He just won't let it go. MSNBC's Chris Matthews returned once again to his hare-brained idea that the president should sue Congress, joined tonight by another dynamic duo of hard-core lefties in cheering on the idea: the perpetually sanctimoniously smug comedian John Fugelsang and MSNBC daytime anchor Joy Reid. The Hardball host is ostensibly unafraid of conflict, but thus far he has failed to bring on a conservative sparring partner in his "sue Congress" segments.
But not only is Matthews stubbornly surrounding himself with those who share his absurd opinion, he's throwing out statements that are either patently false or grossly misleading. For example, in opening Matthews charged:
There must be a sense that this government machinery has seized up. They don't have two different health care plans fighting with each other, two different jobs plans. That would be healthy. It's one guy with some ideas, the president, he doesn't veto anything, they veto him.
Of course that's patently absurd. The Republican House repeatedly passes measures up to the Democrat-controlled Senate, the majority leader of which, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), promptly tables rather than opening up to a free-spirited debate or amendment process.
What's more, plenty of GOP-sponsored bills the House passes also promptly receive a White House veto threat. Heck, the president has even slapped veto threats on broadly popular bipartisan legislation, like a bill to slap fresh sanctions on Iran.
But why let facts get away of spin. Matthews's guest Joy Reid certainly didn't:
I would almost think that the president, on behalf of the American people, could say you willfully obstructed government, you're willfully refusing to seat ambassadors, to make sure agencies have agency heads. Even to pay the government's bills, letting the government default, I think even as a symbolic action, the president is the one with standing because the Congress is willfully obstructing not just him, but us.
But the U.S. government has never defaulted, and most certainly not under this Congress. Matthews may disdain the brinksmanship that's characterized recent fights over the debt ceiling or partial-government shutdowns, but even in those cases, Congress is doing its job, albeit not as it optimally should.
What's more, it is Democrats who run the Senate and who, since last November, have had free rein with filling presidential appointments, having exercised the so-called nuclear option to remove the filibuster as a tool the minority can use to thwart confirmation votes on presidential appointments. While careful to never explicitly mislead their viewers by saying the Senate is run by Republicans, Reid and Matthews lend that impression by lumping House and Senate together as though they are controlled by the same party.
Later in the segment, Matthews tossed in more factual errors with how he characterized "the way they left the House last week" prior to the August recess. "They sued the president, that's all they did," Matthews whined, allowing that they also "passed a meaningless gesture to trash those kids at the border."
"They never met with the Senate, never had a conference to get a bill to the president's hands, as I said, they never put in his hands to sign or to veto. They just do nothing as a strategy," Matthews insisted.