As opposed to the fabulous discussion that occurred on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” as a result of the presence of a balanced panel, “The Chris Matthews Show” was the epitome of what transpires when a program is stocked with exclusively liberals.
Though “Matthews” also focused on the 2008 presidential candidates, without the existence of even one conservative guest, the 30-minute segment was practically a love-fest for Bill and Hillary Clinton, with a dash of grossly grotesque Gore gushing on the side.
In fact, host Chris Matthews, after introducing guests Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Patrick Healy of the New York Times, Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News, and Joe Klein of Time magazine, actually began the discussion with this sycophantic praise of the Clintons:
First up, the Clintons might be the most storied political duo in history.
What? More storied than Franklin and Eleanor, Jack and Jackie, Harry and Bess, or Ron and Nancy?
See what happens when there aren’t any conservatives on the panel?
Alas, the sycophancy was going to get much worse, for next up on the praise parade was Joe Klein:
At a certain point, you’ve got to give her [Hillary] credit for being one of the very few people running for president right now who actually knows what she’s talking about.
What? She’s one of the very few people running for president who knows what they’re talking about? Could you be more specific, Joe, and tell us which of the candidates on both sides are really stuffed-shirt ignoramuses? Please? Pretty please?
Unfortunately, such an elaboration never occurred. Instead, as the conversation moved to former Vice President Al Gore, Klein said the following with a straight face:
This guy has been right about every issue for the last twenty or thirty years.
What? Al Gore has been right about every issue for the last twenty or thirty years, Joe? Including about how he created the Internet?
Without a conservative nearby to challenge this idiocy, as this segment moved toward a commercial break, Matthews said the following:
Joe, I have this strange suspicion sometimes when I watch the difficulties our presidents face now and we as a country now are in this horror in Iraq, and just this sort of malaise out there and everything, that maybe they’d like to just throw it over to the Clintons and say, “You handle this hot potato for the next eight years.”
Malaise out there, Chris? Are you kidding? The stock market is at all-time highs, unemployment is near historic lows, the economy is humming all across the globe, and this is what you characterize as a malaise?
Think Matthews would have uttered such nonsense if there had been even one conservative on the panel? I doubt it.
Regardless, here was Klein’s answer:
Well, I, he’s so good, though, I mean, he’s pretty amazing when you watch him…Listen, he’s the best I’ve ever seen.
Amazing. Makes you want to run to the lavatory, doesn’t it?
Yet, they weren’t done, for when the show continued after the break, Matthews began:
The Republican Party is all about the South these days, and the South was supposed to have a couple of heavyweight Senators running for it. Supposed to.
Video clips of Bill Frist’s statement about Terry Schiavo and George Allen’s “macaca” faux pas were then shown. After the clips, Matthews continued:
That left a field of three irregular Republicans: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.
Three irregular Republicans? Nice way to refer to America’s Mayor, a well-regarded senator, and a former governor, wouldn’t you agree?
Regardless, this moved the discussion towards Fred Thompson. Matthews asked Tucker, “Can he beat Hillary, in the general, Fred Thompson?” Tucker responded:
He’s got that baggage of the war. But, for a lot of folks who will never be comfortable with a woman, he’s not a scary, right-wing conservative. Solidly conservative, but avuncular, good stage presence, not frightening.
Imagine that. He’s not a “scary, right-wing conservative.” If there was a conservative on the panel, do you think she would have said that? Not a chance, right?
Yet, moments later, Klein said the following:
As things now stand, and they’re going to be different, November 2008, but as things now stand, there isn’t a Republican in the field, or out of the field, who can beat any Democrat in Ohio. And that decides this I think.
*****Update: NBer Gary Hall posted the following in the comments section concerning the above statement by Klein that is just too delicious not to share:
"As things stand now?" - isn't a single one, 'eh?
Mmm. Let's go to the May 16, 2007 Quinnipiac University Poll - head to head competition.
Giuliani 47% to Clinton 43%
Giuliani 43% to Obama 42%
McCain 45% to Clinton 44%
Giuliani 48% to Gore 40%
And the "most favorable" rating amongst all voters went to Rudy Giuliani@ 54% with Hillary tied with Gore for 2nd at 46%, and 3rd to John McCain at 45%.
How spectacular. I guess neither Klein nor anyone on the panel was aware of this poll taken from May 8 - 13 by Quinnipiac University of 939 Ohio voters. Thanks, Gary!
Think that if there had been a conservative on the panel, Klein would have been challenged for making this factually inaccurate statement?
Regardless, after the second commercial break, Healy predicted the following:
Here’s something that Hillary, Rudy, and Romney all have in common. Their campaigns think that Thompson is going to bleed McCain dry of money so quickly in June that July, early July, it’ll be all McCain obit stories. That he’ll be broke, he would have spent so much money on consultants and not raised enough…
Matthews responded with a huge smile on his face:
That’s what I like to hear. Hard prediction. It’s all over in a month.
Any questions about which panel discussion – Russert’s or Matthews’ – was better on Sunday morning, and why?