A Children's Treasury Of Chris Matthews Being The Actual Worst
Chris Matthews, as we mentioned earlier, has retired.
Over the last 21 years, he has defined the parameters of a certain kind of Democrat. The kind who voted for, and swooned over, George W. Bush. The kind who finds Republicans basically more respectable, "principled," and moral (and certainly more manly) than liberals. Who thinks Americans are basically repulsed by most left-wing policies and says so, over and over again, until people believe it must be true. Who believes that the only way to accomplish progressive goals is by never, ever bringing them up or trying to do anything to achieve them. Who does not think very much of women at all and kind of wishes we would all just leave the politicking to the menfolk and make him a sandwich, while assuring him we know he's not as bad as Actual Republicans.
Maybe he is and maybe he isn't. Let's take a look back at some of Chris "We're all neo-cons now" Matthews's greatest hits and see.
Chris Matthews And The Phantom Chris Matthews Who Opposed The Iraq War From The Beginning
As you may know, Chris Matthews really likes to pretend he was against the Iraq War from the beginning, which he very much was not. However, his memory of that time appears to be a little bit cloudy. He once claimed that the Iraq War never would have happened if 24/7 cable news and shows like his were around at the time, because there would have been more scrutiny over the Bush administration's claims of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. Of course, not only was 24/7 cable news absolutely a thing at that time, it had been popularized during the first Iraq War, way back in, we believe, the 1870s, and Matthews started doing his show on MSNBC back in 1999. A year when he, by the way, was mad at President Bill Clinton for not murdering enough "enemy casualties" during the war in Kosovo, and for being more "Jane Fonda" than "John Wayne."
Has a country ever won a war by avoiding enemy casualties? Isn't that what we're doing? We're blowing up bridges that are dark and buildings that are empty, and killing a few night watchmen who are dumb enough to show up for the midnight shift. But it's a strange war we're fighting—why is [President Clinton] avoiding casualties on the other side?
But I digress.
The problem was, people like Matthews and Joe Scarborough and everyone else on MSNBC (with the exception of Phil Donahue, who Matthews demanded — successfully — be fired) were cheerleading for the war, cheerleading for Bush, and calling people who protested the war "anti-American" and speculating on when we would realize that we owed George W. Bush a big apology.
In this same vein, in 2010, he commented:
The incompetence became downright staggering when the commander in chief pranced on to an aircraft carrier with that "Mission Accomplished" banner flying overhead. The bozos couldn't even get the PR right.
We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits. We don't want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president.
Oh, the swooning was palpable! And he even had Democrat-But-Not-Really Pat Caddell on to swoon with him.
MATTHEWS: The president there — look at this guy! We're watching him. He looks like he flew the plane. He only flew it as a passenger, but he's flown —
CADDELL: He looks like a fighter pilot.
MATTHEWS: He looks for real. What is it about the commander in chief role, the hat that he does wear, that makes him — I mean, he seems like — he didn't fight in a war, but he looks like he does.
So dreamy! And yes, he didn't fight in a war. Because he, like Donald Trump, got to get out of going because he was a rich kid. But, you know, he looked super manly, so whatevs!
Matthews, who said he voted for George W. Bush in 2000, spent most of the Bush administration straight up hypnotized by his incredible man musk. And when Dubya was out of office, Matthews repeatedly said that what he really wanted to see was a John McCain-Rudy Giuliani ticket.
Oh Boy, Did He Hate-On For Hillary Clinton
If there is anything that best encapsulates Matthews's misogynistic streak, it has been his "criticism" of Hillary Clinton for lord knows how many years now. His issues with her have never been policy-based (although he could not believe that she would flip-flop on the Iraq War like she did, when he, Chris Matthews, had always been against it), he has not criticized her the way he would criticize any other politician, he has simply objected to her, as a person. Or a "she-devil" as he was so fond of calling her.
