People that have been watching Chris Matthews since the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire last month know that the devout liberal has suddenly and quite mysteriously developed a soft spot for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).
On Sunday's "The Chris Matthews Show," the host actually said to his guests, "I wonder whether cerebral writers like George Will and David Brooks, bright people, are not really in tune with that base out there that she is" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC: The majority of people in this country are not willing to do the things that John Boehner is now prepared apparently to do, that the President wants us to do, that leadership arguably needs to do in order to get past this crisis. Michele Bachmann really has her, her finger on that pulse. She’s put up a new ad, her first ad in Iowa, which says, “I will not vote for a debt ceiling.” That’s…
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: No matter what, she won’t.
MITCHELL: …categorically. Even if it has all of the cuts that the Republicans want. So she is taking it one step farther and I think that she is really in tune with the majority of the people, whether they understand the facts or not.
MATTHEWS: Okay, that's Iowa. It's the religious right and she may be perfectly, perfect pitch. Will that sell across the Republican base in the country? Can she compete for the nomination right to the end?
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: I don't think so. She has all the vulnerabilities of Barry Goldwater who got the nomination back in 1964, and he was attacked for these very issues, Social Security and the rest.
MATTHEWS: But he won, the nomination.
PAGE: He did, because at that time the moderates were weak. And they're weak now. That's her best shot, because it's a shrunken party from what it used to be. But I think because of recent events, a lot of the Republican moderates, the David Brooks types, you know, are going to be the ones to stand up and call a halt, but it will come after South Carolina.
MATTHEWS: I wonder whether cerebral writers like George Will and David Brooks, bright people, are not really in tune with that base out there that she is.
BOB WOODWARD, WASHINGTON POST: That's right.
This hasn't become a tingle up the leg yet, but Matthews seems rather smitten with the Minnesota Congresswoman.
The problem is, from a conservative standpoint, it's really hard to see this as good news.
As Politico's John Harris told Matthews last month, the candidate the press fall's in love with early on typically doesn't do well in the primaries.
"There’s almost an inverse relationship between how much reporters gush about somebody – 'Oh, he’s impressive' – and their actual chances."
This is especially true for Republican candidates.
Maybe that's Matthews' intention.