Where Are The Riots of Yesteryear? Matthews Laments Lack of Campus Mayhem

You'd think that any reasonable person would be glad that we are not suffering the kind of turbulent times on American campuses experienced during the '60s and early '70s. Campus buildings sacked and put to the torch, student union buildings occupied by armed militants, academic careers and lives disrupted, and the ultimate tragedy of four young people killed at Kent State.

Could it be that Chris Matthews isn't reasonable? On this evening's Hardball, Matthews wasn't glad - he was galled, seeming to express nostalgia for that riotous past.

His guest was author Tom Wolfe, who back in the day had written of radical chic, and most recently wrote the disturbing tale of amoral campus life "I Am Charlotte Simmons". Wolfe spoke of having recently attended a reunion of 1969 Stanford campus radicals, recalling "that's when they blew up buildings and everything else."

Matthews, in the course of responding, observed:

"What happened? You look at the poll numbers. 56% of the country, a solid majority now, thinks it was a mistake to go to iraq. Not 'we did it wrong, we didn't have enough troops, we didn't have enough body armor. We shouldn't have gone.' And yet I look at the campuses, I was in South Carolina: calm."

Tough break, Chris. But keep working it. Maybe you can incite something.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.