Cradle Catholic Chris Matthews devoted a segment of his Oct. 7 Hardball program to furthering Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's attack line against Republicans supporting a select-committee investigation into Planned Parenthood. Clinton likened the probe to the select committee investigating Benghazi. Joining in on the fun was liberal Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).
"They're at it again. House Republicans voted today to form a new select committee to quote investigate Planned Parenthood," Matthews lamented, adding, "It's got all the same overtones of the Republicans' select committee on Benghazi, which House Speaker wannabe Kevin McCarthy has publicly confessed is partisan in purpose."
The Hardball host made these remarks shortly after airing a clip of Clinton on the campaign trail making the Planned Parenthood-Benghazi connection and grousing that Republicans were at it again with "a waste of time, it's a waste of money" that amounts to "playing games with people's lives."
To help him hammer home Clinton's talking points, Matthews brought Sanchez on air as a female Democratic voice to amplify the message that Republicans were planning on "tak[ing] away from poor women or any women an option which is not just choice on abortion rights, but an option of going to a place that will look out for their health in a reproductive situation?"
Of course it's patently absurd and demonstrably false to suggest that Planned Parenthood is the only low-cost game in town for poor women to receive access to health care, which is perhaps why Matthews and his producers failed to book an intelligent, articulate conservative to make this a genuine debate segment as opposed to a vehicle for pushing Hillary's talking points.
But wait, there's more.
"Aren't they kissing off California, which is a pro-choice state, just as an example.... Your state hasn't elected a Republican statewide who's pro-life since I can remember.... Why are they doing it, politically?" Matthews asked Sanchez, oh-so-helpfully trying to advise Republicans that they need to be less socially conservative to have a chance at the electoral-vote rich state.
Of course you don't have to be pro-life or socially conservative to believe that it would be for the best if the federal government got out of subsidizing abortion providers like Planned Parenthood altogether. There is a fiscal-conservative dimension to the debate which has nothing to do with your views on abortion. But, again, these are all arguments which the Hardball audience could have heard if only Matthews and MSNBC were unafraid to host a real debate on their air.