The 'Objective' News Media: MSNBC's Chris Matthews Still Gets a 'Thrill' over Obama


Barack Obama may be gone from the White House, but the “thrill” still persists for Chris Matthews — although, one hopes, not up his leg.

In case you’ve gotten tired of Matthews’ over-caffeinated, invariably liberal personality and tuned him out, rest assured he’s still hosting “Hardball” on MSNBC and still has a mancrush on former President Obama.

Nowhere was that more evident than on Thursday, when Matthews made it clear that Obama still did for him what Schedule I substances to to other people.

“The historic nature of Barack Obama running in ’08 and ’12 was so dramatic, I can understand why people of color who don’t normally vote think it’s all BS or whatever showed up because it was so thrilling,” Matthews said during a panel discussion.

“I was thrilled and I get thrilled thinking about what happened in ’08. It’s still thrilling to me. It was thrilling what he said in ’04 at the convention up in Boston.”

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For the rest of us, a few years ago, the Obama administration came to an end. For all those who maintain a preternatural fascination with Obama, the work goes on, the chill endures, the creepiness still lives and the thrill shall never die.

Just in case you forgot Matthews’ bizarre, um, thing for Obama, let me take you back to the halcyon days of 2004, back when Obama gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention even though he had never attained national office.

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Matthews was impressed, as NewsBusters pointed out. A little too impressed.

“I have to tell ya, a little chill in my, in my legs now. That is an amazing moment in history right there,” he said.

“It is really an amazing moment. A keynoter like I’ve never heard.”

OK then. A one off? Well, not so much.

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Four years later, Barack Obama was a presidential candidate. In February of that year, after Obama won several key primaries, Matthews’ reaction may have been constituted his most famous (or infamous) on-air moment.

“I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech,” Matthews said. “My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”

When Keith Olbermann — then still in the employ of MSNBC — tried to calm Matthews down a little, the host insisted his sentiments were totally in line with journalistic best practices.

“No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event,” Matthews said. “He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment.”

As the Washington Free Beacon noted, Matthews isn’t exactly thrilled to talk about that leg of his.

“I hope you feel satisfied that you raised the most obvious question that is raised by every horse’s a– right-winger I ever bump into and usually they say tingle, which tells me about their orientation, but that’s alright,” Matthews responded when asked about it in 2012.

When Dan Joseph of the conservative Media Research Center asked him about the leg three years later, he pushed Joseph away.

“You can go to hell, OK? Just go to hell. Just leave me alone,” Matthews said.

At least on Thursday, there was panel member Zerlina Maxwell — not a right-winger or a horse’s rear end — to put things into context. When Matthews asked her whether a theoretical ticket of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg could get urban voters excited, she was blunt.

“Yes, because black people care about policies, not just the personality of the politician. Barack Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime politician. There are very few people in the history of the world that are as charismatic and good at giving amazing speeches as President Obama,” Maxwell said.

Yes, some of us actually care about things like public policy.

Some of us care about thrills up our legs. Some of us even think talking about those thrills represents complete objectivity.

Apparently you can appear on a panel discussion on MSNBC if you meet the first criteria, but if you want your own show you should seriously consider fulfilling the last two requirements.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture