Matthews Goes Gaga for Heitkamp’s ‘Profile in Courage,’ ‘Road to Hope’ to Stop Kavanaugh

On Thursday night, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews was in a more jubilant mood than he might have been earlier in the week on the issue of stopping Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh thanks to the “profile in courage” from Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND) in opposing Kavanaugh.

With Heitkamp opposing the Judge, Matthews expressed optimism that there was a “road to hope” paved by other Senators from both sides of the aisle who might “protect its constitutional role” in not “bowing to the executive.”

 

 

Matthews screeched the line “profile in courage” in the opening tag before explaining that, once Senators had the chance to review the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh: “There was one notable profile in courage today, I must say, North Dakota Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who's locked in a very tough re-election battle out there, announced her decision to vote against Kavanaugh.”

Speaking moments later to NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt, Matthews stated that he has “a lot of hopes that maybe” Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski “will show some leadership” because “[s]he seems more like a leader than the others.”

Hunt agreed about Murkowski, outlining her “afternoon here at the Capitol, meeting with survivors of sexual assault and abuse” as “[m]any of whom came out of her office in tears, after having talked about their own experiences” while the Alaskan Senator “very carefully avoided our cameras.”

Matthews doubled down on Heitkamp, gushing that she “had the guts to be a profile in courage” and hoping that Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake will also vote no.

“I'm thinking the road to hope here for those who oppose this nomination is Murkowski, followed by Flake, followed by Collins, and then maybe by Manchin,” Matthews added at the end of the segment prior to a tease touting “Heitkamp’s brave stand.”

In his ending “Let Me Finish” commentary, Matthews implored undecided Senators to display “independent character...against the way the wind is blowing back home.” After quoting John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, Matthews concluded (click “expand”):

How can you not be impressed right now that Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota declared today she will vote against confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I say the same for Senator Donnelly of Indiana, who has made the same declaration. Wouldn't it be wonderful if three other senators would do the same, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Jeff Flake of Arizona? Senator Flake has shown himself to be a man of conscience by rejecting the behavior of the President and insisting that the FBI be given some time to look at the accusations against Kavanaugh. The United States Senator does not protect its constitutional role — the Senate as a whole by bowing to the executive. The U.S. Senator who votes for this nomination must believe that what we see or she sees in it is worthy of a lifetime trust. [CHUCKLES] The duty to decide now is up to the soul and guts of the senator who says yay when he personally would vote no. 

Earlier in the show, former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade suggested that Kavanaugh is “someone with a credible allegation of sexual assault in their past and other allegations,” so “why on Earth would we want to taint the Supreme Court with someone like that.”

Matthews went into the gutter by tacitly comparing Kavanaugh to convicted, sexually violent predator Bill Cosby, so there was that too.

Matthews credited Mother Jones’s David Corn for arguing (without evidence) that the reason Ford and Kavanaugh weren’t interviewed by the FBI was because Kavanaugh couldn’t “handle” facing questions about his drinking

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on October 4, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
October 4, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Profile in courage. Let's play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. It was a dramatic day on Capitol Hill as we await now a showdown over the vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Senators spent the morning reviewing the FBI background investigation into Kavanaugh, such as it was, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set in motion the process of voting for his confirmation. NBC News has learned the FBI spoke with just nine people in its probe, into allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. Six have been identified, including one of his accusers, Deborah Ramirez. Notably not interviewed, Christine Blasey Ford, whose allegation prompted the investigation, nor did they talk to Judge Kavanaugh. There was one notable profile in courage today, I must say, North Dakota Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who's locked in a very tough re-election battle out there, announced her decision to vote against Kavanaugh. 

[CLIP OF HEITKAMP’s WDAY INTERVIEW]

MATTHEWS: Well, in a statement, Heitkamp noted she voted for Justice Neil Gorsuch, but added: “When I listened to Dr. Ford testify, I heard the voices of women I have known throughout my life who have similar stories of sexual assault and abuse.”

(....)

7:03 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Kasie, I have a lot of hopes that maybe Mur — Murkowski will show some leadership. She seems more like a leader than the others. How do you figure the order of succession in the decision making of those left to decide? 

KASIE HUNT: Chris, I think that your sense on Lisa Murkowski is correct and she actually spent the afternoon here at the Capitol, meeting with survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Many of whom came out of her office in tears, after having talked about their own experiences. She has very carefully avoided our cameras, so we haven't spoken to her today, but everyone that I've talked to, all of my sources and senators in leadership who I've spoken to off the record suggest, or, excuse me, on background I should say, not off the record, have suggested that she may be more willing to potentially play a vote, a “no” vote. 

