Matthews Baffled By Cruz Hit on NYC; He’s Like ‘The Music Man’ Playing to ‘Hicks’ in Iowa

Multiple times throughout the two hours of post-GOP debate edition of MSNBC’s Hardball late Thursday and early Friday, Chris Matthews expressed confusion at Ted Cruz’s attack on Donald Trump and “New York values” by wondering if it’s like accusing all San Francisco Democrats of being gay or playing Harold Hill in The Music Man by “playing to the hicks” in Iowa. 

Matthews first opined on the matter about nine minutes into the program as he told his guests that he found New York to be “an interesting place” since he knows so many from MSNBC who work there and are unique because they’re not like average Americans from the Midwest or small towns.

“[T]hey don't fly in from Iowa or Montana, the celebrities, the Hollywood stars in the Midwest, the Johnny Carsons, things like that, they're New Yorkers and they have New York accents,” Matthews explained.

Arguing that New York values aren’t horrible since “Brooklyn and Queens are filled with churches,” Matthews complained that he didn’t understand Cruz’s point: “I don't get the New York values thing. Are they talking like Sodom and Gomorrah? Is this one of these old tricks? Like San Francisco Democrats, they used to say, they said the Democrats are all gay?”

Alas, Matthews returned to this in the next hour to further lament that Cruz took a “cheap shot about New York values, which reminded me of the old Gene Kirkpatrick attack on what she called the San Francisco Democrats.” 

Speaking with former Apprentice contestant and Trump supporter Omarosa Manigault, Matthews invoked the late and heroic FDNY members who saved countless lives in the World Trade Centers on 9/11 and used them to rail against Cruz’s hit as an “idiotic notion that New York is all this Sodom and Gomorrah country.”

Matthews made things even weirder (as they seemingly couldn’t be already) when the Hardball host brought up the famous musical and film about a traveling salesman named Harold Hill and his time in the fictitious River City during the 1910s:

[T]hat sounds like — will sell like you’re The Music Man out in Iowa? You know we got trouble in River City, playing to the hicks or the people at least you think they are hicks? Won't they react to that and say we're not hicks, stop talking to us like this?

Needless to say, it was quite the night for Matthews. As this writer reported earlier on Thursday, Matthews asked Ben Caron’s press secretary if Carson would “talk faster” in the debate than he usually does. 

My colleague Ken Shepherd also highlighted how he told MSNBC’s Kate Snow during the afternoon that conservatives supposedly should either side with Cruz on the birther question or the Constitution.

Tell the Truth 2016

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Special Edition of Hardball in the 11:00 p.m. Eastern hour of January 14 and 12:00 a.m. Eastern hour of January 15 can be found below.

MSNBC’s A Special Edition of Hardball
January 14, 2016
11:09 p.m. Easter

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah, I think New York is an interesting place and since I’m lucky enough to work at this show and know a lot of guys who like — directors of this show and people like that, they're all New Yorkers, they don't fly in from Iowa or Montana, the celebrities, the Hollywood stars in the Midwest, the Johnny Carsons, things like that, they're New Yorkers and they have a New York accents, you might say some are loud, but their values are bad. Where do you get that? Brooklyn and Queens are filled with churches. They go to church. I don't think — I don't get the New York values thing. Are they talking like Sodom and Gomorrah? Is this one of these old tricks? Like San Francisco Democrats, they used to say, they said the Democrats are all gay?

(....)

January 15, 2016
12:06:37 a.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Has he got something — I think he has something in defending New York against the cheap shot about New York values, which reminded me of the old Gene Kirkpatrick attack on what she called the San Francisco Democrats, hint hint. I mean, that whole thing. The fact that he was trying to portray New York as Sodom and Gomorrah combined and somehow landing that on the head of Donald Trump, I'm not sure that worked. 

(....)

12:08 a.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Do you think he meant by New York values, the values that led those firefighters, I think there was 227 of them, to climb up the stairs when everybody else was coming down the World Trade Centers to save the people, do you think those were the New York values he was talking about or this idiotic notion that New York is all this Sodom and Gomorrah country that sounds like — will sell like you’re The Music Man out in Iowa? You know we got trouble in River City, playing to the hicks or the people at least you think they are hicks? Won't they react to that and say we're not hicks, stop talking to us like this? 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center