MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews on Thursday continued to obsess over his favorite issue, the birthers. He excoriated the Republican Party, smearing that the "haters" now "have a party to call all their own, the GOP."
Painting with a broad brush, Matthews mocked, "How did the right-wing fringe manage to take over the Republican Party?" He later repeated the talking point, wondering, "Coming up, the party with the fringe on top? How did the right-wing fringe get control of a major political party?"
Of course, a 2006 Scripps Howard poll found that 50.8 percent of Democrats believed it was "somewhat" or "very" likely that George W. Bush knew in advance of the plot to murder 3000 Americans on 9/11. Such a number would seem to indicate that there are a significant number of "haters" in the Democratic Party.
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The host also mentioned just one Republican who, in the last day, has condemned birtherism: Mitt Romney. In fact, many, including House Speaker John Boehner and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus have done the same.
Matthews interviewed former Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter and linked the belief that Barack Obama wasn't born in America to the whole of the GOP. He speculated, "I'm going to get very ethnic here. Is this because of '64? I think it is. LBJ...Once Lyndon Johnson, a man of the south and the southwest, once they pass the civil rights bill, you can forget the white south in the Democratic Party."
The liberal anchor teased the segment by talking about Wednesday's release of Obama's birth certificate. He lectured, " Yesterday the doubters got cut off from the haters. Let's face it, the skeptics in the middle, politically, now got the old, original birth certificate and are satisfied. The haters on the other hand, are still out there and they have a party to call all their own, the GOP."
A transcript of the teases and part of Matthews' segment with Alter, which aired on April 28, can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight, you can't handle the truth. That's what we learned yesterday about some people when President Obama released his long form birth certificate. They don't want the facts. They want to deny the facts. The President went out and practically hand delivered just what they spent months saying they wanted. They wanted it. They got it. They kept on yelling. Now, they're scrambling. Questioning the birth certificate itself, asking for more documents, more paper. This can't be true. Staring wildly into the headlights of the 21 century. They just don't like the reality of who's in the White House, lets face it. Yesterday, the doubters got cut off from the haters. Let's face it, the skeptics in the middle, politically, now got the old, original birth certificate and are satisfied. The haters on the other hand, are still out there and they have a party to call all their own, the GOP. Plus, party with a fringe on top. How did the right-wing fringe manage to take over the Republican Party? Well, the Democrats hope to cook the Republicans in this birther stew. Can the GOP stop the weirdness on their part? Does it want to?
MATTHEWS: Coming up, the party with the fringe on top? How did the right-wing fringe get control of a major political party? Now, this is amazing. How did it happen? It wasn't like this when I was growing up. They were sort of a middle of the road to right party. How did they go- I think Civil Rights Act 1964. Just guessing. Is it too late for the mainstream Republicans to stop the zanies?
MATTHEWS: I'm going to get very ethnic here. Is this because of '64? I think it is. LBJ, we were talking about him in the break, once Lyndon Johnson, a man of the south and the southwest, once they pass the civil rights bill, you can forget the white south in the Democratic Party.
JONATHAN ALTER: He said for a generation but it's really going to be several generations. Look, there's always been a looney tunes element. Same on the Democratic side. You had the John Birch Society folks that were an irritant to the Republican Party of the '50s.
MATTHEWS: Okay. Who are the Democratic Party's loony tunes? Come on. Fess up.
ALTER: They have had plenty of 'em over the years. You know, those conventions that go to 3:00 in the morning.
MATTHEWS: Okay, the truthers, maybe, if you want to go all the way over.
ALTER: Nowadays they're a more moderate party. But, they've had their innings. My point is that you're right that a lot of this is about race. And this is something that has given the Republican Party a foothold in the south but a lot of this is fear of the other. There is a racial subtext here. Like when they talk about a guy who is obviously terrific on his feet, gives more spontaneous interviews than anybody else and talk about him as somebody that depends on the Teleprompter, why are they saying that? They're basically saying he is a black man and he's not that smart. He needs a tell prompter. And the birthers think-
MATTHEWS: Donald Trump is now questioning the application to Harvard.
ALTER: Of course.
MATTHEWS: Harvard law and Columbia and he didn't deserve to get in. He would never say that about a white person right off the street he wouldn't say it.
ALTER: This is race, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I don't know why you would say it!
ALTER: That's where the 1964 point is critical. The Republican party decided that it was going to- after being the party of Lincoln and Jackie Robinson in the '50s decided it was going to go for-
MATTHEWS: Jackie Robinson was for Nixon.