In the late hours of Wednesday night after the Republican debate, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews was in his element as he whined about the 2016 GOP candidates being “very ideological tonight” and targeted the Cuban-American heritage of Senators Marco Rubio (Fl.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) for thinking that “they still are fighting a Cold War” and “treat[ing] Obama like he’s Castro.”
As for the latter and more inflammatory remarks, it started when Matthews wondered aloud to Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post that whenever he hears Cruz or Rubio speak, he “swear[s] they are still fighting a Cold War” and “[t]hey speak about apocalyptic terms” by “us[ing] terms like existential.”
Dismissing their backgrounds and any hardships their families suffered in coming to the Untied States, the MSNBC mainstay screamed about the pair “talk[ing] about ICBMs (Inter-Continental Ballastic Missles) hitting this country” and being “trapped in a mindset that began in the 1950s and to these guys, it never left them.”
Matthews ended his latest rant by informing Robinson and viewers of his belief that “they treat Obama like he’s Castro” and while he first thought that “I don’t get it,” he immediately corrected himself and gushed over Republican Governor John Kasich (Ohio): “I don’t know – I guess I do get it. The only guy that stood up to them tonight was Kasich.”
Moments before all that, the man whose wife is a Democrat running for Congress in Maryland complained about how the 2016 GOP field “was very ideological tonight” and observed that he found it “interesting how they all agreed on certain things.”
Painting the GOP as “a hawk party to begin with,” Matthews bloviated about them being the “anti-Mexican immigration party” and against Planned Parenthood with “strong, clear strokes of ideology.”
While he undermined his own point by stating that there were “[n]o surprises” for him, he maintained nonetheless that: “[T]here wasn't a lot of debate about the principle of the ideology. They were all ideologues.”
Asking Mother Jones’ David Corn for his thoughts on the debate, Corn had nothing but praise for Kasich:
The one standout I thought was maybe John Kasich. Seemed he was running a general election, not a Republican primary. When it came to tone, he talked about working and bringing people together, not being partisan, not being overly ideological or overly argumentative and you know, I’m a practical, pragmatic governor. The kind that the Republican establishment was talking about before Trump came along.
In the hour leading up to the main event, Matthews brought on liberal Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer (Calif.) to relive her 2010 Senate reelection victory of Carly Fiorina and bash the businesswoman ahead of her participation in the lead debate (after being relegated to the earlier event the first time around).
The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews after the GOP debate on September 16 can be found below.
MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews
September 16, 2015
11:39 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTEWS: Anyway, let me go to David Corn. I thought it was very ideological tonight. I thought it was interesting how they all agreed on certain things. It is a hawk party to be begin with. It is an anti-Mexican immigration party. Call it illegal or whatever you want to call it, they don’t like Mexican immigrants. It doesn't like Planned Parenthood. These are strong, clear strokes of ideology. No surprises, but there wasn't a lot of debate about the principle of the ideology. They were all ideologues. Your thoughts.
MOTHER JONES WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF DAVID CORN: The one standout I thought was maybe John Kasich. Seemed he was running a general election, not a Republican primary. When it came to tone, he talked about working and bringing people together, not being partisan, not being overly ideological or overly argumentative and you know, I’m a practical, pragmatic governor. The kind that the Republican establishment was talking about before Trump came along. He wasn’t – he didn't get a big reaction. I don’t think he sold it that well.
11:53 p.m. Eastern
MATTHEWS: You know, Gene Robinson, I know you remember this certainly better than I do, but I – when these guys talks, Rubio talks, a Cuban-American, and Cruz talks, a Cuban American, I swear they still are fighting a Cold War. They talk about apocalyptic terms. They use terms like existential. They talk about ICBMs hitting this country. They are – they are trapped in a mindset that began in the 1950s and to these guys, it never left them. I don’t know – they treat Obama like he's Castro. I don't get it. I don’t know – I guess I do get it. The only guy that stood up to them tonight was Kasich.
THE WASHINGTON POST’s EUGENE ROBINSON: They certainly believe that's what the Republican establishment wants to hear and that’s what their donors want to hear.
MATTHEWS: The money people do.
ROBINSON: They laid it on thick. I think – I thought Kasich had a very good night that and I thought that was a good exchange for him because he sounded reasonable.