Here's a joke for you this Tuesday morning. Did you know that hyperpartisan Democrat Chris Matthews sees himself as a "centrist?" In an aside during a conversation with MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh, the leg-thrilling pundit emphatically claimed the moderate label for himself, stating that he could understand President Obama being criticized by both liberals and conservatives on the Keystone Pipeline.
"Take it from a centrist. I know what it's like," Matthews proclaimed. Video, transcript and commentary below the break.
A transcript from the exchange which occurred on the March 22, 2012 edition of "Hardball:"
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Politically, I see the president in a problem area here. To be halfway for something endangers you, it makes you enemies on both sides.
JOAN WALSH (guffawing): Right. It's a--
MATTHEWS: Take it from a centrist. I know what it's like.
WALSH: Yeah, you get kicked from both sides. You know, some days if we're centrists we say, 'Well we must be doing something right, we've got everybody mad at us,' but sometimes when everybody's mad at you, maybe you're a little bit wrong. And I think the president has a very tricky, tricky position here.
It's very classic Barack Obama. He wants to be the man in the middle. He wants to be the man of moderation. He wants to split the baby (not literally) and he wants to come up with a compromise that works. I just don't think it's possible here.
Beyond the fact that he has himself stated that he has "made a commitment to covering politics in a liberal way," Matthews's actions have belied any claims to centrism:
- He began his career in journalism writing articles for an organization run by the very liberal Ralph Nader
- He wrote speeches for Jimmy Carter
- He worked on the Capitol Hill staffs of four Democratic members of Congress
- He ran for a U.S. House seat in 1974 as a Democrat
- He encouraged talk about the possibility of him running for Senate in 2010 as a Democrat, secretly being in communication with then-president-elect Barack Obama's top staff, trying to recruit them
And of course, all the preposterous left-wing drivel that we've chronicled him saying over the years certainly isn't the kind of thing that a conservative or a moderate would go about spouting.
Matthews's comments here remind one of something that FBN anchor John Stossel said about his time working for ABC, the unfortunate reality is that people like Chris Matthews are so utterly surrounded by liberalism, they think it's commonsense moderation:
"Anyone who disagrees is seen as not just wrong, but selfish and cruel. Leftist thinking is simply the culture I swim in. More safety regulation? Who could not want that? Everyone I know wants that. When I question other reporters about bias, I get blank stares. It's like asking fish about water. 'What water?' say the fish."
Chris Matthews is firmly ensconced in his fishbowl.
Quick aside: Walsh's statement that Obama is trying to craft some sort of compromise on the Keystone Pipeline is absurd considering that the campaign appearance he did in Oklahoma a few days ago was to tout the approval of a project which had already received approval long ago. There literally is nothing that Obama could do to "expedite" the process since the work will be done by private companies and is being paid for by private companies.
The only decision over which Obama had any sort of influence is the one that he made to deny approval for the pipeline running from Canada into the United States, a permit request which had already been approved by the State Department. If he were truly concerned about "expediting" anything, he would have simply not disturbed the normal process which had already been completed.
Obama's attempt to claim "centrism" on this issue is indeed "classic Barack Obama" but not in the way that Walsh imagines. It's classic Obama--taking a far left position and trying to pretend that it's moderate.