On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews led a not-so-balanced panel of lefties that included Mother Jones's David Corn and Salon's Joan Walsh, in hammering Dick Cheney's concerns, relayed in an interview with Politico, about the Obama administration's softer stance in the war on terror. The "Hardball," host led the attack on Cheney as he charged the former Vice President: "Was wrong in a way that was lethal. 100,000 people dead including 4,000 Americans are dead, something like 15,000 wounded because he was wrong."
Walsh piped in: "We have a situation where it's vintage Dick Cheney. It's dark, it's dire, it's creepy, it's kooky, it's very scary, but there's absolutely no evidence. And so you're right to point to the fact that this is a man who's gotten everything wrong. There was no connection between the 9/11 hijackers and Saddam Hussein. There was, there were no weapons of mass destruction. We were not greeted by a mushroom cloud as the smoking gun. He got everything wrong, thousands are dead and now he's back."
And for his part Corn wondered: "How detached from reality is he?"
Then Matthews, parroting a line his NBC colleague Tom Brokaw made on Inauguration Day, remarked: "He does seem like a character out of 'Dr. Strangelove.'"
The following exchanges were aired on the February 4 edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned of possible terror attacks in an interview with three Politico newspaper reporters. We have audiotapes from that interview from yesterday and we’re gonna review them with David Corn of Mother Jones magazine and Joan Walsh of Salon. Here’s, welcome Joan. Well here’s Vice President Cheney – by the way he’s back, in just two weeks now -- on the threat to the United States security that he sees coming.
(Audio clip of Dick Cheney)
MATTHEWS: Well that’s the question David and Joan and his, his threat is well his warning is if that happens it’s because you dropped my habits of water-boarding and Guantanamo, and you dropped me.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: It’s certainly not news there’s this threat out there. Anyone who watches "24," knows about Jack Bauer, knows this. So it’s not a big deal that he’s worried about this. But in the, in the interview he said time and again, "You know the Obama people, they want to release suspects. They want to turn the other cheek." He was, you know, really arguing against a caricature of the Obama position. Making it sound like they really want to beat al-Qaeda with hugs and that’s just not the case.
JOAN WALSH, SALON: Right.
CORN: So, so the question is how detached from reality is he?
MATTHEWS: Well 100,000 people are dead now because he got it wrong about nuclear weapons before-
MATTHEWS: -back in 2001.
MATTHEWS: We have to remember that Dick Cheney was wrong in a way that was lethal. 100,000 people dead including 4,000 Americans are dead, something like 15,000 wounded because he was wrong.
WALSH: Well yeah.
MATTHEWS: There was no nuclear weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein and he said there was. Yes, Joan?
WALSH: And Chris here again, Chris here again, you know, we have a situation where it's vintage Dick Cheney. It’s dark, it’s dire, it’s creepy, it’s kooky, it’s very scary, but there’s absolutely no evidence. And so you’re right to point to the fact that this is a man who’s gotten everything wrong. There was no connection between the 9/11 hijackers and Saddam Hussein. There was, there were no weapons of mass destruction. We were not greeted by a mushroom cloud as the smoking gun.
WALSH: He got everything wrong, thousands are dead and now he’s back. And I think the really creepy thing that David has pointed is that you, you, all Obama has done is announced we will not torture and we’re going to begin to close Guantanamo. He has not closed it yet. It’s going to be a very, very time-consuming painstaking process. So really what he’s done is say, "We’re not gonna water-board, we’re not gonna torture and that’s what, that’s all it takes. That’s all that stands between us and disaster is Dick Cheney’s water-boarding that he’s so proud of and torture and things that are Americans are horrified by. So you know it’s just ridiculous.
MATTHEWS: Of course we’ve never gotten a metric, we’ve never gotten, we’ve never gotten a metric, as, as Rumsfeld would put it. A metric. A number of people, the number of terrorists who become terrorists because of us going to Iraq. Let’s take a look.
MATTHEWS: Here’s Dick Cheney on the likelihood of an attempted terrorist attack again. And he does seem like a character out of "Dr. Strangelove."