We were watching Hillary Clinton earlier tonight; she was giving a campaign barn-burner speech, which is harder to give for a woman; it can grate on some men when they listen to it -- fingernails on a blackboard, perhaps.
Matthews compared Clinton to a "domineering mother," complaining that she had a "scolding manner in terms of her public speaking," and that, "she's going to tell us what to do."
[E]very scene you see with Hillary is a lunch, and it's all women. She is advertising her sisterhood. Is that something she can use to help sell herself as a future strong person defending this country, or does it get in the way?
Chris yukked it up with Tucker Carlson about how Clinton is exactly like Nurse Ratched from Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
"Is the Hillary Clinton campaign trying to obliterate Obama's candidacy? Not just beat it, but strangle it in the crib before there's any chance he catches on?"
"Let's not forget—and I'll be brutal—the reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn't win there on her merit."
Sometime in 2016:
Exclusive: Watch staffers around Chris Matthews react with disbelief as he jokes about slipping Hillary Clinton his… https://t.co/XhE5Pu9YZS— The Cut (@The Cut)1515794400.0
While getting ready to interview Hillary Clinton, Matthews says, "Where's that Bill Cosby pill I brought with me?" Nice!
I could go on, because holy crap, there is so much. But you get the idea. Hillary Clinton was a woman and Chris Matthews did not like it when she talked!
He Also Said Some Pretty Stupid Stuff About Obama
Now, Chris Matthews, for the most part, did love Obama, famously saying that when he first heard him speak, he got a thrill running up his leg. And, awkwardly enough, saying after his State of the Union speech in 2010, "You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour." Which, in Chris Matthews-ish, is a compliment. A racist compliment, but a compliment. But it wasn't all sunshine and daisies. Or bowling and orange juice.
During the 2008 campaign, Matthews was extremely concerned about Obama's ability to bowl and also to connect with "regular people" — a group he did not believe included college graduates or black people.
And on the other side of the equation, can Obama woo more regular voters -- you know, the ones who actually do know how to bowl -- and finish off Clinton for good?
On that same show, he asked Sen. Claire McCaskill:
OK. Let me ask you about how he — how's he connect with regular people? Does he? Or does he only appeal to people who come from the African-American community and from the people who have college or advanced degrees?
DAVID SHUSTER: Well, here's the other thing that we saw on the tape, Chris, is that, when Obama went in, he was offered coffee, and he said, "I'll have orange juice."
SHUSTER: He did. And it's just one of those sort of weird things. You know, when the owner of the diner says, "Here, have some coffee," you say, "Yes, thank you," and, "Oh, can I also please have some orange juice, in addition to this?" You don't just say, "No, I'll take orange juice," and then turn away and start shaking hands. That's what happens [unintelligible] —
MATTHEWS: You don't ask for a substitute on the menu.
MATTHEWS: David, what a regular guy. You could do this. Anyway, thank you, David Shuster. I mean, go to the diners. Here you have a guy that can do it. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is out on campaign. He campaigned all throughout the state lately for Barack Obama.
Isn't that interesting, Senator Casey, that Barack Obama, your candidate, can walk before 15,000 people with complete calm and assurance, but he seems a little out of place in A) a bowling alley and B) a diner? What is the problem with your guy?
CASEY: Chris, he was fine in the bowling alley. His score was a little low. But I was able — it was the only thing I was able to beat him at during our bus tour. But he had a great response.
So yeah. Chris Matthews. He's the worst! I would actually argue that he has, in many respects, done more damage to the Left than "actual conservatives" because as much as they've empowered the Right, he has actively discouraged the Left, and has been remarkably successful in doing so.
If you want to know why I constantly mention the fact that he made MSNBC fire Phil Donahue, it is not just because I hold onto vendettas forever (though I absolutely hold onto vendettas forever). It's because I firmly believe that if Matthews had been fired instead of Phil Donahue, we would be looking at a very different country right now. Maybe we can get back on a better path now.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse