For the life of me, I don't understand the value Chris Matthews brings to MSNBC.
His "politics for the sake of politics" is not only dumb and shallow, but it's actively destructive to journalism and democracy. His lack of filter means he can't shut up and not interrupt guests. He's often sexist and misogynistic towards female politicians and panelists. On more than a few occasions, other MSNBC hosts have had to step up and save him from himself.
But Bernie Sanders is a special kind of blindspot for Chris Matthews. Like many Boomers, Matthews' idea of "socialism" (as opposed to the Scandinavian-style Social Democracy that Sanders actually advocates) is steeped in decades of fear-mongering of Russian breadlines, firing squads and other Cold War relics. There's a decent argument to be made that Sanders will face similar attitudes (no doubt augmented and exaggerated by Republican groups) to scare off a large chunk of older Democratic voters. And clearly, the Sanders campaign should expect no help in contextualizing the difference from ol' Tweety. In fact, earlier in the day, he openly wondered if it wouldn't be better for the Democratic Party if we got four more years of Trump.
But his brushing off of babies in cages and kissy-faces with the world's worst despots aside, Chris Matthews clearly went way, WAY over the line on Saturday when he likened the only Jewish presidential candidacy's steady march towards the Democratic nomination to Nazi Germany.
You read that right. He compared Bernie Sanders' grip on the nomination like the fall of France.
I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940, and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says ‘How can it be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.’
Matthews had been clearly animated by Democratic consultant James Carville's insistence earlier in the program that a Sanders nomination would not be a good thing for either the Democratic Party or down ticket races. Matthews stated at several points that he agreed with Carville's assessment. It isn't particularly surprising that older white men of a different era in Democratic politics might feel that way about a party that is moving on past them.
But to choose the analogy of Nazi Germany taking over Europe to describe a strong progressive win by the first Jewish candidate is disgusting. And let us not forget that Nevada is the first primary state with demographics that more closely match the country at large.
At minimum, Matthews owes an apology to the Sanders campaign. But truly, MSNBC just needs to rethink to whom they give precious airtime. Chris Matthews adds nothing to deserve it.