(....)

7:06 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Let's talk about how the nomination can still be defeated. You've got Heitkamp, who's had the guts to be a profile in courage. Now you've got, it seems to me, with Murkowski, if she moves against this nomination, will Flake go with her? 

HUNT: You know, I'm — I’m just not sure, Chris. I don't know if you can — I'm not sure if you can go that far. No one has been able to kind of get inside Jeff Flake's head, because, quite frankly, there was a time when he was a yes. He put out a statement saying, I'm going to back Kavanaugh after hearing all of this —

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

HUNT: — then he wavered and went into this FBI investigation. The person I spoke to most recently with the most position to know says, you know, nobody is inside his head, know one has any idea what he's going to do. 

MATTHEWS: Well, one person might be. 

HUNT: And he’s clearly personally conflicted.

(....)

7:09 p.m. Eastern

BARBARA MCQUADE: I think that they want to have it both ways. I think that they’re either deliberately or inadvertently confusing the American public where the standard in a criminal case guilty beyond a reasonable a doubt and presumption of innocence and all of those things. And that does matter when you're talking about taking away someone's liberty. In this instance, it’s a very different matter. It's not taking away Brett Kavanaugh’s. It's, should we be giving him the privilege and responsibility of sitting on the highest court of the land, which oversees the criminal justice system and, if you have someone with a credible allegation of sexual assault in their past and other allegations, as well, like the one we're getting from Deborah Ramirez, why on Earth would we want to taint the Supreme Court with someone like that, when there is a long line of other conservative judges who could equally be nominated to this Court, who don't have that taint? Neil Gorsuch, for example, made it through without these kinds of allegations. 

MATTHEWS: But the allegations also include, I know it’s Swetnick, you can argue whether she's a great witness or not, but she is talking about that should be investigated, this idea of getting women drunk, young girls — actually teenagers drunk so he could have sex with them, with multiple partners, a thoughtful, deliberative process and that's what Cosby has been sent away for, rightfully, in prison right now. If this is — if this is true, it's incredibly serious and looks like they even want to talk to her. They didn't even talk to Swetnick.

(....)

7:13 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: I'm thinking the road to hope here for those who oppose this nomination is Murkowski, followed by Flake, followed by Collins, and then maybe by Manchin. 

PHIL RUCKER: That's quite a road. We'll see. 

(....)

7:14 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

MATTHEWS: And what is Senator Heitkamp's brave stand today mean when her re-election chances come up next month? And what does the Kavanaugh fight mean for Democrats' chance of taking back the Congress? We'll see. It's up in the air right now. 

(....)

7:21 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Here's the theory that's making the rounds. I got this from David Corn today. And I think he's reliable. I know he has point of view, but he's reliable as an journalists, that they didn't want to interview her, because they didn't want to interview him, because they didn't think that he could handle an FBI investigation, asking him about his drinking habits, his belligerence when he got drunk, the amount of drinking he did when he was young — the whole story, he couldn't stand the muster of in a one-on-one interview with an agent.

NATASHA BERTRAND: It's possible. 

MATTHEWS: Because he'd have to lie.

BERTRAND: Yeah, it’s possible.

(....)

7:58 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with three kinds of U.S. Senators. There are the party line Republicans, the party line Democrats, and those of independent character, in other words, those senators able to vote in a way that says who each is as an individual. It takes character to vote against the way the wind is blowing back home and here's how John F. Kennedy described it in his Profiles in Courage — this prospect: “The prospect of forced retirement from the most exclusive club in the world, the possibilities of giving up the interesting work, the fascinating trappings and the impressive prerogatives of Congressional office can cause even the most courageous politician serious loss of sleep.” How can you not be impressed right now that Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota declared today she will vote against confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I say the same for Senator Donnelly of Indiana, who has made the same declaration. Wouldn't it be wonderful if three other senators would do the same, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Jeff Flake of Arizona? Senator Flake has shown himself to be a man of conscience by rejecting the behavior of the President and insisting that the FBI be given some time to look at the accusations against Kavanaugh. The United States Senator does not protect its constitutional role — the Senate as a whole by bowing to the executive. The U.S. Senator who votes for this nomination must believe that what we see or she sees in it is worthy of a lifetime trust. [CHUCKLES] The duty to decide now is up to the soul and guts of the senator who says yay when he personally would vote no. 

NBDaily Judiciary Kavanaugh Nomination Congress Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Jeff Flake Chris Matthews Kasie Hunt Heidi Heitkamp Lisa Murkowski Brett Kavanaugh Christine Blasey Ford
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