IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Matthews: Bachmann or Romney – 'Pick your poison'

Let me finish tonight with the strange pair of frontrunners on the right.

Let me finish tonight with the strange pair of frontrunners on the right. One is not really a right-winger but pretending to be, courting the votes of tea party people he wouldn't share a thought with - much less an evening.

Mitt Romney is a moderate business Republican, the kind of person who reads the Wall Street Journal - not for its rightwing political nostrums - but for the skinny on how to make more bucks.   He reads the news pages, not the clatter on the editorial page.

The truth is, he's a lot more at home with the "first" George Bush than the second.   He wants you to "read his lips" - just like the older Bush - not his mind.  Please!  His mind is thinking constantly - "how in the world can I convince these rubes that I'm one of them?" - "how can I learn to imitate these crazed Tea Party types" I hope to never meet at a "real" party; my god, this is difficult.

That's Mitt Romney, the moderate governor of Massachusetts who was elected up there in the Bay State as a defender of abortion rights, who made a record up there in Boston as the divisor of that health care plan - complete with individual mandate - that was the very role model for Obama.  That's Mitt Romney out there pretending with all his might that he's not "that" Mitt Romney - that Massachusetts politician - the only one with a public record in actual government. 

Today he's joined at the ramparts with Michele Bachmann, who believes every word she says, whose heart rides with every applause line, whose slender grip on American history is groomed to match the latest fashion on the loony right. Democrats are traitors - anti-American to the core - George Washington worked tirelessly to end slavery - and "oh, yeah, Lexington and Concord is right there in New Hampshire, which just happens to be the place where she, Michelle Bachmann wants "her" shot heard round the world when she knocks off Mitt right there in his own New England backyard.

This is the fight card for the Republican presidential nomination - one candidate pretending to be a right-winger, the other the genuine article as we say in politics, the one who is right down to the core what she seems but who says things she truly believes that, unfortunately are not true.

So welcome to the battle of the talking points, the hypnotic trance that both these candidates will enter and maintain for the simple reason that one fears to venture forth into the realm of his own moderate, practical, real-world thinking, and the other so unaware of this country's real history that she must paint and repaint the myth as if she were earnestly at work on a paint-by-numbers.

Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann - both now announced candidates.   Ladies and Gentlemen, as the bartender says in the old Westerns … pick your poison.