McClellan Book Reminds Matthews of 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'

"I'm not fit to be a Senator. I'm not fit to live. Expel me! Expel me! Not him. Every word that boy said is the truth! Every word about Taylor and me and graft and the rotten political corruption of our state. Every word of it is true. I'm not fit for office! I'm not fit for any place of honor or trust. Expel me!"—Claude Rains as the corrupt Sen. Joseph Paine in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"
Chris Matthews has broken out a Jimmy Stewart/Mr. Smith Goes to Washington analogy to assess Scott McClellan's book. Here's how the Hardball host put it on this afternoon's show:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: When you read the book, it reads like Claude Rains in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. You know: "everything the guy says is true." I mean, he's admitting that the other guy–the good guy's–right. I mean, if that's your perspective.

View video here.

It's certainly Chris's. I must admit to having been a bit rusty on my Frank Capra filmology, but a quick Googling revealed Matthews was referring to the climactic scene in which good guy Jimmy Stewart collapses on the Senate floor, and the corrupt Sen. Paine, overcome by remorse, admits his corruption and guilt, as quoted above.

So if we have things straight, Matthews has cast McClellan in the role of Paine: a former bad guy who has now come clean about the corruption within the government. He has admitted that the "good guy" is right. Wonder who Chris would have in mind to play the Jimmy Stewart part? Let's see: fresh young Senator, recently-arrived in Washington, promising to change things, "right" about the war.

Hmm. Any ideas?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.