Matthews: Has GOP Sounded Dog Whistle Declaring Open Season On Sarah Palin?

December 6th, 2010 11:20 PM

It appears Republicans need to be read their conservative Miranda rights: anything negative you say about Sarah Palin can and will be used against her by the liberal media.

Such was made infinitely clear on Monday's "Hardball" when the host first teased, "Has someone sounded the dog whistle," and later opened a segment, "Are Republicans putting out the word that it's time to stop Sarah Palin?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Plus, has the word gone out among some Republicans it’s OK now to bash Sarah Palin? Where once was heard a discouraging word, now -- or seldom heard, now Palin is taking shots from the likes of Ed Rollins, our own Joe Scarborough, even Barbara Bush. Has someone sounded the dog whistle?


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Are Republicans putting out the word that it’s time to stop Sarah Palin?

Just before the midterm election, Karl Rove told "The London Telegraph" -- quote -- ""With all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits into the American calculus of what keeps me -- or helps me see a person in the Oval Office."

A few days later, Politico ran this headline: "Next For GOP Leaders: Stopping Palin."

A few weeks after that, some Bushes weighed in. Listen to this.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": What’s your read about Sarah Palin?

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: Well, I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful. And I think she’s very happy in Alaska, and I hope she will stay there.



JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: If it’s between my mom and Governor Palin, I got to go with my mom just in general, because she’s my mother.


MATTHEWS: Well, that was Jeb Bush, of course.

And then rising Republican star New Jersey Governor Chris Christie chimed in.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Do you think Sarah Palin could do it?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Be vice president?


FALLON: Be president.


CHRISTIE: Well, you know, who knows, Jimmy.

FALLON: Yes. Yes. Yes.

CHRISTIE: It’s an amazing world.

FALLON: Crazier things have happened, I guess?

CHRISTIE: I don’t know, but it’s an amazing world.


MATTHEWS: You have got to like a guy who rolls his eyes when he’s asked a political question.

And then just yesterday, veteran Republican strategist Mike Murphy was on "Meet the Press."


MIKE MURPHY, REPUBLICAN MEDIA STRATEGIST: I have been a critic all along, started on this show at the Republican Convention saying I thought she was a bad strategic choice, because she’s a poison pill in the general election, wipe us out, I believe.

But in the Republican primaries, particularly in the movement conservative silo, which generally will win the Iowa Caucus, and therefore get a lot of momentum, she’s very, very powerful, if she runs. So I think she will have a half-life, but she is going to be a terrifically powerful force, in some ways, for good. She’s kind of a polemicist and everything. But, as a candidate, she’d be a disaster.

And we will see if other Republicans start to take that position. Quietly, a lot of them do.


MATTHEWS: "As a candidate, she’d be a disaster."

So, is the word out?

Is the word out?

Well, Rove's comments were published on October 27 more than five weeks ago. Barbara Bush's jibe on Larry King was on November 23 basically two weeks ago. Ditto Christie's remarks. As such, these are hardly new revelations.

As for Murphy, the candidates he's advised include a lot of Republicans in Name Only such as John McCain, Christie Whitman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He most recently ran Meg Whitman's unsuccessful campaign against California governor-elect Jerry Brown.

Additionally,  since Palin was announced as McCain's vice presidential candidate in August 2008, Murphy has been an outspoken critic of the former Alaska governor making his castigation on Sunday's "Meet the Press" anything but surprising.

But that's not important, for this isn't about news with Matthews and his ilk. Palin's been their target for over two years and it's unlikely to stop.

Makes you wonder if the "Hardball" host really thinks she'd be a disaster as a candidate or if deep down inside he's concerned that she really could beat Obama in 2012 and he feels he needs to keep on beating on her to prevent such an eventuality.

After all, when you look at the attention this so-called disaster of a candidate gets from the press on a daily basis, it's really liberal media members that have declared open season on her and not Republicans as Matthews said.