It must really rankle Chris Matthews that the biggest audience he has ever had—or will ever have—was as a guest host of the Rush Limbaugh radio program. Matthews, who really hit his stride during the Clinton scandals, made a name for himself as an honest, independent Democrat who was willing to take it to his party when his moral sense was offended. His show,Hardball, had the best roundtables and became appointment TV for conservatives. That landed him a guest host spot on the EIB Network when Rush took a day off.
Since the failure of the Clinton impeachment, Matthews has been working overtime to prove he is not a member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, and to get back in the good graces of even the hard Left. And to try to erase from their minds his Limbaugh gig, Matthews will take any gratuitous shot at El Rushbo, no matter how dishonest.
On Hardball's lead segment Thursday night, (click link for the video) Matthews turned the discussion with Pat Buchanan and Bob Schrum from President Obama's slipping poll numbers, to a slam of Limbaugh by saying, "Let's take a look at somebody who might not agree with our sort of democratic view of politics, where one side wins an election and governs for a while, then the other side challenges their accountability [in the next election] did they do the right thing or not. Let's take a look at Rush Limbaugh, today, and what he had to say about the Democratic Party."
Matthews then played a clip from the Limbaugh Dittocam, that begins with Rush's lips moving over Matthews talking, then cuts in at "…that's right out of Adolph Hitler's playbook. Now what are the similarities between, the Democratic Party of today, and the Nazi Party…" Rush then goes on to list comparisons from economic policy to fanatical devotion to environmental and physical purity. One can certainly argue about Rush's list and interpretations.
What is unarguable is that Matthews deliberately left out of the clip — and the discussion– the context, which was that Limbaugh was furious because of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's insinuation that the town hall meeting protestors against Obamacare had this was by no means Pelosi's only recent descent into the realm of lies and slander.)
In her slander of the town hall participants, Pelosi, after saying these Americans were bought and paid for by the dastardly insurance companies, then dismissed them by saying people were "carrying swastikas and symbols like that" to the rallies. Her clear implication was that Nazis were showing up in America's heartland to oppose health care reform. (To date, the only picture of a swastika brought to a health care meeting was a woman with a home made sign of a swastika in a circle with a line through it, the very opposite of what Pelosi intimated.)
Limbaugh began his monologue by talking about Pelosi, and the fact that he was sick of conservatives being called Nazis and fascists for as long has he could remember. Matthews and his producers dishonestly began the video later in Limbaugh's monologue.
Ironically, it was left to Pat Buchanan, whose last book posited the notion that World War II was Winston Churchill's fault (somehow this does not disqualify Pat in Matthews's mind) to defend Rush's use of Nazi analogies, and he did not. To be fair, it is possible that Buchanan had no idea Rush was directly responding to Pelosi. However, unless he's been locked in a bunker all week, he must know that Nancy Pelosi is the one who introduced Nazism into the health care town hall discussion.
But after Matthews's "HAH! Now I've heard everything!" and Bob Shrum's, "It's despicable drivel," the best Pat could manage was a weak, "You should never bring the Nazis into the argument…," though he at least pointed out that: "It's usually conservatives who are called fascists and all the rest," at which point Matthews changed the subject.
Chris. We get it. You're not a conservative — or even the blue collar moderate you once tried to project yourself as. Stop trying to live down your brief flirtation with bi-partisanship, and try to act with some integrity while you have a shred of dignity left. Some of us still hope, recent evidence to the contrary, that you can be better than Keith Olberman.