The airwaves won’t be the same without Comrade Chris

Comrade Chris Matthews will probably best be remembered for his all-too-revealing description of his reaction to an early Obama speech:

“I felt this thrill going up my leg, I don’t have that too often.”

Imagine admitting such a thing, that Obama gave him a thrill up his leg! With those few words, Chris spoke for all of his fellow gullible, guilt-ridden, far-left Democrat operatives with press passes in the national media.

But for me, Comrade Chris’ most memorable quote was one I just recently came across. Since he said it in his hometown of Philadelphia, I’m guessing it’s from the Democrat convention there in 2016:

“I once was an altar boy in a mental institution here in Philadelphia. We called it Byberry. I remember the priest said, ‘I don’t mind these people except when they touch me,’ and that turned me off a bit.”

And now he’s gone, a victim of the aftershocks of the #MeToo movement. Now, it is true that very few male anchors on air ever mentioned, even during “Mad Men” days, how a female guest “looks great in a wind tunnel.” Nor did they praise their “incredible eyebrows.”

You can’t say those kinds of things anymore. It’s as simple as that.

But you know, Matthews worked for NBC. When it came to sexual harassment, and general journalistic misbehavior at NBC “News,” Comrade Chris might as well have still been that altar boy in a mental institution back in the 1950s.

I mean, he never allegedly abused a young woman during the Olympics (as Matt Lauer was accused of). Nobody ever said he engaged in rampant unwanted touching and physical assault (like Mark Halperin). He was never accused of spiking the original Harvey Weinstein story to protect Lauer (like Noah Oppenheim was).

Comrade Chris never showed off pictures of a female anchor’s private parts at a staff meeting (as his MSNBC boss Phil Griffin was accused of by Ronan Farrow).

He paid his taxes (unlike Joy Reid and Al Sharpton). He was never caught flagrantly lying about stories he’d covered (unlike Brian Williams and Mike Barnicle).

Yes, he’s had to apologize for stupid comments (like comparing Bernie’s rise to the Nazi conquest of France in 1940). But he was never had to retract a totally preposterous falsehood (like Lawrence O’Donnell).

His problem was he got old — only 74, which would have made him the youngest male Democrat candidate for president. Speaking of which, who would have ever dreamed that they’d throw the net over Comade Chris before Creepy Joe Biden? And come to think of it, Comrade Chris wasn’t known for swimming naked in front of female Secret Service agents.

But when your number’s up, your number’s up. He did know politics, even if his “Hardball” show often turned into “Softball” when it came to, say, thrills up his leg from Obama.

Matthews and I always got along “somewhat,” as he once said. Once he gave me a real compliment, in which he showed a much better understanding of local politics around here than, say, Rachel Maddow, who actually used to live in Massachusetts.

“There’s a helluva lot of conservatives in New England, people read the Boston Herald, they listen to Howie Carr on the radio, there’s a lot of people from Massachusetts, Irish and Italian guys, ticked off guys, angry guys, moved up from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, ‘cause they don’t like the culture of liberalism, the Ted Kennedys, the Mike Dukakises. There’s such a counterculture, a current of right-wing thinking in New England.”

The last time I had him on the show he’d just written a book about Bobby Kennedy. I introduced him as “Comrade Chris” and he called me “Comrade” back. Then I told him the book had given me a thrill up my leg.

“Well,” he said, “that was below the belt.”

Then he said he was ready for questions.

“Go ahead, Pochahontas hater.”

I asked him about Bobby’s anti-Semitism and homophobia, which he knew about all too well, but his book was more hagiography than biography.

“You got anything else in your quiver?” he finally asked, before telling me I shouldn’t hold the sins of Bobby’s father against the son.

“That’s sort of Old Testament stuff for you, Howie.”

At the end, I told him to come back on the show sometime.

“I always come back,” he said. “It’s masochism on my part but I do.”

As much he grated on me, I’m going to miss Comrade Chris. Which is more than I can say about anyone else on MSDNC.

In the meantime, I wonder if there’s an opening for an altar boy at the mental institution in Philadelphia.

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