Hardball: 'Kamikaze' Hillary Ready to Wreck the Party

"After me, the deluge" (après moi, le déluge) -- popularly attributed to Louis XV

Look for Chris Matthews to start calling her "Louie." The Hardball host was as roiled as Robespierre today at Hillary Clinton's threat to take the Dem party down in a convention credentials fight over the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegates.

In the course of an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News yesterday, Clinton made clear her intention to take things to a floor fight if necessary, and went so far as to preemptively undermine Barack Obama's legitimacy as a candidate if he doesn't go along with her proposal to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates. That set Matthews off, though it was panelist Tucker Carlson who supplied the most colorful language, describing Hillary as a "kamikaze" who is "ready to wreck the party."

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CLINTON: I don't think that the nominee of the party will be considered legitimate if we don't figure out how to count those votes for Michigan and Florida.

. . .

VAN SUSTEREN: And if [Obama] says, no, I won't do it, that leaves Michigan and Florida out. And does that leave you out?

CLINTON: No. Not at all, because we're going to make sure those votes get counted, one way or another.


CLINTON: Well, you know, you can always go to the convention. That's what credential fights are for. You know, let's have the Democratic Party go on record against seating the Michigan and Florida delegations three months before the general election? I don't think that will happen. I think they will be seated. So that is where we are headed if we don't get this worked out.

Matthews discussed the situation with MSNBC's Tucker Carlson and Linda Douglas of the National Journal. Excerpts:

CHRISTOPHER MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton: is she willing to fight this all the way to the finish because she really believes she has a shot, or is this scorched earth; she's gonna make sure Barack Obama doesn't have a shot in November? How rough is she playing this?

LINDA DOUGLASS: Well, what she said, clearly, about going to the credentials committee is playing about as rough as you can play.

. . .

MATTHEWS: So the New York Daily News announces the day [after]: Barack Obama who goes into the convention ahead in elected delegates loses because something called the credentials committee has met behind closed doors and has come to the floor with the announcement: "guess what, we're giving it to the other candidate." I can imagine the newspapers of this country with the headlines.

TUCKER CARLSON: She is in full kamikaze mode. Did you see that Fox bite? She means it!

MATTHEWS: Kamikaze meaning she's willing to destroy herself or everybody?

CARLSON: She is willing to go all the way whatever it takes. We've suspected this from the beginning: she's just proved it.

. . .

CARLSON: But what do you do with someone like that, Hillary Clinton, seriously? It's like your dad's advice when your little: don't ever fight someone who will go all the way. You know, someone who will pull out a gun, someone who just doesn't care, for whom there is no logical end point. She's basically saying "I'll wreck the party, and I will" and she stares right into the camera like that. What do you do with someone like that?! How do you stop that person?!

MATTHEWS: I know that phrase but I can't repeat it. I know exactly the phrase.

I don't. Thanks in advance to the reader who can pass along the PG version.

MATTHEWS: I'm watching the polls every day, and I'm going to keep watching them. I get a sense that as we say in our business, television, we've jumped the shark. Which is at some point people say: "I think I see who the leading candidate is, I think I see who the probable winner is, I think this is over," but we'll see if we've reached that point. I'm watching the polls every day, I think we're getting close to that.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.