Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu on Monday had a heated debate with MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
Toward the end of the incursion predictably about Paul Ryan's budget, Sununu accused the Hardball host of being "dumb enough" to think Ryan is "going to call the shots" in this matter instead of Mitt Romney who's "at the top of the ticket" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: If it’s such a popular budget, the Ryan budget, why’s Romney skipping away from it? Number two…
JOHN SUNUNU: Because Romney’s is better. That’s why.
MATTHEWS: Would do you say if it’s so great, why are you kicking in only for people under 55?
SUNUNU: Because Romney’s is better.
MATTHEWS: If it’s great, why don’t you just kick it in now?
SUNUNU: Because Romney’s is better. It includes a lot of the good features, and it addresses the fact that you got to get rid of very significant amounts of loopholes, and it is designed to create a growth pattern that generates another three quarters of a percent that fills the holes.
MATTHEWS: You’re a great surrogate, so let me ask you this question: Does Romney also skip away from the Ryan plan to eliminate capital gains taxes so the rich who make money off of money don’t have to pay any more taxes? Is he for that plan?
SUNUNU: Romney has made it clear that the capital gains rate will stay at fifteen percent.
MATTHEWS: So he’s against Ryan on that one too?
SUNUNU: No, he’s for Romney, and Ryan is supporting the Romney plan.
MATTHEWS: This is wild, this is wild.
SUNUNU: Who do you want to?
MATTHEWS: Well, because this is what the problem with your ticket is. You got the leader of the ticket…
SUNUNU: You know, here’s your problem. Here’s your problem: you guys don’t understand there’s a guy at the top of the ticket. I’m not dumb enough to pick the fact that the guy at the second place is going to call the shots.
MATTHEWS: Okay, I get your point, and here’s the point. We can talk about Romney, but we can’t talk about his years at Bain.
SUNUNU: Sure you can.
MATTHEWS: We can talk about Ryan, but not about his budget. In other words, whatever these guys have done before we can’t talk about.
SUNUNU: Well, let’s talk about, we can talk about the fact that Obama did take $716 billion out of Medicare.
MATTHEWS: The same exact number by the way which Ryan takes away in his budget. Go ahead. Same number.
SUNUNU: Not in the Romney budget, and if you want to debate a budget that’s not going to be policy, that’s up to you.
MATTHEWS: Okay, we got to go.
SUNUNU: But the public is going to debate a program that is being put up as the policy for this ticket.
Well, it's going to be tough for the public to debate the Romney plan when all the media want to discuss is Ryan's.
And therein lies the larger point Sununu was making that clearly eluded Matthews.
In the end, Presidents don't always agree with their Vice Presidents and vice versa.
It was after all George H.W. Bush that named Ronald Reagan's plan voodoo economics. Once in office it was Reagan's plan that was enacted.
This has been true for centuries, but suddenly folks like Matthews have totally forgotten it.
This is the nature of today's journalistic activism: history and facts are unimportant if they interfere with the agenda.