Showing you can fight like a normal person

One of the things candidates cannot afford to be seen as is vicious. Nevertheless, especially in unstable, dangerous times, we want our candidates to be strong. Writing at Red State, Erick believes that the Republican candidates would do well to show a little strength in dealing with Chris Matthews, who is currently slated to “host” the upcoming Republican debate. Here’s Erick’s take on the matter:

The Democrats will not participate in a debate with Fox News hosts, lest they be asked difficult questions. Nonetheless, the GOP will have yet another MSNBC debate on Tuesday with Chris Matthews, who offered these choice words last night:

“[The Bush Administration has] finally been caught in their criminality,” Matthews continued, although he did not specify the exact criminal behavior to which he referred. He then drew an obvious Bush-Nixon parallel by saying, “Spiro Agnew was not an American hero.”

Matthews left the throng of Washington A-listers with a parting shot at Cheney: “God help us if we had Cheney during the Cuban missile crisis. We’d all be under a parking lot.”

You know, I will be gravely disappointed if the GOP candidates do not make an issue of this at the debate.

If the GOP candidates are too chicken to take on Chris Matthews before a live television audience on Matthew’s gross bias, they will have disgraced us all.

Read the rest here.

Note that Erick is not suggesting that they stage a walkout, a la the ever so passive aggressive Democrats, who can’t bear to face people who hurt their feelings. Nor is he saying that they should engage in some vicious, squealing, unfair attack against Matthews. Instead, as I read it, he’s simply saying that they should call Matthews to account for his words and his attitude.

I would love to see that. I think I’ve commented before on the fact that candidates are so tightly packaged by their handlers that there’s very little sense of any person at all lurking underneath those wrappings. I’ve come to some rather reluctant admiration for John McCain simply because he actually seems to have an independent mind. (That, and the fact that he’s a true and honorable hawk about the War, of course.) For real human beings, if someone is absolutely awful, you call them on it, although you can and should do it politely and with dignity (assuming that’s possible). And if you’re too scared to call a newscaster on his heinous remarks, how in the Hell are you going to deal with Ahmadinejad or whatever madman of the moment pops up on the horizon?

The thing is, I think average Americans would also like to see their candidates behave like real human beings, with real emotions, and real dignity and normal reactions, rather than these rigid automatons. In that vein, it seems to me that the candidates are playing to the media, which works if you’re a Democrat, but will never work if you’re a Republican. And since you’re never going to please those PC gatekeepers, just storm the gates and talk to the people, not in tones of demagoguery (that’s not what I’m asking for), but in real terms, like a real person.


8 Responses

  1. How about, “That’s a good question, I see you have paper in front of you. Was it typed in MicroSoft Word by Larry Birkett, Mr. Rather, I mean Matthews?”

  2. “average Americans would also like to see their candidates behave like real human beings, with real emotions, and real dignity and normal reactions”

    I believe that both parties are coalitions, and the Republicans have to nagivate minefields, too. Rudy Giuliani, for example, seems to believe that in major cities, gun control is necessary. He hints this, but refuses to come out and blatantly say it, since the 2nd-Amendment constituency would go absolutely bananas. (I’ve always been quite amenable to that crowd, and having seen the chilling assault that begins Jodie Foster’s “The Brave One”, I’m on the verge of becoming a 2nd-Amendment “nut” myself. A coupla handguns would have let that doomed couple end that gang’s horrific little spree quite quickly. Brilliant, awesome movie, by the way.

  3. There is no question that I would like the Republican candidates to start popping these teatherless windbags of invective. You would need someone with the calm, folksy stability of Thompson, the broad historical understanding of Gingrich, and a trial lawyer’s ability to drag the discussion back to the specific topic inspite of Mathew’s, or any of the Liberal geniuses, obfuscatory tactic of switching issues.
    How about DQ?

  4. The thing is, I think average Americans would also like to see their candidates behave like real human beings, with real emotions, and real dignity and normal reactions, rather than these rigid automatons.

    You have hit it exactly. I do not want the media to run this country, and they are perilously close to doing so. Under a Democrat President they will. I will vote for the candidate who will stand up to these hypocrites. Cris Matthews was never elected to anything, and I am not interested in him or his kind being able to control politicians through intimidation and lies.

  5. […] up the Presidential elections Posted on October 6, 2007 by Bookworm I complained yesterday about tightly constrained, programmed Presidential candidates.  I can stop complaining now.  […]

  6. Chris Matthews’ problem is that he wants to blame someone else for believing, even if it was short and temporary, in the Iraq War. Remind him of the apology he gave publicly and ask him whether he is out to get people for that, since he can’t take it back except by making other people regret their own actions, that way Chris will be able to regret his own without shame by making others miserable.

    It is only one of the weaknesses of Matthews. You cannot debate or raise issues without an idea of the opposition’s leader. It’s one thing to go army vs army, it’s another thing to out maneuver the other side’s strategies by understanding them better than they understand you.

  7. I read Matthews’ book the year before 9/11 for AP US History.

    Matthews had a choice given to all liberals, classical or fake. He had a choice to be true to the values of human dignity, rights, and progress outlined by the Enlightenment and before the Enlightenment, by the Ancient Greeks of Athens, Sparta, etc. Athens reprenseted the failures and glories of democracy while Sparta represented the shortness of military power and the strict disciplines of Lycurgos as a method for social control and improvement.

    Two guesses which path Matthews took, Book. He waved, oh yes. But in the end, he fell, as many heroes fall in Greek tragedies and for the same reason. He could not admit, he could not submit, to the requirements of classical liberalism. Thus he chose the other path.

  8. Btw, the book was Hardball by CHris Matthews. Chris understands hardball. Republicans play softball though. The JIhadists are on the other end of the curve, however, and so are the Democrats.

    You do not win wars by being weak and providing your enemies with every luxury and safe haven around.

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