In today's "People In Glass Houses" segment, Chris Matthews accused Fox News of being shills for the Republican Party just minutes before he said "the scariest three words in the English language are: President Sarah Palin."
MSNBC's "Hardball" on Tuesday began with a lengthy segment in which Matthews, with the help of co-conspirators from the Huffington Post and Media Matters for America, made the case that the Fox News Channel was a platform to assist Republican candidates to get elected.
Obviously missing the irony, the very next piece dealt with why President Obama ought to replace Vice President Biden with Hillary Clinton to not only assist him in getting reelected in 2012, but also set her up to win in 2016.
Still oblivious to the hypocrisy, Matthews ended the program with his take on why the thought of Palin becoming president is scaring "tens of millions of Americans, and not just Democrats."
To give you an idea of the absurdity of this hour of television, let's start with quotes from the first segment (videos and partial transcripts follow with commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I want to ask you a larger thing, Eric, now that I have you on, and also Ryan. We just looked at the Gallup poll, the highest favorabilities among Republican potential candidates -- potential candidates -- for 2012 -- I mean, potentially. We don`t know who`s going to run. Palin, Newt and Mike Huckabee -- that`s the top three.
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTER FOR AMERICA: Right.
MATTHEWS: All three are on the payroll of Fox --
MATTHEWS: -- as commentators. But you have to ask yourself -- these people have a lot of options. Are they on there as candidates? Are they using Fox as a platform, the way that Sharron [Angle] thinks she can use it as a candidate --
MATTHEWS: -- for 2010? In other words, is she a little ahead of schedule? They`re looking towards 2012 using Fox, she`s trying to use it openly and flagrantly --
BOEHLERT: Right. Right.
MATTHEWS: -- as a vehicle for reelection -- or for election to the United States Senate.
BOEHLERT: Right. The Fox Green Room is now sort of the GOP convention in waiting for 2012. They`re all on the payroll. I think they`re all -- they want to use it to make a lot of money either on Fox News or with books or appearances. And then they`re just going to sort of wait and see how it -- see how it plays out. In the meantime, they`ve got this national audience whenever they want it. They`ve got a paycheck, and they`ve got the Fox News, you know, recommendation or seal of approval.
BOEHLERT: It`s perfect for them as they wait.
As a little background, the segment began with a video clip of Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle telling Fox News's Carl Cameron how she needs the press to be her friend and that her campaign "wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported."
From this, Matthews, Boehlert, and Huffington Post's Ryan Grim - notice the absence of any conservatives to go against the consensus! - divined that this meant Fox was actively assisting Republican candidates.
And that's where the fun really began, for after a commercial break, Matthews brought on exclusively left-leaning guests to make the case that Obama should replace Biden with Clinton so as to assure his reelection in 2012 and position her to be president the following eight years.
Assisting him to put forward this strategy was former Virginia governor Doug Wilder - who wrote a piece about this for Politico Monday - followed by New York magazine's John Heilemann:
JOHN HEILEMANN, "NEW YORK": The thing that Governor Wilder is right about and I know that you see is that it`s possible that, in 2012, what President Obama will need most of all is to be able to connect to a set of voters, particularly white working-class and rural voters, that he has trouble with.
HEILEMANN: And there would be no bigger asset for him than not just Hillary Clinton Enhanced Coverage LinkingHillary Clinton on the ticket, but having both Clintons out full force on his side in 2012.
MATTHEWS: Even if it means -- even if it means laying the groundwork for a Clinton ascendancy?
HEILEMANN: I think she`s going to run in 2016, no matter what.
MATTHEWS: An interesting thought from you.
HEILEMANN: And she`s going to -- and she`s going to run in 2016. And she`s going to -- right now, the schedule, I think, for her is, she will do four years and four years only as secretary of state.
And if she is an outgoing secretary of state, a lame-duck secretary of state in 2012, she won`t be in the political position to really help Obama. She will do thinking about doing something like going and becoming the chancellor of the University of Iowa to set herself up to run for 2016.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
HEILEMANN: So, Obama is faced with the notion of Clinton following him anyway. So, why not make the best of that situation and put it to his advantage?
MATTHEWS: I don`t know. I had never heard this before. All her people deny that, of course, right?
HEILEMANN: Well, of course they do.
MATTHEWS: I think it`s fascinating. I think she`s done a great job.
HEILEMANN: I don`t think there`s almost anybody who believes them.
MATTHEWS: And I agree with you. I think she would help him in Pennsylvania, help in Ohio. And, by the way, I think the general election of 2012 now looks like a nail-biter, closely run. It will have to be. You`re right.
