Matthews: Liberalism = Caring About Peace and Human Rights

The topic was the disconnect between Hillary Clinton's support for the Iraq war and the fact that her coterie is composed of hard-core, anti-war liberals. In discussing it with guest Dee Dee Myers on this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews let slip that he equates liberalism with 'caring' for peace and human rights.

Here's how it went down. Discussing Hillary's inner circle, Matthews suddenly interjected:

"Here's something I find to be a mystery, and it just came to me, Dee Dee. You can answer it, you can solve it. When I think about the people who are really loyal to Senator Clinton, they're all pretty much liberals - and I mean liberals - I don't mean just on big spending programs at home, but they really care about peace, and they care about human rights, and they're very suspicious of foreign policy intrigue and overreach. And yet Hillary Clinton is for that. She was for the war with [sic] Iraq. She still is. How can she build a campaign for president on the backs of people who don't agree with her on the central issue of our time?"

For the record, Dee Dee tried to duck, claiming none of the liberal advisers Matthews named - Harold Ickes, Wolfson, Susan Thomases and Mandy Grunwald - were foreign policy experts.

But that's beside the point. What's interesting is Matthews' notion that being a liberal means 'caring' about peace and human rights.

Let's review the record. Who got us into WWII? Why, that would be liberal icon FDR. Korea? Truman. Vietnam? Great Society hero LBJ.

And who struck the greatest blow for peace in the second half of the 20th century by removing the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction? Why, that would be Ronald Reagan. And who has given tens of millions of Afghanis and Iraqis a fighting chance for the ultimate human right - democracy? Hmm. That would be George W. Bush.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.