Chris Matthews discusses how his background has taught him how to watch politicians in action.
Let me finish tonight with this.
I am not new to politics, nor to the issues that divide us, nor am I free of the passions they engage.
I caught the bug when I was five. I can’t remember a time I haven’t care about who was running for office, who I wanted to win, and what they did when they got there.
Starting just after I got back from my two years of life change over in Africa with the Peace Corps, I have chalked up five years working in the US Senate, four in the White House (including my time as Presidential speechwriter) and six years as a top aide to Speaker Tip O’Neill. On top of that, I’ve had fifteen years’ experience with the San Francisco Examiner and, later, the Chronicle.
All this background taught me how to watch politicians in action.
But there is more to it than that.
In the Sixties – the “real” Sixties – between Kennedy being killed and Nixon resigning – two issues dominated this country: civil rights and Vietnam.
Those two causes still dominate me: support for the rights of people in this country; opposition to wars abroad that are based, so often, on failure to stop, look and listen before getting into them. We lost 58,000 Americans in Vietnam – enough to overflow a giant American baseball stadium. We’ve gone in the Middle East again and again under the Bushes and I have yet to see the advantage to us or to them.
Here on Hardball, you can expect me to discuss history as it relates to what’s happening now.
You can expect to hear me analyze what politicians are doing today with what I’ve seen other politicians do before.
You can expect me to fight for the causes that stirred me in my Twenties, when passions rose, minds were set and life missions accepted.