Matthews: Limbaugh Like a Bond Villain, a 'Human Vat of Vitriol'

Over the weekend, Chris Matthews compared Rush Limbaugh to a James Bond villain and claimed the radio talk show host was a "human vat of vitriol. He relishes the attention and he sells anger as a weapon." Before playing a clip from "You Only Live Twice," in which a Bond nemesis drops a victim into a piranha tank, Matthews, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," offered up the following description of the talk show host:

MATTHEWS: Before we break if you didn't know better this past week, you'd think Rush Limbaugh was more important than the guys in Washington and women in Washington actually elected to do things. How many U.S. senators would invite the President of the United States to come to their home turf and debate them? Well two facts are clear about this human vat of vitriol. He relishes the attention and he sells anger as a weapon.

(Begin clip)

RUSH LIMBAUGH AT CPAC: What is so strange about being honest in saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed? We, we are in for a real battle.

(End clip)

MATTHEWS: Limbaugh's high-handed, melodramatic, off with their heads, oratory reminds me of those over-the-top movie villains. You know, the ones who issue ludicrous commands to snuff out the good guys, like James Bond's arch nemesis who wanted the supremely confident Bond - gone.

(Clip from "You Only Live Twice")

Matthews wasn't alone in his bashing of Limbaugh as other members of his panel, the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page and Time's Managing Editor Richard Stengel, also offered jabs as Page dismissed, "18 percent of the public agrees with Limbaugh. You don't win elections that way, you get radio ratings," and Stengel questioned: "And by the way, I'd say to Rush Limbaugh, and he says to his folks, how is capitalism working for you these days? Not very good? Right?"

The following exchanges were aired on the March 8 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know who can talk? Limbaugh. You don't have to like the big guy but you know what he does? He defends capitalism. But what he says is, "You Mr. President are out there raising taxes and getting rid of deductibility and itemization and putting more injury on those of us you've already injured. You're hurting the people driving the truck."

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Right. And nobody believes that but Dittoheads. Fact is Bush has already done the same darn thing. That argument isn't working right now. People, people know that, that government is in a spend mode. And by the way you know we've been in-

MATTHEWS: Limbaugh's numbers are doubled, Barack Obama's numbers are not doubled.

PAGE: That's his job. Hey that's his job though, though look at the numbers, about 18 percent of the public agrees with Limbaugh. You don't win elections that way, you get radio ratings. But ever since Reagan we've been on a trend of taxing lower income people and giving breaks to the upper income. Obama has slightly reversed that now and I don't see a revolution in the streets.

...

RICHARD STENGEL, TIME MANAGING EDITOR: Look I confess that some of my best friends are investment bankers. I, you know, you shouldn't hold it against me. But, but they are-, to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. They are just looking for the things that help them. They are not looking for the wider economy. Relationship between Wall Street and actual value of companies has never been wider. And by the way, I'd say to Rush Limbaugh, and he says to his folks, how is capitalism working for you these days? Not very good? Right? I mean these people are hurting and people want to have the government do something.

...

MATTHEWS: Before we break if you didn't know better this past week, you'd think Rush Limbaugh was more important than the guys in Washington and women in Washington actually elected to do things. How many U.S. senators would invite the President of the United States to come to their home turf and debate them? Well two facts are clear about this human vat of vitriol. He relishes the attention and he sells anger as a weapon.

(Begin clip)

RUSH LIMBAUGH AT CPAC: What is so strange about being honest in saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed? We, we are in for a real battle.

(End clip)

MATTHEWS: Limbaugh's high-handed, melodramatic, off with their heads, oratory reminds me of those over-the-top movie villains. You know, the ones who issue ludicrous commands to snuff out the good guys, like James Bond's arch nemesis who wanted the supremely confident Bond - gone.

(Clip from "You Only Live Twice" with the kitten-stroking Ernesto Stavro Blofeld sending victim into piranha tank)

MATTHEWS: Piranha tank. That's what we do to "I don't know," people. Any way our guy Rush doesn't have a kitten on his lap when he's issuing those fatwas but he does have a certain satisfaction.

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