Chris Matthews: Sarah Palin Campaigning For Role As 'Professional Ignorant'

April 28th, 2010 2:10 PM

Palin Derangement Syndrome was once again on full display at MSNBC Tuesday as Chris Matthews said the former Alaska governor is "campaigning almost for the role of a professional ignorant."

Discussing New York Magazine's cover story published the previous day, the "Hardball" host said to guest Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "I really think, not that she`s unintelligent, but she`s campaigning almost for the role of a professional ignorant, like, 'I don`t know anything, therefore I should be listened to.'" 

He continued, "She seems to aspire to knowing even less."

Not surprisingly, Tucker didn't disagree (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Weasel Zippers): 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Maybe I can push your button with this one, Cynthia, my pal. It doesn`t bother you that she`s making zillions of dollars. But how about this, as someone who trained yourself, like I did, to learn some things, who gets up every day and tries to know something before they talk. Here she is saying she has somebody to lose to her sheer joy that she gets out of not knowing anything.
I really think, not that she`s unintelligent, but she`s campaigning almost for the role of a professional ignorant, like, "I don`t know anything, therefore I should be listened to." She seems to aspire to knowing even less. It`s a weird advantage that she claims that if I`m really ignorant, then you should really listen to me, because I`m not like one of those intellectuals back east. It`s a strange ambition. I think she`s pursuing it effectively.
CYNTHIA TUCKER, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Well, I don`t think she would pursue that effectively as a presidential candidate, Chris. That`s where Ken and I differ. It is fine if she wants to go out and make a lot of money giving speeches. I think this idea of winging it, of not knowing anything about foreign policy, knowing very little about domestic policy, would not serve her any better in a presidential run than it served her when she was McCain`s running mate.
I don`t think the vast majority of voters respect that or want to see that in candidates. It`s fine in Palin world. She has a small constituency of very enthusiastic supporters. But the majority of voters, including the majority of Republican voters, expect their candidates to actually know something about policy.

Speaking of ignorant, not to split hairs with Mr. Matthews, but ignorant is an adjective. You can't be an adjective. As such, ignoramus would have been a more appropriate noun here.

Regardless, something struck me watching this interview that suggested Matthews was actually expressing envy.

Consider what he previously said to Tucker:

According to the "New York Magazine," she`s already amassed 12 million dollars, which includes a seven million dollar book deal, a million dollars per year from Fox News as a contributor, two million from her upcoming reality show about the state of Alaska, and she is pulling six figures, 100,000 per speech.

Let`s turn to Cynthia Tucker, who is a columnist for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," and "Politico`s" senior reporter Ken Vogel.

Cynthia, it`s interesting how America works. You can become famous quickly and you can sort of straddle the fence between running for office, as she could still do, and being sort of a Will Rogers commentator on American life, if you will, perhaps not as benign. But what do you make of this? I mean, this money has never been seen before. It`s not Wall Street money. But God, 12 million so fast?

Later he asked his other guest, Ken Vogel of Politico, "Do you agree that she`s dead politically, if she keeps making bundles of money?"

What? Republicans and conservatives don't like people who make bundles of money? 

Quite the contrary, it's LIBERALS that despise the rich, Chris.

Exit question: Is some of Matthews' contempt for this woman just Palin Envy? 

Might that actually be what's been behind PDS since it began? 

*****Update: Hot Air's Ed Morrissey noted Tuesday --

Palin must wake up in the mornings in complete bliss over the idea that she doesn't have to talk about policy at all. Except, of course, that Palin does - whether it's energy policy, health-care reform, or even nuclear policy, Palin not only doesn't avoid it but issues almost daily communiques on substantive policy from her platform on Facebook. In fact, her speech at the SRLC this month spoke almost entirely to policy, including Afghanistan and the foreign policy bungling of the White House, when many expected her to focus more on politics and the integration (or lack thereof) of the Tea Party and Republicans.

Certainly, one can disagree with Palin on policy, or demand deeper explanations. But the notion that Palin doesn't address policy at all is an argument that qualifies someone as a "political ignorant" ... but it's not Sarah Palin.