Friday, January 21, 2005

Updated on January 21, 2005 at 12:30 am., revised at 2:20 pm
Back to the Future with the Clintons, Matthews, Obama and Zorn.
Chris Matthews, back in '01, was harsh on the Clintons, bullish on W and doubtful Hillary would run in '04 or '08. Now Zorn, arguing Hillary will be perceived as poisonous in '07, bets Obama will make the run. But Zorn's prediction is wide of the mark about Senator Obama, as are his fellow bloggers, with their instant replay and instant analysis. The answer is "blogging in the wind," and can be found in tomorrow's blog.
Chris Matthews: If we have the worst economic times since the 30s, she [Senator Clinton] might have a [Presidential] run, but I think she will definitely lose.
Eric Zorn: …when primary season rolls around, Democrats will see her [Senator Clinton] as a poisonously polarizing figure who will build a bridge back to the 20th Century and those dreadful Clinton Wars.”
Back to the Future with the Clintons, Senator Obama, Chris Matthews and Eric Zorn.
Will Senator Obama run for President in ’08? The audacity of Hope or the Hubris of a two-year U. S. Senator? Zorn says Obama will run. The chalk says no. More to follow on this topic on this blog over the course of the next few days.
Coming Attractions on “Public Affairs”: Special Guest Chris Matthews, from the Public Affairs vault, appears on Monday, January 31, 2005, in a show taped eight weeks after September 11, 2001. What a difference a War makes. At that time [November 8, 2001], Matthews was fawning all over “W.” [and smacking the Clintons around like a boxer hitting a punching bag]. Now, not so much, at least as to being an adoring fan of “W.”
Jeff Berkowitz: You don’t like Clinton, you don’t like—

Chris Matthews: No, not dislike Clinton—I don’t have a big strong opinion, he’s not my kind of guy, but I voted for him twice.

Berkowitz: Yeah, but you said just a half hour ago [speaking to the Authors’ Club at the Union League Club of Chicago] you were purging yourself—

Matthews: No, I said the country needed a purgative.

Berkowitz: But you did, you voted for “W” right?

Matthews: That’s right.

Berkowitz: And, were you in a sense purging yourself of that guilt of having voted for [Bill] Clinton twice?

Matthews: …Every voter makes corrections, mid-course corrections and I voted for [moderate Republican] Arlen Specter when he ran for Mayor of Philadelphia; I voted for Joe Clark, a Democrat. Throughout my voting—except I had been consistently voting Democrat for President until this time [2000], that’s what changed.

Berkowitz: Well, what is your main problem with the Clintons? It’s not just with Bill Clinton, is it?

Matthews: I think the problem that Clinton has, intrinsically, is basic dishonesty. I think that’s it—he is unusually dishonest.

Berkowitz: It was [then Senator] Bob Kerrey who said he is an unusually good liar, right?

Matthews: And he is unusually good at it. That is the scary part. I think when Clinton would say things like, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” he was more credible saying that, which is really scary, than some of these things that he said that were true. So, I think he is—I think he could pass a lie detector test. He is pretty amazing. A smart guy.

Berkowitz: You think the same thing about Hillary, right? You don’t like Hillary, right?

Matthews: I think she is more—well, she is equally dishonest, I think, but she’s- she at least has some ideology. She had a lot of guts to run for the Senate from New York. That took a lot of guts. She could have taken a big fall, if she had lost that one. That says something good about her.

Berkowitz: Does she have a shot at becoming president?

Matthews: If we have the worst economic times since the 30s.

Berkowitz: Would it be in 2004 or would it be 2008?

Matthews: If we have the worst economic times since the 30s, she might have a run, but I think she will definitely lose.
Chris Matthews, interviewed on “Public Affairs,” in a show taped on November 8, 2001. The show will air throughout the City of Chicago on Monday night, January 31, 2005 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21; airing in the “Public Affairs,” usual time slot.
“The Democratic Field appears weak.
Hillary Clinton has come out on top of every survey I’ve seen in which pollsters ask Democrats whom they’d like to see atop the ticket in 2008. But I suspect this is the name recognition factor at work, and that when primary season rolls around, Democrats will see her as a poisonously polarizing figure who will build a bridge back to the 20th Century and those dreadful Clinton Wars.”

Eric Zorn, writing in his Chicago Tribune column of January 20, 2005, gives various reasons, including what he calls the weak 2008 Democratic Presidential field, in support of his prediction that U. S. Senator Barack will run for President in 2008. [Zorn’s column along with multiple links to blogs supporting and attacking his prediction can be found at Eric Zorn’s blog entry dated January 20, 2005 at 8:10 pm and titled “Why Predict,” and “Zorn blows it.” [See for a veritable feast of Obamamania and blogmania or simply, obamablogmania.
Under Zorn’s theory, Senator Obama would apparently start to campaign for President after only two years in the Senate, eclipsing John Edwards’ recent bold entry into the Presidential primary after serving only three years in the U. S. Senate. Would such an entry by Senator Obama into the 2008 Presidential mix be welcomed by the pundits as appropriate confidence or inappropriate arrogance? JFK was four years younger, at 43, when he was elected President in 1960 than a President Obama would be in 2008, but President Kennedy did have seven years as a [somewhat lackluster] U. S. Senator from Massachusetts and six years [as a lackluster U. S. Representative] under his belt when he started running for President in late 1959 [The Presidential primary campaigns were not nearly as long in the olden days- and the country was better off as a result].

Of course, unlike Edwards and somewhat similar to JFK, Senator Obama’s supporters may argue he brought eight years of elective office, albeit as a state senator—with no foreign policy responsibilities, to his U. S. Senate seat. This whole argument should remind us a bit of what Senator Obama’s old state senate foe, State Senator Ricky Hendon [D- Chicago], argued to me during Obama’s run in the Democratic U. S. Senate Primary—“the problem with Barack is that he’s always running for something.” Not quite true, but as is often the case with Senator Hendon, a catchy phrase. Of course, at the end of the day, the charge did not quite stick.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at