Excited about the possibility of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie no longer being a viable presidential contender, Hardball host Chris Matthews on Wednesday swooned about the Democratic potential for 2016: "This could be like the 1964 election with Lyndon Johnson being portrayed this time by Hillary Clinton, grabbing 60 percent of the vote because she grabs the middle." [MP3 audio here.]
Matthews continued his hypothetical sequence, speculating, "[Clinton] could grab the middle. The Republicans run a wacko bird, as John McCain calls them. We have a sweeping election." It should be pointed out that, as of January 23, 2014, November 8, 2016 is two years and 288 days away. So, a lot "could" happen.
Alex Wagner, the MSNBC anchor's liberal colleague, appeared on the show, Wednesday, to echo Matthews's claims. Of the potential GOP contenders, Wagner proclaimed, "There is no one left, and they have got a very, very short bench."
Fellow liberal David Corn appeared and appeared slightly more restrained, mentioning Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as a viable possibility.
Every day since January 8, Matthews has done his part to take Christie's scandal and use it to finish off the Republican's undeclared presidential bid. Over 11 shows, he repeatedly compared Christie to Nixon and Bridgegate to Watergate.
A transcript of the January 22 exchange, which aired at 7:25pm ET, is below:
ALEX WAGNER: That is a problem for the likes of John Boehner, someone who had said he wants to get immigration reform done. They don't have ambassadors anymore. Marco Rubio, you know there was water bottle-gate for him. There is no one left, and they have got a very, very short bench.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, we have picked up the -- we have picked up the rock and we see the bug life under the rock. It's not pretty to look at. Maybe somebody will say -- like, I like Kasich, always liked him. This has gotten me in trouble with some of my progressive friends, but I like Kasich. He might be OK. A working-class regular guy with a somewhat ethnic name may be the smart move for them. We will see. We will see.
DAVID CORN: What we have here, what you're going to have in the next year or two is this division between Tea Party legislators like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, put Marco Rubio in that category in terms of competing for 2016, and a few of the governors left out there, if Chris Christie isn't. You mentioned Kasich. Got Scott Walker, maybe Jeb Bush, who knows, even though his mom doesn't want him to do this.
MATTHEWS: And the voters don't want him. They don't want him.
CORN: Probably, but this is the dividing line now between Tea Party kind of ideologically more pure legislators, senators, vs. these governors out there. And there's still a few left. And the party can't come to terms with this conflict. It's going to have to be fought very fiercely I think through the Republican primaries and caucuses.
MATTHEWS: Well, this -- 2016 could be a crazy year. This could be like the 1964 election with Lyndon Johnson being portrayed this time by Hillary Clinton, grabbing 60 percent of the vote because she grabs the middle. She is a bit more hawkish than Obama. She is more establishment Democrat. She could grab the middle. The Republicans run a wacko bird, as John McCain calls them. We have a sweeping election. It might mean something. Who knows?