On Hardball Tuesday, MSNBC host Chris Matthews suggested to Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza that Joe Lieberman really shouldn’t get to keep his committee chairmanship after backing McCain. Metaphorically, Matthews suggested, Lieberman should be executed:
Well you know George Washington, Chris, executed the spy in the, in that case, Benedict Arnold case, Lieutenant Andre, and nobody liked to do it, because he was a good guy but he had to do it to prove his authority. Doesn’t, at some point Barack Obama have to say loyalty counts?
John Andre was hanged in 1780. Matthews went to a break channeling the pain of the left: "I said, to start the show, ‘Unity Bites!’ It does hurt. Nice isn’t always nice. We’ll be right back with Chris Cillizza and Dominic Carter. A lot of people on the left are not happy tonight because there’s too much nice out there. You’re watching Hardball. Only on MSNBC."
Late in the show, Matthews turned to a clip of Newt Gingrich on The O'Reilly Factor talking about the angry protests by gay activists against Proposition 8 in California, as they continue to refuse to accept election results:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let’s take a look at this little turkey trot from Bill O’Reilly. Here it is, Newt Gingrich speaking.
NEWT GINGRICH: Look I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.
MATTHEWS: You know there’s a man who if he had his finger on the Apocalypse button would push it. That’s Newt Gingrich. What do you make of that Dominic? He wants to claim that the, that the people interested in gay equality on marriage and on other issues are fascists and they’re violent. What do you make of that?
As opposed to Matthews, who just finished talking about how Lieberman should be treated like Benedict Arnold's allies? Perhaps Newt is trying to sell Jonah Goldberg books. Back to the transcript:
DOMINIC CARTER, NY1 SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well I, I think, Chris, the bottom line is that many Americans would disagree, respectfully disagree with the, with the former speaker. He’s been known over the years to say some things that are out there, and I simply think that this is one where the country perhaps would believe we should just move on from? There’s not much to be gained from really discussing it.
MATTHEWS: Well okay, well that wasn’t much. What do you mean by that? You think he should? Do you think he’s dangerous or what Dominc?
CARTER: Well I mean, you know, this is the same guy, I’m trying to be respectful to the former Speaker. This is the-
CARTER: Because this is the same guy, Chris that complained when he was kicked off Air Force One by President Bill Clinton. So he’s known sometimes to have, with all due respect, a foot-in-the-mouth disease.
CARTER: And I think this is all coming on, on the heels of what happened in California. And it’s something that perhaps, you know he made his opinion known and we should move on.
MATTHEWS: I think there’s something smart here. I think he’s smart like a fox, crazy like a fox, Chris. I think he’s out there in a very, sort of lunk-ish way, going for that hard right vote. That hard cultural vote that’s angry, that likes Sarah Palin. They thought she was abused, that’s really in an angry mood right now. They don’t like Barack. They don’t like the Democrats in the White House and he’s out there banging on the pipes.
Matthews did tie Obama's generosity toward Lieberman to Newt's apparent pipe-banging meanness:
Yeah I think in the time of nice, in a time of unity that Barack Obama is teaching us all, including me, about unity, that it hurts sometimes, but he’s for unity. This guy [Gingrich] is still for mean. And mean still sells to some people.