Chris Matthews' Surprising Tribute to Pat Buchanan: 'I Miss Him Already'

As NewsBusters reported Friday, MSNBC has officially terminated its relationship with conservative author Pat Buchanan.

Far more surprising was Hardball's Chris Matthews Friday touchingly paying tribute to the man his network dumped (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with Pat Buchanan. He’s leaving the network and won’t be working with us from now on. I miss him already.

We’ve had drag down fights right here on this set and I’ve said things that drive him up a wall and he’s said things that have driven me up a wall. We’ve done it here in all, pretty good -- in a pretty good spirit most of the time and have managed to be friendly and friends throughout it all.

And, obviously, I’m going to miss his cheerful, fun-loving irascible presence around here.
There are two aspects of Pat Buchanan I’d like to mention. One highly and wonderfully positive; the other -- well, that’s the one that gets him into trouble.

The good quality above his relentless genialities is deep even formidable loyalty. Pat sticks up for his people like nobody I know. He’ll laugh with you about the frailties and foibles of those he served but he never, ever quits being loyal to them.

His most famous proof of loyalty was his strong defense of President Richard Nixon. At his moment of greatest vulnerability when so many others were running for the tree line, Pat Buchanan was out there in the open field with a national television cameras right on him.

And here’s what he said to enemy and friend alike.


PATRICK J. BUCHANAN: The president had conducted an administration for four years that had won the confidence or support of millions of Democrats. The president’s stand upon the issues of defense and welfare, upon taxes and government, upon coercive integration and bussing were closer to what the American people wanted than those of his opponents. But we want as well, Mr. Chairman, because of the quality and the character of our candidate. If one looks back over the political history of this country, there is only one other man other than Richard Nixon who has been his party’s nominee for president or vice president five times. That is Franklin Roosevelt.


MATTHEWS: Well, that’s Pat testifying before the Senate Watergate committee in the fall of 1973, defending Nixon in his hour of peril. Using a sharp mind and wit to stand up for someone who placed his trust in him, young Pat Buchanan as a young man. Name another public figure who has built his public career on being a stalwart loyalist to Richard Nixon.

Loyalty is the heart of Pat’s being. He is loyal to country, to church, to neighborhood to heritage. To Pat, the world can never be better than the one he grew up in as a young boy -- Blessed Sacrament Church and Grade School, Gonzaga High School, Georgetown University. No country will ever be better than the United States of America of the early 1950s.

It’s his deep loyalty to preserving that reality and all its cultural and ethnic aspects that has been his primal purpose and is what has gotten him into trouble. Not just now but over the years.


BUCHANAN: And as those boys took back the streets of Los Angeles block by block, my friends, we must take back our cities and take back our culture and take back our country!


MATTHEWS: Well, that’s Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Republican National Convention and he’s never changed. It’s Pat Buchanan yesterday, today and tomorrow.

But for all kinds of reasons, personal and professional, I will miss him.

Bravo, Chris. Very nicely said although I highly doubt many in your network share your sentiments.

It appears getting rid of one of the only conservative voices left on MSNBC is what this disgrace of a so-called "news" outlet considers leaning forward.

At this rate it seems almost a metaphysical certitude that at some point in the future turning on MSNBC will be like reading The Nation magazine.

I guess that's what some call progress.

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