For those who remember MSNBC’s Chris Matthews kicking Michelle Malkin off his show in 2004 for daring to question John Kerry’s Vietnam heroism on his show, that his show wouldn’t allow smear specialists, he certainly disproved that on Friday by bringing in Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, the author of the infamous 2005 New York Press article "52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." (So much for Chris Matthews, Respectful Catholic.) Matthews asked why people don’t like Rush Limbaugh, and Taibbi promptly dismissed Rush Limbaugh as a "fat, pill-popping idiot," to which Matthews laughed and replied "I’m glad I asked."
His other guest, Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News (formerly of Time), is a liberal who’s listened to Limbaugh’s show, and provided a counterpoint: "He’s beloved. And he’s more entertaining and more intellectual than the other talk show hosts. He has a conservative philosophy. He’s not dumb." That may not be music to the ears of intellectual hosts, from Hugh Hewett to the lawyers Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, but at least there was a counterpoint. (Video here.)
A few minutes later, Matthews professed "Matt, you’re amazing." Here’s the Limbaugh exchange.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why don't people like Rush Limbaugh?
MATT TAIBBI: He's abrasive, he's divisive, he's a fat, pill-popping idiot. [Matthews laughs] He's completely abrasive to, you know, the centrist people in this country.And the Democrats would love to make him the public face of the Republican Party. He would automatically win them, you know, hundreds of thousands of votes in every election.
MATTHEWS: "Well, I'm glad I asked. Ha! Fat, pill-popping, what was the last adjective you had on him?
TAIBBI: I don’t know, buffoon –
MATTHEWS: Idiot, I think, you chose there. Margaret, do you want to add to this line of thinking here? Ha! What I’m asking you is why don’t people like him in the polling?
MARGARET CARLSON: I don’t think he’s as unlikable as he was just described by Matt. To those who like him, they love him, unlike any of the other talk show hosts. He’s beloved. And he’s more entertaining and more intellectual than the other talk show hosts. He has a conservative philosophy. He’s not dumb.
Carlson then shifted to the subject of how RNC chairman Michael Steele appears to be a media spokesman who’s not involved enough in the nitty-gritty.
[Hat tip: Dan Gainor]