Unhinged Chris Matthews Fumes Over Ted Cruz's 'McCarthyism'

In his never-ending obsession with Ted Cruz, Hardball’s Chris Matthews devoted the start and close of his program to rants against the supposed "McCarthyism" of the Texas Senator. Matthews objected to Cruz’s belief that the FAA’s short lived ban on air travel to Israel was political in nature.

On the July 24 edition of Matthews’ program, the host wondered if Cruz was “trying to mimic the headline grabbing of the bad old days, or is he just so ignorant of what those tactics have done to this country that he's not aware of what he’s committing: the horror of McCarthyism all over again.” The former Tip O’Neill staffer was far from finished with the junior Senator from Texas, however. Matthews continued: [MP3 audio here; video below]

In either case, it makes Cruz someone who doesn't care what he says as long as it rings the bell at the county fair, that it makes noise on the right. The place where he set staggeringly willful ambition. Have you no decency, Senator? Apparently not.

In fact, Matthews devoted the next segment of his program to Cruz as well, bringing on guests Ed Rendell and Joe Klein to discuss what they all agreed were the evil deeds of the conservative Senator. Rendell, the former Governor of Pennsylvania, chimed in that “to the American people,” Cruz “looks like a jerk, and he looks like he’s acting against the country at a time when we should all be patriotic.”

Joe Klein of Time magazine added that Cruz “spews poison into the media atmosphere,” to the point where people in the mainstream media, like Wolf Blitzer, have to raise the same questions Cruz was asking. The panel was discussing a clip where the CNN host asked former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg if the FAA ban on travel was politically motivated.

Matthews ended his show with a final screed against Cruz’s alleged McCarthyism, asking if Cruz “know[s] what he's doing to this country with his reckless attacks on the people in the government?” He concluded with this:

There's something in Cruz's manner and tactics I just don't like. He acts as if he's ready to take a shot at someone no matter how below the belt, that anything goes in his manichean struggle against those he sees as the bad guys. The trouble with that line of thinking and acting is you end up being one of them.

Matthews has a long history of obsession with Ted Cruz. He has repeatedly accused Cruz of bringing about the ‘new’ McCarthyism, criticized him as being a ‘problem for our Republic,’ and even compared him to Freddy Krueger.

The relevant portion of the transcript is below.

MSNBC
Hardball with Chris Matthews
July 24, 2014
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in San Francisco. Let me start tonight with this return of McCarthyism. I speak of the behavior of Senator Ted Cruz who now accuses President Obama of undermining the U.S. alliance with Israel, of blackmailing and wielding an historic punishment on the Jewish state. It is Cruz once again aping the reckless charges of Joe McCarthy back in the 1950s. Just as he once suggested Secretary of Defense – or future Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Saudi Arabia or North Korea, he now accuses Barack Obama of working underhanded mischief against Israel. Didn't this country have enough of this or more than enough of this stuff 60 years ago? When the reckless communist-baiting McCarthy was brought down? Is Senator Cruz trying to mimic the headline grabbing of the bad old days or is he just so ignorant of what those tactics have done to this country that he's not aware of what he’s committing: the horror of McCarthyism all over again. In either case, it makes Cruz someone who doesn't care what he says as long as it rings the bell at the county fair, that it makes noise on the right. The place where he set staggeringly willful ambition. Have you no decency, Senator? Apparently not.

[...]

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with where I began. Does Ted Cruz know what he's doing to this country with his reckless attacks on the people in the government? Has he ever read about the McCarthy period when the country was torn asunder by that Wisconsin Senator’s charges of communist subversion, and loyalty to Moscow? You have to ask what is behind these charges including his latest, the Senator's latest accusation that the Federal Aviation Administration is working some dark plot to bring our ally, Israel, to its knees. Why is he saying this stuff? Who in this country responds to the charge that Chuck Hagel is in the pay of North Korea or Saudi Arabia? Or whatever other goblin? It's the tactics being used here. This reckless readiness to charge someone whose policy you don't share with working with this country's enemies. This is what Senator Cruz did to Hagel, and what he's doing to the FAA right now. He's accusing it of being a secret punisher of Israel. There's something in Cruz's manner and tactics I just don't like. He acts as if he's ready to take a shot at someone no matter how below the belt, that anything goes in his manichean struggle against those he sees as the bad guys. The trouble with that line of thinking and acting is you end up being one of them.

Connor Williams
Connor Williams
Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.