It goes without saying that Monday's media coverage of Sen. Robert Byrd's (D-W.V.) death was predictably sycophantic on a disturbing number of levels.
However, the award for most disgraceful use of a politician's passing to further one's agenda has to go to MSNBC's Chris Matthews who ended last night's "Hardball" memorializing a senator he had great esteem for by attacking former President George W. Bush.
"Let me finish tonight with a tribute to a U.S. senator who shared my deep American objection to the Iraq War," he began.
Readers are cautioned that where Matthews went from here was offensive in the extreme (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a tribute to a U.S. senator who shared my deep American objection to the Iraq War. I love this country and believe in its historic greatness. I don`t know how those Founding Fathers found themselves in Philadelphia in the late 18th century but they did. And we are incredibly fortunate for that.
And I love the symbol of the Gadsden flag that, coiled rattlesnake against a field of yellow. "Don`t Tread on Me` -- it warned our enemies, and that included especially the British government and London.
This morning, a man died who treasure this country and that flag. For those reasons, Senator Robert Byrd opposed both wars -- both wars with Iraq.
Here`s what he said in the fall of 2002: "For the first time in the history of the republic, the nation is considering a preemptive strike against a sovereign state. And I will not be silent."
And on the eve of that second Iraq War, he said, quote, "We proclaim a doctrine of preemption which is understood by few and feared by many. We saw that the United States -- or we say that the United States has the right to turn its firepower on any corner of the globe which might be suspect in the war on terrorism. There is no credible evidence to connect Saddam Hussein to 9/11."
I was personally stunned and remain in awe that a president of George W. Bush`s abilities was able to take the attack on us of 9/11 and upturn two-plus centuries of American doctrine "Don`t Tread on Me." We don`t attack but if you attack, we attack back. We oppose aggression. We are not the aggressors.
Stop the tape!
A president of George W. Bush`s abilities? What kind of nonsense is that?
A man you admire dies, and that's the occasion to mock a former President?
How utterly disgraceful. But it got worse:
President Bush and his cohorts in and out of the government were able to construct a new doctrine: If we don`t like you or your policies we attack. If you cause trouble in your region, we attack. If we think you have WMD, we attack.
Well, couldn't that therefore apply to Woodrow Wilson and World War I? America was never attacked.
And maybe Franklin Delano Roosevelt should be similarly excoriated for getting involved in Europe during World War II, for Germany never attacked us. Neither did Italy.
As such, using the Matthews Doctrine, we should only have attacked Japan after Pearl Harbor. And we never should have gone into Korea, Vietnam, or Iraq in 1991 for none of those countries attacked us either.
Taking this further, Clinton never should have sent troops to Somalia in 1993, or Bosnia in 1995, or Kosovo in 1999. And he certainly shouldn't have bombed Iraq in 1998.
Add it all up, and in the past almost 100 years, Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41, and Clinton have all gone against the Matthews Doctrine.
Yet, on the occasion of Sen. Byrd's death, this so-called journalist chose to once again attack George W. Bush. And he wasn't finished:
And millions went for it, hook, line and sinker. Senator Byrd did not. That he was so alone out there makes the swooning of America generally Bush`s war so frightening.
If someone of Bush`s ability can make America forget its most basic, most time-honored standards, then imagine what a gifted demagogue could do. It`s one thing to send us off to Afghanistan, the base of those who hit us. Bush was able to then drive the entire country off to an altogether different direction. That`s what Bush did.
Bush's war? Didn't the Founding Fathers give Congress the sole responsibility to declare war?
Why is it that shameless liberals like Matthews forget that in October 2002, both chambers of Congress debated giving Bush the authorization to invade Iraq if Saddam Hussein didn't accede to various United Nations demands?
And why is it that shameless liberals like Matthews forget that on October 10, 2002, the House approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution by a vote of 296 to 133? 81 Democrats voted "Yea" including Dick Gephardt, Jane Harmon, Steny Hoyer, John Murtha, and Henry Waxman.
And why is it that shameless liberals like Matthews forget that on October 11, 2002, the Senate approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution by a vote of 77 to 23? 29 Democrats voted "Yea" including Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, John Breaux, Maria Cantwell, Max Cleland, Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle, Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan, John Edwards, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson (Neb.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and Chuck Schumer.
As such, quite frankly, Americans like me are SICK AND TIRED of people like Matthews calling this Bush's war!!!
And to use the occasion of a Senator's death to do so is disgusting to say the least.
The folks at General Electric must be so proud to not only have an employee like this, but a television network that encourages and celebrates such un-American behavior.
Yes, I said un-American, because the Iraq War Resolution was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, and 75 percent of this nation approved of the invasion five months later.
As such, WE THE PEOPLE went into this fight TOGETHER no matter how liberal media members like Matthews continue to shamefully depict it now.
Will it ever stop?