Chris Matthews Repeats Distortion of Jindal's Comments Re: SCOTUS

June 30th, 2015 8:46 PM

Last night I noted how Chris Matthews took as literal a hyperbolic statement that presidential candidate Bobby Jindal made regarding the Supreme Court. Matthews interpreted the quip as proof positive that the Republican Louisiana governor really does wish to "abolish" the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tonight, the Hardball host repeated the attack on Jindal, sneering that it put him in the "clown car" by virtue of his making the most "juvenile" reaction to the Court's ruling in the same-sex marriage case.

Here's the relevant transcript (emphasis mine): 

June 30, 2015

7:12 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS, teasing upcoming segment: And today it's clown car Tuesday. This time it's Bobby Jindal in the driver's seat with the most absurd reaction, so far, to the gay marriage court ruling.

7:43 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: The roundtable's staying with us, and up next, if it's Tuesday, it's the clown car. Because it's clown car Tuesday. Right now Bobby Jindal is at the wheel. Wait 'til you catch some of his stuff. This is Hardball, the place for politics.


Gov. BOBBY JINDAL, videotape from Jan. 24, 2013: And we've got to stop being the stupid party. And I'm serious. It's time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults. 

MATTHEWS: If it's Tuesday, it must be the clown car. Clown car Tuesday is upon us. And the candidate who warned Republicans to not be the stupid party there back in 2013, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana undoubtedly had the most juvenile reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage of the 2016 candidates so far. 

Speaking to a group in Iowa, this past Friday, Jindal said there's now, quote, no point of having the Supreme Court at all.

JINDAL from appearance in Newton, Iowa, on June 26: So now we've got a Court that says we don't care about the meaning of words. We don't care about the Constitution. A reporter asked me about it and I said kind of flippantly, we might as well get rid of the Supreme Court and save some money. I mean, what's the point? They're not a judicial body any more. They've become a political body. 

It's one thing to disagree with Jindal's quip -- and to call it hypocritical in light of his 2013 "stupid party" lecture -- and to wish that his criticism of the Court had been a little more circumspect or less flippant, but it's another thing entirely to insist that, yes, Jindal really does wish to abolish the U.S. Supreme Court.* 

By purposely conflating the two, Matthews is guilty of the same sort of "juvenile" political posturing that he accuses Jindal of and, what's more, he downright insults the intelligence of his audience.

Of course, if your idea of insightful political commentary is Hardball, well, I'll let you fill in with the punchline.

*Of course, to do so would require a constitutional amendment, since the Supreme Court's existence is established/guaranteed in the Constitution, albeit the number of its seats and the nature of its appellate jurisdiction is subject to congressional revision. Of course, even there presidents have absolutely nothing to do with presenting constitutional amendments to the states for ratification.