Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," threw out a couple of crazy comparisons as he likened the socially conservative Sarah Palin to shock jock Howard Stern and the rakish Bill Clinton to God. First up, in his "Hardball Sideshow" segment, Matthews claimed the reason the former Alaska governor was so popular on the lecture circuit is because, "just like Howard Stern the reason people will pay to hear her is that they have no idea what she's gonna say next." However Matthews outdid himself, just a little later, as he declared listening to Clinton's strategic advice for Democrats on passing health care reform was like hearing, "The Voice of God." [audio available here]
The following Matthews observations were made on the August 31, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Now for tonight's "Big Number." Sarah Palin is no longer in elected office but people apparently still want to hear what she has to say. According to Politico how many speech requests is Sarah Palin fielding right now? Over 950 speech requests. I know it. I knew she was gonna do it. Say what you will, but just like Howard Stern the reason people will pay to hear her is that they have no idea what she's gonna say next. Anyway a speech next month in Hong Kong to the Investors Forum. I'm betting there's a lot more to come. About 1000 speaking requests, so far, already in, to hear the former governor of Alaska. Tonight's "Big Number."
Then after a clip in which former President Bill Clinton urged the passage of health care reform, Matthews, on the August 31 edition of "Hardball," offered the highest of compliments:
MATTHEWS: Let's take a look at the former President Bill Clinton who really knows what he's talking about in politics, especially on this front, where he went through that Hell in '94. Here he is offering advice to the Left in saying this. Let's listen.
BILL CLINTON: I'm just telling you we need to pass a bill. It needs to be the best bill we can possibly get through Congress. But doing nothing is not only the worst thing we can do for the economy, and the worst thing we can do for health care, it's the worst thing we can do for the Democrats. And don't you think the Republicans don't know it.
MATTHEWS: That is the Voice of God sir, David Corn. That is the Voice of God because it's the voice of truth and experience. I completely buy what he said, completely. Because when you lose in politics you lose. And if you think you're gonna get any credit from the center, or from the right, or any of the commentators from that part of the world, for losing, you're crazy! The Democratic Left will be pounced on and blamed for defeat. So this idea you're waiting for the perfect bill or you won't go without the public option is suicidal.
Incidentally this isn't the first time Matthews has spoken of the former president in religious tones, as back in February 28, 2007, he compared Clinton to Jesus.
MATTHEWS: When I watched him [former President Bill Clinton] at Mrs. King's funeral, I just have never seen anything like it....There are times when he sounds like Jesus in the temple. I mean, amazing ability to transcend ethnicity — race, we call it, it's really ethnicity — in this country and, and speak to us all in this amazingly primordial way.