Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hardball Analyzes the Republican Civil War

I am probably posting this Hardball clip out of order. In my previous post I showed Matthews reaction to the latest poll in the Washington Post on the upcoming Virginia election. Matthews reaction in that post is not as surprising after you've seen this clip. This clip came much earlier in the program and is quite a bit longer.
Matthews discusses the latest Gallup poll that shows the country moving to the right on issues with an increase in self-identification of those polled as conservatives. The segment includes Pat Buchanan and Bob Herbert, the liberal NYT op-ed columnist.

Matthews begins by declaring in the civil war erupting between moderates and conservatives, conservatives are winning  "big time."  He then gets involved in a debate with Buchanan over Palin vs Romney which is really a diversion.  Buchanan is a Palin fan but Bay Buchanan is heavily involved in the Romney campaign.  Pat Buchanan was not going to answer this directly but both he and Matthews agree Palin will be a powerful force in 2010, interesting concession.  He then turns the discussion to Herbert who agrees Palin brings the passion but thinks the only move for Republicans is to move to the center if they are intent on winning.  At about 5:00 in this clip Matthews lays out to Herbert the poll results showing the shift to the right on every issue.  Herbert responds by denying it.  Watch Matthews reaction to this if nothing else.  The reaction takes place at about 5:24 or so:

Matthews cuts Herbert off saying, "he believes in polls" which is true regardless of whatever bias he shows otherwise.  The discussion then turns to what will happen in the NY-23 election, where again Matthews makes a surprising statement.  He states that whether the conservative wins or whether the Democrat sneaks by as a result of the split it shows conservatives have greater power.  He and Buchanan go on to analyze the 23rd district election ending with a shared joke about Scazzofava being in the 4% of Republicans who identify as liberal.  Buchanan then defines for Herbert why she is liberal, "she is more pro-gay marriage than Barack Obama."  Matthews then argues with Herbert that he doesn't like the polling but the polling is showing the country becoming increasingly libertarian.  Buchanan agrees the trends are heading in that direction.  They all seem to agree the country is going to be looking for someone with a strong economic message which takes us to the end. 

Before Matthews went off the rails with his Obamamania and left wing spin, I was an avid Hardball fan.  I saw glimpses of the old Matthews in these two portions of his show.  He does love polls and he sees a trend he can't spin and wants to understand which is interesting given his passion for Obama.  Bottom line though, I thought his take on the NY-23rd election was dead on.  Whether Hoffman wins or loses, Republican leaders get the message they need to find someone who appeals to the base and can bring in the Independents who are lurching increasingly to the right.  It won't be a tough reach for them and the polls and trends support that belief.   The GOP needs to look to Virginia to see the path to clear and decisive victory in the coming year.

There should be no reason beyond this NY election for the conservatives to be at war with the moderates.  In fact, the war is not with the moderates it's with the GOP officials who seem hell bent on proving that they can maneuver a turn to the left as readily as the Obama administration.  How's that working out for them?

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