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Daily Howler: We thought we'd probably heard it all. Then we heard Chris, Wednesday night
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CHRIS MATTHEWS, FULLY REINVENTED! We thought we’d probably heard it all. Then we heard Chris, Wednesday night: // link // print // previous // next //

Chris Matthews, fully reinvented: Chris Matthews has reinvented himself to fit his network’s new pro-Dem slant. But the analysts simply had to laugh at what he said Wednesday night. You see, Hillary Clinton works for Obama now—and for this reason, respect must be paid. Clownishly, Matthews gushed as he honored her with the “Hardball Award”—“the first to go to a woman,” he clownishly said. But he brought the analysts out of their chairs as he closed with a failed recollection:

MATTHEWS (2/18/09): Well, part of this award today is long overdue. I never gave Hillary Clinton credit for the guts it took for her to run for the U.S. Senate. She faced possible humiliation at the hands of her critics, and she faced down that humiliation. That—take my word for it—takes real savvy.

So, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today, we’re proud to present the Hardball Award for grace under fire, personal moxie, for courage, and for a bit of timely humility, for—most of all, for a willingness to serve our country over self.

We salute you. I salute you.

As we’ve noted in the past, Matthews is paid $5 million per year—and people like Matthews will do and say anything to qualify for that kind of payment. That said, his recollection of Clinton’s run for the senate represents Extremely High Clownish Conduct even by his own rank standards. “I never gave Hillary Clinton credit for the guts it took for her to run for the Senate?” Matthews had already played the fool as he announced that “Hardball Award.” But as he made this last remark, apple juice involuntarily spurted from all the analysts’ noses.

Matthews never gave Clinton credit? Good lord almighty—too funny! In fact, he trashed her remorselessly during that period, starting in late 1999, when her plan to run began clear. During this same period, he was relentlessly trashing Candidate Gore as a gender-confused liar and crackpot; no criticism was too stupid or inaccurate to voice on that front. At the time, of course, the career liberal world—a gang of cowards—sat back and let him engage in this conduct. Today, the career liberal world sits back again and let him reinvent in this way.

Cyndi Lauper once claimed that girls wanna have fun. We have no formal view about that. But career liberals wanna play Hardball.

Matthews “never gave Hillary Clinton credit for the guts it took for her to run for the Senate?” In fact, he trashed her within an inch of her life, engaging in some of the most heinous conduct ever displayed on cable. Consider December 1999, when it became clear that Clinton would run. Matthews had just spent a disgraceful month sliming Gore in every way possible; now, he seamlessly turned his sights on the ambitions of deeply vile Clinton. For a small taste of the tone of his work, here’s how he opened a crackpot segment with Clinton biographer Gail 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. 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?


His stupidity was matched by his undisguised venom when he learned that Clinton was running. To review a few larger chunks of his work, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/27/08; for a taste of the trashing he was dishing to Gore, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/26/08. It would be hard to overstate the ugliness—and the sheer stupidity—of his spittle-flecked nightly endeavors. Clinton escaped—but Gore went down. No one worked harder, or more dishonestly, to put George Bush in the White House.

(More good times: During this period, Matthews was obsessed with the thought that Hillary Clinton was just too “ambitious.” To recall how far he would carry this notion during this era, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/20/06.)

Clinton survived these astonishing onslaughts; in our closest election, Gore didn’t. But remember one thing: Your “career liberal” world just sat and stared while this disgraceful conduct played out, month after month, all through this campaign. Even today, the “career liberal” world has made an agreement—we won’t discuss what occurred in this era. This inane, clownish crackpot remains on the air—reinvented as a gushing Dem-lover. That $5 million still spends pretty good—and he simply luvvs Hillary now.

“I never gave Hillary Clinton credit for the guts it took for her to run for the Senate?” That’s right—and Hitler never gave the Jews full credit for all their good works around Europe. The fact that Matthews remains on the air is a tribute to career liberal lethargy. But regarding that particular comment—well, we thought we’d heard it all. Until we heard Matthews say that.

People will do any say almost anything for five million bucks, to be paid every year. Matthews has proven this truth many times, never more than he did Wednesday night. Clinton “faced possible humiliation at the hands of her critics” when she ran for the senate? He forgot to say that he worked harder than anyone else to produce this humiliation. Indeed: He was still in this mode in January 2008, when the liberal world finally complained—and he was finally stopped.

Matthews praised Wonderful Clinton this week “for a willingness to serve our country over self!” Too funny! During the time when Jack Welch’s Lost Boys hunted down Bill Clinton, then Gore, Matthews undermined all your country’s values. But you won’t hear this said in the meek preserves peopled by our sage career liberals. (Rachel Maddow called him the greatest, one week before the network hired her.) You see, people like this just want to play Hardball! Jack Welch is gone, and his network has flipped. And Chris Matthews? He’s a whole new man now!

Try not to gag: Try not to gag as you read what follows. For brevity, we’ve omitted the clips of the brilliant speeches the now-brilliant, award-winning woman has given. Yes, Chris Matthews’ network has flipped. But Matthews remains a real harlequin:

MATTHEWS: Back to Hardball.

This is going to be great! As you know, I have been giving out the Hardball Award. And one candidate just leapt into stage—onto the stage this week. And I mean the world stage.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she deserves and wins the award, our fifth, and the first to go to a woman, for displaying the arts and science of smart human behavior. They are—to remind you—personal moxie, savvy, basic street smarts, knowing the world you are in, knowing what you have to do, and doing it.

That’s what makes a Hardball Award winner. I said it at the time. I loved Hillary Clinton`s speech at the Democratic Convention last summer:


Well, let’s face it. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not been sitting on the bench. She`s been out there on the field, getting the Obama foreign policy into shape.

