Hardball: GOP Russian-Like 'Purge' of RINOs Leading to 'Crack Cocaine of Reduced Republicanism'

Chris Matthews, on Monday's Hardball, claimed the GOP is purging moderates from the party like it was 1930s Russia, and Newsweek's Howard Fineman said the dumping of RINOs like Dede Scozzafava in New York was leading to "the crack cocaine of reduced Republicanism." Yes indeed it was, as Fineman noted, a night of "wild comparisons," on Hardball but after making the "purge" metaphor, Matthews actually had the nerve to call Rush Limbaugh's play-on-words joke that Scozzafava "screwed every RINO in the country," a "metaphor from Hell."

The following exchanges were aired on the November 2 edition of Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Gentlemen let me ask you about this situation tomorrow. Siena, the polling operation up in New York, just Sunday after [Dede] Scozzafava's withdrawal, [Doug] Hoffman the conservative led that poll 41 to 36. Howard, you're shaking your head. Is the Republican Party in a purge? Something like in the ‘30s in Russia, where they're knocking off-

(laughter)

MATTHEWS: No!

HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK: Yeah, yeah!

MATTHEWS: Where they're knocking off people that are not politically correct. Obviously they're not communists. But this kind of roughhouse decision to bop off people. They got rid of, Specter was pushed out of the party. Linc Chafee is gone. There's no Republicans left in the New England delegation in Congress at all. What's going on?

FINEMAN: Yeah, well as long as we're making wild comparisons this is sort of the crack cocaine of reduced Republicanism here. They only have 20 percent standing nationwide, maybe 20, 22 percent of the American people identify themselves as Republicans. But those who remain and those who are at the core, and those who frankly pushed out Dede Scozzafava and backed Doug Hoffman, who now looks like he might well win that race, believe that the hardcore skepticism of government message, the anti-tax, anti-big government message is the winning message for Republicans in the Obama era. And they're gonna pursue it whether it's in New York, Virginia or New Jersey and they may actually get some validation for that tomorrow.

MATTHEWS: Okay let me, let me let Eugene savor this. Here is what Rush Limbaugh said about the Republican candidate who was forced to drop out over the weekend. Let's listen.

(Begin clip)

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Scozzafava has screwed every RINO in the, we can say that she's guilty of widespread bestiality. She has screwed every RINO in the country. Everyone can see just how phony and dangerous they are. You know 2010 might be a nightmare for PETA. Two animals may become extinct. RINOS and Blue Dog Democrats. Pelosi is gonna kill off the Blue Dogs and conservatives are gonna finally get rid of RINOS. The American people have had enough.

(End clip)

MATTHEWS: Gene what do you make of that? RINO is a name conservatives use for Republicans In Name Only, meaning people that aren't as conservative as they are. Is this purge for real? By the way bestiality is an interesting reference point.

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: It's very bizarre.

MATTHEWS: She has quote, "screwed every RINO in the country." That is a metaphor from Hell. But go ahead.

ROBINSON: Very bizarre and we don't want to psychoanalyze that because that would take us an hour. But this idea of, that Republicans who don't believe everything that Rush Limbaugh believes are Republicans In Name Only is, is symptomatic of, of this - call it a purge, call it a civil war, whatever it is that has to take place in the Republican Party and I think it's gonna have to play itself out. I mean look you've got a situation where, where Newt Gingrich whose, whose whole career has been as a, a flamethrower and, and kind of bomb thrower who says inappropriate things and shake things up. He's, he's the voice of reason and stability in the Republican Party right now. That tells you that they're in for, for a long few years.

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