Matthews, Panel Lash Out at Limbaugh: ‘Unelected’ ‘Wizard of Oz’ Character Running the Country

Ignoring the fact that conservative talk radio listeners and Fox News viewers make up most of the Republican base, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews and guests of both parties lashed out at both and particularly “unelected” conservative icon Rush Limbaugh for being “the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz running the country instead of — spoiler alert — them.

“Today, President Trump followed the lead of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter forcing a government shutdown over funding for his border wall....We live in a country where with these people call the shots. They are the ones who told President Trump not to sign the bill to keep the government open,” Matthews began off the top of the show.

 

 

After a set of clips from Ann Coulter, Limbaugh, and Laura Ingraham speaking with disappointment about the year passing without funding for a border wall, Matthews fretted that “Trump was bombarded by the fuselage from the right” into changing his mind.

Matthews later introduced his panel and first went to The Washington Post’s Robert Costa, calling Thursday “a strange, chaotic night in country” with the impending shutdown and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis quitting (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Robert, thank you for coming on tonight. This is a strange, chaotic night in our country. Mattis is leaving. The government is about to shut down and the President seems to be taking the lead of the hard right media, listening to Rush Limbaugh slamming him for allowing the government to stay open without the wall being put up and Ann Coulter, my God. This is pretty far right for him to be listening as well as Laura Ingraham. Explain why the President has elephant ears for the right-wing media.

COSTA: It’s a chaotic night here in the newsroom at The Post, Chris. I feel like we are rewriting our story for tomorrow’s paper by the hour due to all of this turbulence, the changing story, but then at the bottom line is that this is a President under siege, a President who governs in part by watching television to see where his base is going and he saw his base breaking with him on the eve of divided government and he is thrusting his government toward a shutdown to make a point, a political point that he’s with his core voters.

Matthews continued to ramble on about how Limbaugh is running the country and “listening to his constituency,” but then wondered if Limbaugh represents “the chicken or the egg here” (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Is he telling his constituency where to go or is he listening to them? I get the sense that the hard right media who make a living of five or ten percent of the country are telling a President who represents 45 to 50 percent of the country what to do. The media can’t tell 50 percent what to do. The media even on the hard right successful, big audience, right wing audiences and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and on Fox, the big shows, they don’t represent more than five percent of the country or ten percent. Why is he thinking they represent the country?

COSTA: This is a President who doesn’t come out of Congress, has never governed until he was elected to the presidency. Chris, at the Capitol all last night, lawmakers were telling me they thought the leadership had backed the President away from a shutdown, that it could have some kind of short-term compromise and live to fight another day next year over a border wall. But the President listening to Limbaugh, watching Fox News both at night and in the morning, he is trying to tweet to signal to his base, don’t break with me. It was not only Ann Coulter, it was Mark Meadows, a North Carolina congressman and a whole chorus of people on the right.

Matthews again showed off the groupthink with the left and establishment media as he praised Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for echoing their point of view, declaring that “I think he has got it just right” because “[i]t’s the way we all saw it today in our newsroom.”

The MSNBC pundit rambled on and on about Limbaugh as not being representative of the American populace and outgoing-GOP Congressman Carlos Curbelo (FL) was more than happy to bash Limbaugh and, by extension, many of his voters: 

That’s right, Chris. It is troubling that these unelected individuals, very influential, but they are unelected. No one has voted them into office. They are making these big decisions and a lot of Republican members of Congress, I can tell you that probably a majority of my Republican colleagues do not agree with this decision. 

Later in the show, Matthews replayed a clip of Limbaugh being told that Trump wanted to alert him on his change about the border wall fight, causing Matthews to lament that the President did “what the fringe right wanted,” led by Limbaugh as “the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, the guy who are calling the shots.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on December 20, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
December 20, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Chaos. Let’s play hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington. We are following major breaking news on multiple fronts tonight and all of it shows a White House in chaos. Today, President Trump followed the lead of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter forcing a government shutdown over funding for his border wall. In just the last hour, General Jim Mattis, one of the last adults in the room in the Trump administration announced he is leaving and hanging over it all, NBC News is reporting tonight that the Mueller investigation is steam rolling toward a conclusion reportedly by mid- February. First stop, Trump’s border wall fight. We live in a country where with these people call the shots. They are the ones who told President Trump not to sign the bill to keep the government open.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: It’s a textbook example of what the drive by media calls compromise. Trump gets nothing and the Democrats get everything, including control of the House.

