Chris Matthews Defends Tea Party: 'They're As American As Any Liberal Is'

Don’t look now, but there may be pigs flying around outside your window.

On the June 11 episode of Ronan Farrow Daily, Hardball host Chris Matthews defended conservative Republican congressional nominee David Brat – who surprised all of Washington with his unexpected defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) – and the Tea Party movement against fellow liberals who are “looking down our noses at the Tea Party.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

When Farrow snarkily commented that Brat’s general election rival – a colleague at the same college –  got a higher score on Rate My Professor (a website where any college student can post their opinions on their instructors) Matthews shot back that believing that a liberal professor will automatically be smarter than his conservative counterpart is “crazy talk.”

Matthews continued his out-of-character moment of clarity by stating that Tea Party proponents “have a message” and are “as American as any liberal is.” It’s truly shocking stuff from the man who, three days ago, claimed that Tea Party-favored Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) leads the 'Hate Wing' of GOP. Matthews asserted that the grassroots are angry at the “failure” of the government “to deliver to the working people,” and later questioned “what good is government good at?”

Regardless of Chris Matthews’s erratic inconsistency, nothing is more refreshing than seeing a fellow MSNBC host put boy-genius Ronan Farrow in his place.

You can read the transcript of the exchange here:

MSNBC
Ronan Farrow Daily
June 11, 2014
1:10 p.m. Eastern
1 minute and 26 seconds

RONAN FARROW: Here's the other thing that looks non-establishment in these guys' rhetoric. They are so hyper intellectual, I mean, they are both college professors, actually New York Magazine put up their Rate My Professors scores. Trammell did better it turns out. And Brat said he wanted to return to, quote, “political philosophers,” that he viewed as kind of the political origins in our country. Is it rare to see that kind of brazen intellectualism, particularly in populist candidates like this? What do you think, Chris?

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, first of all, I don't think you can assume that the liberals are smarter than the conservative professors. I think that’s crazy talk--

FARROW: Clearly not.

MATTHEWS: And it's exactly the attitude that conservatives can't stand. I don't know which professor is more popular but that doesn’t mean he’s a better professor, first of all. Secondly, I think -- I was listening to Brat last night, and I listened to him today. I think he's very sophisticated for a politician. He's certainly up to the ranks of most politicians I've ever dealt with. He speaks in a speculative manner and an intellectual manner. He can handle any debate on this program or my program. So I– this looking down our noses at Tea Party people has got to stop. They have a message, they're as American as any liberal is, and they're really angry of the failure of the system. I was over covering Eastern Europe when the wall came down. You know what people didn’t like? It wasn't the philosophy of communism they didn't like, it was the complete corruption of it, the failure of it to deliver to working people. And that's what this system's doing right now. We can't control the deficit, we can't control the debt, we can’t control the border; what good is government good at? And that's the question that's happened on every issue we've covered on our show.

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.