Just after yesterday's relatively pugnacious GOP debate, former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu -- a Romney surrogate -- appeared on MSNBC's post-game coverage, hosted by Chris Matthews. Regardless of whether one shares Sununu's support for Romney, he did a masterful job of puncturing Matthews' faux outrage and refusing to accept MSNBC's pre-determined storyline. This is how it's done (via The Right Scoop):
Two quick points about Sununu's talking points: (1) I happen to think that Romney's stylings as a non-politician outsider are strained at best. Let's face it: The man has held or actively sought to attain elective office for the better part of two decades. A political outsider he is not. But he's also not a "career politician" in any traditional sense, having spent most of his adult life in the private sector. Sununu effectively skewered the Left's have-it-both-ways attacks on this point. (2) Romney also erred in making an issue out of Jon Huntsman's service to the nation as President Obama's ambassador to China -- a point on which I've defended the former Utah governor in the past. Sununu advanced a more reasonble criticism in this vein by recalling Huntsman's "love letters" to Obama, in which the Republican candidate heaped obsequious praise on the man he now hopes to replace.
The bigger take-away from this altercation is its perfect illustration of Matthews' disingenuous shtick. At times, he fancies himself a straight newsman who can anchor coverage impartially. This totally ignores the content and readily apparent agenda of his nightly program, which is has lurched inexorably leftward for years -- even if Matthews tries to deny it. I also find Matthews' feigned concern about the "very bad attitude" of our polity laughably precious. Does Matthews remember what network he works for? Well, given his new, self-appointed role as America's 'civility in politics' sheriff, I look forward to Matthews' sustained critical coverage of the Obama campaign's explicitly promised (and already launched) slash-and-burn approach in 2012. After all, why would anyone question a journalistic pro like Matthews' ability to discuss Obama fairly and objectively?