Chris Matthews showed up on the Morning Joe set on Monday morning, and he quickly established a pro-Obama hard line. On Iran, he claimed "We are not the good guys. We did not liberate Iran. They liberated themselves from our people." Life under the ayatollahs is "liberation"?
Matthews also insisted that a new New York Times poll showed the American people are instinctively socialistic on health care: "So there is a socialistic sense to it, like Social Security in a positive sense. Nobody wants anybody at the door at the hospital to be kept out when they are sick or dying. There is a social responsibility here that seems to fit like running museums, running zoos. There are certain things we expect government to do."
On Iran, Matthews was pleased that John McCain and Barack Obama were debating how explicitly the U.S. government should sympathize with the pro-democracy protesters, but he clearly came down for Obama and against rotten American policy going back to the arrival of the Shah of Iran in 1953:
There is such a thing as a good honest American debate where both sides have a piece of the truth. Clearly we have a terrible record in the history of modern Iran, we tried to screw up their democracy back in the early 50s, and we pulled off a coup, that put back the peacock throne, we are supposed to be believers in democracy and we put a monarchy in there, we backed Saddam Hussein in his horrific war against Iran, we don’t have a lot of good street cred over there, so we’ve got to work from that, we are not the good guys. We did not liberate Iran. They liberated themselves from our people.
It's not easy to figure out the right message. If we get involved in that country's politics, they will resent us. And at the same time, we have to be Americans and say we believe in clean elections. But I go back to our elections 2000, 2004, God help us. Thank God people we have a constitution in this country, and people believe in stable government, because imagine what the streets would have looked in this country if we were all Iranians.
On health care, Matthews felt that while the Americans don’t want the government making their cars, they do want the government in control of life-and-death medicine.
WILLIE GEIST: The New York Times has a new poll out. Do you favor a public health insurance plan? Seventy-two percent favor it according to this poll. Chris Matthews are you surprised by these numbers?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know it’s interesting, the public has this instinctive prejudice. They don't want government making cars, for sure, and by the way god help GM, because the minute we put that "made in Washington" stamp on those cars, nobody is buying any of those babies, it’s just not going to happen. Whereas health care, it's one of those things like Social Security. It is somewhere out there, it's not a marketplace thing. You don't want to bid for the best doctor. You know, I’ll pay you ten bucks to come to my house tomorrow, I will give you fifteen. You don't quite want to make it market-oriented. So there is a socialistic sense to it, like Social Security in a positive sense. Nobody wants anybody at the door at the hospital to be kept out when they are sick or dying.
There is a social responsibility here that seems to fit like running museums, running zoos, there are certain things that government is expected to do. The problem is, and Pat Moynihan, our joint hero on this side of the table, figured out was, government always gets the job to do things that are not efficient or rewarding in the marketplace. Medicine will never be a big winner financially. I think the public knows we need public health.
Matthews was very direct in predicting if Obama fails to pass a bill to nationalize health care, he is a failure and a weakling: "If Barack Obama doesn't get a health plan through this year, he will be a loser, and he will fail. If you fail in American politics, you get weaker the next time out. He must win this fight or he will be unable to win future fights. That's why it's important for his administration to get some bill through. Therefore, this is a partisan fight in the end. Republicans want him to go down in defeat."
Matthews expressed the common liberal frustration that socialist health care is at least 50 years too late in arriving:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well unless you set a deadline you don’t get the job done. We got a deadline it's called October. I have been through this since Harry Truman’s day. We have been talking about this, and nobody gets it done because nobody sets a deadline. This President has done it, and it's October, and he will sign that bill. It will happen.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You are just talking about universal health care, right.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I am talking about the people that I work with that don't have health care.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, you are just talking about universal health care. Okay. And then what? Then we are $2 trillion closer to being bankrupt.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Supply and demand. We will have a lot more kids getting into medical school, and a lot more practitioners that will be doing the job. That's what we need to do, we need to expand our goals.
Chris Matthews has a bunch of co-workers without health insurance? What kind of liberal operation is MSNBC running if it has uninsured employees?
[Transcripts by Sam Theodosopoulos]