For your viewing pleasure: the Chris Matthews Ari smackdown
Ari Fleischer (who apprently really is a douchebag, Jon Stewart!) and a charter member of the hilarious Bush Legacy Project, defends the Bush years, and declares it "shameful" to place 9/11 within the Bush years, when clearly he wasn't president until immediately afterward. Enjoy!
BTW the one thing Matthews didn't do, was point out to Ari that 1) the recession that Bush "inherited" began in the second quarter of 2001 -- after I'm pretty sure he was president. And the so-called "record job creation" Ari touted during Bush's term, which he said were the best EVER! ... were actually the third worst job creation numbers of all the presidents dating back to Harry Truman. Only Bush's father and Gerald Ford saw fewer jobs created on their watch. Payrolls expanded by about 3 million during Bush's two terms, or about 375,000 per year, which puts him DEAD LAST in the per year number versus all the presidents since Harry gave 'em hell. Here are the totals:
Truman - 8.4 million Eisenhower - 3.5 JFK - 3.6 LBJ - 11.9 Nixon - 9.4 Carter - 10.5 Reagan - 16.0 Bush I - 2.5 Clinton - 23.1 Dubya - 3.0
He hammers a hapless Republican (California Rep. Darrell Issa) for the idiotic, perennial put down of referring to the "Democrat Party." Transcript:
Issa: “What's scarier, though, President Obama proposed that these budgets -- these deficits created under a Democrat Congress, he's going to cut them in half over a long period of time…”
Matthews: “Well, I think the Democratic Party calls itself the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party. Do we have to do this every night? Why do people talk like this? Is this just fighting words to get the name on?
Issa: “No this isn’t intended to be fighting words…”
Matthews: “They call themselves the Democratic Party. Let’s just call people what they call themselves and stop the Mickey Mouse here - save that for the stump. Seriously…I want to get back to Congressman Frank and some English here…”
Every so often, Chris Matthews gets Philly with it. Like today, for instance, when during the 5 p.m. iteration of "Hardball," in an interview with Howard Dean, Chris expressed his frustration with America's inability to get universal healthcare done.
CHRIS: We haven’t been able to do this in good times, we haven’t been able to do this, Republican, Democrats... we’ve been dickin' around about this thing for years, decades no. It’s just not gotten solved. Why do you think we can solve it during the worst economic crisis since the 30s?
DEAN: Because it’s the worst economic times since the 30s. people finally get this. The business community really has been in trouble for years because of this particular issue and finally they just can’t afford it anymore. Because we’re in tough ec times, a large number of middle class people are losing their health insurance or know somebody who’s losing their health insurance. ...
Oh, Chris also endorsed HoDo for HHS secretary on the show. Nice.
UPDATE: MSNBC scrubbed the audio for the 7 p.m. version (and they'll probably do the same with the transcript.) But this is Chris at his best, truly keeping it real. Enjoy the original, real muthaf**n South Philly version here:
David Gregory has been spinning himself silly trying to deflate the accusation that the press was too soft on President Bush, and were played by the administration in the run-up to the Iraq. War. His indefensible defensiveness was exploded by none other than Christopher Matthews on "Hardball" yesterday:
Wow. If you TiVo'd "Hardball" tonight, skip the 5 p.m. and version and green dot the 7:00. I just watched the most stunning ten minutes of that program that I think I have ever seen. It was a conversation between Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell, who has been covering the Clinton campaign, and our old friend Patrick Buchanan, author of the excellent book, "Where the Right Went Wrong," and a man who, while very bright, can loosely be said to be an unofficial captain of the white power movement. Buchanan was in such a lather over what he called put-downs of West Virginia voters on the MSNBC set, "calling them dumb and uneducated, poor, and racist," I thought his head was going to explode. He then went into a jeremiad about why the pundits don't say that Blacks who give Barack Obama 92 percent of their votes are bad people. "Maybe they said, he's one of them, and maybe the people of West Virginia said she's (meaning Hillary Clinton,) one of US." The use of "us" was a telling slip.
Chris then impressed me, trying to gently explain to Pat that given this country's 400 years of history on race, where we've had only three Blacks elected to the Senate and just a handful of governors, "and that's it," while whites have been "running everything," it's quite a different thing for Blacks to vote for someone who looks like them who could be president, then for white voters in West Virginia to "volunteer to a total stranger that race played a part in their vote."
The clincher was Matthews describing the more colorblind world his kids live in, where they have teachers, friends, and even romantic interests who are Black, "and they don't even think about it," and he said he wanted to see America become that world. Then he pointedly asked Pat, "do YOU want to see that world?" When Pat failed to answer, he asked him AGAIN. Pat stumbled out something about Martin Luther King's dream, and went right back into his red-faced rant about how poor West Virginia white folk "haven't been running anything."
