Chris Matthews Celebrates W. Post Column Calling Bush, 'Lawless and Reckless'

Last night viewers of MSNBC's Hardball were greeted with this jarring intro from Chris Matthews: "The country thought Bush was a pleasant, down to earth guy who would not rock the boat. Instead, swayed by some inner impulse, or the influence of Dick Cheney, he has proved to be lawless and reckless. He started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt, and repeatedly defied the Constitution,' the words today of David Broder, the country's premier political reporter. Let's play Hardball." Matthews celebrated Broder's Washington Post column as Hardball highlighted it not once but three times.

David Shuster just a few minutes later: "Today, the dean of the Washington political press corps, the Washington Post's David Broder wrote that President Bush, quote, 'has proved to be lawless and reckless. He started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt, and repeatedly defied the Constitution."

Then near the end of the show, in a panel discussion, Matthews brought it up one more time to Broder's Post colleague Eugene Robinson:

Matthews: "Speaking of torture, speaking of waterboarding, one of the most non-partisan, straightest reporters there is, David Broder, he even keeps away socially from people in politics so he can be a straight reporter, here is what he said in his column today, and I want Eugene to respond to your colleague. I've never seen Broder talk like this. It's almost, well it reminds me of Walter Cronkite saying we can't win the war in Iraq, in Vietnam, we're not winning it, in 1968. Quote: ‘The country thought Bush was a pleasant, down-to-earth guy who would not rock the boat. Instead, swayed by some inner impulse, or the influence of Dick Cheney, he has proved to be lawless and reckless. He started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt, and repeatedly defied the Constitution.' This is, this is straight-laced David Broder, the dean of Washington correspondents. What do you make of your colleague, Eugene?"

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: "That is very, that is very rare for Broder to come out, you know, that strongly and that definitively on a point like that. I think, I know that David has been frustrated recently, and I think saddened by the kind of polarization that we`ve seen in American politics. And, and you know, part of the point of the column, really, the main point of the column I think was the, the resurgence of a center that makes some sort of sense and tries to find some sort of consensus..."

Matthews: "Yes, he was looking at the bright side."

Robinson: "...on really important issues. But, but that, that line about reckless and lawless, that, that was quite something, quite something."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.