Matthews Lauds 'Bold' Hero' John Roberts for Beating Back 'Right-Wing Fever Swamps'

After comparing John Roberts to a Civil War-era Supreme Court judge who upheld the Dred Scott slave act, Wednesday, Chris Matthews reversed himself, Thursday, and praised the "bold," "defiant" "hero" who upheld ObamaCare.

Lapsing into self-parody, the Hardball anchor mocked the opponents of the health care law: "All the drum beating, all the horrors floated up from the right-wing fever swamps are, as of today, simply the hate vapors of the perennial rejectionists to progress." Matthews, who earlier this week speculated that the chief justice would have voted to uphold segregation, revised, "Today's hero, Chief Justice John Roberts, who walked to the forefront of history and who said yes to progress and no to the role prescribed for him by the right." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Matthews opened the show by cheering, "I'm Chris Matthews in Washington and let me start with one of the great days in this country's history."
           
On Wednesday, the host darkly warned, "...A friend of mine, who is a fellow Roman Catholic said, he doesn't want to be the second Roger Taney." Taney was the chief justice who delivered the majority opinion in Dred Scott and upheld the Fugitive Slave Act. 

A transcript of the show's opening:


5:01

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I'm Chris Matthews in Washington and let me start with one of the great days in this country's history. Today, the United States Supreme Court, led by the chief justice himself, decided that President Barack Obama's health care act squares with the American Constitution. All the drum beating, all the horrors floated up from the right-wing fever swamps are, as of today, simply the hate vapors of the perennial rejectionists to progress, the rear guard funded by the Koch brothers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Today's hero, Chief Justice John Roberts, who walked to the forefront of history and who said yes to progress and no to the role prescribed for him by the right.

He would not be the man, he would not lead the court, he would not let the court name for him, carry historic blame for denying health care to tens of millions of Americans. He would not be the ram rod for yet another right-leaning, partisan-appearing Supreme Court ruling that would have been the third strike over the plate following Bush-Gore and Citizens United. So, let's start today by standing back and looking at this bold, defiant, grand decision by Roberts and his Supreme Court.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org