Matthews Slams 'Chickenhawks' & 'Crazy Neocons' Who 'Want to Go to War with Other People's Children'

During Tuesday's live coverage of the New Hampshire Primary on MSNBC, at about 6:53 p.m., Chris Matthews asked guest Tom Ridge why it is that "crazy neocons" and Republican "chickenhawks" always want to "go to war with other people's children."

As he began the interview, Matthews listed several Republicans who have not served in the military and whose children have not served, and then posed: (Video below)

These other flamethrowers out there, they love the concept of war, as long as it doesn't affect their families. I mean, these guys are making irresistible, crazy, biblical commitments about going to war with Iran that are totally outrageous. Nobody should be making these kind of commitments before an election, certainly during a political hot campaign.

He continued:

Explain why the chickenhawks want to go to war with other people's children, and the guys who have served and the guys who have children serving are the moderates of war. Why is it always so clear that way?

A bit later, the MSNBC host continued to press Ridge as he cited President Reagan's invasion of Grenada, and President George H.W. Bush's invasion of Panama:

Governor, it's worse than that because here's the problem: Your party, on its right, always seems to have a war in the on-deck circle, you know, and it's not just the Michael Ledeens, the far-out, crazy neocons. There's something about your party that always has to have a war cooking somewhere.

It's either Afghanistan or Iraq, or it's Libya, and there you got this Iran thing that you constantly talk about in biblical terms like, "We have to do it for some Armageddon reason, we have to face this down." What is it that wants war in your party, that seems to want to have a war always ready to go?

After Ridge accused the MSNBC host of using "hyperbole," Matthews claimed that it was still "a fact." Matthews:

Well, Bush One went to Iraq, he went down to Panama, they went to, they went, Reagan went to Grenada, this guy now, all your candidates are talking about going to Iran. What is it? It's always what's next. There's always one they want to cook up. Maybe I'm overstating it, but it's a fact.

Below are both video and a transcript of the relevant portion of MSNBC's coverage of the New Hampshire Primary from Tuesday, January 10, at about 6:53 p.m.:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I'm going to tee you up here, my friend, Governor, because I am so amazed at the amazing reality of American politics, and it gets worse every year. Mitt Romney never served in the military. None of his kids did. Newt Gingrich never served. As far as I know, his children haven't. Whereas, Huntsman, your guy, and you, you were a combat veteran in Vietnam. Huntsman's got a couple of kids in the service now. You guys are the moderates on war.

These other flamethrowers out there, they love the concept of war, as long as it doesn't affect their families. I mean, these guys are making irresistible, crazy, biblical commitments about going to war with Iran that are totally outrageous. Nobody should be making these kind of commitments before an election, certainly during a political hot campaign. And yet, you and your guy, and Ron Paul, to his credit, are willing to say, "Let's stop the war fever in this country." Explain why the chickenhawks want to go to war with other people's children, and the guyswho have served  and the guys who have children serving are the moderates of war. Why is it always so clear that way?

TOM RIDGE: Well, I'm not sure if it's quite as clear as you suggested, Chris.

MATTHEWS: It sure seems that way.

(...)

MATTHEWS: Governor, it's worse than that because here's the problem: Your party, on its right, always seems to have a war in the on-deck circle, you know, and it's not just the Michael Ledeens, the far-out, crazy neocons. There's something about your party that always has to have a war cooking somewhere. It's either Afghanistan or Iraq, or it's Libya, and there you got this Iran thing that you constantly talk about in biblical terms like, "We have to do it for some Armageddon reason, we have to face this down." What is it that wants war in your party, that seems to want to have a war always ready to go?

RIDGE: Well, Chris, I don't think that's a fair characterization.

MATTHEWS: Well, when is the last time they didn't have one, they haven't wanted one?

RIDGE: There's been some real hyperbole in that characterization, Chris, and the bottom line is the-

MATTHEWS: Well, Bush One went to Iraq, he went down to Panama, they went to, they went, Reagan went to Grenada, this guy now, all your candidates are talking about going to Iran. What is it? It's always what's next. There's always one they want to cook up. Maybe I'm overstating it, but it's a fact.