Chris Matthews and Joan Walsh Call Those Disputing ObamaCare Numbers 'Birthers'

On Thursday's Hardball, host Chris Matthews and guest Joan Walsh disparaged conservatives who disputed the administration's ObamaCare enrollment numbers "birthers" and "truthers."

"What can you say about these guys besides they are health care enrollment truthers right now," Matthews insisted. "It's a new firm of birtherism. It's a new way to say it's not legitimate, he [Obama] doesn't belong there," said Walsh.

Of course, many of the conservatives Matthews was referring to had a legitimate claim that the White House's 7 million enrollment figure wasn't accurate. Blue Cross Blue Shield reported that as many as 15 to 20 percent of its new customers hadn't paid their first premium. If that is the percentage for the entire ObamaCare market, the enrollment figure would be 6 million or less.

That didn't stop Matthews from dinging the "right-wing clown car" for Rush Limbaugh referring to the administration as a "regime":

People who talk like that are trying to do something I think is ugly. I think they're trying to create in the minds of the rattled brain people on the far right something that is really disturbed, that somehow you can disagree with somebody and leap over the fence to "it's a regime of liars. It's a coup. It's somehow brought in illegitimately." They're finding a new way to say what they've been trying to say since the President was elected the first time by majority vote. "This guy isn't president." That's what they're trying do, "regime."

Below is a transcript of the April 3 segment:

MSNBC's Hardball. 7:35 PM EDT:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. For months, conservative critics have predicted the total failure of the President's health care law. So when the President announced this week the law had enrolled over seven million people into the health care exchanges, did they react with some humility or at least some acceptance? Not quite.

(Video Clip)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, Fox News host: You've said cooking the books. The administration is. Do you stand by that?

Sen. JOHN BARRASSO (R-Wyo.): I do. We still don't know how many people who have gone to the website to sign up actually paid.

BOBBY JINDAL (R), governor of Louisiana: We don't even know what those numbers mean. We don't know how many of those folks actually paid their premiums.

Sen. TED CRUZ (R-Tex.): Look, the numbers are a bit of funny math, because they're giving you numbers of who signed up. Those numbers don't reflect, number one, who actually bought insurance and paid their first month's premium.

Rep. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-Tex.): And now there are more lies coming out today. Seven million, which they clearly haven't hit – we're hearing that maybe 25 percent, if that, have actually paid for their policies. It won't end up being seven million today when we get the truth. And it may be like Benghazi. It may be another year and a half before we actually get the truth.

(End Video Clip)

MATTHEWS: Benghazi. What did that have to do with anything? Anyway, of course, they knew they were going to throw a Benghazi in there for good reason, just for the heck of it. And that's just what elected Republicans are saying. Others in the right wing clown car flat-out accuse the White House of toying with the numbers, of lying. Here they are.

(Video Clip)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, radio show host: And then today and last night, the regime is out. And they have hit their seven million ObamaCare sign-up target. And I guarantee you, a lot of it – it's not possible. You can't tell me that this is real. And these people have been known to doctor the Numbers.

SEAN HANNITY, host, The Sean Hannity Show: With millions of Obamacare applicants appearing out of thin air now in the last few days, Kathleen Sebelius is fighting off allegations that they're cooking the books.

GLENN BECK, radio show host: This is complete bogus. This is a complete bogus fairy tale. This is completely made up. This is nonsensical. The emperor has no clothes. And everyone in the press, you rat bastards. Every single one of you know what he is saying isn't true.

(End Video Clip)

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, the clown car had some more good company here. Remember Dean Chambers? He is the conservative activist who founded "Unskewed Polls" back in 2012 to correct the scientific polls that showed President Obama in the lead. Well, that math wizard has some criticism for the White House's enrollment numbers now. Quote, "does this sound familiar? Of course. It's just the last time of several that the regime has fabricated numbers to meet a goal it has set. The magic seven million ObamaCare sign-ups is no different than anything else reported by the regime, completely fraudulent, fake, and phony."

What can you say about these guys besides they are health care enrollment truthers right now. Joan Walsh is editor at large at Salon and an MSNBC political analyst and Michelle Benard is president of the Benard Center for Women. Thank you Joan. First of all, the lingo. Regime. Whatever else you say about President Obama's politics, his ideology, whatever you can figure about him, he was elected president of the United States in a democratic vote. He carried the electoral college twice. He is the only president I think since Ike whose gotten two plus 50 percent of plurality votes. He is a legitimate president of the United States. This is not a regime. People who talk like that are trying to do something I think is ugly.

I think they're trying to create in the minds of the rattled brain people on the far right something that is really disturbed, that somehow you can disagree with somebody and leap over the fence to "it's a regime of liars. It's a coup. It's somehow brought in illegitimately." They're finding a new way to say what they've been trying to say since the President was elected the first time by majority vote. "This guy isn't president." That's what they're trying do, "regime."

JOAN WALSH, Editor-in-Chief, Salon: That's exactly it. It's a new firm of birtherism. It's a new way to say it's not legitimate, he doesn't belong there.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014