|I caught Chris Matthews typically blunt performance on Morning Joe this morning, and thought that, this time, the all-time number one Clinton Hater had it about right. In the wake of the Get Shuster campaign (otherwise known as Pimpgate,) the Clintons showed a disturbing tendency to try and intimidate the press, something we've come to expect from George W. Bush, but which looks really bad on a Democrat. The Huffpo's Sam Stein caught it too:
"What she has to do is get rid of the kneecapers that work for her, these press people whose main job seems to be punishing Obama or going after the press, to building a positive case for her," said Matthews. "Her campaign slogan right now is don't get your hopes up. That won't work in America. You can't diminish Obama and hope that you will rise from the ashes."
Asked why he believed Clinton had gone negative, Matthews again struck an antagonistic chord about the campaign's media operation.
"The kneecapping hasn't worked. Her press relations are lousy," he said. "If all you do is intimidate and punish and claim you'll get even relentlessly, people of all kinds of politicians -- and in all fairness, the press -- human reaction to intimidation is screw you. That's the human reaction. Don't tell me what to say, and that has been their whole policy. We're going to win this thing. Get out of the way."
During the same segment, my man Pat Buchanan counseled Hillary to "go negative or go home," to which Matthews countered, people don't vote for negative; they don't vote against optimism. He's right. Hillary's campaign has to strike a more positive, uplifting tone if she hopes to dig her way out of the hole. That said, I'm not sure she can dig her way out of the hole, and if the buzz that her camp is willing to screw the popular vote AND the pledged delegate count and try to win it in the brokerage rooms at the convention, then she has a very rude awakening coming. If she wins this thing in any way other than by getting more votes, she will lose sufficient support to guarantee the presidency to John McCain.
By the way, David Shuster's return now has a date attached: February 22nd, at which time he will have served a suspension of two weeks.
Labels: 2008 election, Chris Matthews, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, MSNBC, presidential candidates