Chris Matthews’s Potential Senate Run Sends a Thrill Up Our Leg


Midterm elections clearly pale in comparison to the excitement, drama, and pure spectacle of presidential election years. But one man is giving the political blogosphere hope that the 2010 midterms could be pretty entertaining after all. That man is MSNBC’s endlessly talking head Chris Matthews, who is reportedly looking into running as a Democrat against Pennsylvania Republican senator Arlen Specter. Matthews certainly has the enthusiasm, but we suspect his proclivity for spouting off at the mouth won’t magically cease when he steps off the TV soundstage. And as Political Animal’s Steve Benen points out, Matthews will have “a lot of explaining to do” for an already interminable list of dubious on-air comments.

Not to mention, of course, the bizarre relationship he’ll have with former media colleagues covering his campaign. Or, as the American Prospect’s Mori Dinauer less charitably puts it, “the potential of seeing candidate Matthews on the receiving end of the sort of bad journalism his career represents will be endlessly amusing.” (It has already begun at Fox News.) One guy who isn’t amused is former Hillary Clinton flack Phil Singer, who wrote on his blog that NBC should remove Matthews from his post if he’s thinking of running. Not doing so would “risk NBC’s credibility or undermine the faith his viewers place in him.” Which makes sense from a journalistic ethics standpoint, although MSNBC’s political sympathies are, at this point, already fairly obvious. In the end, can Matthews win? A recent Quinnipiac poll has him trailing twelve points, and Hot Air’s Allahpundit thinks Specter “should be okay,” but worries more about how Barack Obama would fare without someone to “transparently shill for him at 5 p.m. every day.”