MSNBC host Ronan Farrow earned a bit of a dressing down from his colleague, Chris Matthews, on Wednesday after he praised the uncommon intellectualism of some of the 2014 cycle’s insurgent candidates. When Farrow, who you may not have known used to serve in the State Department, said he found the academics like Dave Brat a “refreshing” change of pace from past tea party candidates, Matthews scolded him and others for their condescension.
“Here’s the other thing that looks non-establishment in these guys’ rhetoric,” Farrow said of Brat and Jack Trammell, the Democratic Party’s nominee for Congress in Virginia’s 7th district. “They are so hyper intellectual.”
While Farrow noted that Trammell received a better “rate my professor” score than Brat, he also remarked on the novelty of Brat’s desire to govern in the model of the political philosophers who founded the nation. “Is it rare to see that kind of brazen intellectualism, particularly in populist candidates like this?” Farrow asked Matthews.
“Well, first of all, I don’t think you can assume that the liberals are smarter than the conservative professors,” Matthews shot back. “I think that’s crazy talk, and it’s exactly the kind of attitude conservatives can’t stand.”
“This looking down our noses at tea party people has got to stop,” Matthews added. “They have a message, they’re as American as any liberal is, and they’re really angry of the failure of the system.”
“We can’t control the deficit, we can’t control the debt, we can’t control the border,” the Hardball host railed. “What is government good at?”
Just to hammer home the point that Brat’s victory not necessarily based on crass nativism, MSNBC host Chuck Todd noted that immigration reform with an eye toward extending citizenship to illegal immigrants will not pass until the economy fully rebounds. “When people have anxiety about their own personal future, the last thing they want is more competition for a smaller number of jobs,” Todd said.
Farrow closed by informing Matthews that he agreed with the substance of his reprimand.