In a few weeks, George W. Bush will leave the White House, with few tears shed over his departure. In addition, another Washington figure, TV chatterbox Chris Matthews, may move soon to Pennsylvania to run for the Senate in 2010, with the capital's legitimate journalists smiling all the way.
The outgoing president is conducting a number of farewell interviews these days with reporters and TV anchors. It is ironic since it's no secret Bush hates the media and has shunned press conferences during most of his time in office.
A major reason for Bush's anger at the press is merely because it has reported on his administration's moves—many of them wrong—for the past eight years. Guess he can't bear to hear the truth that he is leaving as the most unpopular president in modern history. He is delusional to think historians will treat him more kindly, as he has reportedly told aides.
In an interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Bush said his only regret was that he was misled on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He conveniently omits that as commander in chief, it was his job to sift all intelligence at his disposal. In fact, Bush was itching to go to war in Iraq, damn any evidence to the contrary.
After all, he proudly said he was the decider.
Here are more regrets the president should have mentioned: Leaving the war in Afghanistan far too early, a snail's-pace reaction to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, the failure to move fast on a sick economy, and letting Vice President Dick Cheney, with his warped view of democracy, call most of the shots. That will do for starters.
Bush told Gibson that he planned to write books when he returns to Texas, to a home in Dallas. Bob Barnett, the smart D.C. lawyer and highly successful book agent, has his work cut out for him on this project. The Bush years are in for a massive spin job with this author revising history.
As for Matthews, the usually rude host of Hardball on MSNBC, it will be a long leap into politics and a huge reduction in pay. Matthews currently gets $5 million for his daily bloviating, so a senator's salary will be mere chump change.
A former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and press assistant to House Speaker Tip O'Neill, Matthews has limited experience as a professional journalist. His few years as Washington correspondent for a San Francisco newspaper were filled with speeches and book writing.
On his program, Matthews has made an art form of asking long questions of his guests, then interrupting them with his own opinions. If guests take issue with him, he is often contemptuous. A former senator from Georgia, Zell Miller, told Matthews he would like to give him a proverbial knuckle sandwich if they were in the studio together.
If Matthews does decide to run in the Keystone State, he surely will get no free ride in the Democratic primary. And even if he wins there, he will face a formidable foe in GOP incumbent Arlen Specter. An unpredictable maverick, Specter may be a little long in the tooth, but he has won five terms in an often blue state.
Some Republicans in Pennsylvania have been upset with Specter's record, but as one party consultant in Philadelphia put it: "Arlen may be an SOB, but at least he's our SOB."
So maybe this race could become a contest between two SOBs.