Did you catch the disastrous debut of BET J's "My Two Cents" host Crystal McCreary Anthony on "Hardball" this week? The poor dear had apparently been deployed by the House of Bob (Johnson) and was dutifully trotting out some pro-Hillary talking points (although she did have to admit that the threatening letter from Clinton donors, including her boss, to try and bully Nancy Pelosi into backing down on her delegates rule statements "didn't look good,") when she caught a left to the jaw from Matthews over her unsourced comments about Barack Obama's "Jewish problem."
Meanwhile, The HuffPo defends Ms. McCreary Anthony. and offers her some help on sourcing. The moral of the story: Bob should have his staffers read the Huffington Post prior to all Hardball appearances...
It's way too late in the game to make mistakes, and I'd say the Obama campaign made a small one tonight, sending a Texas state senator into the MSNBC lion's den to be shelacked by Chris Matthews, who zinged him with a "gotcha" question about Obama's accomplishments in the Senate, as Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, flacking for Hillary, smirked on. The State Senator couldn't name said accomplishments, although afterward, Keith Olbermann reminded Matthews that no one could likely name an accomplishment by the entire congress at this stage.
"That's why it's called Hardball," retorted Chris, after demanding that the Senator name an accomplishment, "NOW!"
Bottom line, the clip will be Youtubed something awful by Camp Clinton tonight, and served to the Wolfson-cowed (still lying about the horse race) mainstream media, and to the right wing hit machine, tomorrow.
Update: The Texas State Senator in question, Kirk Watson, crawls out from under a rock to tell his constituents that yes, he lost his game of "stump the chump" with Christopher Matthews.
Update 2: Here, go ahead. Relive Kirk Watson's shame...
I caught Chris Matthews typically blunt performance on Morning Joe this morning, and thought that, this time, the all-time number one Clinton Hater had it about right. In the wake of the Get Shuster campaign (otherwise known as Pimpgate,) the Clintons showed a disturbing tendency to try and intimidate the press, something we've come to expect from George W. Bush, but which looks really bad on a Democrat. The Huffpo's Sam Stein caught it too:
"What she has to do is get rid of the kneecapers that work for her, these press people whose main job seems to be punishing Obama or going after the press, to building a positive case for her," said Matthews. "Her campaign slogan right now is don't get your hopes up. That won't work in America. You can't diminish Obama and hope that you will rise from the ashes."
Asked why he believed Clinton had gone negative, Matthews again struck an antagonistic chord about the campaign's media operation.
"The kneecapping hasn't worked. Her press relations are lousy," he said. "If all you do is intimidate and punish and claim you'll get even relentlessly, people of all kinds of politicians -- and in all fairness, the press -- human reaction to intimidation is screw you. That's the human reaction. Don't tell me what to say, and that has been their whole policy. We're going to win this thing. Get out of the way."
During the same segment, my man Pat Buchanan counseled Hillary to "go negative or go home," to which Matthews countered, people don't vote for negative; they don't vote against optimism. He's right. Hillary's campaign has to strike a more positive, uplifting tone if she hopes to dig her way out of the hole. That said, I'm not sure she can dig her way out of the hole, and if the buzz that her camp is willing to screw the popular vote AND the pledged delegate count and try to win it in the brokerage rooms at the convention, then she has a very rude awakening coming. If she wins this thing in any way other than by getting more votes, she will lose sufficient support to guarantee the presidency to John McCain.
By the way, David Shuster's return now has a date attached: February 22nd, at which time he will have served a suspension of two weeks.
The cable chat media, led by Chris Matthews of MSNBC (backed by his seconds, Chuck Todd and Howard Fineman), and their friends in the print press, have a message for the non-Clinton Democratic candidates: "Bring me the head of that Clinton woman!"
Matthews and company are desperately casting around, offering beligerent free advice to Barack Obama: ATTACK HILLARY NOW! Why are they so certain that Barack must quit to professorial schtick and lop off Hil's head? Becauase John Edwards, for all his shrillness, isn't getting the job done. And for the mainstream media hit squad that tried with all its might, but failed to take down President Bill Clinton over that phony scandal with a chubby, horny intern, the job must get done.
Matthews in particular seems bent on justifying his near decade of obsession with the Clintons' sex life, and his spittle-mouthed, high horsed jihad against the former president back in the bad old days of 1998, when the right wing Congress and their bounty hunter, Ken "show me the panties" Starr, sought to undo the results of two elections by hounding a sitting president out of office for doing what just about every president before him has done: cheat on his wife. (Just a guess, they probably all lied about it, too.)
And now that Hillary Clinton seems to be running away with the Democratic nomination for president, she... must ... be ... stopped. And if the media can't do it themselves (too obvious) then Barack had damned well better start the shelling.
