Chris Matthews Riffs With Anti-war Rockers Crosby and Nash

Chris Matthews joined anti-war rockers David Crosby and Graham Nash as they pined for the good old days of Vietnam war era campus activism and hoped it would rise up again to oppose the "shameless liars" in the Bush administration. Invited on Monday night's "Hardball" to promote their appearance at a peace concert at the National Cathedral, Crosby and Nash riffed with the "Hardball" host about everything from the trashing of the Dixie Chicks and Bill Maher to how Big Oil has made "obsence" profits off the Iraq war.

Crosby and Nash received such a friendly audience from Matthews that Nash actually sucked up to his host as he credited Matthews, along with Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, as the only ones who are really "asking the questions":

Graham Nash: "They used to, they used to, you know around 2003 when, when the administration were lying like they did and lied us into the war, everybody believed them. You do believe your mother, you do believe your father, you do believe the parental, you do believe. And if they tell you something's true, the majority of the public believe it and that's a shame. Who is asking the questions now? Only like, people like you and Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert, you know?"

Chris Matthews: "Yeah well, I just think back I was, I was at, the New York Times yesterday for lunch, at a lunch with other authors and I have to tell you, when you go back and look at the list of promises. I mean even little hokey things like, 'If we fight the war in Iraq, gasoline is gonna be cheaper. If we fight the war in Iraq their, their oil is gonna pay for all the reconstruction.'"

David Crosby: "Shameless."

Matthews: "'It's gonna be a cakewalk. It's gonna, it's in the last throes, the, the, the insurgency.'"

Crosby: "They're shameless liars."

Matthews, also sat idly by, as Crosby, essentially portrayed U.S. American servicemen and women as gullible tools of the administration:

Matthews: "Well what do kids, and I mean, I don't mean it patronizingly, what does a 20-year-old or an 18-year-old say to you when you raise these issues? Like you guys are on campus, you got tuition money, you're gonna graduate, become whatever. The kid over there, fighting, he's patriotic as hell, he's gonna get, some of them are gonna get killed but you don't believe in the war but you're not doing anything about it."

Crosby: "Well they're being fed a lot of infor-, of conflicting information. You know, on the one hand you've got a young kid who is patriotic, who loves his country, believes in it and he's being told, 'Yeah this is the truth and we've gotta go in there to protect your mother and your sister.'"

Matthews: "Yeah."

Crosby: "And he goes over and he finds out the job is killing somebody else's mother and sister."

Matthews: "Yeah."

Crosby: "And he gets disillusioned and he comes back and it's, it's a hellish situation. And, and we can't be wasting some of the best young people we have sending them over there to be killed and then, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis at the same time."

A little later Matthews returned to his "No Blood for Oil" conspiracy theorizing with the hippie-era rock stars:

Matthews: "Well I'll tell you one thing, I felt, felt from the beginning of this war and I'm not a Marxist but I have felt the power of money on the side of this war."

Nash: "Absolutely."

Matthews: "And part of it was just playing to the crowd. Everybody was so jingoistic and 'Let's go to war,' and 'Rally 'round the flag.' And so you heard a lot of commercial applause for this war."

Nash: "Because they're making fortunes."

Matthews: "Well the oil companies certainly are."

Nash: "Fortunes are being made, you know?"

Crosby: "Yeah the oil companies-"

Matthews: "Do you see the numbers they're making at Exxon and Mobil?"

Nash: "It's obscene! It's totally obscene!"

Matthews: "$32 billion the first quarter."

Nash: "Insane!"

Crosby: "That's coming out of your pocket, Chris."

Matthews: "No, I think it's-"

Crosby: "And we can't afford $50 billion for children's health coverage?"

Matthews: "A lot of blood spilled."

The following is the complete transcript of the full segment as it occurred on the October 15, "Hardball":

Chris Matthews: "In the '60s and '70s when the Vietnam war was in full swing it was music that helped fuel the anti-war demonstrations. Songs like 'Teach Your Children,' by Crosby, Stills and Nash and Young. They were anthems for the peace movement, they really were, but this war is different. In 20003, 10 days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks said these 15 words during a concert in London."

[Natalie Maines: "We're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."]

