Chris Matthews on Thursday attacked Sarah Palin for making what appeared to be a hip double entendre concerning President Obama's oft-used State of the Union slogan "Winning the Future."
Even less surprising, the "Hardball" host also went after Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) slavery remarks - for the third night in a row (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight: Dueling banjos.Look who’s challenging Sarah Palin as media darling and chief attention grabber on the Republican right, Michele Bachmann. Palin may have matched Bachmann last night, however, with her own full moon attack on President Obama’s State of the Union. This isn’t about SAT scores, ladies and gentlemen.
But the stronger President Obama gets, the less valuable the GOP nomination for president might be getting, and the more likely Republicans could go rogue and pick a candidate from their wild side, giving up smart for spark. At some point, it’s all about who excites an audience. Our top story tonight, Palin versus Bachmann.
So began Thursday's "Hardball." Here's what came next:
MATTHEWS: We start with Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. Josh Marshall the founder and editor of TalkingPointsMemo, and Melinda Henneberger’s editor- in-chief of PoliticsDaily.com.
You know, on Greta Van Susteren last night, let’s take a look at Sarah Palin. She must have saved this for Fox in this interview. They’re talking about the Sputnik moment that President Obama talked about, which everybody remembers, which was -- if not remembers, heard about -- when United States got off its butt when we realized the Soviets had gotten out there with the first satellite. Here’s her answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST, "ON THE RECORD": Governor, last night there’s a lot of discussion about the Sputnik moment that the president talked about. Do you agree with him? Do you -- and is this our moment?
SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FOX CONTRIBUTOR: That was another one of those WTF moments that when he has so often repeated the Sputnik moment that he would aspire (SIC) Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space -- yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. The Soviet Union, of course, went down, of course, after the failure of the attempted coup out there, and Yeltsin stood up against them, standing on the tanks, one of the most heroic moments in history, standing up against the Red Army. That was in ‘91, in August. Of course, Sputnik was in 1957.
So the connection here -- let me go to Melinda. The connection between the space race, which began, of course, with Sputnik overtaking our satellite efforts, and then we, of course, killing them in the space race. Why would Sarah Palin, who believes in American exceptionalism, say we lost the space race, when everybody on planet earth knows we got the moon first, breaking all of human history by going to another world, and the Soviets gave up. They gave up. They said uncle. We can’t do what you guys are doing. And then 40-some years later they, of course, went bottom up economically.
What is she talking about? And who’s writing this garbage for her? Who puts it in her head?
MELINDA HENNEBERGER, POLITICSDAILY.COM: Well, Chris --
MATTHEWS: Let’s start with her. No, don’t --
MATTHEWS: Who’s putting this stuff in Sarah Palin’s head?
HENNEBERGER: I don’t think there’s any good evidence that Sarah Palin has much of a team. I think she has yes people and she doesn’t have professionals working for her. But anything Barack Obama says, of course, she’s going say is absolutely the opposite of reality. But the thing that -- I was very offended hearing her talk about the "WTF moment."
MATTHEWS: Well, that’s --
HENNEBERGER: I mean that’s so --
MATTHEWS: That’s kind of high school, isn’t it?
HENNEBERGER: That’s so -- or 7th grade. That’s so disrespectful of the office that I don’t think she’s even serious about wanting to run for the presidency. I think that if she were, she wouldn’t be speaking in a way that really does not make her look like --
MATTHEWS: Well, for those who -- yes, I’m a little slow on this, Melinda. I know it’s like people say "BTW." Friend of my always says "By the way." And some people say, "Oh, my God," "OMG." And of course, "What the" -- we’re used to that other word.
But you’re right, here’s a woman running for president, perhaps, talking like this. Josh, what do you make of this? I don’t know whether you were offended by her lingo. I think it’s childish and playing to the sort of the peanut gallery with this kind of talk, not really playing it like you’re really running for president, talking about this kind of stuff.
But I’m offended by the absolute, seems to be weird sense of American history we’re getting from these people, like her and Bachmann. The other night, Bachmann was talking about how slavery ended by the Founding Fathers. We didn’t have to have a Civil War or any of the fights (INAUDIBLE) in the U.S. Congress all through the early 19th century, with the compromises and Henry Clay and all that. None of it ever happened.
