For Chris Matthews, there is one constant to be considered in analyzing the prospects of the presidential contenders on both the GOP and Dem sides: the presumed bigotry of his fellow Americans.
Kibitzing about '08 on this afternoon's Hardball with a conservative-free panel composed of Chris Cizzilla of the Washington Post, Mike Allen of Time and Howard Fineman of time immemorial, Matthews first handicapped the Dem field in these terms:
"Is the low estimate of [Democrats'] belief in [Hillary's] electability low enough that they think that an African-American guy has a better shot than she does? I mean that's a statement, I think, of pessimism about her shot if you shift to him for electability reasons."
View video of Matthews on Hillary/Obama here.
Bigotry again raised its ugly head for Chris when it came to analyzing the Republican field:
"Every time there's a national opinion poll, Rudy Giuliani wins it. And the people have cognitive dissonance. They don't see that because they don't want to see it. But he does keep winning the polls among people who say they're Republicans, who are identified as Republicans. Why does he keep winning every poll? Despite all the smell that keeps coming out about Bernie Kerik, the usual prejudices against New York and ethnics up in the big cities, he keeps winning every poll!"
I don't know, Chris; could it be because your notion of America the Bigoted is wrong?
View video of Matthews on Giuliani here.
Bonus Coverage: At one point, Allen, perhaps moonlighting for NOW, upbraided Matthews for not speaking of the junior senator from New York in sufficiently respectful terms.
Matthews: "The Democrats go with their heart, they go with either Obama or Hillary. Does everyone accept that?"
A dead serious Allen: "Why do you call her Hillary? She's Senator Clinton."
Matthews did not seem amused: "What are you, being politically correct? I call her Hillary because there's only one Hillary in the country, that's why."
Contact Mark at email@example.com