The truly sublime moments of MSNBC's Hardball come whenever host Chris Matthews finds himself hurtling headlong into some piece of absurdist schtick that he believes to be not just part and parcel of trenchant political analysis, but also a signifier of his own ineffable genius. Such a moment came today, when Matthews, riffing on Rudy Giuliani's comeback possibilities, treated viewers to his imitation of a vampire awakening from sleep.
"You're afraid of this, aren't you?" Matthews asks. And, yes, indeed we are. But we're more afraid of the fact that Matthews is spending his time perfecting his Nosferatu act at the expense of actually knowing something about the world. This is a concern we felt earlier in the show, as Matthews attempted to assess the impact that a potential Obama win in Iowa would have across the globe:
MATTHEWS: Here's a guy that said, wait a minute, I am part of the world. I'm not just American. I'm a citizen of the world. I'm going to bring us back to make us part of the world. If I were a Kenyan newspaper editor Friday morning next week and Obama wins this caucus, I'm leading the paper with it...If I'm a South African newspaper editor or someone in Rangoon, wherever that is, this is the biggest news story to come out of America since I don't know what.
Uhm...Matthews doesn't know where Rangoon is? It's only the locus of one of this year's larger international news stories, and, given the state of democracy there, the press in Rangoon can be forgiven if they don't drop what they're doing to cover the outcome of a single caucus in the United States. That is, if the Burmese military junta in charge allows the press to print any articles at all.