Matthews Goes on Tear Against Term 'Homeland'

Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, admonished one of his panelists, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, for using the term "homeland," because "it sounds like Russia," and worried that use of that term could lead to calling the United States "motherland," and "fatherland," and "that's when we are getting imperial."

The discussion with Ryan and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, began with Matthews rationalizing President Obama's decision to send more troops into Afghanistan because "his administration is so stacked with people who are more hawkish than he is."

The following exchange was aired on the December 3, Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: April, is this because his administration is so stacked with people who are more hawkish than he is? I go to Secretary of State Clinton. I go to General Jones, who is national security. I go to Gates. I go to everybody but the vice president and Rahm Emanuel, people tell me, is to the right of the President. Was he just out-voted here?

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: The bottom line is, when it all is said and done, at the end of the day, it's about protecting the homeland. I asked several people who are very close to many of those persons that you acknowledged. They said, look, everyone was with the President. Everyone is looking to protect the homeland. And that's the key issue, when all is said and done. And they feel in that area of this, of the world, that's where we have to be.

MATTHEWS: Yeah there's one of the words I hate most, by the way, homeland.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, WASHINGTON POST: I think he-

MATTHEWS: It sounds so vaguely, it sounds like Russia. It sounds like-

RYAN: To protect the US soil

MATTHEWS: No it's, no I don't...

RYAN: To protect the US of A.

MATTHEWS: ...because it`s one of those neo-con words I despise.

CILLIZZA: I do think though.

MATTHEWS: By the way, there shouldn't be any other bit of territory we do protect, except the homeland. It`s called the United States. That's what the Defense Department should be for!

RYAN: The good old US of A.

MATTHEWS: Defending the United States. You don't have to defend the homeland, the off-land islands, like we're Japan. We have some other space we defend. That's what got us into trouble in the first place.

CILLIZZA: I do think, Chris -- rhetoric aside though, rhetoric aside -- I do think the President, this is not an adviser's decision. I do think, if you follow his logic, what he has said publicly, he genuinely believes this. He said this in the Afghanistan speech. That this is the central front, that this, if we let this go, that this will create a real danger to America.

MATTHEWS: Okay next time. By the way, when we stop term, using terms, start using terms like the motherland and the fatherland, that's when we are getting imperial. Anyway, thank you, Chris Cillizza. Thank you, April. I don't think you are an imperialist. I think you get caught in that language trap!

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