Chris Matthews, who is no fan of the Republican Party, took the opportunity last night to attack the GOP for allowing what he called the “power of destruction” to help determine who will be the party’s nominee for president this year.
Matthews: Let me finish tonight with this. Tonight we get a preview of coming attractions. Not the fun stuff you get at the movies, not the lore of romance, the thrill of high adventure, or a Sherlock Holmes style battle of wits. No, what we’re going to get is a preview of a 2012 presidential election in which the winner isn’t the candidate who comes off the best in debate or who woos the American people with a brilliant campaign of persuasion and hope. No, what we’re going to see tonight is the power of destruction, how spending millions of dollars in negative advertising gets your guy elected without having him take the personal responsibility for the blood he’s spilled, for the attack he’s waged to destroy his opponent. So get ready, set, go! Whoever wins the Republican nomination will know what works. Kill the rival with negative ads and get your friends, your rich friends, to pay for it. The victim of what happened here in Iowa isn’t Newt Gingrich, it’s any semblance of true democracy. And what we’ve watched here is democracy. It ain’t much. It’s not what people fight for, not what people believe in. Mitt Romney can quote “America, the Beautiful,” this campaign he’s put together has putrefied it.
But is Matthews’ anger really about democracy, as he puts it, or is he just afraid of what a Romney candidacy would do to Obama? After all, Ron Paul also ran some hard hitting negative ads against Gingrich, but Matthews focused only on Romney. And in 2008, Hillary Clinton used negative ads against Barack Obama while battling him for the Democratic nomination. I guess if the Democrats do it it isn’t destructive, in Matthews opinion.
As a hard-core liberal, Matthews should be glad that the Republicans are going after each other, since that means they aren’t focusing as much on Obama. But apparently the very real possibility that Romney will be the Republican nominee is too much for Matthews. He apparently feels the need to make a pre-emptive strike to try to derail the Romney train and push what many liberals believe would be a much easier target in one of the remaining candidates to the top of the GOP heap.
And after last night’s caucus results it looks like it will be a monumental task.