Hardball

By Ken Shepherd | July 21, 2014 | 8:50 PM EDT

During the Bush era, the Left were wont to remind us that "dissent is patriotic" and being intensely critical of the president was a hallmark of a vibrant democracy, especially on matters of foreign policy and national defense. But in the Obama Era, especially in a crucial midterm election year, well, not so much.

On the July 21 Hardball, guest host Steve Kornacki brought on Mother Jones magazine writer David Corn and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart to grouse about how Republicans who have been critical of President Obama's handling of Russia vis-a-vis the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the Moscow-backed political unrest in Ukraine. "There was a time when politics stopped at the water's edge. That disappeared, apparently, on January 20, 2009," Capehart whined in a segment entitled "Blame Obama First."

By Brent Baker | July 18, 2014 | 12:45 AM EDT

Amazingly, Chris Matthews concluded Thursday’s Hardball by playing clips of how President Ronald Reagan reacted the Soviet shootdown of a Korean Air Lines 747 passenger jet in 1983 – even conceding, after a clip of Reagan charging the Soviets with terrorism and a “flagrant lie,” that “he was speaking for the American people.”

Matthews – probably inadvertently – illustrated how Reagan, unlike the current occupant of the White House, understood his role as leader of the free world under threat from evil forces.

By Ken Shepherd | July 16, 2014 | 9:57 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton was positively compared to not one but two beloved Republican presidents -- Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan -- in a July 16 Hardball segment praising the former secretary of state's interview with Jon Stewart and thinking through how the former secretary of state should make her pitch to the American people in the time between now and November 2016.

Huffington Post Media Group director Howard Fineman invoked Ike first (listen to the MP3 audio here):

By Ken Shepherd | July 15, 2014 | 9:03 PM EDT

As my colleagues have been documenting throughout the day, both NBC and MSNBC have had their share of biased segments against Israel on their Tuesday programs.

So it was rather refreshing to see Hardball host Chris Matthews defend the United States's staunchest -- and only truly democratic -- Middle Eastern ally in his closing "Let Me Finish" commentary for the July 15 program. You can read the transcript below the page break (MP3 audio here, video follows page break; emphasis mine):

By Laura Flint | July 15, 2014 | 10:15 AM EDT

On the July 14 edition of Hardball With Chris Matthews, the left-wing MSNBC host continued his pattern of spewing convenient yet historically inaccurate facts. After playing an amusing, if not crude, clip of John Oliver poking fun at the recently unearthed love letters of former President Warren G. Harding, he joked, “is it worth noting that the presidential election of 1920 was the first in which men and women both voted thanks to the passage of the 19th amendment?”

Classic Matthews to forget that women actually had presidential suffrage in over half the states before the passage of the 19th Amendment. In fact, women voters actually had a large impact on the 1916 reelection of the incumbent and very first progressive president, Woodrow Wilson. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

By Matthew Balan | July 11, 2014 | 11:36 PM EDT

On Friday's Hardball, Chris Matthews and Howard Dean slammed the supposedly "lunatic" Republican Party for opposing President Obama's $3.7 billion request to deal with the ongoing crisis at the U.S-Mexico border. Dean likened the political stalemate over this issue and in general in Washington to McCarthyism in the 1950s: "It reminds me of the 'who lost China' debate...where one side is frothing at the mouth and finding communists under every bed; and the other side – including some reasonable Republicans...actually trying to run the country."

Matthews endorsed the former Vermont governor's take, and targeted fiscal conservatives/the Tea Party as somehow akin to Mao's Red Guards: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Jeffrey Meyer | July 8, 2014 | 9:45 PM EDT

Hardball host Chris Matthews made some bizarre comments about the potential Republican candidates for president in 2016 on Tuesday night. 

Speaking to Jeanne Cummings of Bloomberg News and Republican strategist John Feehery, Matthews took a swipe at Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and suggested “he's the Republicans' John Edwards.” [See video below.]

By Laura Flint | July 8, 2014 | 12:00 PM EDT

Chris Matthews was on a roll last night. Beyond erroneously describing how Nixon ‘signed the 26th Amendment into law,’ and outrageously claiming that the Boehner lawsuit occurs ‘in third world countries before they have a coup,” the Hardball host spent over six minutes bashing “the latest frontier in partisan -- that means Republican efforts – to limit access to the voting booth” in North Carolina.

The host showed pictures of student protests to lower the voting age during the Vietnam War and extolled how the 26th Amendment “was supported by even conservative Senator Barry Goldwater.” He then invited Denise Lieberman, the representative for the party suing North Carolina over the constitutionality of its voter ID laws, and Bryan Perlmutter, an activist for youth voting rights in NC onto the show to aid him in lashing out at the “intentional” new law to “disenfranchise young people.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

By Jeffrey Meyer | July 7, 2014 | 9:25 PM EDT

Chris Matthews’ disdain for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his decision to sue President Obama over his use of executive orders reached a fever pitch on his Hardball program Monday night. 

Speaking to David Corn of the liberal Mother Jones and Howard Fineman of The Huffington Post, Matthews maintained that Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit “is the kind of Mickey Mouse that goes on in third world countries before they have a coup because people were just sick of it.” [See video below.]

By Jeffrey Meyer | July 2, 2014 | 4:00 PM EDT

A Quinnipiac University poll published on July 2 found that 33 percent of Americans view President Obama as America’s worst modern president compared to 28 percent who picked George W. Bush.

Following the release of the poll, Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director and host of “The Daily Rundown” dismissed the findings and argued “these great and worst lists, they’re terrible...because they always reflect the moment in time.” In contrast, MSNBC struck a much different tone in 2006 when Quinnipiac found that President Bush was rated America’s worst modern president. [See video below.]  

By Ken Shepherd | July 1, 2014 | 8:46 PM EDT

You may recall how, on Monday's Hardball, guest Michelle Bernard held forth with her view that the Hobby Lobby ruling would help Democrats rope in massive numbers of women voters in the 2016 presidential cycle. 

Well, tonight, perhaps to build on that theme, guest host Steve Kornacki moderated a discussion segment featuring Democratic pollster Margie Onero and McCain presidential campaign alumnus Steve Schmidt centered on how both political parties were reacting to the case to build up energy with their respective bases and, of course, improve their fundraising hauls. For his part, Schmidt both failed to push back against any of Onero's misleading talking points -- he protested there wasn't any time for that --  and, predictably added his own lament that the GOP was at risk of being too socially conservative to appeal to female voters in the next presidential election year (emphases mine):

By Ken Shepherd | June 30, 2014 | 9:35 PM EDT

The Hobby Lobby ruling will be a blessing in disguise for Democrats, possibly this November but most certainly for 2016. That's the argument put forward by two MSNBC contributors on Hardball this evening, Washington Post columnist Melinda Henneberger and Michelle Bernard of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics, & Public Policy.

"I see this ruling as, definitely on the political front, being a good thing for the Democrats, because people are furious and thinking, I think it goes further than it does," Henneberger argued to guest host Steve Kornacki. Minutes later, Bernard saw a big problem for Republicans with women in 2016, if not 2014, insisting that Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" line and "corporate personhood" would be instrumental in locking down droves of female voters for Democrats in 2016: