Like literally dozens of other Americans, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” eagerly took in much of the recent Republican presidential debate broadcast on MSNBC. It was, as you well know, the first such meeting of the minds amongst the Republican contenders, and thus it offered viewers the opportunity to glean the answers to lots of pressing political questions.
You know, like: “What does Jim Gilmore actually look like?” And: “Is it humanly possible to give presidential candidates less time to offer their responses?” And: “Will Tom Tancredo discuss anything other than illegal immigration?” And “Has Ron Paul erected a shrine to Ayn Rand in his house?”
But this was not, we dare say, the only information on offer during the first Republican debate. Rather, viewers could discover what we–and countless Wizbang readers, we’d wager–have long known: Chris Matthews is a grandstanding fool, and his host network, MSNBC, is laughably inept.
Commentators have already harped on the stupid–and, on occasion, biased–questions presented to the candidates during the debate. You know, like asking whether they relished the idea of a Clinton in the White House, or some such.
We mean, come on: How moronic can you get? With three thousand candidates in attendance and three seconds for them to answer each question, do you really want to waste people’s time with this sort of palaver?
But the idiotic questions were only part of a larger issue: Chris Matthews appeared to believe that he was merely taping another episode of his viewer-proof show “Hardball.” As such, he spent much of the debate drawing attention to himself, as if the audience cared one jot what this glorified carnival exhorter thinks.
Frankly, dear reader, we found Matthews’ antics exasperating. And they made us wish that Alan Keyes was amongst the contenders for office. At a Republican debate during the 2000 election season, Keyes memorably scolded Tim Russert for his garrulous job as moderator, asking when Russert would declare his candidacy for president. The wounded Russert largely clammed up for the remainder of the debate.
Oh, would that Alan Keyes had put Chris Matthews in his place! His was perhaps the least suitable job as a moderator in recent memory. Whilst he routinely shut down candidates from offering anything but millisecond sound-bites, Matthews blithely offered various cracks and asides. Perhaps only Charlie Rose would do a more inept job.
Come on, MSNBC: Hire Jim Lehrer to moderate the debates. Lehrer is fair and unobtrusive. No matter how many fancy gigs you give to Chris Matthews, no one will want to watch “Hardball.”
And to hire Keith Olbermann to offer the play-by-play afterward? What, Howard Zinn wasn’t available?
(The crack young staff normally “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently wondering if the next Republican presidential debate will be broadcast on the “Democracy Now!” network, and boast Amy Goodman and Sami Al-Arian as moderators.)