Matthews: "It took years for the Dixie Chicks to recover from the protests against them and not the war. But the times are changing. Stars like Bruce Springsteen now and John Mellencamp and Neil Young all have new songs out protesting the Iraq war and tomorrow David Crosby and Graham Nash, sitting with me, will join other musicians at the National Cathedral here in Washington for a Pray For Peace concert. David and Graham are with us this evening. Thank you gentlemen. You know I watched the Dixie Chicks take it, I watched people like Imus be a part of that. I'm sorry, Don. Nobody defended them. They were trashed."

Graham Nash: "Yes."

Matthews: "People like Bill Maher trashed-"

Nash: "Yes."

Matthews: "-for saying the obvious."

Nash: "Yeah."

Matthews: "This country wasn't very free of speech in those days."

Nash: "No it wasn't and you know, with all due respect, the Dixie Chicks said, that, that wasn't really very much, that they said. That they were ashamed that they were from, that George Bush was from Texas. They didn't really say a lot. And look at the, the flack that they took. But you know-"

David Crosby: "Holding on for 1400 radio stations the next day."

Matthews: "What's it like right now? Has the mood shifted? I mean if you look at the American people four out five people think this war was a mistake. I think a lot of Republicans believe that too. They don't want to tell a pollster that, I think in some cases, because they don't to help the other side politically, but I think very few people believe this was a smart move, forget the morality of it, of going into Iraq."

Nash: "They used to, they used to, you know around 2003 when, when the administration were lying like they did and lied us into the war, everybody believed them. You do believe your mother, you do believe your father, you do believe the parental, you do believe. And if they tell you something's true, the majority of the public believe it and that's a shame. Who is asking the questions now? Only like, people like you and Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert, you know?

Matthews: "Yeah well, I just think back I was, I was at, the New York Times yesterday for lunch, at a lunch with other authors and I have to tell you, when you go back and look at the list of promises. I mean even little hokey things like, 'If we fight the war in Iraq, gasoline is gonna be cheaper. If we fight the war in Iraq their, their oil is gonna pay for all the reconstruction.'

Crosby: "Shameless."

Matthews: "‘It's gonna be a cakewalk. It's gonna, it's in the last throes, the, the, the insurgency.'"

Crosby: "They're shameless liars."

Matthews: "‘It's, it's gonna be, we're gonna be greeted as liberators.' I mean line after line, after line was wrong."

Nash: "Yes, yes."

Matthews: "I mean these are factual statements."

Nash: "Absolutely. And that's how the administration stays in power."

Matthews: "Why, you know, I, occasionally think back to Chapel Hill where I was in '67 and '68 and I think of-"

Nash: "Tip O'Neill?"

Matthews: "No that was well before Tip O'Neill. And, when I was a kid, you know? And I keep thinking about the anti-war spirit, even at a moderate campus like Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And you heard, you know, 'I am a Walrus, oo-oo-kachoo,' playing across Franklin Street, from the record shop. They used to have record shops, you know where they sold records and 8-tracks or whatever they were."

Nash: "What's a record, Uncle Chris?"

Matthews: "I know, I know, I know. But there was a mood on campus, there was anti-war movements, there, there were meetings, you went to rallies. I went to the march on the Pentagon."

Nash: "Not like that anymore, is it?"

Crosby: "There's a specific-

Matthews: "Why doesn't anybody call-"

Nash: "There's no draft."

Crosby: "There's a specific difference. No draft."

Nash: "They're not dying by the thousands."

Crosby: "They're not, they're not directly threatened. There's no draft. If there were a draft the campuses would catch fire overnight. And, and, you know it seems like a, a peculiar thing for us to say because we really don't want a draft ever. But if they, if they go ahead and do it, it'll certainly crystallize the problem because then the campuses will go off."

Matthews: "Well what do kids, and I mean, I don't mean it patronizingly, what does a 20-year-old or an 18-year-old say to you when you raise these issues? Like you guys are on campus, you got tuition money, you're gonna graduate, become whatever. The kid over there, fighting, he's patriotic as hell, he's gonna get, some of them are gonna get killed but you don't believe in the war but you're not doing anything about it."

