Matthews then and now: Like his friend Maureen Dowd, Chris Matthews has been very upset with the recent sliming of Obama as foreign, not American, other.
Barack Obama is very American. To review Dowd’s rather dishonest outrage, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/18/12.
That said, Maureen's friend has been quite upset too.
“I consider it a serious slur against somebody, a fellow American, to say they’re not really an American,” the cable star thundered on Tuesday’s Hardball. Also this: “You can't call somebody who disagrees with you about economics or politics some kind of foreigner or anti-American.”
When did that rule start?
In the next segment, Keith Ellison appeared as a guest. Defending Obama against the slime merchants, Matthews bared his soul:
MATTHEWS (7/17/92): I want to start with Congressman Ellison. You’ve been victim yourself of some of this crapola. But this crazy yahoo talk—do you think the people who push this stuff, this malarkey over and over again, the guy somehow—They never would have said such a thing about Mondale or Carter or Clinton! Interestingly, Matthews forgot to mention Gore, about whom he once said this:
This guy’s done everything right!
He’s raised his family right. He’s fought his way all the way to the top of the Harvard Law Review, in a blind test becomes head of the Review, the top editor there. Everything he’s done is clean as a whistle. He’s never not only broken any law, he’s never done anything wrong! He’s the perfect father, the perfect husband, the perfect American, and all they do is trash the guy!
And it’s impossible for me to believe they would have said the same thing about a Walter Mondale or a Jimmy Carter or a Bill Clinton. There’s an ethnic piece to this. It’s very hard to nail it down because they always cover it in ideology. But I’ve never heard anybody in this country call his opponent regularly anti-American or non-American, Congressman.
MATTHEWS (11/1/01): He doesn’t look like one of us. He doesn’t seem very American, even.That was Matthews, speaking to Imus, seven weeks after 9/11. Maybe that’s why he said he’s never heard anyone “regularly” talk like this about some opponent.
The recent sliming of Obama is potentially quite instructive. But so was Matthews’ conduct with Imus, a type of conduct in which he engaged for years.
Matthews and Dowd are both very upset. In slightly different ways, these pals are world-class phonies.
They too were clean as a whistle: Is Obama “clean as a whistle?” Back in 1999, so was the guy who was running against Gore. All through the fall, Matthews and Fineman poured it on as they went after Gore:
MATTHEWS (9/21/99): Let's go. Howard, let's talk about the Democrats and Republicans. Could it be that somewhere in the heart of George W. Bush, he'd rather run against Al Gore, who's part of the bathtub ring, than take on this clean-as-a-whistle NBA star, Bill Bradley?Relentlessly, Gore was "part of the bathtub ring." Bradley was clean as whistle.
Someone else was clean as a whistle, of course:
MATTHEWS (1/3/00): Everybody likes the package that George Bush came in. He comes from a great family, they're right out of a Ralph Lauren commercial. Great life-style, clean as a whistle. His father was a clean president, not very lucky economically, but a clean-as-hell president.So it went, for years.
This is what Dems were like then: Matthews has been repurposed. Until quite recently, this is the way he used to talk about those smelly Dems:
MATTHEWS (1/21/07): You know, I thought one of the smart things President Carter did as a candidate was— Every time President Carter won a primary, instead of standing on a platform with a bunch of sweaty, yelling people—you know, the scene with the Democratic Party usually, a bunch of crazy people yelling, and you had to have the full potpourri of Democrats present on that stage or someone would be ticked at you—you would meet in a hotel room and it was amazing. You’d sit down one-on-one, it was a unilateral, with some anchor or reporter, a serious reporter. And every time you saw a primary, you’d stay up till 11:30 to see who won, and you’d see the president, the candidate, sitting there very calmly talking about the future of the country.Which Democrats was he talking about? Which ones were so sweaty and crazy? It sounds like quite a few were.
Matthews has been repurposed by his owners. This is the way he was then.