A few months ago, I took some flack in these quarters for suggesting that, his annoying liberalism aside, Chris Matthews is in his heart an American patriot.
That same patriotic proclivity displayed itself tonight. On the anniversary of 9-11, Matthews profusely praised his guest Rudy Giuliani for his leadership on that day. And in a spontaneous aside, Matthews called RFK's assassin, the Palestinian Sirhan B. Sirhan, "the first terrorist." Can you imagine Rachel Maddow—or Barack Obama for that matter—doing the same?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. One thing I've always liked about the way you handled that, and it was magnifcent in so many other ways, was giving us the information as you got it. I love it. I hate rolling disclosure. I love it when guys, police commissioners like in the old days, stood on the curb across from the five-alarm fire and gave us the facts as they knew it. It was the comic book hero.
And you played that so well. And I appreciate that. You know there was a great line in Casablanca, Mr. Mayor, when the Nazi, Major Strasse, said he was going to invade New York and Humphrey Bogart's character said, well there's certain neighborhoods in New York I wouldn't advise you trying to invade. You know, that attitude about our country, I don't care whether it's the tough neighborhoods or the nice neighborhoods, I love the fact that we're willing to fight.
RUDY GIULIANI: Okay, we fight with each other and we create lots of problems, but when we're under stress, we're one nation and we're one country and we fight back.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, I loved it when the yuppies in those days, to use an old term, were sitting at the sidewalk cafes in Manhattan, in the nicer parts of town, cheering the firefighters as the trucks went by. Those were magic days . . . By the way, I think Sirhan Sirhan was the first terrorist. He killed Bobby Kennedy. That was about politics. That was Mideast politics. Let me just say to you by the way, in a tribute to Rudy Giuliani, and a lot of our viewers are liberals and progressives. But you did something really big, really right and thank you.
GIULIANI: Thank you very much, Chris. I really appreciate that.