FishbowlDC Interview with Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis

Say hello to The Daily Caller‘s Matt Lewis. He is a senior contributor for The Daily Caller. He is also editor of ‘The Quotable Rogue: The Ideals of Sarah Palin In Her Own Words.’ More often than not, you can find the unquestionably friendly reporter with dimples on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Howard Kurtz on Sunday. His colleagues find him “helpful and knowledgeable” around the office. We asked his boss, Tucker Carlson, what kind of human being Lewis is. He replied, “Matt is a great guy: low-key, hard working, relentless honest and decent.” Previously, Matt was a columnist for the now defunct Politics Daily, and before that, he was a blogger for Matt grew up in Frederick County, Md., and graduated from Shepherd College (now University) in Shepherdstown, WV. Like any blogger, he can fall prey to the occasional bad mood. “If you’re a blogger, your mood is contingent on whether you have written anything good lately,” he tells me in a phone conversation this afternoon. “If too much time elapses and I haven’t written anything I’m proud of, I start to get a little testy, which is totally not good.” He does see his glass half full: “Any day as a writer beats working at a fast food restaurant.” This is a fate he escaped narrowly just after college when he worked briefly at a Roy Rogers in Frederick, Md. He was earning $30,000 a year in  management program. “I was utterly miserable doing it,” he said. “I ended up quitting. I’ve come to learn, whether it s a relationship or a job, you usually know within the first day whether or not it’s going to work. It took me a couple of months to figure it out, but I finally did pull the plug on that.” Moving on to other topics, I wondered about Lewis’s thoughts on the hoodie. “I actually like hoodies and I wear them all the time,” he said. “I was going to tape an episode of bloggingheads the other night. I literally had to take off a hoodie and put on another shirt because I was afraid people were going to think I was mocking it. They’re very comfortable. It’s a brilliant invention.” Lewis wasn’t always a reporter. He started off doing campaigns. He initially thought his calling was to be a political operative. In 1998 he managed a campaign for a male candidate running for the Maryland State Senate. He became the youngest and the first Hispanic Republican ever elected to the Maryland State Senate. “That’s the part I love, the passion, the romance of being a kind of revolution and beating the machine,” he said. But the more entrenched he got into politics, he began to see that at the professional level “they suck the excitement out of it. You know the type…the douchebag type,” he said, explaining that he started his own blog in 2004 and began writing for Human Events. His first paying writing job was for, where he worked for two years. “It took me an evolution to find myself and find my calling.”

If you were a combined carbonated beverage, which would you be? Too personal. Next question.

How often do you Google yourself? I Googled myself twice while answering these questions. But this is because I am paranoid and needy – not because I’m narcissistic – there’s a difference.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? I’ve found it’s best not to directly confront editors. Instead, it’s best to sneak into their offices and move things around on their desks until they slowly go insane.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Kirsten Powers has been doing terrific work of late. Her columns on important issues like sex trafficking and liberal hypocrisy regarding misogyny have been both eloquent and heroic.

Do you have a favorite word? Milieu.

Who would you rather have dinner with – Salon’s Joan Walsh, WaPo’s Ezra Klein or Maureen Dowd. Tell us why. Maureen Dowd. She can be funny. She has a flirty quality about her that’s utterly likeable. And I’m willing to bet that, off the clock at least, she’s capable of dropping the partisan BS for an evening. (Call me, MoDo!)

What’s your funniest TV blooper moment? Fortunately, most of my bloopers have occurred off camera. But I once narrowly averted appearing on NBC’s “Today” show as a medical expert (when an intern escorted me from the MSNBC green room to the wrong set).

What swear word do you use most often? Without a doubt, the f-bomb. But now that I have a little boy, my wife is trying to break me of that f-ing habit.

Now for a really serious moment: What is your dream job, money and practicalities aside? I’ve always wanted to pretend to be an architect.

When you pig out what do you eat? Dark chocolate.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. If it’s a certain kind of underwear we don’t want to know about it. Two words: Sweater vest. Or else… I do have a pair of cowboy boots I got in Austin that I’m pretty proud of. (Pictured here.)

Pick one: Kim, Khloe, or Kourtney? Kourtney.

