was refreshing and even moving. In a strange way (many of you may find it perverse, in fact) I had a similar reaction to Congressman Todd Akin's unfortunate remarks about "legitimate" rape and the biological magic he somehow thinks a woman can pull off to block pregnancy in such a situation. Misguided as Akin's remarks were, he nonetheless stuck to them, regardless of pleas from other Republicans that he step aside. Even though these people pleading with him to drop out held equally extreme far right views about abortion in the event of rape, they hid behind their pretend outrage at the inappropriateness of Akin's remarks, saying that he should thus forfeit his position, when in fact they were simply being hypocritical. They didn't want to lose that Republican seat for the State of Missouri and were willing to backtrack on their previously strongly held beliefs if it would keep the Democrats from gaining that Senate seat.
Like Chris Matthews, Akin simply could not bring himself to deny his beliefs. Strange parallel to be sure between the two men and the beliefs they espouse. But somehow I can live with that kind of expression far more easily than listen to the pretenders who claim to hold a belief that is bogus, just to get votes.
I guess we've come a long way from the kind of respectful debates our politicians one held. A long, long way. It all seems so mean spirited now. It sure as heck is no longer a conversation.
'Tis a pity.