Chris Matthews has pulled off the rare unassisted triple-play of inanity. On this evening's Hardball, he:
- argued that enforcing the Arizona immigration law would put police officers in danger because illegals caught in a stop would be under tremendous "moral pressure" to use violence to escape;
- repeatedly abused a Republican guest. For the sin of disagreeing with him on immigration law, Matthews variously slimed Arizona state Sen. Rick Murphy as a "B.S. artist," a "hopeless right-winger," and "not serious;" and
- most egregiously, claimed that deporting illegal immigrants from the US would constitute a "pogrom."
CHRIS MATTHEWS: A police officer would be put in tremendous jeopardy it seems to me if the person in that car knows they're illegal, it's not a guesswork to them. A person being stopped who is in this country illegally knows it. Knows the jeopardy they face if a police officer stops them. Wouldn't that put an enormous moral pressure on that person, a moral predicament: do I let myself be deported, separated from my family, or do I knock this policeman down and run away, or drive away, or something? [Note: Matthews later invoked the possibility that under the circumstances an illegal might use a gun he had in the car].
Police work is inherently dangerous, whatever the law being enforced. Would Matthews say we should scrub armed robbery laws from the books because a bank robber stopped by the police and worried about being separated from his family by being thrown in jail would be under "moral pressure" to violently resist arrest?
Later, Matthews interviewed two Arizona elected officials, Republican State Senator Rick Murphy and Dem Congressman Raul Grijalva. Murphy was polite, level-headed and calm throughout, but that didn't stop Matthews from abusing him because he dared disagree with his host on immigration policy.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this: do you want a reliable ID card that prevents people from being hired illegally in this country?
RICK MURPHY: I'm not in favor of a national ID card, if that's what you're talking about.
MATTHEWS: Of course you're not, because you're one of the BS artists in this world.
And a bit later . . .
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this: what's the chief reason people come to this country? Is it to get a job?
MURPHY: It's either to get employment or it's to get the free benefits that we provide. We have way too big of a welfare state.
MATTHEWS: OK, you're a hopeless right-winger. You're hopeless.
Matthews took this parting shot as his "guest."
MATTHEWS: Here's the problem: you're not serious. Thank you, Congressman, for joining us. Congressman Grijalva, thank you for joining us. You're serious. Mr. Murphy is not.
Earlier, Matthews laid out his three-point program to address immigration.
MATTHEWS: It seems to me that if we're going to have a deal to fix this problem it's going to involve three pieces. One, obviously, border enforcement. Two, a way for employers to avoid breaking the law; some kind of ID system they can use. And third, some kind of dealing with people who have been here and built their lives here. We're not going to have a pogrom and send out 20 million people out of the country.