ANN COULTER: It will just have been a joke presidency that scammed the American people, enraged, you know, amused the populists for a while, but he’ll have no legacy whatsoever.

LAURA INGRAHAM: I think not funding the wall is going to go down as one of the worst, worst things to what happened in this administration. Forget Mueller. The wall, the wall, the wall has to be built.

MATTHEWS: Well, the President tonight made sure they knew he heard them loud and clear.

DONALD TRUMP: I have made my position very clear. Any measure that funds the government must include border security. Has to. Not for political purposes but for — for our country, for the safety of our community. This is not merely my campaign promise, this is the promise every lawmaker made.

MATTHEWS: But up until this morning it was expected that the government would remain open. All that changed, as Trump was bombarded by the fuselage from the right. That’s all that happened. The scene at the White House this morning was reportedly in turmoil. A person close to the President described him as 100 percent in a tail spin. Republicans on Capitol Hill were left in the dark about what the President would do next. Trump tried to shift the blame to the Republican leaders. He tweeted this morning: “I was promised a wall and the border security by leadership....It didn’t happen.” Republican House leaders were called to the White House this afternoon where they were unable to convince the President to take the spending bill that’s already passed the Senate.

HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: We just had a very long, productive meeting with the President. The President informed us that he will not sign the bill that came up from the Senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security.

MATTHEWS: Well, that comes as Trump personally called Rush Limbaugh to let him know the news.

LIMBAUGH: Just received clearance. The President has gotten word to me that he is either getting funding for the border or he is shutting the whole thing down.

MATTHEWS: And now House Republicans are left with few options. If they pass a bill that includes the President’s border wall funding it will surely fail in the Senate where Republicans lack the 60 votes they need. There’s no plan B on that at this point. So it looks like the government will face at least a partial shutdown tomorrow night at midnight. That’s Friday night. And joining me right now is Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, former Florida congresswoman Donna Edwards and Robert Costa, national political reporter for The Washington Post. Robert, thank you for coming on tonight. This is a strange, chaotic night in our country. Mattis is leaving. The government is about to shut down and the President seems to be taking the lead of the hard right media, listening to Rush Limbaugh slamming him for allowing the government to stay open without the wall being put up and Ann Coulter, my God. This is pretty far right for him to be listening as well as Laura Ingraham. Explain why the President has elephant ears for the right-wing media.

ROBERT COSTA: It’s a chaotic night here in the newsroom at The Post, Chris. I feel like we are rewriting our story for tomorrow’s paper by the hour due to all of this turbulence, the changing story, but then at the bottom line is that this is a President under siege, a President who governs in part by watching television to see where his base is going and he saw his base breaking with him on the eve of divided government and he is thrusting his government toward a shutdown to make a point, a political point that he’s with his core voters.

MATTHEWS: But he is listening to the media, these people, Rush Limbaugh, lead the people. You say he is listening to his constituency. Is Rush Limbaugh the chicken or the egg here? Is he telling his constituency where to go or is he listening to them? I get the sense that the hard right media who make a living of five or ten percent of the country are telling a President who represents 45 to 50 percent of the country what to do. The media can’t tell 50 percent what to do. The media even on the hard right successful, big audience, right wing audiences and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and on Fox, the big shows, they don’t represent more than five percent of the country or ten percent. Why is he thinking they represent the country?

COSTA: This is a President who doesn’t come out of Congress, has never governed until he was elected to the presidency. Chris, at the Capitol all last night, lawmakers were telling me they thought the leadership had backed the President away from a shutdown, that it could have some kind of short-term compromise and live to fight another day next year over a border wall. But the President listening to Limbaugh, watching Fox News both at night and in the morning, he is trying to tweet to signal to his base, don’t break with me. It was not only Ann Coulter, it was Mark Meadows, a North Carolina congressman and a whole chorus of people on the right.

MATTHEWS: Well, moments ago Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi laid the responsibility of the shutdown squarely on the feet of the President. Let’s watch them.

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI: The President is doing everything that he can to shut the government down. You have to ask the question, why? Does he not believe in governance? Does he not care about the American people? Doesn’t he know that the economy is uncertain? Hasn’t he followed the stock market that he likes to brag about sometimes? There’s something wrong with this picture.

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER: Unfortunately, President Trump was attacked this morning and last night by the hard right and fearful he backed off his commitment to sign this bill.

