Appearing live on the "Hardball Plaza," leftist film-maker Michael Moore pitched his movie "Sicko" and called for Bush and Cheney's impeachment, all in front of live audience and sympathetic "Hardball" host Chris Matthews. On tonight's edition of "Hardball," Matthews devoted the entire hour to Moore and praised "Sicko" as "amazing film-making," wondered why Americans were afraid of "socialized" medicine and stood by as Moore charged Bush and Cheney should be led out of the White House on a "perp walk" and be imprisoned for their war crimes.
The following are some of the more over-the-top moments from the July 23rd edition of "Hardball:"
Moore charges Bush and Cheney with war crimes:
Chris Matthews: "Michael Moore. Let's make some news."
Michael Moore: "Alright."
Matthews: "Russ Feingold wants to censure the President, the Vice President, other administration officials for the way in which they talked us into war in Iraq. What do you make of it? Where do you stand on that kind of thing?"
Moore: "Good idea. I think, it's, it's something though that, actually they should be lucky just to get censured. Personally I'd like to see a perp walk coming out of the West Wing of the White House."
Matthews: "Do you think they're guilty of war crimes?"
Matthews: "Name ‘em."
Moore: "Lying to go to war. Start with that one. Making up something. Tricking up the evidence for war in order to take us into a war that's cost us over 3600 soldiers' lives and countless Iraqi lives. It's, history will not be kind to Mr. Bush for what he's done."
Matthews wonders what happened to Hillary Clinton's "modest" health care plan:
Matthews: "Let me ask you about health care. Hillary Clinton tried it in 1994, she had a Democratic congress, both houses. She had John Dingle there, Pat Moynihan, the key committees. All the power levers were controlled by her party and the President's party and nothing happened. It never came to a vote. And that wasn't socialized medicine."
Matthews: "It was some kind of plan for people to get it through work and other ways, a very modest plan. How come it didn't make it?"
Matthews wonders why Americans are afraid of socialized medicine:
Matthews: "Okay suppose we went past the Congress, past the President whoever it is, Hillary or Rudy or whoever it is and you had a national election on whether we should have a national health care system? Would it pass? Just a vote, up or down?"
Moore: "Oh yeah."
Matthews: "National health care. Would it pass?"
Moore: "Absolutely. All the polls show that. The polls, the most recent polls show that the majority of Americans want not only a universal health care program, they want one that's funded and run by the government. That's how bad it's become that people actually support that."
Matthews: "But suppose you put, suppose you put the usual, but suppose you put the usual language on it?"
Matthews: "You call it socialized medicine, would they vote for it? Or would that, would that phrase still scare ‘em away?"
Moore: "That phrase would probably still scare people away."
Matthews: "Why? Why are they afraid of that word?"
Moore: "Well because we have been raised in this culture to, to-"
Matthews: "But they know what it means! They know socialized means the government pays for it, taxpayers pay for it and you get it as a right."
Moore: "Yeah, yeah."
Matthews: "Why is it so complicated? If people really know what they need, why won't they vote for it?"
Moore: "Right. Well I think we need to change the terms. I would call it Christianized medicine because-"
Matthews: "The enemies are never gonna change the, that term."
Moore: "No, no, I'm gonna call, I'm gonna call it Christianized medicine because that's what Jesus would want us to do. In fact he said, that we can't get into Heaven unless we take care of the sick. So that's what we need is health care for all Americans, take care of each, each American when they're sick-"
Moore: "-and call it Christianized medicine. Or Jewish medicine or Muslim medicine because all the faiths, all the faiths say that you have a responsibility to take care of the sick."
Matthews on "Sicko's" historic importance:
Matthews: "Michael, I don't want to build this movie up beyond what it is, although it is probably the most successful doc ever done. But Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin and that inspired, two million copies of that book went out, and, and really got people feeling abolitionist feelings and, and, and of course Rachel Carson did Silent Spring and got people all excited about ecology and pesticides, is, this, is this movie of yours gonna take a second step? Besides having people go see it, eat popcorn, drink a Coke and after it's all over go home and, and talk about it. But what's the next step here that you envision? What's gonna happen here?"
Matthews Praises Moore's past filmwork:
Matthews: "We're, we're back here with "Hardball," on Hardball Plaza with our special guest for this hour, movie-maker Michael Moore who brought you Roger and Me, of course about the auto industry, "Fahrenheit 9/11" about the war in Iraq. And I loved it when you went up here and interviewed these members of Congress a couple blocks from here. And tried to pass out brochures on how their kids could join the military. They, they, it was like you're giving them a radioactive materials, these, these guys were pulling back."
Moore: "Yeah they don't want their own kids over there, that's for sure."
Moore calls for impeachement:
Matthews: "And late today anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and about two-dozen fellow anti-war activists were arrested for refusing to leave the office of Democratic congressman John Conyers after calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Michael Moore where do you stand on these various degrees of punishment? Should the President be punished through a censure for his, for the, for the, for the bad intel we got going into war?"
Moore: "Yes and he should be impeached and-"
Matthews: "How about, how about put, put in prison for war crimes?"
Moore: "Yes. Eventually I would, I think we need a trial, in this country, where Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush would be brought up on charges for causing the deaths of so many people. This is absolutely something that, if this were any other country, if any other country did this, we'd be going after them."
Matthews: "Well actually one, one country did something much worse. Of course that was, but it's interesting if you go back-"
Moore: "Well there are many countries that have done many things worse."
Matthews: "-to the Nuremberg trials, the Nuremberg trials weren't about the genocide, it was about waging an aggressive war. I love reading some of that language. It's interesting."
Still more praise from Matthews:
Matthews: "I just saw the movie. Amazing film-making!"
Moore gets religious about illegal immigrants' right to health care:
Brian Smith from the audience: "Hi, I'm Brian Smith from Alexandria, Virginia. I was just wondering what you thought about the possibility of illegal immigrants getting this government financed health care?"
Moore: "Well I think that any individual who's in this country should be able to see a doctor, if they're sick."
Smith: "Even if they're not a citizen."
Moore: "Well of course. They're a human being. I mean what, what would Jesus do? Right? Do you think Jesus would ask for your citizenship papers if he? ‘I'm here to heal the blind. Oh, wait a minute, you're not, you're not a resident of Galilee. I'm sorry. Lepers, lepers from Judea over here.' You know?"
Matthews: "So what's your point?"
Smith: "Well my point is what's to keep people from coming in and reaping the benefits without putting in-"
Moore: "The benefits? It's bene-, bene-, health care, this is an interesting word. You know we're the only western country that uses the word ‘benefits' when it comes to health care? Every other country calls it a human right. It's, we call it a benefit. That's, that's a crazy term and, and anybody who happens to be here should receive that kind of help."
Smith: "It's 'Life, liberty and happiness,' not 'Life, liberty and health.' Right?"
Moore: "Well if you don't have access to health care you may not have life."
Smith: "But people would have access to health care, just not government-financed."
Moore: "Right, right. Well, but you're not opposed to government financing health care for our soldiers, are you?"
Smith: "No, not at all."
Moore: "How about our old people?"
Smith: "But you saw what happened at Walter Reed, right?"
Smith: "That's what happens."
Moore: "Well that's what happens when you have people in charge. There's nothing wrong with Walter Reed just as there's nothing wrong with FEMA. We need FEMA, right? It's about who you have in charge. And when you elect the wrong people. If you have a commander-in-chief conducting a war and he's never been to war and knows nothing about war, what war really is, it's like having the guy from the tennis team be your quarterback on the football team?"
Matthews: "Wait a minute, wait a minute are you saying Katrina was badly handled?"