Matthews: Shame on All Who Participated in Rush's 'Operation Chaos'

Rush Limbaugh's “Operation Chaos,” the effort to urge conservatives and Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong the Democratic nomination battle, certainly annoys MSNBC's Chris Matthews who, during primary coverage Tuesday night, denounced the “mischief-making” by “a talk jock.” In the 11:30 PM EDT half hour, Matthews offered a “Keith [Olbermann]-style special comment” about how “anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives.” He called it “a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died,” sarcastically remarking: “I hope you're proud of yourself.” The rant from Matthews:
I have to offer a Keith-style special comment on that. Anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives. What a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died, to use that vote to make mischief. I hope you're proud of yourself. [20-second MP3 audio of this comment]
That followed the contention of guest Michelle Bernard, of the Independent Women's Forum, that Limbaugh did “something positive” which helped Barack Obama “because he's said to African-Americans, ask the Democratic Party 'what have they done for you lately?'” and encouraged African-Americans to force “Republicans and Democrats to compete for the black vote.” For that, she concluded, “I say to Rush Limbaugh: good job.”

The April 16 NewsBusters posting by Geoffrey Dickens, “Matthews: What Kind of 'Klutz' Takes Orders from Rush Limbaugh?” reported:
Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" has ticked off Chris Matthews. On Wednesday's Hardball, Matthews insulted Limbaugh's listeners, who are voting in the Democratic primary, as he questioned: "What kind of klutz do you have to be to take orders on how to vote from Rush Limbaugh and to change your party identity so that you can vote against, for somebody to screw the other party?"

Update 5:15 | Matthew Sheffield. Matthews was likely reacting to a news release put out by the Barack Obama campaign which cited Operation Chaos as at least partially responsible for Hillary Clinton's Indiana victory

The exchange from MSNBC's live North Carolina and Indiana primary night coverage at about 11:42 PM EDT Tuesday, May 6:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this Limbaugh factor. If Hillary Clinton wins this squeaker in Indiana, which is probably the best bet right now before we get the results in from Lake County, many could say that the margin of error -- the couple of votes that she won by, the percentage or two -- was generated by a mischief-making by a radio talk show host, a talk jock. That certainly does take some of the thrill out of it, doesn't it?

MICHELLE BERNARD: It takes a little bit of the thrill out of it, but, you know, here's some of the other things Rush Limbaugh has said, you know, during “Operation Chaos” that I think actually might have helped Barack Obama also. He -- last week I think on May 1st on one of his radio shows -- he came out and he talked about this history of the Democratic Party and basically has given sort of this impression to black Americans to really sit there and say to yourself: “What has the Democratic Party done for you?” He talked about the Democratic Party being the party of Bull Connor and coming out and saying it is not unlike -- you know, don't put it past the Democratic Party to take this nomination from Barack Obama and give it to Hillary Clinton. And he reminded black Americans about -- oh, God, Maynard Jackson wanting to be head of the DNC and the Democratic Party didn't give it to him and he goes through these types of things. And I think for any African-Americans who listen to that on the radio show, it might have even helped galvanize support for Obama in North Carolina and Indiana.

MATTHEWS: This was a two-step: He was going to manipulate the Democratic Party out of nominating Barack Obama and then blame the Democratic Party for that?

BERNARD: Well, that's one way to look at it. The way I choose to look at it is he's done something positive because he's said to African-Americans, ask the Democratic Party “what have they done for you lately?” And maybe as African-Americans, we need to sit down and think, do we really do ourselves justice whatsoever by all just being Democrats rather than forcing Republicans and Democrats to compete for the black vote? And for that I say to Rush Limbaugh: good job.

MATTHEWS: You know, I have to offer a Keith-style special comment on that. Anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives. What a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died, to use that vote to make mischief. I hope you're proud of yourself. Michelle, thank you for joining us.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center