Chris Matthews Even More Liberal Than Ben Affleck?

Appearing on Thursday night's "Hardball," liberal actor Ben Affleck joined host Chris Matthews in hashing over what Matthews called Jimmy Carter's "fearless" criticism of Dick Cheney, GOP "jingoists" and "crazy" right-to-carry laws.

Interestingly enough, next to Matthews, Affleck seemed more moderate, at least in his responses to the "Hardball" host's liberal baiting, as the actor deemed Carter's attack on Cheney was "almost inappropriate," and admitted, "I'm probably less of a gun control guy than Rudy Giuliani is." However Affleck did agree with Matthews that Mike Huckabee's "crazy" support of right-to-carry laws wouldn't stop increased violence in the cities.

Matthews, who asked questions to the left of Affleck throughout the October 11 interview, began the following segment by playing clips of Republican candidates responding to Matthews' questions from Tuesday's GOP debate in Michigan.

Chris Matthews: "Well, you know, except for Rudy Giuliani who made the point if there's an emergency you act, but these other guys act like it's a military junta running this country. Like you don't, 'Oh we might as a courtesy, as a luxury check in with Congress.'"

Ben Affleck: "Yes, I mean it's, it's very clearly laid out, of course you go to Congress and you ask for declaration of war but, the, the other really peculiar argument is that, as if, that it's very common that, you know, you have to go to war so quickly against another nation state, that you wouldn't be able to assemble the, the Congress of the United States of America. We got the Congress together the next day after Pearl Harbor. What is a,a quicker emergency gonna happen where, you know, we were able to get people together after 9/11. When is the situation gonna arise where it's gonna happen so quickly that we're gonna have to declare a war. I mean it takes a long time to assemble the armed forces. I think we're gonna find the time to consult the Congress of the United States."

Matthews: "Could it be that built into that way of talking is this notion of fear-mongering? That they're trying to imagine a day when Iran is going to attack the United States with all its air force and artillery and everything else and we have to move quickly to defend ourselves? What are they talking about?"

Affleck: "I think this is of a way, you know, all these guys are basically afraid that if any of them qualify any of these statements by talking about anything other than saying, you know, 'We need to be strong and presidential. I need to be able to use force unilaterally,' they'll be attacked by the other guys and made to look weak."

Matthews: "Yeah well that, well is this, is this a battle of the biggest jingoist?"

Affleck: "Yeah. I mean it's just about, I think, looking the most strong. The irony is they have Rudy Giuliani who, in another point during the debate, defined himself as a strict constructionist when talking about the line-item veto and is willing to throw away the Constitution in talking about the, you know, talking about war and also talking about the Second Amendment, which he's not a strict constructionist when it comes to gun control."

Matthews: "Well are you?"

Affleck: "Well I'm probably more on the side of, anyway, doesn't matter-"

Matthews: "Where are you on the Second Amendment?"

Affleck: "I'm probably less of a gun control guy than Rudy Giuliani is, if you look at the gun control laws of New York City. I mean it's probably next to impossible to own a handgun in New York City and, you know."

Matthews: "We had Huckabee on the other night. I said what do we do about gang warfare in North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia? We have tough gangs going at each other and one guy kills somebody and somebody else kills somebody else and turf wars, the usual kind of thing - Sharks and Jets again. You know, nothing new in America but he said right-to-carry will solve that problem. Are you crazy?"

Affleck: "Right-to-carry won't solve that problem."

Matthews: "I mean having kids, more kids armed with their licenses? What? These kids wouldn't qualify for licenses anyway."

Affleck: "What solves that problem is, you know, addressing that from the bottom-up, which is addressing issues of poverty and education and you know, dealing with broken homes and drugs and addiction and-"

Matthews: "Oh yeah."

Affleck: "Those are difficult, you can't just, you know-"

Matthews: "The other way to do it is the way Chief Timoney says to handle it and that is to have a lot of police in, in the streets after a killing so you stop the revenge killings. You gotta do some tactical."

Affleck: "Well yeah, that, that'll address, like a single one-off, kind of, stopping the next person dying, yeah."

Matthews: "Yeah kids walking down the street with four of his friends and he's got a bulge in his pocket you might ask him what the bulge is."

Affleck: "Right, more police will, will work I'm sure."

Matthews: "Let's take a look at Jimmy Carter. I know you watch these things, you watch the debate, you watch all this. Here's former President Jimmy Carter speaking about the current Vice President."

[Jimmy Carter: "Well you know he's been a disaster for our country. I think he's been overly persuasive on, on President George Bush and, and quite often he's prevailed but it was one of his main commitments was to go into, into Iraq under false pretenses and he still maintains that those false pretenses are accurate. He still maintains, somehow, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. He still maintains that, that Iraq somehow or another had weapons of mass destruction, claims that have been disproven by all reasonable sources."]

Matthews: "I love the way he laughs when he makes these points. He's fearless, this guy!"

Affleck: "He is. He's kind of, the appeal he has and I think that may have been almost inappropriate, probably to go that, that far after Vice President Cheney, even though, I'm personally not a fan of his. But, but you know, he, he seems like the guy who has, there's something appealing about him because he seems to have nothing to lose. And he, you know, he's done some wonderful, amazing things, some great humanitarian work. I mean this is a guy who two-weeks ago was in Darfur and the, the Khartoum-led government wouldn't let him in to one part of the village and he just sort of brazenly walked through with the guys from jonjui pointing guns at him and he said, ‘You, you can't stop me from going in here. So he clearly isn't going to be afraid of what, what Vice President Cheney is gonna say to him. I think there is something appealing about a guy who, who seems to be like, you know, almost, I don't know, gleefully reveling in the fact that he just doesn't care."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.