And now we got -- we lost the space race to the Soviets and it bankrupted them. Don’t they have some floor of knowledge they have to have for these people on the right to think of them as presidential material, Josh?
Let's stop there.
Matthews, much as he has been doing with Bachmann and Palin for quite some time, took two sentences from the former Alaska governor's lengthy interview with Greta and turned them into a federal case that he and the rest of the so-called journalists in America today will likely lambaste for weeks until the next time Palin utters something they can take out of context, misconstrue and ridicule.
Let's be clear: Palin didn't say the Russians won the Space Race. She said, and I quote, "their victory in that race to space."
As Matthews certainly knows, that's what Sputnik represented at the time and still does now: the Soviet Union beat us into space with the launch of that satellite, and it was a seminal moment for the United States because it started a larger Space Race between the two countries to see who could get a man out there and back while eventually going to the moon.
As such, the Soviets DID win the first round, and any third grader knows that's what Palin meant.
But divining meaning isn't a strong suit for Matthews or most of his liberal guests, especially when the object of their disaffection is a conservative being cherry-picked. Here was how Palin set up "WTF" earlier in her discussion with Van Susteren Wednesday evening:
VAN SUSTEREN: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin joins us live. Good evening, Governor.
PALIN: Hi, Greta. How are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well, but there are a lot of Americans aren't. They need jobs. What are we going to do about jobs? Do you have an idea that's any way different from what the president said last night because we're looking for all options?
PALIN: Well, speaking of last night, that was a tough speech to have to sit through and kind of try to stomach because the president is so off base in his ideas on how it is that he believes the government is going to create jobs. Obviously, government growth won't create any jobs. It's the private sector that can create the jobs.
And his theme last night in the Speaker of the House was the WTF, you know, "winning the future." And I thought, OK, that acronym, spot on. There were a lot of WTF moments throughout that speech, namely, when he made the statement, Greta, that he believed that we can't allow ourselves to, I guess, eventually become buried under a mountain of debt. That right there tells you he is so disconnected from reality! The problem is, we are buried under a mountain of debt, and jobs cannot be created by the private sector. We cannot grow and thrive and prosper as a nation when we are buried under this $14 trillion debt.
So, Palin cleverly shortened Obama's oft-used State of the Union slogan "Winning the Future" down to "WTF," and gave it a hip double entendre to a commonly used acronym in abbreviated writing and speaking parlance today.
If a Democrat had done this, Matthews and his panel would have thought it was brilliant, but because it came from a conservative woman they think it was childish and disrespectful.
In reality, Palin might have gotten the idea from the folks at Roll Call as the following was posted at the website's subscription only blog "Heard on the Hill" hours before the President's address:
- Monday tweet from Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who quickly explained in a follow-up tweet that the message was accidental. According to Urban Dictionary, "fgi" is an Internet abbreviation for "f---ing Google it."
Speaking of funny abbreviations, an HOH spy points out that President Barack Obama's new slogan, "Win the Future," which is expected to be included in his State of the Union address, can be abbreviated as the popular phrase "WTF."
As such, the esteemed publication Roll Call appears to be the first to make light of Obama's new slogan. Maybe Palin has a subscription to this blog. Wouldn't surprise me.
But what's also not surprising is that Matthews and Company chose to omit the earlier part of Palin's comments Wednesday evening - similarly linking "WTF" to Obama's "Winning the Future" - thereby totally eliminating the real context and meaning of her remarks on the subject.
Sadly, that's par for the course on MSNBC these days.
From there, the attack, for the third night in a row, predictably moved to Bachmann:
MATTHEWS: But how can you tell your kid, if you’re a conservative -- a reasonable conservative -- a lot of them out there -- would say, My kids have to study in school because then you may get to be president some day with these people with manifest ignorance, balloonhead, in this case a Bachmann, who knows nothing, running for president. And like, when Katie Couric says, What do you read, they make that into an insult. What are you talking about, what I read? I don’t have to read anything. I know. I read the Old Testament. I read the Founding Fathers. And it turns out they even don’t read the Bible -- well, they certainly don’t read the Constitution.
HENNEBERGER: They don’t -- they’re just trying to be provocative. Obviously, they don’t care if it’s (INAUDIBLE) anything they --
MATTHEWS: But are (ph) these people that cheer them think -- aren’t they thinking, these people running for president, making fools of us?
