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]
CHRIS MATTHEWS: ...I think the governor is right. A lot of these lawmakers are sitting around reading Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' like it's the Little Red Book of Mao. (Reagan laughs) It's like all the information's in this book. All we have to do is deregulate – which is how we got into the problem, as the governor points out, in terms of the financial crisis. Everybody knows that we got into trouble because of deregulation. They say the answer now is deregulation.
Midway through a segment with Dean and Hardball regular Ron Reagan, Matthews bewailed the current political climate, and zeroed in on the Benghazi scandal and the border crisis:
MATTHEWS: What a joke this all is. I mean, I love politics. I believe the system works somehow. I still believe it. But when they spend all this time on Benghazi, and they spend all this time – you know, refusing to help the President deal with these 50,000 kids – which is not an immigration issue. It's a humanity issue right now. Short term – urgent – let's deal with the kids – make sure they're taken care of well. They get their fair rights.
It's not about the long-term, big questions. They can't even deal with the basic blocking and tackling of politics – which is cutting a damn deal when you have to, and moving on, like Pelosi – who is a pro – suggested you have to do in these situations.
The Vermont politician advised congressional Republicans to go along with the President's funding request. He continued by changing the subject to the economy, in order set up his "lunatic" attack on the GOP:
HOWARD DEAN, (D), FMR. VT GOVERNOR: I think that's right. I mean, if I were leading the Republican Party right now, I'd say, okay, Mr. President. I'll give you your 3.7 percent – your $3.7 billion. Now, in this bill, is going to be some border security. Why not? Then they can go home and declare a victory to all their friends. They have lost their way-
MATTHEWS: Why aren't they doing – you're a politician. Why can't they do that?
DEAN: Because they've completely lost their way. And honestly, there are a great many of them that are completely incapable.
Well, I mean, I've seen – I saw the chairman of the Finance Committee the other day talk about – of – excuse me, the – one of the committees in the House – Banking Committee, I guess it was-
DEAN: Talk about how the restrictions on banks are hurting the economy. The restrictions on banks are hurting the economy? How did we get into the economy? We got into the economy by not having the restrictions on big banks-
MATTHEWS: Of course!
DEAN: This is lunatic – this is ideological nonsense.
Dean then dropped his "who lost China" historical reference, which led to Matthews's Ayn Rand line.