Ethics Hero: Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews is widely disliked on the Right because he is part of what they regard as the reflexive, Angry Left cabal than hangs out on MSNBC. He is, ironically enough, also distrusted by many on the Left, for his lack of sympathy for President Bill Clinton while he was lying to the grand jury, journalists and America during the Monica Lewinsky crisis. The “problem” with Matthews is that unlike most of his neighbors in Punditville, he has integrity. Matthews is an old-style, blue-collar, Tip O’Neil liberal who doesn’t let his political leanings alter his feelings about what he cares about most: the United States, the ideals of democracy, and bold and committed political leadership.

Matthews demonstrated his integrity and his priorities again yesterday with this impassioned outburst in which he accurately and deftly explained what a President’s leadership imperatives are in a crisis on the scale of the Gulf oil spill, and condemned President Obama’s failure to meet them. His withering sound bite—“This idiotic cerebral meritocracy has got to step aside and let people who do things take over!”—perfectly summed up the Achilles heel of the entire Ivy League-obsessed Obama White House, and may haunt the Democrats for a long, long time.

Yes, obviously I agree with him on how Presidents are supposed to lead, because his position agrees with my own. But I work in a remote corner of a sparsely-populated field, my audience is small, and the only people who get really mad at me are those who object to the whole concept of holding the conduct of others to ethical standards, and a few arrogant trial attorney/bloggers who don’t think lawyers need to be especially ethical when they’re off the clock. Matthews has a large and mostly liberal audience, and gets hurt when he get out of lock-step with the liberal media line. Yet he doesn’t hesitate when his principles tell him to take a stand.

Now if only he would stop interrupting his guests…

4 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Chris Matthews

  1. Personally, I think that Matthews will say whatever it takes to remain relevant in his barely-viewed network. It’s less a question of ethics than it is of desperation. He threw the last dregs of his integrity overboard when he became Obama’s single minded cheerleader during the campaign. I’d don’t see how he can reclaim it now.

  2. Problems like the oil spill and Katrina bring to light the large disconnect between the people who are in power and people who do things.

    Academics and management generally feel that writing a report and filing it constitutes “doing something”. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to explain to them that it is not. It is dumbfoundedly frustrating to deal with such people. These appear to be the only people in the Obama administration.

    In the case of a minor disaster where a road is washed out, there are some different ways of handling it. Academics and the like would say you should contact the relevant government agency, write to the editor of the local newspaper, and try to get someone to deal with it. They call that “doing something about the problem”. Other people get a road grader and a load of gravel and fix the road. Those people are called engineers.

    There are engineers in this country who can fix this leak. Unfortunately, they are buried so far in the management structure that their unfiltered voice will never be heard. I applaud Chris Matthews for dimly seeing the root of the problem, however the word he meant to use is “mediocracy” not “meritocracy”.

    I come from a family of engineers and the example of the road is not hypothetical.

    • I absolutely agree that there are people who could solve this problem who aren’t being consulted or involved. The President can’t be expected to come up with the solution on his own, but he can be expected to marshal the nation’s intellectual and engineering resources.

  3. He should have called the Army Corps of Engineers, every oil company that does deep sea drilling, and every deep sea exploration company and said “I want your two best ideas on how to fix this prepped and ready to go in 3 days. I want the next two best ideas ready to go in 2 weeks. ” And then had them all go out and take turns fixing it until they got it done. Allowing BP to come up with idea # 1, try it, see if it works, come up with idea #2, try it, see if it works is insane.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.