How panicked was the Left about the special election in PA-12? As this clip shows, even MS-NBC anchor Chris Matthews and analyst Howard Fineman describe a loss as “lights out” for the Democrats, making my earlier point about the heavy registration advantage Democrats have in the district. Story Balloon captures a strange spin from Matthews with less than an hour to go before Republigeddon or something, attempting to bolster hope that Critz would win through — can you guess? I knew you could:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It looks to me that if the Democrats lose the seat where Jack Murtha was king for all these years, 2-to-1 Democratic ethnic, lot of Eastern European, names like Critz, which is the name of the candidate out there — no reason to vote against the guy. It`s not an African-American running, like the president. There`s no [inaudible] sense of bizarre, whatever it — same old local yokel guy from the Murtha crowd running, local guy running, right, not an outsider running.

For his part, Fineman ignores the race issue and focuses on policy. Perhaps he learned from his participation in the Keith Olbermann designation of pickup trucks as racist back in January, when deep-blue Massachusetts got accused on MS-NBC of being racist for not electing Martha Coakley, whose votes and complexion paled in comparison to Scott Brown. The hyperbolic analysis of both, though, showed that they had expected a bad outcome, or at least the large possibility of one.

However, Matthews’ little rant was intended to bolster hope that Critz would pull it out — and why? Because he wasn’t some sort of, er, non-eastern-European outsider. According to Matthews, Critz was just enough of a well-known quantity for the rednecks in PA-12, even though Tim Burns was obviously from the same district — and had spent more time there rather than in Washington DC than had Critz.

For a remarkably monochromatic lot at MS-NBC, they certainly seem obsessed with one particular analytical point, even when it amounts to a non-sequitur. Looks like a case of projection to me.

Update: Silly me — I wrote “Crist” in the opening paragraph.  I guess it’s hard for me to tell the two apart.  Critz, of course, is the more conservative of the two.