Chris Matthews, from "Hardball," talks politics at USF on March 18 with Mgsr. Bob McElroy, auxiliary bishop for the San Francisco Archdiocese.
Political talk show host and USF Distinguished Visiting Professor Chris
Matthews predicted a drubbing for Democrats in the November elections and suggested
Hillary Clinton is the party’s best presidential candidate for 2016 at the
moment, in a wide-ranging public discussion on campus March 18.
Teaching politics and democracy
More than 500 people attended the event,
which was the centerpiece of a weeklong stint of classes Matthews is teaching
on politics and democracy to students at the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public
Service and the Common Good from March 17-21.
The Most Rev. Bob McElroy, auxiliary bishop
for the San Francisco Archdiocese, moderated the conversation, which included questions
from audience members. Matthews, the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris
Matthews,” drew applause when he criticized the Iraq war and joked about some
politicians’ belief that God helped elect them.
'Which one is God?'
Of course, there’s trouble when they
aren’t re-elected, Matthews said. “They realize they won the first election but
lost the second—which one is God?”
Turning to the mid-term elections,
Matthews said the party in power historically loses seats in congress. “This
next election, look out if you’re a Democrat. It’s going to be a tough year,” Matthews
He predicted that Democrats and
centrists, who are disillusioned after the botched Affordable Care Act roll out,
won’t show up at the polls. Meanwhile, he said, Republicans are angry and will vote
Hillary Clinton in 2016
Does that mean Hillary Clinton won’t
have a chance in 2016? Matthews acknowledged that anything can happen in
politics, but she’s the best “likely candidate” in either party at the moment.
Her challenge will be regaining her political mojo after sitting on the
sidelines. “Politics is a constant process of self education. You have to be
constantly learning all the time, keeping up with it. You get stale so quickly,”
Turning to foreign affairs, Matthews
said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea, Ukraine will help him
rebuild pride among Russians. “His opportunity was there laying on the table,
and he took it. It would have been odd if he hadn’t,” Matthews said.
People love the new pope
And the idea that we have to act “tough”
and intervene is absurd, he said. “I went through the Cold War. I hid under my
desk in school (sheltering from a nuclear attack). I don’t ever want it to come
back again,” Matthews said.
He praised Pope Francis, the Catholic Church’s first
Jesuit pope, for making the church more welcoming and for taking on the issue
of poverty and inequality. “People come up to me and tell me, ‘I love this new pope,’”
Msgr. McElroy agreed with
Matthews and said the pope’s inclusive message is being passed down to bishops.
A Catholic Church to treat the wounded
“The Church is a field hospital. That’s (the
Pope’s) image of the Church,” McElroy said. “I think his assertion is that everyone
is wounded, deeply, and the Church’s role, first and foremost, is to tend to
that … and that’s the starting point.”
After the event, Matthews signed copies of several of his books that
were on sale in the lobby and took pictures with audience members.
by Ed Carpenter | Office of Communications and Marketing »email firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter @usfcanews