UPDATE AT END OF POST: 'Limited Memory' Matthews gets Washington's birthday wrong!
A Gallup poll released Friday found Americans are most likely to say Ronald Reagan was the nation's greatest president.
On Monday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews was visibly angered about these results and actually insulted those in Reagan's camp as having a "limited memory" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, today's George Washington's birthday, by the way. You can call it President's Day if you're buying a mattress. Otherwise, forget it. A new Gallup poll rates which presidents the American people think are best. By the way, this is a memory quiz more than a historic quiz. At number seven, the current guy in charge, Barack Obama, number seven. Number six, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At five, George Washington, our first president. Number four, John F. Kennedy. Bill Clinton's number three. He's, by the way, the subject of our big historic documentary tonight at 10:00 Eastern. And Abraham Lincoln at number two. The greatest president in history, according to the American people with their limited memory, is Ronald Reagan.
Keep in mind, these are not historian rankings. These are people's. By the way, they should insist before anybody participates in one of these ridiculous polls, "Please list the presidents and then pick the best." Don't just go with the ones you can remember. It's like the greatest movie of all times was the one I just went to.
Isn't it interesting that Matthews had no problem with Obama being listed even though he's been in office for only two years and currently is the only president besides Roosevelt to have an unemployment rate above eight percent for this many months?
Beyond this, given the "Hardball" host's adoration for Clinton, would he have groused if one of the two presidents in our history to have been impeached took top honors?
As for the memory issue, Matthews must be ignoring the appearance on this list of presidents long gone such as both Roosevelts, Truman, Eisenhower, and especially Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson.
Does it really appear folks have memory issues when Abraham Lincoln comes in second in this kind of poll?
This seems especially absurd as according to Gallup, "Reagan, Lincoln, or John F. Kennedy has been at the top of this 'greatest president' list each time this question has been asked in eight surveys over the last 12 years."
As such, Matthews' anger has nothing to do with people's memories or their intellectual capacities. He just can't stand the idea that Reagan ever comes in first.
Pretty juvenile for a man that hosts an American cable news program, wouldn't you agree?
*****Update: Allahpundit at Hot Air made a good point I neglected: "Reagan probably got a bump this year from coverage of the centennial of his birth and the conservative resurgence last November."
*****Update II: Reader Michael Cavino alerted me by e-mail that Washington's birthday wasn't Monday as Matthews claimed. It's February 22, the anniversary of which is Tuesday.
Talk about having a limited memory!