A Recipe for Sadness: Why the John Stewart/ Chris Matthews Fight Matters for the Obama/Clinton Nomination Fight, and Why It Might Matter for Your Soul
This week in the Almanack, our own Fritz Swanson steps up to the rant plate, dusts off his trousers, loosens his grip on the bat and knocks it so fucking far out of the ballpark that the ball explodes and the lights dim and the soundtrack from The Natural starts playing in a tinny whisper from my computer.
This may be the best thing we've ever published.
I watch John Stewart and I watch Chris Matthews, and I have to confess up front that I love them both. I love John Stewart like I would love a really smart older brother. He makes sense of the world in a way that is personally powerful for me. He speaks directly about ideas that I am only just forming as he says them, and so he always feels like my sharper, clearer other self. But I love Chris Matthews the way I love an aging uncle. He is out of step with the ebb and flow of the precise moment we live in, but he would have been me, and I would have been him, if we had shared each other's lives.
John Stewart is my brand of leftism at this exact instant. Chris Matthews is the leftism I would have had if I had lived through Vietnam and Watergate. He's a surly working class lefty, with a mixed up family that pulled in equal measure toward Kennedy and Reagan over the course of his life. He worked on the Hill for Tip O'Neil, but he was a cop too; he went out with the Peace Corps, but he had buddies "in country" fightin the 'Nam.
So, when I see these guys fighting, it hurts me inside. Funny, smart older brother tears wise but disconnected uncle a new asshole at family event. This is a recipe for sadness.
They are both right, and they are both wrong.
And incidentally, they perfectly describe the current Democratic nomination fight.