Chris Matthews, the irrepressible host of Hardball on MSNBC, appeared on The Daily Show last night to promote his new book, Life's a Campaign.
The Daily Show's John Stewart was not impressed. Stewart, who said he read the book, repeatedly challenged Matthews on the notion that life can be reduced to a campaign. To Stewart, it seemed, campaigning is not a great metaphor for common sense and human decency.
We can't speak to Life's a Campaign because we haven't read it. But we did read a previous Matthews book, American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions. It's an upbeat book about the joys of America and American life, but it left us wanting more. As a contemplation of America's greatness, Matthews offered only a thin veneer of history and culture, with no room for more powerful ideas about the complexities and contradictions of American life.
Maybe Chris ought to stick to TV talk shows. His chops as a writer are wearing thin.