HENNEBERGER: My big question, as I said before about Michele Bachmann, is does she have a staff? Does she not have anybody who would say to, you know, saying that the Founding Fathers ended slavery is --
MATTHEWS: OK, let’s watch this --
MATTHEWS: Let’s all recall the reason there was a Republican Party. It wasn’t to cut taxes. It was to stop the expansion of slavery into the territories, into the new states, so that it wouldn’t become permanent. They wanted to eventually get rid it, and they knew if they got all the new states being slave, they’d never get rid of it constitutionally because it takes three quarters of the states to amend the Constitution and end slavery, which is in the Constitution, three fifths of a person.
Here’s Michele Bachmann ignoring that whole sweep of 100 years of American history the other night, getting her (INAUDIBLE) facts. Let’s not call facts in any way related to Michele Bachmann. Here she is. Let’s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was an evil and it was scourge and a blot and a stain upon our history. But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. And I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forebears, who worked tirelessly, men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Josh Marshall, John Quincy Adams, of course, was the Southern John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers. And I -- and I understand he -- I know he was -- I read about the Amistad and all that. He was the great lawyer on that case and everything. We all know that, defending the slaves who were revolting.
But you know, we did have from -- from, you know, the -- 1776 onward until 1861, to the war, we had slavery. And it wasn’t until the Emancipation Proclamation emancipated those in the South, and eventually, all slavery was outlawed under the 13th Amendment.
How can somebody go out there -- she does this little scribble. You know, the Founding fathers, and she acts like she -- they wrote something down -- she mispronounces words like you get wrong, like "scorge" and "Iwo Jamma" or something she said the other night. It’s like she’s never said these words before. So somebody’s writing words that she’s never pronounced before. Somebody’s putting this stuff in Bachmann’s face and saying, Read this, and not even saying, It’s "scourge" not "scorge." It’s Iwo Jima -- as every grade school kid in America knows. It’s Iwo Jima. We’ve always heard it. But if you’ve never pronounced it before and never said it before, you say something like "Iwo Jamma" or something on there!
Somebody -- a friend of mine e-mailed me immediately, said, This person’s incredible! So I don’t want to go crazy about this, but it is insane that a political party would consider people like this for president. It’s insane.
Actually, what's insane is that Matthews has been on this attack of Bachmann's comments three nights in a row, and although he's finally read up on John Quincy Adams' pivotal role in ending slavery - I get the feeling he may have read my Wednesday post concerning his errors - he's continuing to misrepresent what Bachmann said in Iowa last Saturday.
But that's not all, for having started the program beating up on Palin and Bachmann, the "Hardball" host ended it that way as well:
MATTHEWS: So here we are again and it’s wacky time on the right. Palin is out there with her off-the-wall history of the space race in which the Ruskies beat us to the moon. You’d think the full-mooners would get that right one right! Mush, you Ruskies!
Dear Sarah, I thought you believed in American exceptionalism. We won that race. Remember, one giant step for mankind? Where was your head at? Sorry, sore subject.
As for her rival from Fargo country, Michele Bachmann, she believes slavery got dumped by those guys who wrote the Constitution.
Why don’t you read it, Congresswoman? Bring back the good old days. It says African-Americans were 3/5 people back then. How’s that for original intent, Justice Scalia?
At some point, you really have to start wondering how much of this attack on Palin and Bachmann is sexist.
Would Matthews go after men this way?
If the answer is even possibly "No," where is the outrage from the supposedly feminist Left?
Oh. That's right. We learned years ago, especially during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that there's a huge double-standard concerning what liberals find sexist.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd made this crystal clear last November when she depicted a large number of conservative women - including Palin and Bachmann - as "Mean Girls, grown-up versions of teenage tormentors."
Matthews has just taken the baton and run with it.
Imagine what the National Organization for Women would be saying if Fox News's Sean Hannity mercilessly attacked the intellectual capacity of two prominent female Democrats every night.
There'd be calls for his suspension and/or termination from NOW and throughout the press.
But there's nothing to see here. Move along. These are conservative women being personally attacked and ridiculed every day, and that's okay because we don't like their politics.
Liberal media bias? What liberal media bias?