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Daily Howler: Matthews had time to ask five questions. Two dealt with Clinton's old joke
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IT’S TIME FOR WALSH TO ACT! Matthews had time to ask five questions. Two dealt with Clinton’s old joke: // link // print // previous // next //

JURY DUTY: Dang! Our entire staff has been assigned to a jury! This will throw us off for the next several days. But incomparably, upon return to our headquarters Monday, we did throw this together:

THEY WON’T RECANT, RETRACT OR REPUDIATE: When they returned from jury duty, our analysts hurried to TPM, eager to see what David Kurtz had said about Sunday’s puzzling post—the post in which he seemed so clueless about what Hillary Clinton has said (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/12/07). And uh-oh! Soon, the analysts came to our chamber, faces long and spirits dragging. Omigod! As of Monday night, Kurtz had refused to retract, recant or apologize for the post in which he seemed to misstate about Clinton so baldly. He hadn’t said he was “wrong,” called his work “a mistake,” or repudiated what he had written.

As we said, Kurtz’s work is normally astute; that’s what made his Sunday morning post makes such a striking object lesson. As we’ve told you, the mainstream press corps has simply refused to report what Clinton has said about her (horrible) 10/02 vote. What happens when a press corps plays such games? Even people as sharp as Kurtz end up getting bamboozled. You can imagine the confusion that is sown among the voters as a whole.

We think it’s time to retract, repudiate or explain that post. Anyone reading Kurtz’s post would draw a blatantly bogus conclusion; he would think that Clinton hasn’t yet said whether she’d vote for the war resolution again. Or is it OK to do this to Clinton? After all, as Chris Matthews has repeatedly said, she’s just someone who “giggles” like “a girl.” She’s really just an “uppity woman.”

THE BUMPTIOUS OF THE EARTH: In haste, we’ll link you to Garance Franke-Ruta and Scott Lemieux for further thoughts on this matter. Lemieux us one of the few liberal bloggers who seems to have heard of the central political event of the past dozen years. And Franke-Ruta is one of the few liberal bloggers who has the capacity to be offended when a woman like Hillary Clinton is openly mocked on the basis of her gender. For ourselves, we’re very happy to find ourselves on the same side with this now-bumptious blogger. More later.

THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN: One man out there does love women. It’s Patrick Healy, New York Times, who penned his latest tribute to Katharine “Kit” Seelye in Monday’s paper. Try to believe that he wrote it—again! And that it got into print:
HEALY (2/12/07): At nearly every stop in New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton, the junior senator from New York, has been greeted warmly but has been met by skeptical voters asking pointedly about her 2002 vote authorizing the use of force in Iraq. On Sunday in Nashua, one person told her that her explanation ''doesn't fly,'' while another asked why she did not simply say that the vote was a mistake.

In these instances and similar moments in New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton stuck to a set of talking points that she and her advisers hope will ultimately overcome the antiwar anger that is particularly strong among Democrats likely to vote in primaries. She took full responsibility for the vote, said she would not vote for military action in Iraq again, and then pivoted quickly to frame Iraq as President Bush's war. This answer was usually met with applause.
It was the second straight day he had used this laughable formulation. See yesterday’s DAILY HOWLER.

It’s hard to believe—that even a paper as undisciplined as Gotham’s great Times would wave such nonsense into print. Beyond that, we’d have thought that only Seelye would clown so blatantly as a “reporter.” But it’s now clear. Healy—clearly a lover of women—worships at Seeyle’s small feet.

MAYBE IT’S THE BEST HE CAN MANAGE: Who knows? Maybe Chris Cillizza is just too dumb to play this particular game. He began to put this thought in our heads as we watched him orate about Clinton on last evening’s NewsHour. Once again, he enacted the formula to a T; he murkily explained what Clinton won’t do (She won’t recant her vote!), while failing to report the things she has actually said. This kind of “reporting” leads us straight to that post by David Kurtz. This kind of “reporting” leads the voters straight into massive bamboozlement.

Who knows? Maybe Cillizza is really this dumb’ we’ve actually begun to consider the possibility. The transcript isn’t available as we head out the door. We’ll present it to you tomorrow.

IT’S TIME FOR WALSH TO ACT: Then, again, there’s the utterly laughable Matthews, who interviewed Bill Richardson on last evening’s Hardball. Matthews asked five questions during the segment. Here were the first two questions he asked:
QUESTION 1: Welcome back to Hardball. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico is a Democratic candidate for president. Governor Richardson, how do you break into top ranks of the guys and the woman, Hillary, fighting for the Democratic nomination?

QUESTION 2: Why are you better than Hillary?...OK—here is your chance. Why are you better than Hillary?
So far, perfectly sensible, if a bit light. But then, Matthews returned to the topic which matters most—the joke Clinton told more than two weeks ago. Incredibly, here were his next two questions:
QUESTION 3: Hillary said a couple of days ago, a week or two ago, that she is equipped to deal with bad and evil men because of her dealings as first lady. What do you make of that assessment and that claim?

QUESTION 4: You mean—you really think that she was talking about Republicans on the other side of the health care debate, not her husband? I mean, that wasn’t a joke, it wouldn’t be a joke—there’s nothing funny about saying you had to go up against Republicans. There’s something funny about having to deal with a husband who has caused you pain. And I thought that’s what she was joking about. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been funny among all those women, would it have been? Would that have been a joke, to say “I had to fight with Tom DeLay?” That’s not funny!
No, we aren’t making this up. After making Richardson waste his time on this inane topic, Chris posed his final question:
QUESTION 5: OK. How do we—then I’ll let you go positive, Governor. How do we get out of Iraq?
Oh yeah. That.

Simply put, this man is out of his mind—and this has been clear for a very long time. And he has a jones about Hillary Clinton—about liberal women generally—that just won’t let his tortured soul go. This problem has been obvious for almost a decade, going back (let’s say) to his angry, disrespectful session with Elizabeth Holtzman, who had the temerity be to be right on the facts about one of Matthews’ favorite Clinton-accusers (links below). But last night, we once again were shown the depths of this man’s inanity. He had time to ask Richardson five questions—five. And two of them, using up half the segment, dealt with Clinton’s utterly pointless, more-than-two-week-old joke. The real “joke” is on the American discourse when this man stays on the air.

Which brings us back to the question we’ve asked. This has gone on with Matthews for the past dozen years—his sheer inanity, and his open jones toward “uppity” liberal women. (His term, though he pretends it’s Bill Clinton’s.) Last night, we watched Joan Walsh on Scarborough Country, and it made us wonder once again: Why has Walsh’s Salon never reported on this influential man’s strange behavior? Walsh is smart, and she’s a liberal woman. We’ll post in more detail another day. But here’s the question we would ask: Since Walsh is so familiar with the workings of MSNBC, why in the world has she let the clowning by this bizarre person go unchallenged? Why in the world would a smart, liberal woman keep averting her gaze from such nonsense?

VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: Holtzman was right about Darling Willey—so Matthews landed on her like a ton of bricks. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/8/99 and 1/28/99.

Funny, ain’t it? No one but us ever seems to notice this influential man’s nasty conduct. No one but us ever seems to notice his jones about liberal women. It’s funny—it’s amazingly strange—that no one ever seems to notice. Huh! What on earth could possibly explain the wide berth this weird man receives?