Crosby: "Well they're being fed a lot of infor-, of conflicting information. You know, on the one hand you've got a young kid who is patriotic, who loves his country, believes in it and he's being told, ‘Yeah this is the truth and we've gotta go in there to protect your mother and your sister.'"

Matthews: "Yeah."

Crosby: "And he goes over and he finds out the job is killing somebody else's mother and sister."

Matthews: "Yeah."

Crosby: "And he gets disillusioned and he comes back and it's, it's a hellish situation. And, and we can't be wasting some of the best young people we have sending them over there to be killed and then, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis at the same time."

Matthews: "Guys, I was at St. Patrick's Cathedral yesterday. I was up in New York for these things and during Mass, the priest, because, you know, the way it's set up in a Catholic church, the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York or the Archbishop of New York is in charge of the military, it's just been set up that way for years."

Nash: "That's interesting."

Matthews: "He's the chaplain of the military, I believe. So we prayed for the soldiers going into a new operation, some new campaign, in, in Iraq or Afghanistan. And I kept thinking, sure I'm for these guys but it seemed like an odd thing to pray for a campaign, a military campaign."

Nash: "It's a very odd thing. We have taken-"

Matthews: "I found that odd."

Nash: "-religion to a place where it should not belong."

Matthews: "Yeah."

Nash: "You know? That's why we're doing the Pray For Peace concert tomorrow. You know, why aren't all these religious factions talking to each other? Why aren't they trying to work it out? Why are we killing each other and fighting?"

Matthews: "Well you think a bishop or a minister of the church in this country could talk to a mullah and say, 'Jihad is bad?'"

Nash: "I think it's being done right now. I think Bishop John Chane, from here in Washington, goes constantly to Iran and to Iraq talking to the religious heads, trying to get some dialogue going."

Matthews: "Aren't those, aren't those religious heads, literally calling the shots in countries like Iran now? Calling for Jihad."

Crosby: "Some of them are but we have to, they are, and some of them are, and but do you do? Do you start talking or do you just stare at each other across a field and throw grenades? We have to start talking."

Matthews: "Well let me ask you about this. When you guys go over to National Cathedral, it's a beautiful place, of course, and it's a beautiful building. It's an amazing cathedral."

Nash: "Yes, it is."

Matthews: "Looks like Notre Dame. I mean it's a beautiful place. And you, and you have a concert and you hear the music wafting or wafting through the, the, the sanctuary, right?"

Nash: "With, with an eight second delay."

Matthews: "What will it accomplish?"

Nash: "Dialogue."

Crosby: "Dialogue and also it's, it's a call to America's churches to be a leader to their flock and to stick up for their flock. If, if the people in America are against the war then the churches of America need to get in line and stand up for what we believe in and say, ‘No, killing isn't the answer.'"

Nash: "And doesn't the Church need some good publicity around now?"

Matthews: "Well I'll tell you one thing, I felt, felt from the beginning of this war and I'm not a Marxist but I have felt the power of money on the side of this war."

Nash: "Absolutely."

Matthews: "And part of it was just playing to the crowd. Everybody was so jingoistic and ‘Let's go to war,' and ‘Rally ‘round the flag.' And so you heard a lot of commercial applause for this war."

Nash: "Because they're making fortunes."

Matthews: "Well the oil companies certainly are."

Nash: "Fortunes are being made, you know?"

Crosby: "Yeah the oil companies-"

Matthews: "Do you see the numbers they're making at Exxon and Mobil?"

Nash: "It's obscene! It's totally obscene!"

Matthews: "$32 billion the first quarter."

Nash: "Insane!"

Crosby: "That's coming out of your pocket, Chris."

Matthews: "No, I think it's-"

Crosby: "And we can't afford $50 billion for children's health coverage?"

Matthews: "A lot of blood spilled."

Crosby: "Yeah, I can't count, I can't countenance it. I can't think that it's okay."

Matthews: "Yeah guys it's good to have you here."

Crosby: "Thank you, Chris."

Matthews: "I was with you then I'm with you now. Thank you very much. David Crosby, Graham Nash. The Pray For Peace concert is tomorrow night at the National Cathedral here in Washington. I'm sure you can squeeze in."

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