If he doesn't, the media bete noires say, he's toast. He can't beat her if he doesn't beat her. The desperation to see a bar room brawl is so thick that yesterday on "Hardball," Pat Buchanan, who usually holds it together a lot better on "the race thing," at least on TV, actually mused that Obama "sure doesn't come off like a Black guy from the south side of Chicago." Huh? What's he supposed to do to Mrs. Clinton? Smack that ass and call her a "ho?"
Meanwhile, on the other side of the political aisle, there's no competing narrative demanding why Mitt Romney doesn't mount a real, full throated attack against Rudy Giuliani, the front runner for the GOP nod. The assumption is that there is so much to attack with Hillary, but with Rudy? Not so much. I mean, he's "America's mayor" after all -- what's there to attack? The media insists that the only thing worth attacking Rudy for is his apostasy on social values issues -- gay marriage and abortion. Beyond that, Matthews and Co. can't imagine anything, by golly by gosh, that Mitt or Huck or Fred could possibly want to bash Mr. 9/11 for...
Honestly, with the exception of David Shuster and of course, Keith Olbermann, it's almost as if the powdered men of the MSM have formed a Jim Jones-like cult whose ritual chant is an incantation to burn Hillary in the fires of hell. ... and her cheating but still getting love from his wife, still more popular than any of the TV talking heads, and more manly to boot hubby, too. (Haters.)
Anyhoo, the Dems will attempt to live up to the Mathews brawl-o-meter tonight, if Barack and his team are that easily hypnotized (earth to Barack, look how well nasty attacks have worked for John Edwards!) The debate will be moderated by the almost rhythmically bland Brian Williams and the Roger Ailes golf buddy posing as an objective journalist, Tim Russert.
Chris Matthews confuses me. Sometimes he's a Democrat, sometimes he's a Bushie. ... Or is he? The same guy who praised the magnificence of Bush's inauguration and how it represented the beauty of America's system of peaceful transfer of power, who gushed over Bush's appearances at Ground Zero (several days late and a dollar short) and that aircraft carrier stunt when we supposedly won the war, now calls the Bush administration a bunch of criminals and Soviet style free speech squashers. I know he hates the Iraq war (now) and that he fears that the neocons will drag us into another war with Iran, but given his past Huh?
Maybe he was drunk.
Chris Matthews had barely finished praising his colleagues at the 10th anniversary party for his “Hardball” show Thursday night in Washington, D.C. when his remarks turned political and pointed, even suggesting that the Bush administration had "finally been caught in their criminality."
In front of an audience that included such notables as Alan Greenspan, Rep. Patrick Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy, Matthews began his remarks by declaring that he wanted to "make some news" and he certainly didn't disappoint. After praising the drafters of the First Amendment for allowing him to make a living, he outlined what he said was the fundamental difference between the Bush and Clinton administrations.
The Clinton camp, he said, never put pressure on his bosses to silence him.
“Not so this crowd,” he added, explaining that Bush White House officials -- especially those from Vice President Cheney's office -- called MSNBC brass to complain about the content of his show and attempted to influence its editorial content. "They will not silence me!" Matthews declared.
"They've finally been caught in their criminality," Matthews continued, although he did not specify the exact criminal behavior to which he referred. He then drew an obvious Bush-Nixon parallel by saying, “Spiro Agnew was not an American hero."
Matthews left the throng of Washington A-listers with a parting shot at Cheney: “God help us if we had Cheney during the Cuban missile crisis. We’d all be under a parking lot.”
...that Chris Matthews would criticize Rudy Giuliani. He just did so on "Hardball," saying, during a back and forth with actor/political junkie Ben Affleck about the politican candidates:
"I agree with what Fareed Zakaria wrote in Newsweekthis week, which is that terrorism isn't bombs and explosions and death... terrorism is when you change your society because of those explosions... and you become fearful to the point that you shut out immigration, you shut out student exchanges, you keep people out of buildings ... and begin to act in an almost fascist manner because you're afraid of what might happen to you, and that's when terrorism becomes real, and frighteningly succesful. That's what I believe, and that's why I question the way Giuliani has raised this issue. He raises it as a specter, and in a wierd way, he helps the bad guys."
Wow. That's a switch, Chris. I honestly didn't think this guy was capable of doing anything besides fawning over Rudy. Of course, he did get in a swipe at Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky during the segment, just to make the point that he's still Chris "the Clinton obsessor".
But a stunning development nonetheless. I get the feeling Matthews is disappointed that his Big City Mayor hero has turned out to be nothing but a fear mongering neocon -- liberal on social issues, crazy for war in the Middle East, and authoritarian in the extreme.