Published October 19, 2012
This week, MSNBC “star” Chris Matthews made the following statement, clearly speaking out of frustration as he watched President Obama wilt under the scrutiny of the second presidential debates where he was challenged repeatedly by Republican Mitt Romney.
“I don’t think he understands the Constitution of the United States…He’s the president of the United States. You don’t say, ‘you’ll get your chance.’”
Chris Matthews was angry with Romney challenging the president on his record during the course of an election to unseat him.
Matthews should be angry about the president’s poor performance not with Romney’s tenaciousness in seeking the truth.
But here's the truth, that Matthews hasn't seemed to have learned: the respect you give is the respect you get. If the president wants respect than he better stop acting like a potentate and more like a president of the United States. Romney gave the president the respect he deserved at the debates and during the course of the election.
You would think Matthews would know what is in the Constitution and what is not.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it set forth that a president of the United States is above the people and cannot and should not be challenged. Is that not what a presidential election is all about – challenging an incumbent president on his record?
The Founding Fathers specifically limited the powers of the president and did not exempt a president from abiding by the laws of the land in the same manner and to the same extent as the average citizen.
America was founded because of our dissatisfaction with a monarchy run by kings and queens who were above the people. The problem is that Matthews thinks that not only he is above the people but President Obama should be as well.
The president of the United States in the Oath of Office swears to the following:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Prior to the debates mainstream media bigs could craft the coverage of the race as they saw it and in the manner they wanted to communicate it. The problem for them now is that they cannot tell the people what to think when they watched the debates themselves in real time and formed opinions without the need for explanation or editorializing. Their “power” over the people has been marginalized and the liberal media can’t stand it.
I have news for Matthews: there is no greater responsibility a president has than to preserve, protect and defend the Constitutional protection of a citizens’ freedom of speech -- presidents are neither immune from it nor protected from it.
I suggest that someone needs to stuff Chris Matthews' 2012 Christmas stocking with a copy of the US Constitution.
Bradley A. Blakeman is a Professor of Public Policy, Politics and International Affairs at Georgetown University. He also served as the president of Freedom's Watch a right of center conservative advocacy 501 C4.