Chris Matthews Slimes Dick Cheney as a Racist for Calling Obama a 'Liar'

 A scandalized Chris Matthews on Friday railed against Dick Cheney for having the audacity to call out Barack Obama's "lie" on Americans being able to keep their health insurance. Naturally, the Hardball anchor insinuated that the reason behind this was racism. An angry Matthews fumed, "Dick Cheney comes right out and calls [Obama] a liar. When a right-wing back-bencher did that four years ago, he was called out for rebuke even by his own party." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

The host continued, "Well, now what was condemned as historic bad behavior comes snarling out of Dick Cheney's mouth and nobody says to shut up." Matthews hinted, "Is this, calling the President a liar, the new language of American politics. Or is it a language specially treated for the country's first African-American president?"

Here is the text of Cheney's supposedly vile, bigoted remarks:

DICK CHENEY: We look at the mess that has been created out of "Obama care" by the president having said, You can keep your policy if you like it, you know, guaranteed, period. That turns out that was a lie. And he repeated it over and over and over again.

Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman appeared to echo the racism charge:

HOWARD FINEMAN: Well, I would normally be reluctant to make the accusation of racism...I say what's the missing element here? What's the "X" factor here that makes them go so crazy? Well, there are two things. First of all, we live in divided worlds of politics and reality. They deny his validity because they deny the rest of the world outside of the world they live in, number one. And number two, I think race has to be part of it because they see everything that he does in apocalyptic terms. Why? What other explanation is there?

Matthews is hardly one to call for civility. If referring to Obama's false statement as a lie makes one a racist, what does it say about the MSNBC host the he's attacked Cheney as "evil" and just like movie monster "Freddy Krueger?"

Additionally, liberals repeatedly attacked President George W. Bush in the worst way. They even made a movie in 2006 that fantasized about murdering him.

 Matthews's former colleague, Keith Olbermann, called George W. Bush a liar in 2007: "Our policy in Iraq has been criticized for being indescribable, for being inscrutable, for being ineffable, but it is all too easily understood now. First, we sent Americans to their deaths for your lie, Mr. Bush. Now we are sending them to their deaths for your ego."

So, perhaps, the calls for civility ring slightly hollow.

A partial transcript of the November 15 segment is below:


5:01

CHRIS MATTHEWS: A new low from Dick Cheney.

...

MATTHEWS: "Let Me Start" tonight with this: The political right in this country has reached a new low, as I said. It has shown from the beginning that President Obama doesn't deserve the decency accorded other American presidents. His enemies have called him an illegal immigrant, a street corner con artist, a fraud, a Manchurian candidate brought to this country to undermine all we stand for.

Well, now Dick Cheney comes right out and calls him a liar. When a right-wing back-bencher did that four years ago, he was called out for rebuke even by his own party. Well, now what was condemned as historic bad behavior comes snarling out of Dick Cheney's mouth and nobody says to shut up.

Well, we can argue, as we do here, about the problems implementing the Affordable Care Act. But is this, calling the President a liar, the new language of American politics. Or is it a language specially treated for the country's first African-American president? Is this President of a lower caste than those elected to the office before him. Or do those on the right believe he even is the legitimate president of the United States, or that someone like him could be? Well, this we know, the top Republican in the country refuses to condemn the birtherism of his allies. There's even been lower-level attacks before like this one, but the fact that a recent vice president can talk openly like this tells us that a new ugliness has come to right-wing discourse.

...

MATTHEWS: So let's listen to Dick Cheney. Here he is at his current worst.

DICK CHENEY: We look at the mess that has been created out of "Obama care" by the president having said, You can keep your policy if you like it, you know, guaranteed, period. That turns out that was a lie. And he repeated it over and over and over again.

...

HOWARD FINEMAN: FINEMAN: Well, I would normally be reluctant to make the accusation of racism. But here's how I look at it. As I see President Obama's policies -- and I've been covering things around here for a long time -- the last thing he is, is a communist, socialist, whatever Rush Limbaugh calls him every day of the week.

He tried in the health care law, and largely succeeded, to steer a middle course between single-payer, you know, a government-run program, even the public option, and the Republicans' idea of vouchers only in the market. He sought a traditional American compromise that has been validated over 200 years between marketplace and federal regulation. There was nothing radical about that, minimal regulation of the insurance industry. And yet, these people on the right go crazy. They go crazy about it from an ideological point of view.

So as a kind of mathematical equation, I say what's the missing element here? What's the "X" factor here that makes them go so crazy? Well, there are two things. First of all, we live in divided worlds of politics and reality. They deny his validity because they deny the rest of the world outside of the world they live in, number one. And number two, I think race has to be part of it because they see everything that he does in apocalyptic terms. Why? What other explanation is there?

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