Is haggard MSNBC host Chris Matthews actually running for Senate from Pennsylvania? Against five-term senior Republican Arlen Specter? Really? Politico says he's house-shopping in Philadelphia! He's asking insiders whether he should step down from MSNBC before his contract expires! Oh, and about that contract: it expires in June.
Matthews makes $5 million a year, but Keith Olbermann makes $7.5 million (and just got renewed through 2012 with guaranteed regular spots on the broadcast NBC nightly news). Matthews will probably not get such a lovely new contract next summer. So this is maybe just contract renegotiating stuntery.
There's no doubt that Chris wants to be a Senator—it's been his dream since he was a little boy, to join that undemocratic and increasingly deadlocked and feeble deliberative body—but the guy is also smart about the realities of politics, if not the realities of reality. Running against a five-term senior Senator would be tough for any Democrat, but "any Democrat" would probably have better luck against Specter than a man who's been on the world's craziest cable news network saying some of the craziest things on that network for years.
If Specter retires at the end of his term (a possibility), we think Chris might go through with it. But that is also assuming that the makes a rational decision, and doesn't just quit his show and go for it when he wakes up bored one day.