Have you ever had a tarot card reading? Never.

Have you ever had a near-death experience? I’ve had several close calls: There was the time I caught a gas can on fire. There was the other time when I was riding my lawn mower up a steep hill (with the blade engaged) and it popped a wheelie. And there was the time the lifeguards had to pull me out of the water at Ocean City, Md.

Find out Lewis’s relation to the always suave “Uncle Rico” after the jump…

Ever been arrested? When I was eighteen, a cop pulled behind my parked Dodge Aries (I was that cool!) and flashed his lights (apparently signaling us to move along). We were all under age, and there was lots of beer in the car. The officer proceeded to follow us for a few miles, but never pulled me over. This was probably the closest I’ve come to being arrested. (My mom still doesn’t know about this, so let’s keep this on the DL.)

Tell us a secret not many people know about you. (Choose your favorite:) I worked at “Anders 40 West Amoco” in Frederick, Md. for five years. My band played the now-defunct Philadelphia Music Conference. My wife and I are currently obsessed with watching “Friday Night Light’s” on Netflix. I’m also currently into “Downton Abbey.” I own a pug named “Uncle Rico.”

What scares you? The fact that my entire oeuvre could be wiped out by one electromagnetic pulse! In all seriousness, all writers, I think, fear getting things wrong. And grammatical errors. And I also fear having to get a real job. I’ve worked in restaurants and gas stations. My dad was a correctional officer. I don’t want to get a real job. Ever.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? Since you brought up Joan Walsh, here’s a story. Once, during a TV hit, I publicly accused her of being at the liberal “Netroots Nation” conclave — which was taking place in Las Vegas. (The fact that the Golden Gate Bridge was behind her should have been a giveaway that she wasn’t, in fact, in Nevada.) It was a desperate attempt to show she was out of touch. Ironically (and fortunately for me), the fact that she was in San Francisco proved my point.

Have you ever been fired? A few years ago, a dude named “Killingsworth” fired my boss (the name always struck me as rather Hawthornean, but it was really his last name.) In the real world, if your boss is fired, you might be next. Killingsworth axed my boss in one fell swoop, but worked out a way for me to transition out of my job. So, technically, I wasn’t “fired.”

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? I take the DC Metro to work every day, and I usually listen to Adam Carolla’s podcast. The morning commute can be a sterile and depressing milieu (it’s cold and your mostly underground,) and yet, I frequently laugh out loud to the podcast. This does not sit well with the sleep-deprived commuters, who — headed to their cubicles and spreadsheets — clearly think I’m insane for laughing hysterically in this dystopian environment. They scowl.

When and why did you last lose your temper? I’m pretty sure it involved Rex Grossman throwing an interception.

Who would you want to play you in a movie? I want George Clooney or Chris Noth. But I’m pretty sure it’d be Ben Stiller.

Do you have a me-wall? If so, who’s on it? The pictures on my office walls at TheDC are either of family or of other people who inspire me (the Winston Churchill “Deserve Victory’ postcard, for example.) But I think having a shameless “me-wall” is probably going out of style. they probably exist on Facebook these days.

Who should just call it a day? Dan Snyder.

From TMZ Founder Harvey Levin: You are about to be served your last meal. What will it be? Maryland Blue Crabs. This is for two reasons: First, I’m from Maryland and it’s constitutionally required that I like crabs. Second, it takes a long time to eat crabs, and I’m assuming my “last meal” would come directly before my execution? — so this might prolong things in case Governor McDonnell (I now reside in Virginia) phones the warden.

You get to answer two questions from last week’s interviewees, Roll Call HOH’s Warren Rojas and Neda Semnani:

WR: You have the power to undue any historical event of your choosing. What would you negate and why? Nice try. But if we’ve learned anything from “Back To The Future” it’s that whatever you change could have serious repercussions on the future.

NS: What nickname, besides Scorpion, do you wish everyone people would call you? Hmm. Nicknames: “The Motor City Cobra”  … Or any from the following list: LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, LT Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, Air Boss Johnson (I also like “Air Boss”.)

Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. This one may live on indefinitely. Make it good. Who would win a hotdog-eating contest between Bob Beckel and Frank Luntz?

Publish date: March 30, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT