Biggest con man on the planet: Last night, MSNBC’s liberal viewers got majorly conned once again.
Hillary Clinton had gotten bashed by all the usual suspects, including GOP chairman Reince Preibus. For many years, Matthews was one of those suspects, of course.
He got very rich in the process.
By now, Matthews has been reinvented. So he spent an entire segment last night venting his fury about the way the GOP is battering Clinton about everything from her past comments about Monica Lewinsky to her past comments about single-payer to her support for Barry Goldwater when she was in high school.
Last night, Chris found it appalling. Viewers had no way of knowing that he once pushed all those themes very hard, getting very rich in the process.
“I mean, you can go crazy with this stuff,” Matthews said last night. We agree! We went crazy with all this stuff when he was sliming it all around, year after year after year.
How bad was Matthews in those days? Let’s remember his two-segment session with author Gail Sheehy in December 1999, when he was working to defeat Candidate Gore and to help Rudy defeat Hillary in the expected New York senate race.
Matthews wasted no time on that memorable evening. This is the way he started his lengthy session with Sheehy:
MATTHEWS (12/6/99): I'm Chris Matthews in San Francisco. Let's play Hardball! Well, joining us right now from Washington, DC is author and journalist Gail Sheehy. She's got a new book, it's called Hillary's Choice. We'll get to the meaning of that.At the time, Sheehy was fashionably sour about Hillary too. But even she was taken aback by that peculiar first question.
Gail, thank you for joining us. I have to ask you one tough-as-nails question, not as a Hillary defender or as a Hillary critic, but just simply as a Hillary author and expert. What has she ever done for this country?
At the time, Clinton had been first lady for seven years. She had been first lady of Arkansas for twelve years before that.
By normal standards, Matthews had asked a very strange question, but he was just getting started. Soon, he seemed to be blaming Clinton for the death of Vince Foster.
This is the way it started:
MATTHEWS: Let's talk about the politics of running for Senate and her background and her claim to fame. The argument she seems to be making to New York voters is that she's a victim of Bill Clinton's misconduct, but she was a proud co-author of all of his great successes. She's getting it both ways. He screwed around; she covered up. But really, she was just being a dutiful wife. She was, however, the great counselor to all success. But you know, in your book, you make some very tough shots against her. You accused her, basically, of being the one who refused to come clean on Whitewater, the one very much involved with Travelgate, dumping those people that—she wanted those patronage slots so she could put her friends in office; for putting all the pressure on Vince Foster, for dealing with the Travelgate. It seems like not even counting health care, which was the catastrophe of the administration, she is the problem, not the solution."For putting all the pressure on Vince Foster?" Eventually, Matthews make it sound even more clear—Foster’s death had been Clinton’s fault. This is what he said:
“The Vince Foster horror, where poor Vince Foster was trying to protect her and him, and he felt tremendous responsibility. You point out that wonderful story that he watched A Few Good Men the night before he committed suicide, and it's about a guy who committed suicide as a matter of honor. She put all this pressure on people.”
“She put all this pressure on people,” Matthews complained. And of course, in classic fashion, he referred to Sheehy’s account of Foster’s last night on earth as “that wonderful story!”
Matthews had toyed with Foster’s death. Now it was time for some massive stupidity. He began to worry about the fact that Hillary never learned how to ski:
MATTHEWS: You talk in a nice way about how Hillary never wanted to learn to ski. Now, I learned to ski at a relatively late age, and I love it. But it does involve falling. And you point out in your book that she doesn't like to fall. And therefore—I mean, just falling, the physical act of falling in front of other people, where they see you fall. Yet she was willing to take on a seventh of the American economy with no economics training, and say that she was going to personally redefine the economic system with regard to health. How can she be afraid to fall on her butt on the bunny slope, and yet willing to jeopardize the health security of the American people without a blink?You almost had to feel sorry for Sheehy, asked to respond to such ludicrous frameworks. Courageously, she tried to reply. But then, the name-calling started:
SHEEHY (continuing directly): Well, I think she thought she knew what she was doing, and she thought Ira Magaziner would be—By now, Sheehy seemed so surprised by Matthews’ tone that she adopted a defensive stance. She even made an obvious statement about Matthews' dislike for Clinton.
MATTHEWS: The guy with the propeller on his head!
MATTHEWS: I mean, why did she hang around with that clack? Those guys have never been elected to anything, they've never run for anything. Why does she trust those kinds of guys?
SHEEHY: Well, she—
MATTHEWS: They're all lefties and propeller heads! They're worse than she is!
This drove her host back to his thoughts about the bunny slope:
SHEEHY (continuing directly): Wait a second! Let me just ask you one thing. I know you don't like Hillary Clinton—Why would Sheehy think that Matthews didn’t like Hillary Clinton? He just wanted to understand her thoughts about falling on soft snow on a bunny slope!
MATTHEWS: No, that's not true. That's not the relevant point. I'm asking you why did she— Why was she afraid to fall on soft snow on a bunny slope, but wasn't afraid of bringing down the health security of 260 million Americans? That's what I don't understand.
SHEEHY: She's afraid to make a mistake. She's a perfectionist.
MATTHEWS: Well, what the hell? She made one on health care.
SHEEHY: She's a perfectionist—
MATTHEWS: She brought down the Democratic Party for the first time in a half a century!
Matthews' two-segment interview still had a long way to go. But this is who Chris Matthews was when Jack Welch was filling his pockets with cash. At the time, he was sliming Candidate Gore in similar remarkable ways virtually every night. (He kept that up for two years.)
Soon, Chris began unveiling his thoughts about health care—and he name-called Clinton as “Evita,” a favorite move of his at that time. (Gore was “the bathtub ring.”)
He dropped an S-bomb for good measure. By now, Sheehy may have been glancing around, making sure she knew where the exits were:
MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton got the message wrong. The American people want to have health care for people who work for a living. Working families should get a good wage and they should get health care as part of a living income. She said, “I'm going to give you universal coverage. I want to give every man who gets into this country, legally or illegally, free health care, and they're going to have to thank me for it, and bring flowers to me like I'm Evita.” That's different than giving people workers' rights, or giving them what they go out and work for a living for, including health care. She didn't want to sell it as a workers' benefit. She wanted to sell it as socialism, because then she could get credit for it. She and the government, like Eleanor Roosevelt, her hero.According to Matthews, Clinton wanted to give everyone free health care, including those who were here illegally. In turn, they would treat her like Evita.
SHEEHY: Well, I don't think she wanted to sell it as socialism...
Later, Matthews would angrily return to the way Clinton had “wanted to inflict the German plan on us on health care, the entirely national health care system based on the German model.” First, though, he offered his basic explanation for all this bad conduct:
MATTHEWS: Here's the weird thing about this dysfunctional relationship, and you've been sorting this out as an author for so many months. You have one partner on the team that thinks they're always right. They think they're better than us morally, politically, culturally, and intellectually and every other way. The other person believes they've never done anything wrong. If you have one who's a born cover-up artist who can't even turn in an honest golf score, and the other one who thinks she's always right about everything, God help us! As you say, Hillary's choice is the choice to be blind-sided or to be blind about the truth. What an amazing credential to be United States senator for New York!It's a little bit hard to sort that out. Later, Matthews extended his view of Hillary Clinton:
"I get the feeling she's got this moral superiority that somehow he [Bill Clinton] was lucky to have her, but she wasn't lucky to have him, like she could have gotten there with any guy—as that little story you tell in the book goes, any guy she could have dragged into the presidency—because she was the superior moral, intellectual and cultural and political force, and he was just some bumpkin she picked up and dragged along like a barnacle behind her rear end."
This is who Chris Matthews was when Jack Welch was filling his pockets with cash. At this same time, he was sliming Candidate Gore in remarkable ways virtually every night. (He kept that up for two years.)
Speaking with Sheehy, Matthews pounded away for two full segments on this particular Monday night. The previous Friday, he had trashed Hillary Clinton in remarkable ways in an interview with Andrea Mitchell (link below).
Earlier that week, he had been busy inventing a key claim: Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal! This is what Matthews was like for years, before his reinvention.
Today, Rachel Maddow refers to Matthews as her “beloved colleague.” When people are paid $5 million or $7 million per year, there are quite a few things they may do and say.
(For a longer account of Matthews’s performances with Mitchell and Sheehy, click here.)
Last night, Matthews was tearing his hair about the way the GOP is going after Clinton. In comical detail, he complained about a list of complaints—the same complaints he crazily pursued for many years.
Hillary Clinton put too much pressure on poor Vince Foster! She wanted us the peons to call her Evita! She thinks she’s “better than us morally, politically, culturally, and intellectually and every other way.” Her health care plan was socialism, on the German model.
This is how Matthews bumped his salary up to $5 million per year. We dare you! Watch the tape of last night’s segment to see the remarkable way he has changed, now that the hustlers who hand him his cash want him supporting Clinton.
(Ironically, the first segment from last night's show bears this headline: “Chris Christie, bully.” Look who's talking, the analysts said.)
These are terrible, terrible people. This garbage went on for year after year. All your heroes kept quiet about this terrible hustler, as they still do today.