MATTHEWS: Let’s talk about Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate. I think he has got it just right. It’s the way we all saw it today in our newsroom. That he is listening to the talkers from the right. Now, the talkers from the right, I keep reminding people, left or right, that when you are in the media and you are very much passionate about the news and you’re talking to progressives and activists and you recognize that they are not 50 percent, but he has to talk, it seems to me, the President, at least to 45 percent of his own people and yet he’s listening to Limbaugh who speaks for, okay, 11 million people maybe on a big day.

CONGRESSMAN CARLOS CURBELO (R-FL): That’s right, Chris. It is troubling that these unelected individuals, very influential, but they are unelected. No one has voted them into office. They are making these big decisions and a lot of Republican members of Congress, I can tell you that probably a majority of my Republican colleagues do not agree with this decision. A majority of my Republican colleagues believe the right thing to do is to pass the bill that the Senate passed unanimously and with regards to who’s at fault here, I think the President has left very little question because he said last week in his office that he would be the one that’s responsible for shutting down the government and he has now put us on that path because even if the House tonight passes the bill with the border funding that’s unacceptable to the Senate, it’s going nowhere. So we are walking right into a dead end.

MATTHEWS: Donna, you know the difference between commentary and government because you have done both. In this case there is going to be an opening of the government at some point, maybe not tomorrow night, maybe not after Christmas or New Year’s, whenever, but they will eventually reopen. But there is not going to be a wall. So what is going to happen here? It seems this could be like the market keeps going down. This could be a long term stalemate where nothing gets agreed to.

DONNA EDWARDS: Well, I mean, there isn’t going to be a wall an even if — you know, say you go to a government shutdown like the one we had in — what — 2013, 2014, it will cost the economy $25 billion over the course of that time and so — and it doesn’t — the numbers don’t get better for the President because in January then he’s dealing with a Democratic House.

MATTHEWS: Why is it cost money? We explain so many watching right now. Why does it cost the government?

EDWARDS: Well, it costs — it costs money because, one, you lose the money that you lose because you have got workers who are out of work. Two, you lose — you lose money because there’s a whole bunch of business that the government does that it just can’t do.

MATTHEWS: It doesn’t do and by the way —

CURBELO: That’s like traffic. It slows everything down.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, we know the President spends a lot time catching up on Fox News. Here’s a taste of what he is watching.

MATT SCHLAPP: The President should veto this bill. This breaks a promise with his supporters. This — everybody looking at this views this as odious.

SEAN SPICER: We’re right on this issue. This is a fight worth having.

MIKE HUCKABEE: I’m troubled by what’s going on. I feel like the Republicans have caved in again. [SCREEN WIPE] I think the President should dig in his heels. I’m a little bit disappointed that there’s been sort of a mixed message going on. 

CONGRESSMAN MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): This is a fumble and we need to make sure that the President stays firm and a lot of people are very nervous this morning about whether the President will cave or not.

DANA LOESCH: This was the top issue, why people voted not just for this President before this administration and it continues to be a top concern for voters across the country.

MATTHEWS: Robert, talk about this, the executive time the President calls it when he listens to this stuff. Does he just turn on the tube, turn on Fox, maybe check the other cable stations? But what does he do, walk away steaming or what’s his reaction? He seems to be in this case getting his marching orders from Rush and Ann Coulter?

COSTA: During the campaign, the President used to tell me and other reporters that he would watch television to make sure he knew where the news was going and he would try to jump into it like it was a river. So instead of paying for advertising he was always reacting to the news. That’s why now even as President two years in regardless of what advisors tell him about the whip count on Capitol Hill, he’s always keeping an eye on the television. Where is the news cycle? Where is that chyron? How can he try to adjust it? And so, when he sees Fox News or another conservative outlet going a certain direction, he may try to jump in against all of the advice of those around him to try to change the news and change what he thinks is his policy and his perspective.

(....)

7:46 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: And today, the President made clear he would do what the fringe right wanted him to do. Here’s radio host Rush Limbaugh calling the play.

LIMBAUGH: Just received clearance. The President has gotten word to me that he is either getting funding for the border or he’s shutting the whole thing down.

MATTHEWS: So there’s the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, the guy who are calling the shots.

KIMBERLY ATKINS: Yes. I mean, he’s between a rock and a hard place now, right? He has the conservative folks on his right pushing him hard, saying, look, you are walking away from a commitment you made to your supporters on the campaign trail then you have Democrats who have zero incentive to move on this.

NB Daily Government shutdown Immigration Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Chris Matthews Ann Coulter Rush Limbaugh Donald Trump
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links