Matthews and Corn move on: In yesterday’s column, Paul Krugman said Obama should drive a hard bargain regarding the so-called fiscal cliff.
In Krugman’s view, Obama should be willing to take the risk of going over the cliff, if it comes to that. His headline: Let's Not Make a Deal.
Last night, we went from over the cliff to under the bus! That’s where two of your favorite TV stars threw Krugman as they played Hardball.
Chris Matthews was cast in the role of Socrates, with David Corn and Dee Dee Myers cast as his admiring interlocutors. In the part of the dialogue which follows, everyone agrees that Obama can’t possibly imagine going over the cliff.
At that point, Matthews mocked Krugman by name. Affably, Corn played along.
To watch this entire segment, click here. As the segment nears its end, gaze on the face of pseudo-liberalism, TV entertainment style:
MATTHEWS (11/9/12): The other fear [Obama] has is, “I’m going off that fiscal cliff,” meaning, “I tried so hard to get my way that we screwed it up with the Republicans, like we did last August, and nothing gets done—”To hear the sneering, watch the tape. Myers couldn’t move fast enough to agree with Matthews’ remarks.
CORN: And the economy—
MATTHEWS: “And the economy tanks again for a second recession—”
MATTHEWS: “—and I’m going down in history as a double failure.”
MYERS: He can’t let that happen!
MATTHEWS: Now, so he has to—
At some point, he’s got to pull back from the Paul Krugmans of the world and the people on the far left, if you will—not far left, but left. And he’s got to say, “You know what? I’m president. You’re a columnist.”
After she finished, Corn took his turn. With language that rang out loud and clear, David signaled his allegiance to Insider Standard Think too:
MYERS (continuing directly): I mean, the, he has— He’s going to get a lot of flack from both his own left flank and the right. He has to accept that. He cannot, as a responsible adult, let the economy go, let us go over the fiscal cliff. That would be terrible for the economy. It’d be terrible for the people that he’s trying to protect in this. It would be terrible for the middle class.In that moment, David announced. He has chosen to sell his soul for the cable dollars.
CORN: At the same time, though, the way he negotiates and the way he tries to reach that compromise is going to be essential. I think people on the Democratic Party will be willing to yield on some issues. They'll fight and they'll scream and they’ll make good cases for their own position, but at the end of the day, if the package, if the compromise is reasonable and is good and he’s gotten major concessions from the right, then I think [inaudible] fair, it will work.
Note how soft our hero is! Duh:
If Obama gets “major concessions from the right,” if the compromise is "reasonable and good," then of course he should agree to the deal. But what sorts of "major concessions" should Obama insist on?
Corn made no attempt to say. Beyond that, he made no attempt to defend Krugman against Matthews’ sneering—and he himself pictured the Krugman types “fighting and screaming” for their position.
Lo, how the Nation types have fallen! As Corn described the Krugman types “screaming” for their position, we thought of the way Matthews would describe Democrats in the good old days, before he was reinvented to suit the new business model at The One True Channel.
It was January 2007. With Jimmy Carter sitting in the front row at a public event, Chris recalled the bad old days when Carter was running for president. More precisely, he pictured the sweaty, crazy, yelling people a Democrat had to avoid:
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.Did anybody fail to understand that language? Instead of appearing with those “sweaty, yelling people,” Candidate Carter would “calmly talk” with “a serious reporter.”
As a candidate, Carter wouldn’t join the scene with the Democratic Party, with “a bunch of crazy people yelling.” He knew much better than that!
That’s how Matthews was describing Democrats as late as January 2007, before his subsequent reinvention. Last night, using similar language, Corn rejected the Krugman types who are going to scream for their positions in the next few weeks.
There was no attempt to discuss what Krugman actually said. There was no attempt to discuss what those “major concessions from the right” should be—what major concessions should be received before Obama signs on. (Nor will any such discussion ever occur on Hardball.)
Liberal viewers were given one message: Obama must sign a deal right now! Our side’s biggest fraud mocked our side's MVP.
Weakly, a "cable lefty" knew he must go along.
A bit more historical context: Matthews made those remarkable comments in January 2007. He hadn't yet been reinvented. Principally, he and his allies were still involved in the wars against both Clintons.
Case in point: Three days earlier, Howard Fineman had offered this wisdom on Hardball:
FINEMAN (1/18/07): At least [Obama] was not like that crazy Al Gore, who had been the ultimate goody-goody but who had grown a beard, made a film and dropped out to attend the School Without Walls.Gore was a crazy person too! As of January 2007, this was standard patter on Hardball. It had been so for ten years.
These are truly terrible people. They did tremendous damage with their endless war against both Clintons and Gore.
In a different world, people like Corn and Walsh would tell you that. But in this world, their hands are out.
They're begging Chris Matthews for jobs.