The craziness keeps gushing from Chris Matthews’ mouth like a waterfall. On Tuesday morning, Matthews was anchoring MSNBC’s coverage of President Obama’s third news conference of the year. (Why they didn’t get a real journalist to anchor the coverage, I don’t know.) While waiting for the news conference to begin, Matthews and an array of panelists were discussing the gun control battle that they recently lost. The exasperated analysts seemed to agree that the background check bill failed in the Senate because gun rights advocates were more intense and single-minded than gun control advocates.
Matthews, picking up on this idea, attempted to glorify the gun control crowd: “Let's keep reminding ourselves that a lot of people who are for gun safety also are for world peace, also for jobs, also for the environment. People who are for guns are for guns.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
What an inane comment. First of all, it’s wrong to equate gun safety with gun control. Gun rights advocates believe in and regularly practice gun safety. The NRA is the foremost organization in the country in terms of training sport shooters and hunters in basic safety as well as marksmanship. This debate is not about gun rights vs. gun safety; it is gun rights vs. gun control. Nobody is truly against gun safety.
Matthews wants to pretend that gun rights advocates are primitive beings who only care about guns. He’s banking on the hope that none of his viewers actually know a gun owner or a person who favors gun rights. If his viewers knew that gun owners are human beings with other concerns just like everybody else, it would undermine the image Matthews is trying to create.
The Hardball host is engaging in liberal vanity at its finest. It goes like this: I, the liberal, support all these noble causes such as world peace, jobs, and the environment. This makes me a better person than you, the conservative, because you only care about your guns.
World peace, jobs, and the environment are not the exclusive concerns of the gun control crowd. Liberals always like to claim world peace and the environment as their pet causes, but very few people actually favor world war or environmental destruction. In addition, many gun rights advocates are also for the jobs that Matthews’ hero has choked away through taxes and regulations.
Earlier in the same discussion, Matthews took a cheap shot at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the left-wing media’s new favorite bete noir. Alex Wagner mentioned that Cruz had called gun control advocates "squishes," and Matthews couldn’t hold back his derision: “Sometimes, I think that Ted Cruz uses the language of about 50 years ago. These terms he comes up with, they sound like the McCarthy period, and now squishes sounds like high school, about 1958.”
This is not the first time Matthews has compared Cruz to Joe McCarthy. He has trotted out McCarthy’s name many times before to demonize Cruz and other conservatives he doesn’t like.
It's shameful and pathetic, of course, but that's par for the course for the MSNBC anchor
Below are transcripts that show the comments in context:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: But what about the pressure from the public, the anger, you know, oftentimes the losing side of the issue gets its steam up much more than the winning side.
JONATHAN MARTIN: Look at Heidi Heidkamp’s comments to my colleague last week in an interview. The senator from North Dakota who voted against the background check bill. She said the calls to her office were overwhelmingly against the background check bill. If that's the case, why would she change her vote? If people in her state -- again, it's intensity. If they are saying don't vote for this, she's not going to vote for it.
MATTHEWS: Intensity. Let's keep reminding ourselves that a lot of people who are for gun safety also are for world peace, also for jobs, also for the environment. People who are for guns are for guns. And that's the big difference when you come to the voting booth.
ALEX WAGNER: The fact that Ted Cruz came out yesterday and called those people who supported, those people in his own party who supported gun safety reform squishes, that to me is a testament that they're a little bit more worried about this than they ever have been. I mean usually, it’s case closed. The fact that the conversation is continuing. I saw Joe Manchin this weekend. He seemed as bullish as ever that he was going to get something done. And I think that is a sign that the conversation has shifted, and that opinion has shifted enough to make the NRA scared.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Sometimes, I think that Ted Cruz uses the language of about 50 years ago. These terms he comes up with, they sound like the McCarthy period, and now squishes sounds like high school, about 1958.