Chris Matthews Worries That a 'Right-Wing Politician' 'Like Dick Cheney' Could Use Drones on His Enemies

MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday worried that a future "right-wing" politician "like Dick Cheney" might one day use drone strikes against his political enemies. The Hardball host was discussing Senator Rand Paul's filibuster on Wednesday and the subject that prompted it: Whether the U.S. has the right to use drones on Americans in a non-war situation.

Matthews wondered if "there is a possibility somewhere out there on the edge that a tough-- not going to say he did it-- but somebody pretty far on the far right like Dick Cheney...will push this thing too far?" The host fumed, "Do you think it's possible that a Jane Fonda could be targeted even by the most right-wing American politician we can imagine?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Later in the segment, Matthews returned to drone strikes. He quizzed Robinson, "Suppose Cheney were president right now. Just suppose Cheney was president right now."

Robinson agreed on the danger: "He's only going to be president for another three and a half years. Others are going to follow, and unless we kind of think about what sort of limits, if any, we want to put on the use of drones."

It's charitable of Matthews to worry about the safety of Jane Fonda under a President Cheney. Fonda appeared on Hardball in 2005 and Matthews fawned over, allowing the formally anti-American actress to insist that she "didn't take sides" int eh Vietnam War.

A transcript of the March 7 exchange follows:


5:08

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Are concerned that we have to have this kind of debate publicly? That there is a possibility somewhere out there on the edge that a tough-- not going to say he did it-- but somebody pretty far on the far right like Dick Cheney, who has pushed waterboarding and things, will push this thing that far? Do you think it's possible that a Jane Fonda could be targeted even by the most right-wing American politician we can imagine?

EUGENE ROBINSON: I don't think anybody is going to target Jane Fonda.

...

MATTHEWS: Suppose Cheney were president right now. Just suppose Cheney was president right now.

EUGENE ROBINSON: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: Right now.

ROBINSON: He's only going to be president for another three and a half years. Others are going to follow, and unless we kind of think about what sort of limits, if any, we want to put on the use of drones.

MATTHEWS: You remember Cheney's speech about the shadow lands and the gray areas of the world and the hallways and the back halls. He talks like that, in a menacing way.

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