A frothing Chris Matthews on Thursday excoriated the "nasty," "shameless" Newt Gingrich for robbing "the political arena of joy and humanity."
The Hardball host even compared the 2012 Republican presidential candidate to a famous horror movie villain: "I cannot believe there are young Republicans idealists out there, young people with hope who want our country to be good and have good politics to want to resurrect this element of Freddy Krueger, Nightmare on Elm Street politics."
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews isn't entirely original here. On June 08, 2009, the anchor said this of Dick Cheney: "Freddy Krueger comes back in every movie and this guy is back every day." (Interestingly, on December 18, 2007, it was Matthews who wore a Freddy-style sweater on Hardball. See picture at right.)
The cable host devoted his entire closing "Let Me Finish" commentary to Gingrich, associating the politician with nearly everything that's wrong in the world: "Newt is the guy that brought nastiness to the U.S. Congress in the 1980s. Newt is a downward influence on American politics."
Earlier in the show, Matthews accused Gingrich of racism in the way he talks about Barack Obama. He theorized, "It's street corner and Newt Gingrich has sort of picked up on it, because it conveys the notion of ghetto hustler. I mean, I know what he's doing here and you know what he's doing."
A partial transcript of the two segments can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's bring in Steve McMahon. Steve, he uses, to me he's another version without the sort of the New York charm of Donald Trump. Here he is he's doing things like he accuses the President of the United States, who has come up through the Ivy League, done incredibly academically all his life, done very well. He calls him a con artist, basically, a street corner hustler, basically. He's played a con on us. Same exact term. Con, that Donald Trump uses. It's New York. It's street corner and Newt Gingrich has sort of picked up on it, because it conveys the notion of ghetto hustler. I mean, I know what he's doing here and you know what he's doing.
STEVE MCMAHON: That's exactly what I was just going to suggest, Chris, that there's a racial code that's being expressed when he uses these kinds of words, just as there was for Donald Trump. And I actually think that he might have accelerated his announcement because Donald Trump was getting so much attention by doing the very kind of things that Newt Gingrich has been doing effectively for such a long time. It's the verbal equivalent of shock and awe. He says these things because he knows that people cannot believe what he's saying, he knows it's edgy enough that it's going to get a lot of coverage and it's going to get a lot of people excited.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the desperation of the Republican field. How desperate is it? Any field in which Newt Gingrich thinks he's a serious candidate. That's how desperate it is. Newt. Nasty Newt has gotten Tricky Dick beaten as a nickname. As a historian Jonathan Alter said last night her, him even trying to get back into politics after what he pulled is like Nixon running again, daring to after Watergate. Shameless. That's the word for this entry. Newt is the guy that brought nastiness to the U.S. Congress in the 1980s. Newt is a downward influence on American politics. He not only behaves nasty, he sells nasty. It's always about character. The other said is always corrupt or scaring people. It's always this scourge of righteous pretending negativity. He robs the political arena of joy and humanity and screeches anger and menace. I cannot believe there are young Republicans idealists out there, young people with hope who want our country to be good and have good politics to want to resurrect this element of Freddy Krueger, Nightmare on Elm Street politics. Who kind of dream for America would a person have that would see this weird political element somehow seep under the door of our political process into America's highest office?