Obvious Gruber Reference Completely Goes Over Chris Matthews's Head

November 18th, 2014 8:58 PM

Earlier today in a press conference, Speaker of the House John Boehner made a quip about President Obama's veto threat of a bill to authorize the Keystone XL oil pipeline which indirectly referenced Jonathan Gruber's infamous "stupidity of the American voter" line regarding the selling of ObamaCare.

Hardball host Chris Matthews played the clip on his November 18 program, but seemed completely oblivious as to its meaning, instead using the remark as an opportunity to demand Keystone supporter Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) denounce Boehner's supposed ad hominem attack on environmentalists who oppose building the pipeline. 

Here's the relevant transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, host: Here is Speaker Boehner today talking about this. He really ripped into your side, Sen. Markey, and the president for his threat to veto the legislation tonight. for the president's threat to veto the legislation if it is passed tonight. It wasn't passed, but he's still going to veto it if it does pass next year. Here he is, John Boehner.

House Speaker JOHN BOEHNER (R-Ohio): A Keystone pipeline veto would send the signal that this president has no interest in listening to the American people. Vetoing an overwhelmingly popular bill would be a clear indication that he doesn't care about the American people's priorities. It would be equivalent of calling the American people stupid. 

MATTHEWS: Do you think that's true, Sen. Hoeven? The president's calling the American people stupid for believing in the pipeline. I don't even get this. I mean, it seems to me 60 percent want the pipeline. A much higher percentage want gun control. And yet Congress doesn't support gun control. What's this idea that if you don't agree with somebody, they're stupid?

As if to underscore basic listening comprehension is not his strong suit, shortly thereafter Matthews took Hoeven's insistence that supporting Keystone should be a "no-brainer" of a call to make was an attack on liberals and Democrats for lacking brains (emphasis mine):

HOEVEN: Look, the American public, 60 to 70 percent in poll after poll, says that they want this project approved. And they want it approved because it's a no-brainer. It really is about getting energy that we produce here in our country and working with our closest friend and ally Canada-- remember, the oil in this pipeline is not only from Canada, it's from states like North Dakota, which now produces 1.2 million barrels a day, and we're having to move it in rail cars. This pipeline would replace 1400 rail cars a day that are now clogging up our railroads so that we can't move ag products, and it displaces oil that we're now bringing in from places like Venezuela, which has the same carbon footprint, or higher, than this oil.

Even the heavy crudes in California have the same greenhouse gas emissions. And it makes sure that we don't have to depend on the Middle East for our oil. 

That's why the American public supports it and that's why we should pass it. 

MATTHEWS: You know, it's more complicated than that. I just think that, both senators there, the Speaker says the president's calling the people stupid and you just called the opponents of the pipeline no-brainers. I mean, it's that the kind of---

HOEVEN: No, no, no, no, no! I said approving it is a no-brainer.

MATTHEWS: Oh, it's so simple!

HOEVEN: I'm not saying anybody's a no-brainer, I'm not calling anybody stupid, I'm being very careful to make sure I don't.

MATTHEWS:OK, it seems so simple. To you guys, it's so simple.

If Matthews wants to behold something simple, he needs merely to look into his dressing-room mirror.