MSNBC Panel Gives Convoluted Explanation of Democrat Backlash; Attacks Santelli for Tea Party Movement

When MSNBC’s Chris Matthews starts to rationalize the American electorate’s temperate, get out of the way.

On MSNBC’s Nov. 2 election coverage, “Hardball” host Chris Matthews offered his assessment of how the Democrats and President Barack Obama found themselves in such dire straits. He said it started with the left’s favorite boogeyman of the past, President George W. Bush.

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“I think the perception, as I said early tonight, I think that Bush did the bailout, Bush was president when we had the worst economic crisis in the '30s, Bush was president when the whole economic slide clearly began,” Matthews said. “And then Obama came in and used Keynesian economics to compensate for the drop in consumption, the drop in business investment with the larger federal expenditure which is about -- added to the deficit. And so he was blamed for, quote, ‘the growth of government.’”

Then Matthews explained Obama didn’t just stop with his Keynesian policies, but further extended himself with by forcing health care reform, but claimed he was just picking up where former Presidents Richard Nixon and Teddy Roosevelt left off.

“Then he made good on the commitment for health care that had been made by every president including Nixon and Teddy Roosevelt going back forever and he was blamed for that. I just think it's the American people respond to symptoms not to diagnosis. They respond to symptoms. When the economy is bad, they go, ‘Man, now somebody tell me who to be mad at.’ That's the second step. And now it is that this one guy in charge is a Democrat, who is a liberal. So you blame him. That's the easy part. That explains almost all of what happened tonight. Who's in and what's going on?”

But then the “Hardball” host said the resentment toward the status quo was because of a philosophical view of the role of government, which he had difficulty grappling with.

“Okay, the third thing they look for is a little more sophisticated argument,” he continued. “So the Republican said it’s all spending - spending, spending, spending. Well, that's the problem. So now, do we want the federal government to deal with the mess that was created by private industry down in the Gulf? Do we want the federal government to show up when there's a tremendous flood? Yes. Do we want the federal government to protect our airline safety? Do we want the federal government to protect our food safety? Anything that affects me personally, do we want some helping hand? Do we want the government to help us – not just during crisis but most of our lives?”

But here’s where the attack on CNBC’s Rick Santelli came in. Matthews and Olbermann attempted to rationalize the role of Santelli and his inspiration of the Tea Party movement, which he happened to vocalize the sentiments of many other Americans. But according to Olbermann, since he happened to work on the floor of the CME Group, which Olbermann called a “stock exchange,” he wasn’t allowed to make such statements:

MATTHEWS: Then there’s a general notion that got started -- I think Santelli – what was that guy’s name?
OLBERMANN: Rick Santelli.
MATTHEWS: What was the beginning of the Tea Party notion was that we are somehow bailing out people that shouldn't have bought homes. That somehow we are giving them rent subsidies. We're not. People are being kicked out of their homes. But, somehow there was the notion the worker bees were being screwed to help out the non-worker bees.
OLBERMANN: He was standing on the floor of a stock exchange, pointing at people making six-figures, saying these are the real Americans back here, people who work in investment houses.
MATTHEWS: People thought of government as someone shifting their wealth to the people who are lazy. And that's where it started, Santelli. He really start this had idea and it plays into every class and aspect in the country.