Unlike most liberal media members, MSNBC's Chris Matthews isn't sure the Occupy Wall Street movement is good for the president or the Democratic Party.
Quite the contrary, he not only doesn't think Obama would receive "big applause" if he visited the protesters, on Tuesday's "Hardball" he also said, "Let's not forget the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House at numerous times in our lifetimes, and they didn't fix the tax system when they had all the power in the world" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: (Asked of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz) Well, can you list the things that you would do as a member of Congress and a leader of the Party that's going to make them happy? What are you doing to win the support? From what I understand, the people in the streets are so alienated right now, so angry, they don't like either political party. It's not a place where President Obama, for example, could go up and get a big applause from showing up, or he'd be there now. How do you make them see you guys as the good guys?
About two minutes later, guest Ron Reagan Jr. put even a finer point on this sentiment leading to more surprising comments from Matthews:
RON REAGAN JR., RADIO HOST: This is a movement that has a broad-based anger. And the challenge, it seems to me, for the Democratic Party, if they want to somehow join the movement or co-opt the movement, however you want to put it, is that these folks are just as mad at them as they are at the Republicans.
REAGAN: The Republicans may be more egregiously in the hip pocket of Wall Street and the bankers, but the Democrats are too. There are plenty of Democratic Congressmen and Senators who staked their whole careers on providing tax loopholes for the richest one percent. They're not the natural allies of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Expecting some pushback from Matthews? Think again:
MATTHEWS: And by the way, let's not forget the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House at numerous times in our lifetimes, and they didn't fix the tax system when they had all the power in the world.
Yeah, that surprised me, too. So did this at the end of the segment:
REAGAN: These people are angry at a system that has been rigged by both parties to serve moneyed interests. The Democrats have been complicit in that, just as the Republicans have been complicit in that. Your question to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, what are you going to offer these people, is exactly the question. What are the Democrats going to offer these people? They going to throw some bankers in jail? Are they going to close the loopholes for the richest one percent? I'm not so sure that all the Democrats are on board with that?
MATTHEWS: Yeah, I wonder if both parties aren’t hoping for colder weather that comes soon, because then they can say, “What a great demonstration of unhappiness and how wonderful it's over so we don't have to worry about it anymore.”
It seems Matthews took the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman to heart after their conversation this weekend:
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: These protesters don't particularly like Barack Obama either. So he could be riding in to join an army that doesn't particularly want him. And of course the other side of it is Republicans are already positioning themselves - you showed a clip of Richard Nixon from a generation ago - as the law and order group. And if the president joins up with the protesters, and if by any chance the protesters do anything untoward, in the months ahead…
MATTHEWS: It’s going to be like the mid-60s. The Democrats got hurt by all of that in ’68.
With some of the recent police troubles the protesters have had around the country, this seems increasingly likely.
As such, Matthews, unlike most of the media, might be realizing that this movement is rife with peril for Obama and the Democrats, and the sooner these folks all go home to take a much-needed bath, the better the president's chances of reelection are.
What's going to have to happen for the rest of the Obama-loving press to wake up and smell the patchouli oil?