Matthews Calls Palin Stupid Moments After Erring On Churchill Quote

December 7th, 2010 8:31 PM

Chris Matthews on Tuesday once again claimed former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is not very knowledgable about politics.

This deliciously came moments after he wrongly challenged Pat Buchanan about a Winston Churchill quote (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Look, I know people in our business, Pat, who I do, I mean on television, who I don't think they know hardly anything about America's political history or politics today. They can express left-wing or right-wing opinions easy. That’s easy. That’s gut stuff. But I would like to see a lot of people that I work with around this business, and I'd like to ask them, “Just name the presidents in your lifetime?” I think they would falter. I think Sarah Palin might have a serious problem with some basic information.

Exactly two minutes earlier:

PAT BUCHANAN: Winston Churchill said it very well: “Anybody who thinks democracy is the best form of government ought to spend five minutes with the average voter."

MATTHEWS: No, he said, he said, “The worst form of government except for all the others…

BUCHANAN: No, he said that, too.

MATTHEWS: …that have been tried from time to time.” Don’t challenge me on Churchill. I’m the Churchillian, you're the guy with Chamberlain.

Actually, Buchanan was right.

According to, Churchill said, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

According to the Quotations Page, Churchill also said, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

It appears Matthews should be careful who he throws stones at in his glass house.

Furthering the matter, the words "It has been said" imply that Churchill was actually quoting someone else. As Richard M. Langworth observed:

Churchill said it (House of Com­mons, 11 Novem­ber 1947)—but he was quot­ing an unknown pre­de­ces­sor. From Churchill by Him­self, page 574:

Many forms of Gov­ern­ment have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pre­tends that democ­racy is per­fect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democ­racy is the worst form of Gov­ern­ment except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…

As such, Matthews was really wrong - but Palin's the dope.