How detached is Chris Matthews from the rest of the country? The Hardball host on Thursday appeared bewildered as he conceded to being "totally unprepared" for the prospect that Obamacare might be "ripped off the books." Talking to Chuck Todd, Matthews asked his fellow MSNBC colleague if he would be "surprised" to see the Supreme Court strike down the health care law.
Matthews then confessed, "I was totally unprepared because of the way people talked." The anchor insisted that "intellectually," he knew it could be a problem, but "I never heard it discussed politically as a prospect, that they actually might get his major achievement just ripped off the books." He never heard it discussed? [See video below. MP3 audio here .]
It was left to another guest, Major Garrett, formally of Fox News, to state the obvious: "I always thought that health care and the push was a huge risk. It feels like the biggest risk ever taken since I started covering Washington in 1990."
Matthews groaned, "Oh, God. This is an easy one for the Republicans if they get a beating on this."
Writing in the Weekly Standard , Jay Cost explained why liberals are so often surprised by conservative victories (or the potential for victory):
The problem for the left is that they do not have a lot of interaction with conservatives, whose intellects are often disparaged, ideas are openly mocked, and intentions regularly questioned. Conservative ideas rarely make it onto the pages of most middle- and high-brow publications of news and opinion the left frequents. So, liberals regularly find themselves surprised when their ideas face pushback.
I think that is exactly what happened with Obamacare. The attitude of President Obama (a former con law lecturer at the University of Chicago, no less!), Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid was very much that they are doing big, important things to help the American people, why wouldn’t that be constitutional? No less an important Democratic leader as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee cited the (nonexistent) “good and welfare clause” to justify the mandate.
A transcript of the March 29th exchange, which aired at 5:12pm EDT, follows:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Did you see this coming? Would you be still- would you be surprised if they strike it down?
CHUCK TODD: I'd still be surprised if it's overturned.
MATTHEWS: Were you surprised that this was even a prospect? I was totally unprepared because of the way people talked. I always thought, intellectually, it might be a problem but I never heard it discussed politically as a prospect, that they actually might get his major achievement just ripped off the books.
MAJOR GARRETT: I always thought that health care and the push was a huge risk. It feels like the biggest risk ever taken since I started covering Washington in 1990.
MATTHEWS: Oh, God. This is an easy one for the Republicans if they get a beating on this for the- Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here  to follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.