MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Tuesday issued an absolutely disgraceful commentary concerning Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
In Hardball's final segment, the host attacked the former House Speaker saying, "Ever since he arrived on the national scene, politics has been nastier, more feral, too often uglier," and concluded, "Gingrich being nominated by a major political party for the American presidency promises a grotesquery to make even the most hard-nosed of us avert our glance in embarrassment and sadness for our republic" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. There is nothing I can say about the state of this country's political health as telling as the fact that Barney Frank is leaving and Newt Gingrich is thriving. Barney has brains, wit, and a conscience, and a pretty good sense of proportion. He can argue his case but still see the other guy’s, especially if it’s a good argument. Gingrich is still mad he was made by Bill Clinton to enter Air Force One from the rear.
Barney calls Newt the thinnest-skinned character assassin he ever met. It’s a serious charge that hits home to those of us who remember how Newt came to power in the House was over the bodies of Democratic leaders he’d charged with corruption over a Democratic Party he accused of treason. It’s how Gingrich gets what he wants.
Now he wants the Republican nomination for president, and he has a chance to get it. Republican conservatives have a basic goal for the coming year: win the White House. That means running Obama outta there. Newt would be the man to do the job. He could be. He would go into debates with the President wielding whatever broken beer bottle his mind can manage to grasp whether on the way into the ring or already there. Where Romney will enter with a Sunday punch, something on the order of, “With all due respect, Mr. President, you had your chance,” then dramatic, well-rehearsed pause, “and you blew it.” In other words, a line Obama will be ready to parry most likely with his own well-rehearsed retort.
But Newt in the ring could be more dangerous, harder to defend against, harder to predict. Newt would unleash whatever charge will force his rival, President Obama, on defense. Character assassin is Barney Frank’s tag for him, but it’s wise to consider it. Newt will say what works to hurt Obama even if the weapon kicks back at him. He’ll take a great deal of scar tissue to land all the more of it on the President.
One thing I know about Newt Gingrich: ever since he arrived on the national scene, politics has been nastier, more feral, too often uglier. There’s something about this figure that darkens the atmosphere, lessens the spirit.
The haters of liberal democracy will cheer his every assault, his every rise in the polls, his every advance toward Tampa where the scene of him, Newt Gingrich, being nominated by a major political party for the American presidency promises a grotesquery to make even the most hard-nosed of us avert our glance in embarrassment and sadness for our republic.
And this is what is considered journalism on MSNBC today.
Regardless of the media's love affair with Barney Frank, he has been one of the most polarizing figures in politics for decades.
To put him on some pedestal as a paragon of statesmanship while casting Gingrich as a demonic figure "that darkens the atmosphere, lessens the spirit" is the height of gall.
As for the former Speaker supposedly being mad about the 1995 incident with Clinton and Air Force One, Gingrich is on record for saying that House Republican victories in the following five elections perfectly demonstrated who the real winner was in that scrum.
But underlying all the hatred is the truth: Matthews knows Gingrich would wipe the floor with Obama if they ever squared off in a debate.
This is the second evening in a row he's intimated this, and that fact is really at the heart of all this unhinged vitriol.
Gingrich and his supporters better get used to it, for if he stays atop the polls and starts winning some primaries and caucuses, the invective from Obama-loving media members like Matthews will only get more poisonous.