Just when you're ready to write Chris Matthews off as a hopeless liberal, he pulls something like he did tonight, criticizing the New York Times for its latest leak of an anti-terror program.
Matthews' guests were the Rev. Al Sharpton and conservative radio talk show host Melanie Morgan. On the subject of the Times leak, Sharpton predictably proclaimed that the Gray Lady was "absolutely right," while Morgan sided with President Bush. That's when Matthews weighed in with his surprising pronouncement:
"Melanie, on this issue, believe it or not, I'm with you. I think the Times should not have run that story, I don't think we needed to know that. It wasn't really about us; it was of more interest to the enemy."
On another matter: religious conservatives are often accused of inappropriately mixing faith and politics. Of course people have every right to let their politics be informed by their faith. In any case, earlier in the segment the Reverend Al let it be known that conservatives have it all wrong. Turns out, real faith just so happens to perfectly track . . . . the liberal political agenda.
Here's how Sharpton shaped it when asked by Matthews whether he was going to be able to take on Christian conservatives:
"I think we will. When you expand the argument beyond personal, bedroom sexual, moral issues, and talk on a broader moral level which most of the church world and faith community is committed to, issues like poverty, issues like war, issues like health care, which are great moral issues, the moral issues that the Martin Luther Kings and the Wiliam Sloane Coffins led, it will give a new picture to the American public of what morality and faith is really all about, and will in my opinion, render the Christian right very ineffective, because they're not willing to rise to the level of morality with those issueS."
Weren't religious conservatives the people with a narrow, exclusionary view of what it took to be moral? But if I read Al right, he's saying that people who refuse to follow the liberal line on 'great moral issues' like health care are faithless and immoral. How terribly . . . intolerant!