Clueless Chris Matthews on State of the Union: 'There's Nothing Lefty in Here; What's the Left-Wing Part?'

What world does Chris Matthews live in? The MSNBC anchor on Wednesday saw nothing liberal in Barack Obama's State of the Union. Talking to Chuck Todd, the Hardball anchor puzzled, "There's nothing lefty in here. What's the left-wing part? Objectively, was there a left wing piece to this speech last night? I mean, truly left? I didn't see it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

This was the same speech in which Obama lobbied for gun control, higher taxes, increasing the minimum wage and left-wing immigration reform. According to Matthews, "these weren't Hail Mary passes." The anchor described this as "I mean, basically, he was moving the ball maybe one foot to the left of the midfield." 

It was left to Todd to gently point out:

CHUCK TODD: If you believe that the ideology between the two parties now is divided between government getting more involved in your lives and government getting less, than of course the party that believes that government needs to be less involved is gonna think that government mandating a minimum wage and government doing these things with universal pre-K– now.

But he quickly made the mild critique palatable by assuring, "And the question is, where is the middle of the country. And I think we learned in November of 2012 where they are."

Perhaps Matthews was channeling his inner Pauline Kael. The famous film critic, speaking of the 1972 presidential election in which Richard Nixon won 49 states, asserted, "I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are, I don't know."

A transcript of the February 13 exchange follows:


5:11pm EST

CHRIS MATTHEWS (MSNBC's Hardball, February 13): These weren't Hail Mary passes. 'Let's at least have a vote on gun control.' He's, 'let's have a $9 minimum wage; let's have real comprehensive immigration reform with some teeth in it.' I mean, basically, he was moving the ball maybe one foot to the left of the midfield.

CHUCK TODD: This is what Bush was trying to do. Bush was trying to do something big with Social Security. It was, basically, a home run or go home.

MATTHEWS: There's nothing lefty in here. What's the left-wing part? Objectively, was there a left wing piece to this speech last night? I mean, truly left? I didn't see it.

CHUCK TODD: If you believe that the ideology between the two parties now is divided between government getting more involved in your lives and government getting less, than of course the party that believes that government needs to be less involved is gonna think that government mandating a minimum wage and government doing these things with universal pre-K– now.

...

TODD: And the question is, where is the middle of the country. And I think we learned in November of 2012 where they are.

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