Chris Matthews gave the commencement address at Ohio State on May 4 (not without some pre-speech complaints). His Hardball page posted the transcript. Matthews tried to be bipartisan, praising both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton for his message of the day of persistence. It’s too bad he seemed a little deficient in modern political history, or he was too focused on boosting the mythology of the Clintons.
“Bill Clinton is another case study. At the age of 34, he got beaten for re-election as governor of Arkansas. Everyone figured he was through,” Matthews claimed. “The people had gotten a look at him and had rejected him, dumped him from office.How many governors get dumped from office and ever get the job back? I can’t think of one.” Seriously?
Most political junkies who have some gray in their hair can easily think of another Democratic presidential nominee who was one – Massaschusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who lost as an incumbent to Ed King in 1978, and was re-elected in 1982, and 1986. Perhaps his loss to George H.W. Bush in 1988 still smarts too much for the memory banks.
It’s also not true that “everyone figured Clinton was through” when he lost in 1980. He was 34, and Team Clinton wasn't about to let anyone shovel dirt on his ambition.