Matthews: Has GOP 'Embarrassed Themselves' Out of Family Values Biz?

Chris Matthews, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," over the weekend, wondered if the Mark Sanford scandal will make the GOP a more tolerant party as he asked his panel: "Have Republicans finally embarrassed themselves out of calling themselves the family values party?"

His guest panel, for the most part, agreed with the premise as Dan Rather opined: "The Republican Party was already in the process of trying to make a bigger tent with more tolerance. This will, in some ways, help that movement." The New York Times' Helen Cooper admonished: "I think the one thing the Republican Party probably learned this week is that, you know, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

The BBC's Katty Kay, however, disagreed as she claimed: "You would think that they've realized that hypocrisy doesn't work. I think in reality we're still gonna have Republicans who profess family and moral values and who get caught having affairs and the Republican Party is still gonna tolerate them and let them stay in the party." The Washington Post's David Ignatius said the real problem for the GOP and family values is the example that the pro-abortion Barack Obama is setting: "The Republicans' problem is, is that the family values person is in the White House."

The following exchanges were aired over the weekend on the June 28 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":

CHRIS MATTHEWS: We'll be right back. This week's Big Question. Have Republicans finally embarrassed themselves out of calling themselves the family values party? Be right back.

...

MATTHEWS: This was also the week that Mark Sanford joined John Ensign, David Vitter, Larry Craig and Mark Foley in slipping off the Republican platform on family values. The Big Question this week: Is the Republican Party, against its will, now gonna have to be a bigger tent with a broader message of tolerance? Katty Kay?

KATTY KAY, BBC: You would think that they've realized that hypocrisy doesn't work. I think in reality we're still gonna have Republicans who profess family and moral values and who get caught having affairs and the Republican Party is still gonna tolerate them and let them stay in the party.

MATTHEWS: Dan Rather?

DAN RATHER, HDNET: The Republican Party was already in the process of trying to make a bigger tent with more tolerance. This will, in some ways, help that movement. But want to be very careful about nobody in either party can be very self-righteous. We're all weak and the country is a very forgiving country. I wouldn't overplay this.

MATTHEWS: That's a great party platform - We're All Weak. Helene?

HELENE COOPER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well I think, I think the one thing the Republican Party probably learned this week is that, you know, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones but you know I, I, I don't know. These guys are, they're, this is gonna continue. I just enjoyed listening to all the references to Eva Peron, you know, over the week and crying, crying in Argentina.

MATTHEWS: Don't cry for me.

DAVID IGNATIUS, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: The Republicans' problem is, is that the family values person is in the White House. Barack Obama with his beautiful family, you know, sending a message about family values every, every day.

MATTHEWS: And no problems.

IGNATIUS: And no problems. You know no, so, you know, that, that's the heart of their problem.

MATTHEWS: Thanks for a great roundtable.

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