It wasn't enough for Chris Matthews to analogize the Bush administration to a family of Mafia killers. He had to call President Bush "Fredo," the weak brother. Matthews' theory was that Bush was unable to control Cheney's handling of the shooting incident in a manner similar to which Fredo was unable to control his wife.
As he amply demonstrated at his press conference today, Harry Whittington is not on life support, but Matthews was working as feverishly as an EMS on a heart attack victim to keep the Cheney story alive. And in doing so, Matthews managed to be ungracious to perhaps the most gracious man in America, the very same Harry Whittington himself. Said a sneering Matthews:
"They dressed up Mr. Whittington rather well, with a lot of make-up, he looked great, I'm glad he's back, but he walked right back into the hospital again. What was that? "
Chimed in a 'helpful' Margaret Carlson: "I think he had his PJs on underneath."
Matthews stuck his dagger a little deeper:
"[Whittington] reminded me of Chernenko [the moribund Soviet leader] voting a couple years ago in Russia when the guy goes into a room next door, they made it look like a voting station, and the guy goes right back to bed."
Could Matthews possibly have sunk any deeper into bad taste?
So intent was Matthews on spinning current events into an omen of an impending annus horribilus for President Bush that he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer from his other guest, Mike Allen of Time magazine.
Matthews tried painted a grim picture: "This sixth year [historically for presidents] is the real sixth year problem and here we have it being kicked off with gunfire, the Vice President shoots someone, by accident, and with lots of questions lingering about it. Is this the beginning of the big, bad year for Bush?"
When Allen answered "not necessarily," Matthews cut him off: "don't say that. Help me out here!"