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Pants on Fire: Chris Matthews’s New Problem with “Anti-Americanism”

Posted By David Forsmark On October 7, 2009 @ 2:06 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments

“I decline utterly to be impartial as between the fire brigade and the fire.”

–Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 1927

For the past 6 years, Chris Matthews has hosted a show in which guests gleefully reported the purported success of both indigenous insurgents and foreign al Qaeda fighters in Iraq.  On his network, MSNBC, that became the default setting.  They were the publicity arm of al Qaeda.  Car bombs led the news, successful American battles, infrastructure completion, or the like were not even news.  Bagdad Bob had nothing on them.

Chris would evoke the worst kind of moral equivalence by constantly posing some form of this the question, “Wouldn’t you be mad if someone invaded America and imposed a different form of government they thought was better?  Wouldn’t you fight back?”

Anyone who thought this was unpatriotic was the worst kind of scoundrel, an unquestioning lackey of the Bush Administration who was trying to quash dissent, the highest form of patriotism.

Losing a war was chump change compared to defeating evil Republicans.

Now, finally, Chris Matthews has spotted REAL anti-Americanism—people who were happy that President Obama was humiliated in his vanity-laden attempt to bring the Olympics to Chicago.

Oh, the horror.

Matthews’s Monday show intro was unintentionally revealing, though not part of the video on the MSNBC website:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Anti-American?  Let’s play HARDBALL.  Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight:

The right roots against America. Remember how Republicans questioned Democrats’ patriotism during the Bush years, how you were either with Bush or with the terrorists? So what do we make the of the glee some prominent Republicans felt when Chicago and President Obama lost its Olympics bid? It’s one thing to argue politics and policy, what’s good and what’s bad for America. That’s what we do right here on HARDBALL. It’s another thing to root for America to fail.

Yeah, whether America wins a war or keeps thousands of innocent Americans are massacred on a normal work day—or Chicago gets the Olympics.  Same thing.  We won’t mention that more than HALF OF CHICAGO didn’t want the Olympics.

But the comparison tells us more about Chris Matthews than he meant to reveal, or wants to admit about his side of the political divide. Is he finally admitting that liberals rooted against America winning the war in Iraq so they could use it against George Bush?

Guest Terry Jeffrey did a great job of trying to bring a perspective of reality to Chris’s newfound feverish patriotism—which is really Obamism:

JEFFREY: I don’t think the city of Chicago getting the Olympics is synonymous with a vital national interest of the United States. I mean, you could be from Chicago and not want the Olympics to come to Chicago.

Exactly right.  Later, Jeffery got to the main point of who roots for America, which caused Matthews to lose it and throw out a mangled version of Churchill’s great quote.

MATTHEWS: You don’t think-just to get back to our point here, you don’t sense that on the right-well, maybe I’m asking the wrong person to agree with this-that there is a goal here that anything where there’s a contest, a chance to prove its success, whether it’s ideological, whether it’s pro-American or political or partisan, any chance for Barack Obama to fail, your side is going to root for him to fail, whatever it is. He must fail at any moment. Whether it’s health care, whether it’s the Olympics, whatever it is, you will cheer if he fails. Are you denying that now?

JEFFREY: Not any place, most places. There’s one place, clearly, where conservatives ought not want him to fail, and that…

MATTHEWS: No, but don’t be selective. Isn’t it true…

JEFFREY: No, it’s not true.

MATTHEWS: … that the evidence of this past week is, wherever he attempts to do something, you guys want him to stumble.

JEFFREY: No, actually, that’s true because…

MATTHEWS: Give me an example where you’re rooting for him.

JEFFREY: Well, let me give you an example. I’m very much rooting that what President Obama chooses to do, which he hasn’t yet chosen to do, in Afghanistan works because all Americans share an interest in our country succeeding in Afghanistan. It’s important for our national security that it happens. I hope his policy in Iraq succeeds. I hope what he does with the Gitmo prisoners, Chris, succeeds. I think conservatives are very much worried that he will not succeed because they think his policies in those areas may be wrong-headed.

On the domestic front, I think conservatives are opposed to just about everything President Obama is trying to do because he’s trying to augment the power of government over our lives and diminish our individual freedom. So to the degree that his ability to leverage the Democrats in Congress to attain his agenda is diminished, that’s a good thing for the United States of America….

MATTHEWS: … most of this began last fall under George Bush. The bringing in of Hank Paulson from Goldman Sachs, the whole works, the whole downfall of Wall Street, the attempt to bail out Wall Street, the banking industry, the failure of General Motors and those industries began long before Barack Obama came into office. He came in to clean up the mess, and I refuse not to take sides between the fire brigade and the fire. He’s the fire brigade. Your side was the fire.

During his softball interview with Alan “Republicans want you to die in the health care holocaust” Grayson, Matthews ludicrously exclaimed “I don’t always take sides, but you are right!”  Now we get it, Republicans are the fire, Barack Obama is the fire brigade.

However, when it comes to the American military versus America’s real enemies, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran—or in the case of civilization versus barbarians in, say Gaza, Chris Matthews has a lot harder time discerning who is the fire brigade.

To use Chris’s mangled analogy, he and his colleagues spent 5 years reporting on deaths and injuries to the fire brigade, but never mentioned any of the fires they put out.  But don’t you DARE call that anti-American.


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