A cartoonish Chris Matthews on Tuesday managed to mangle a historical analogy and spew liberal propaganda at the same time as he offered this ridiculous assessment of Paul Ryan: "This guy could be worse than Quayle, more trouble than Tom Eagleton." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Worse than Dan Quayle, who was successfully elected vice president in 1988? "More trouble" than Eagleton, the 1972 Democratic vice presidential candidate who was thrown off the ticket after 18 days? (Eagleton, in earlier years, had been treated for depression with electroshock therapy.)
Matthews' argument, history aside, ignores individuals such as John Edwards, who recently avoided going to jail and who cheated on his cancer-stricken, now-dead wife during a 2004 run for vice president. The current vice president is incredibly gaffe prone, a man who credited "President" Franklin Roosevelt for going on "television" after the stock market crashed. (FDR wasn't president and television hadn't been introduced to the public.)
Biden's gaffes continued on Tuesday as he insited that Republicans would "put y'all back in chains." (This went unmentioned on Tuesday's Hardball.)
Since the naming of Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate, Saturday, Matthews has appeared spooked by the choice. On Monday, he championed an ad where a Ryan look-alike murdered a woman.
The host on Tuesday referenced a verbal slip Romney made when introducing Ryan (as the "next President"). Matthews hyperventilated, "Getting the job wrong in his introduction of Ryan wasn't the gaffe, however, Romney made on Saturday. It was some Republicans now fear, naming Ryan himself."
His source for this? Unnamed GOP operatives in Politico.
Matthews then turned to Democratic strategist Bob Shrum for analysis on Ryan. Shrum has worked for Democratic presidential candidates such as Michael Dukakis, Bob Kerry, Al Gore and John Kerry. All of them lost, it should be pointed out, as did every presidential candidate he has worked for. Is this Matthews' idea of an expert on presidential success?
A partial transcript of the August 14th Hardball segment can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me start with the Republican cold feet over Paul Ryan. Their one-day wonder has become, dare I say it, a bit of a morning glory. He bloomed through Saturday, kept the blush through Sunday. By yesterday, the troops were restless. Why on God's Earth had Mitt Romney, Mr. Cautious, gone out and found the one candidate who could nail them in the coffin with the Ryan budget? That budget which shrunk Medicare and gave them money from throwing mama off the cliff to finance big tax cuts for top one percent? Well, now, we know what's worse than being tagged for the Republicans voting for the Ryan budget, it's having the mastermind behind it right up there on the ticket for all to see. "I give you the next president of the United States," Romney said on Saturday. Getting the job wrong in his introduction of Ryan wasn't the gaffe, however, Romney made on Saturday. It was some Republicans now fear, naming Ryan himself.
This guy could be worse than Quayle, more trouble than Tom Eagleton, because this time, the presidential candidate and his team knew the weakness, saw the trouble they were walking into before they walked into it. And that's not the best argument for Mr. Romney's business acumen. This may be the worst merger since AOL bought Time Warner. With me are two veterans of campaign politics, Democratic strategist Bob Shrum and former Republican National Chasirman Michael Steele, who is also a MSNBC analyst. I want to start with you, Michael, because you're always a straight shooter around here. Is cold feet too cold a term to tough a term, too tough a feeling for the feeling some are having about Ryan with his very difficult budget to sell?