Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kirk Watson responds

Texas state rep. Kirk Watson responds to having been ambushed by Chris Matthews on Hardball the other night:

On Tuesday night, after an important and historic victory in the Wisconsin Presidential Primary by Senator Barack Obama, I appeared on the MSNBC post-election program. “Hardball” host Chris Matthews (who is, it turns out, as ferocious as they say), began grilling me on Senator Obama’s legislative record.

And my mind went blank. I expected to be asked about the primary that night, or the big one coming up in Texas on March 4, or just about anything else in the news. When the subject changed so emphatically, I reached for information that millions of my fellow Obama supporters could recite by heart, and I couldn’t summon it.

My most unfortunate gaffe is not, in any way, a comment on Senator Obama, his substantial record, or the great opportunity we all share to elect him President of the United States.

Had I not lost my mind, here are the accomplishments I would have mentioned:

Senator Obama’s fight for universal children’s health care in Illinois.
His success bringing Republicans and Democrats together (a huge selling point for me in general) on bills such as the one in Illinois requiring police interrogations and confessions to be videotaped.
His leadership on ethics reform in Washington (the bill that lobbyists and special interests are complaining about right now has his name on it).
His bill to make the federal budget far more transparent and accessible to Americans via the Internet – we could use that openness in Texas.
And his vital work with Republicans to lock down nuclear weapons around the world.
Of course, it would have helped to remember all of this last night. I encourage anyone who wants to know more (especially Mr. Matthews) to log onto

In the meantime, let’s not lose focus on what’s important in this election. It’s not my stunning televised defeat in “Stump the Chump.” Thankfully, it has nothing at all to do with me.

What’s important is the direction our country is headed. What’s important are the priorities, methods, and, yes, accomplishments of those seeking the highest office in the country.


Now, granted, the Obama campaign ought to make sure that in today's "Gotcha!" media environment, their public faces are prepared for any eventuality. But watching Chris Matthews ambush this guy was like watching the episode of Family Guy that ran on CW tonight in which Peter Griffin decides, after beating up a 13-year-old, that bullying is fun.