Matthews' Black Helicopter Paranoia: Palin A Conspiracy Theorist?


In the ever-expanding aura of liberal hysteria surrounding MSNBC, Chris Matthews is regularly outpaced by the formerly coherent sportscaster, Keith Olbermann.  But Matthews may have won the nightly laurel wreath last night, with his insight on Sarah Palin’s warning against federal bailouts.

The offending quote from Palin is not unlike many other things heard from other current leading Republicans:

GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: We need to be aware of the creation of a fearful population and a fearful lawmakers being lead that believe that big government is the answer. To bail out the private sector because then government gets to get in there and control it and, mark my words, this is going to happen next I fear, bail out next debt-ridden states, then government gets to get in there and control the people.

Palin is referring to the possible federal use of forced funded mandates.  It is conceivable that, if a Mark Sanford is legally required to use federal money, with all of its attached mandates, state governments could be forced to use more money to provide more services – possibly services that the voters in the states do not need or desire.  That is conservatism du jour these days – and not rhetoric outside the norm, for the GOP.

So what was Matthews’ reaction?

MATTHEWS: Well, this is a governor speaking, and she's talking about the evils of government and how government is going to come and get you. I think it's black helicopter stuff. I think it's fear-mongering. I listen to her voice, I hear it. They're coming to get us.

Reality check to Matthews: Sarah Palin is indeed a governor, who is among those being forced to take money they do not want, to fulfil needs their states may not have, to provide for voters opposed to the spending of the money in the first place.  That’s not conspiracy-mongering, it’s the current reality for the nation’s conservative governors.  Furthermore, Palin is one of several governors who have aired concerns with the long-term effect of this federal spending on their states’ budgets, as well as with the long-term effectiveness of such spending.

None of this seems to have penetrated Matthews’ thought-process, however:

MALEK: Here is what I'm hearing, Chris. The power of the people, the power of the private sector, it centers with the private sector to bring this economy back, to make this country great, just like it has for generations. That's what she's talking about. It's not big government that's going to bring this economy back. It's entrepreneurs and innovators around the country.

MATTHEWS: Yeah but that’s not what she’s – Fred, you sound like a reasonable business Republican, which is what you are.  She's talking about them coming to get us. The government coming to get us. What does that mean?

MALEK: I think she's saying big government is not the answer. I think she’s saying – more power to the people –

MATTHEWS: [condescendingly] Okay.  Michelle, I think you heard what I heard.

That’s when Michelle Laxalt tries gamely to give Matthews a way out:

LAXALT: First of all I think she's the Governor of Alaska. She has a job she needs to complete. She can be measured on the basis of how she governs her own state first, as will everyone else as we start with the elections that you and Fred alluded to beginning this week. That's when the test will come.

But Matthews stubbornly pounds the talking point:

MATTHEWS: I think she appeals to the paranoia in the American system somewhere. I think she's very good at it.  I think there are people worried about government. They do worry about the black helicopters. I have members of my family who think the government is coming to collect the guns. She's right with those babies. Anyway, thank you Michelle Laxalt and Fred Malek. Thanks for coming in tonight to talk about the big Republican fund-raiser tonight.