Via Newsbusters, there are subtle ways to goof on Christie’s weight, there are not so subtle ways, and then there’s this. Matthews has done it before — how can you cut the budget, he wondered, if you can’t cut your portions at supper? — but I can’t remember anyone, left or right, bringing Christie’s wife into it until now. Reminds me of Ace’s post from last fall about the Matthews method, theorizing that Tingles’s signature stream-of-consciousness verbal diarrhea was really just a form of shtick aimed at making him seem more down to earth and blue-collar. He’s not a Beltway carbuncle who’s spent the last 30 years shmoozing with America’s power brokers, he’s the guy on the barstool next to you who likes to jaw about politics over beers. Except he’s not that guy and doesn’t really understand that guy, so what comes out of his mouth often seems dumb, strained, and overly chummy. Here’s Ace’s imitation of Matthews trying to explain Obama’s appeal. It’s slightly too blue to be something he might realistically say on “Hardball,” but in the green room before the show? Pitch perfect:

It’s like he’s just this guy, right? And he knows who he is. And he’s got a little swagger to him, a little Mick Jagger in the jimmy-leg, but not so much that you notice.

But your gal notices.

And this guy, right, he notices your gal, too, and that’s a problem for you, because this guy’s been around.

Bras aren’t a mystery to this guy. He knows a clasp from a hook. He’s touched base. He’s tagged up. He knows his way around a hooter.

And that’s how Obama wins Ohio.

Moronic, but exactly the sort of thing you can imagine would qualify as barstool wisdom to Matthews. Imagine yourself with a beer, trying to watch football on the TV above the bartender’s head, and having that babbled into your ear by a slightly tipsy Tingles. The charitable interpretation of the Christie joke is that he was going for the same vibe — crass, corny, but something that he thought might ingratiate him to the audience in a “I’m a real guy, not above this sort of thing” way. The less charitable interpretation is that, no, it’s not shtick. He really does function on this level and really would find profundity in the idea that Obama got reelected because he’s Jumping Jack Flash or something. Guess which interpretation I’m following.