Chris Matthews Blames Tea Party for Congress's Lousy Poll Numbers

MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday blamed the Tea Party for Congress's record-low job approval.

Much as Bill Press did on MSNBC Wednesday evening, the Hardball host totally ignored the fact that Democrats control the Senate (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: here’s how government’s supposed to work in this country. You have an election. One party wins, the other party loses. Both get the message and do what they’re supposed to do. Republicans won the 2010 Congressional elections. They were supposed to come to Washington and make a deal with the Democrats, one favorable to their side and the people who voted for them, but a deal nonetheless.

No they weren't.

They were elected to represent their constituents. If that happens as a result of an agreement with the Democrats, that's fine. But any deal offered by Democrats that doesn't fit with constituents' wishes is not a good deal.

Taking this further, according to CNN, only sixty Republicans in the House caucus with the Tea Party. With 435 Representatives in that body, pinning all responsibility for actions and inactions on roughly one sixth of its members is pathetic as is ignoring that there's another legislative body known as the Senate which is controlled by Democrats.

But akin to what Press did on Wednesday evening's PoliticsNation, Matthews ignored the existence of a second chamber as well as who's the majority party in it. Maybe he got the idea from the White House. But I digress:

MATTHEWS: Democrats lost the 2010 Congressional elections. They were supposed to come back to Washington, acknowledge the results of the elections, and agree to a deal with the Republicans who won it. That means carving a deal that favors the Republican position while not giving it all away. That’s how deals should be made between the two parties. They should favor the party that just won the election. This is how Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill cut the deal that saved Social Security back in 1983.

The Tea Party lead House of Representatives has refused to deal. It refused to any possible bipartisan deal by insisting that the debt ceiling not be raised unless the Democrats buckled to a big spending cut without a nickel in higher taxes.

That's total nonsense. In the House, 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans voted for the bill to increase the debt ceiling. In the Senate it was 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans in favor.

As such, Matthews completely misrepresented this outcome. But I once again digress:

There is room in America politics for Right as well as Left, for that is the way we get a consensus that reflects the will of the American people. The Tea Party Republicans rejected a consensus. They deserve the whack they’re now getting in the polls. Nine percent of the country approves of the job Congress is doing. Got it, Mr. and Mrs. Tea Party? You are less popular - not just less than Jimmy Carter, not just less than Barack Obama – but any president in history.


So only nine percent of Americans currently approve of Congress. What Matthews chose to ignore is that exactly one year ago, when both chambers were controlled by an overwhelming majority of Democrats and before all the Tea Partiers were either voted or sworn in, Congress's approval was ten percent just one point higher than it is today.

Understandably, Matthews neglected to inform his viewers of this for that would have totally undermined his point.

That he's allowed to get away with such blatant misrepresentation should sicken people on both sides of the aisle.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.