And they are not going to win much south of the Mason-Dixon Line. They have got to win those old Democratic states that the Clintons are dominant in, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, et cetera, et cetera, New York. She would ground him up.
I just think it has to be handled the way you say if it ever does come to pass.
HEILEMANN: Well --
MATTHEWS: Joe Biden has got to be happy with this.
MATTHEWS: He`s got to have a smile on his face. And he`s got to say, I can`t wait to get to Foggy Bottom and be secretary of state, convincingly, if this ever happens.
HEILEMANN: And I think he could say that, Chris, because, as you know, before Obama urged him to become vice president, picked him, that was what Biden had his eye on. He wanted to be secretary of state.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s a great job.
HEILEMANN: He`s wanted to be secretary of state his whole life.
And on the question of what has to happen in 2012, I think you`re exactly right. I think it`s going to be a nail-biter. You remember, Barack Obama won, what, 42 or 43 percent of the white vote, a really high percentage of the white vote, better than John Kerry --
HEILEMANN: -- better than Al Gore in 2000.
He`s right now running at about 35 percent approval rating with the white vote. And if he`s going to -- you can`t win the presidency with 35 percent of the white vote.
HEILEMANN: He needs to do something to solve that problem. Joe Biden is good with those people --
HEILEMANN: -- but Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are better.
MATTHEWS: Well, this will be the ultimate example of President Obama being a transactional politician. I`ll tell you, it looks a little cold on the outside. You may be able to warm it up, John Heilemann.
MATTHEWS: You would have another "Game Change."
Here's maybe the best part of this sequence - when Matthews says his guest is a liberal writer:
Thank you. Congratulations, the best book on politics. Nancy Reagan -- I was just out there at the Reagan Library -- she loves your book. And I know this will offend you as somewhat of a liberal writer, but she says, Ronnie would have loved it, too. There`s a -- he`s a pol, too.
So, what we've had so far were two liberal guests talking to an admittedly liberal host about how Fox News is a shill network promoting Republican candidates.
Next, we had a Democrat introduce an idea specifically designed to assist Obama in his reelection efforts whilst also putting Hillary Clinton in position to win the White House in 2016 thereby ushering in another twelve years of Democrat control of the executive branch of our government.
Then, a so-called journalist that Matthews admits is liberal discusses with the host why Wilder's idea makes sense - all this happening immediately after a segment accusing Fox of being shills for Republicans.
Really makes you wonder how everybody involved in the production of this show completely missed the glaring hypocrisy on display.
But don't leave your seats for the concession stand or the restroom just yet, for really putting the icing on the cake the host concluded the show with a monologue about why the scariest three words in the English language are "President Sarah Palin":
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the fact that for tens of millions of Americans, and not just Democrats, the scariest three words in the English language are: President Sarah Palin. Those words could, if events go a certain way, get a hell of a lot scarier.
I`ve noticed how Palin has been positioning herself as the Christian woman in national Republican politics. This gives her incredible leg up in the first in the country Iowa Republican caucuses where the Reverend Pat Robertson once triumphed.
The shape of the 2012 Republican presidential field in the Iowa caucuses would be Sarah Palin against a field of Republican men. And with the possible exception of Mike Huckabee, all more secular than she is. The results, the Christian woman beats out the four or five men running somewhere to her left. No one gets to her right -- and as long as nobody does, this lone woman in the Republican field, the one openly running as a religious fundamentalist beats the competition, hands down.
Get this number into your head. Sarah Palin`s latest Gallup Poll favorable rating among Republican voters nationwide is 76 percent, by far the highest of any contender. So she wins Iowa.
Next, New Hampshire. Even if Mitt Romney outpolls Palin in the Granite State, it will be a fact dismissed by the national political press. Why? Because New Hampshire is the Boston media market. It`s right in it and therefore seen as home base for the former Massachusetts governor.
Next, Palin trucks down to South Carolina where she made Nikki Haley governor and wins among fellow religious fundamentalists. Another win in Palin country, an increasingly wide expansion in Republican politics.
Now for the knockout. Palin has said that Michigan where Romney`s father was governor was overlooked by Republicans last time. She started her book tour there. Republican women who lined up to buy "Going Rogue" are her first round of investors. With two or three men besides Romney still appearing on the ballot, she pulls it out in Michigan.
Now, anything is possible at this point. Nominated in Tampa, Florida, and the Republican National Convention in an economy that might still be shaky, the political situation of this country becomes frighteningly dicey.
All can I say is that I remember how liberals thought Ronald Reagan could never do it. As we learned in 1980, tough times yield surprising -- yes, scary election prospects.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
And this guy has the nerve to accuse Fox of being shills.