Look at the team she’s got. George Mitchell on the Middle East—he’s the guy who brought peace to Northern Ireland. Richard Holbrooke on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border—he’s the guy who brought about the Dayton accords on Bosnia. No more letting the world drift toward chaos and no more division in the Democratic Party. Strike up both those developments to our new secretary of state.

Today, in Indonesia, Hillary even took a line out of Obama’s book, literally, to deliver on his promise to build bridges to the Muslim world:


Well, part of this award today is long overdue. I never gave Hillary Clinton credit for the guts it took for her to run for the U.S. Senate. She faced possible humiliation at the hands of her critics, and she faced down that humiliation. That—take my word for it—takes real savvy.

So, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today, we’re proud to present the Hardball Award for grace under fire, personal moxie, for courage, and for a bit of timely humility, for— most of all, for a willingness to serve our country, over self.

We salute you. I salute you.

“The Hardball Award”—too funny! Even more—“the first to go to a woman!” This remains the network of Archie Bunker—of hopeless gender-throwbacks, people who can’t hide their gender kookiness no matter how hard they try.

The Hardball Award—how grand! Any chance that Gore might win one too? To go with the Oscar and Nobel Peace Prize he won, despite the fact that “he didn’t seem very American even?” That quote, accepted by the career liberal world, came from Matthews back in the day—before his network flipped its tilt, before he began to praise Clinton. It’s “long overdue,” this cosmic fake said. But then, Matthews has always served one purpose: He helps us see what people will do for five million bucks, every year.

By the way, KeithO gets paid five million bucks too. Watching his show, have you noticed?

Speaking of KeithO: Last night, he wanted to understand the views and motivations of Republican governors. So who did he ask about this? Howard Dean! The conduct of the Republican governors was “just political,” Dean thoughtfully said.

Is there anywhere else on cable TV where you can get played like such fools?

In our view, Keith did his usual hack-like job reporting what these governors have said. Offhand, we could think of five million reasons why he was dishing such piffle. Though to tell the truth, you won’t find much better around the liberal web.

For what it’s worth, this short news report in this morning’s Times makes a modest attempt to analyze the question of GOP “hypocrisy” with regard to the stimulus package. Quick question, quoting from the report: Is it “possible to oppose the entire [stimulus] bill on principle and favor certain sections of it?” Duh! Of course it is—and no, it isn’t “hypocritical” to accept money from a bill you opposed. But to dwellers in our wild tribal lands, the other tribe’s leaders are always big hypocrites. This impulse dates to prehistoric times, when tribal thinking was perhaps a survival skill. Today, it’s mainly a source of blather on our cable “news” channels.

But people do love to yell hypocrite! (Sometimes the charge is true, of course.) We remember when Candidate Gore was a big major “hypocrite” because, even though he favored public financing of elections, he was still out there raising money! No, that didn’t make any sense either. But the New York Times just wouldn’t stop pimping it; see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/15/06 and 3/20/02. And yes, this explains how Candidate Bush ended up where he did. In those days, before the Bush era, Matthews wasn’t the only crackpot working to take out Vile Gore.

You still don’t hear career liberals discuss this. Anyone know why that is?

A worthwhile complaint: We got an e-mail yesterday, making a perfectly worthwhile complaint. The mailer missed the point of our tone. But we thoroughly respect his objection:

E-MAIL (2/19/09): Hi Bob,

Just for the record, repeatedly using phrases like “crawling up Suleman’s snatch in pursuit of prime insults for Palin” and “sticking their noses up Suleman’s snatch to serve the demand for fresh insult” to properly denounce the egregious Flanders and Olbermann segment on last Tuesday’s “Countdown” sort of puts you in the same league as those to whom you apparently feel so superior.

You make good and valid points about the dumbing down of journalism for the rubes of the left. So why do you then go out of your way to undermine those arguments with crude and insulting expressions like those quoted above?

Please think before you type, or at least run your copy by an editor before you post.

Best wishes,

First off, who wouldn’t “feel superior” to gender-trashers like the “egregious” pair named in his mail?

That said: We went “out of our way,” and off normal paths, for an actual reason. The language to which the reader objects shows you where Flanders and Olbermann take you. On Tuesday night, Flanders couldn’t open her mouth without directing an instant, gender-based insult at Palin. We’ve criticized this sort of thing politely for years. (In the case of Matthews, this goes back to early 1999.) But polite criticism just doesn’t work. People like Flanders and Olbermann don’t give a fig. Neither do high-minded liberals.

Go ahead! Look around the liberal web and count how many high-minded liberals complained about Flanders’ conduct that night. A guess: You’ll find exactly none. After all, your side accepted this kind of gender-trashing for years, when it was aimed at liberals and Dems. Do you think these high-minded beings will start complaining now, when it’s offered by “progressive” icons, aimed at a Republican pol?

We couldn’t voice sufficient disgust with the high-minded “progressive” phonies who inhabit this realm. By the way, take one more census: How many “progressive women” complained about what Flanders said? No, go ahead! Just name them!

Objecting politely doesn’t work; that has been proven down through the years. But the language we used reflects the thinking of gender-trashers like the two named. Our reader was quite right to object. But we do think he missed our drift.

Sarah Palin opposes legal abortion; we don’t. What kind of “progressive” can’t argue this point without instantly churning a rude gender insult? Without offering the world’s most truncated “quote?” Without the clowning Olbermann staged as he ran him some rubes Tuesday night? We don’t use that language ourselves. But it told you where Flanders hoped you would go as she insulted the deeply vile Palin. We don’t know why Flanders would want to go there. But it shouldn’t be done on TV.

By our count, Olbermann has five million reasons for selling this crap. Our reasons for buying are—what?