Talking Person

Most political junkies in the United States are at least marginally familiar with Chris Matthews.  The dustjacket of his most recent book—with a goofy, grinning Matthews in suit and tie superimposed over an image of the Capital dome—is meant to jog these people’s memories as they browse the local Barnes & Noble: Oh yeah, there’s that guy from MSNBC who talks a million miles a minute.  And talk, he does (and talk, and talk).

“Five nights a week” (as Matthews says several times in Now Let Me Tell You What I Really Think), he wears his guests down not by condescending to them (like Peter Jennings) or yelling at them (à la Bill O’Reilly) but by speaking in such rapid-fire bursts that they, and the audience, have to struggle to keep up.  His machine-gun mouth has been his greatest asset.

However, since the format of Matthews’ show is more interrogative than polemical, and since his previous books—Hardball and Kennedy & Nixon—were not manifestos, many listeners and guests began to speculate on where he stands politically.  This book is about “forfeiting my Miranda rights” by responding to those speculations.  As he says, “everything I say will be used against me.”

After reading the book, I can only wonder if it is meeting a real need. ...

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