From day to day I waffle on whether the O'Reilly Factor or Hardball is the more fecund source of shirt-busting hilarity. Today it's Hardball.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I'll try it with Andrea. You know, if you look at it on paper, [John McCain is] a guy who's more seasoned than the current president, President Bush. He's got more military experience. He's been around a long time in terms of national responsibility. He's been a patriot, of course. He served his country brutally as a POW. He's always been honest and respected in the media. He has all the pluses in the world of a sort of a, you know, an Audie Murphy, if you will, a real war hero. It's not working.
(Later in the show) ANDREA MITCHELL: You're on to something, Chris. If he was standing with Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, you know, just a handful of guys, stacked up against them, his experience in foreign affairs, his experience in the Senate, I think, would really dominate a debate.
It's a bizarre exchange because it works on the notion that McCain's abysmal, imploding presidential campaign offers no indication whatsoever of what a McCain presidency would be like. He hires a bloated staff that can't communicate up and down the channels, he blows through $22 million in six months without even running a TV ad, and when he's down he blames that staff for making him wear Mr. Rogers sweaters.
So… maybe the real-time evidence that McCain is a terrible manager might be a more relevant way to judge his presidential fitness than how tough he was 35 years ago. (The caveat would be that George W. Bush staged two brilliant presidential campaigns and his time in office has been, well, you know.)
Matt Welch on McCain here.