Matthews, Tomasky Lament ‘Revolutionary’ GOP Dethroned ‘Rock-Ribbed Conservative’ Boehner

Speaking with fill-in host Alex Wagner on the Friday edition of MSNBC’s All In, Hardball host Chris Matthews and Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky continued the liberal media’s narrative of sudden respect for the soon-to-be resigning House Speaker John Boehner, lamenting that the “revolutionary” wing of the Republican Party had carried out a “mutiny” against “a rock-ribbed conservative.”

In the case of Matthews, he sporadically provided his initial thoughts throughout the day, but was unable to comment further during Hardball due to the papal Mass at Madison Square Garden, but he was afforded the opportunity to chime in again with Wagner the very next hour.

After joining other member of the media in suggesting a link between the Pope’s Thursday address to Congress and Boehner’s decision, Matthews turned the theme of his point to blaming and castigating the right (as he does on a daily basis) as “a revolutionary caucus” for perpetuating “this mutiny” to remove Boehner. 

Nostalgically asserting that Boehner’s “a traditional Republican conservative” he recalls growing up around, Matthews ruled that the outgoing Speaker was “[t]he kind that has usually been the Republican Party establishment, but he doesn't fit anymore” inside GOP. 

Noticing that three non-politicians were leading many of the recent 2016 GOP polls (Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina), Matthews expressed concern that Republicans are “being led by its revolutionary crowd right now and he [Boehner] doesn't represent them at all.”

Asked by Wagner about the Senate and the safety of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s job, Matthews bloviated that “the problem with the Senate is it's been overrun by so many House members” who have “killed” “the decorum and bipartisan nature of the Senate” with their “very partisan” way of business in the House.

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Without considering that many of the top Senate conservatives never served in the House (Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Ben Sasse to name a few), Matthews maintained that “I don't think it's as bad as the House yet” when it comes to “zealous partisanship” (to borrow similar terminology used by CNN’s Carl Bernstein hours earlier).

It finally became Tomasky’s turn about 30 minutes later and he also held little back in being the judge and jury when it comes to whether Boehner served as a conservative, declaring that:

I think he's a what we would have called 20 or 30 years ago a rock-ribbed conservative. I don't think there's much question about that, but these days, a rock-ribbed conservative who's possibly willing to compromise and legislate is a sellout and a quizling to the more extreme wing of his party[.]

Adding that the Ohio native “gets tagged as a moderate, but he’s not moderate at all ideologically,” Tomasky ensured viewers knew that Boehner was instead “a conservative” who “just believes or once believed or tried to believe or something like that in the idea of legislation and compromise, but he caved as Speaker repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, time and time again, he caved to his extremists.”

It must be noted, however, that Tomasky let the proverbial cat out of the bag when mentioning the 2013 government shutdown as he admitted that it really did not dramtically harm the Republicans in the way that many on the left had predicted:

I'm sure and to people on the radical end of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives I don't think they feel – excuse me – that there is much of a price to be paid for a government shutdown, certainly not with respect to their own re-elections because they come from districts where the vast majority of their voters or a majority anyway of their voters are going to think that a shutdown is fine, that they stood up to Obama and they stood up to the Democrats and even nationally for the last shutdown that Ted Cruz led they didn't pay much of a price. You know, other events took precedence, and they didn't pay any price for that.

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s All In on September 25 can be found below.

MSNBC’s All In
September 25, 2015
8:22 p.m. Eastern

HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: There's this push – this mutiny on the right to declare his Speaker's chair vacant and all kinds of threats that if he uses the Democrats to save his seat as Speaker that they'd go into rebellion with both the Democrats and Republicans, so he's got very much a revolutionary caucus and he is not a revolutionary. He's a traditional Republican conservative from the Midwest, the kind that I grew up with. The kind that has usually been the Republican party establishment, but he doesn't fit anymore. He doesn't fit with these people or the Republican Party out there because if you look at the three people – you know this, Alex, the three people leading in the polls, Trump and Dr. Carson and Carly Fiorina, if you add up their votes, it's well over 50 percent of the polling right now. The party is being led by its revolutionary crowd right now and he doesn't represent them at all. 

ALEX WAGNER: Chris, I wonder if you're Mitch McConnell, right? Another establishment Republican known kind of as a dealmaker on the Hill, how do you greet this news? I'm reminded of the old adage, the devil you know versus the devil you don't, and I wonder how Senate Republicans in particular think of this decision. 

MATTHEWS: Well, the problem with the Senate is it's been overrun by so many House members. If you think about the decorum and the bipartisan nature of the Senate, it basically was killed when all those house members from the Republican side went over to the Senate and they brought the values of the House with them, which is very partisan, that values system, very partisan. The Senate didn't seem to operate like that. I still – I don't think it's as bad as the House yet, Alex in terms of zealous partisanship.

(....)

WAGNER: I want to ask you a question that one would think we would know the answer to, which what do you think John Boehner's politics truly are? Jonathan Chait poses today – he posits that effectively Boehner's differences with the radical Republican base are more tactical than philosophical. Molly Ball in The Atlantic says no, effectively John Boehner is the front man for the GOP's business-oriented wing. Where do you think he actually is in terms of his ideology? 

MICHAEL TOMASKY: Oh, I think he's a what we would have called 20 or 30 years ago a rock-ribbed conservative. I don't think there's much question about that, but these days, a rock-ribbed conservative who's possibly willing to compromise and legislate is a sellout and a quizling to the more extreme wing of his party, so gets tagged as a moderate, but he's not a moderate at all ideologically. He's a conservative. He just believes or once believed or tried to believe or something like that in the idea of legislation and compromise, but then he caved as Speaker repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, time and time again, he caved to his extremists. So, you know, the ideological differences between him and Tim Huelskamp doesn't make a difference. What makes a difference is that they led him around rather than the other way. 

(....)

WAGNER: Time and time again we see them being the sort of sacrificial lambs in this process and I guess I wonder what price do you think the base will extract now that Boehner is departing?

TOMASKY: I don't know, but it's a good question because they'll think of something new, I'm sure and to people on the radical end of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives I don't think they feel – excuse me – that there is much of a price to be paid for a government shutdown, certainly not with respect to their own re-elections because they come from districts where the vast majority of their voters or a majority anyway of their voters are going to think that a shutdown is fine, that they stood up to Obama and they stood up to the Democrats and even nationally for the last shutdown that Ted Cruz led they didn't pay much of a price. You know, other events took precedence, and they didn't pay any price for that. So, I think, you know, if the establishment wants them to walk to the cliff they'll walk to the cliff and they'll take the establishment over the cliff and the establishment might think that they're going to pay a price and the Republican Party might pay a little bit of a price in a presidential election but these individual members will pay no price.

NB Daily Congress Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Sudden Respect Conservatives & Republicans MSNBC All In Video Government & Press John Boehner Chris Matthews Michael Tomasky Alex Wagner John Boehner Speaker John Boehner
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