BIDEN: I mean, youve got the first, sort of, mainstream African-American—Even interpreted in a fair way, Bidens comment is amazingly clumsy. It implies that Jesse Jackson wasnt a mainstream candidate in 1988; that claim is weird on the merits, and crazy as a matter of politics. (Jackson finished second in the 1988 nomination race.) And, in the context of a discussion about Obamas ancestry, the comments about him being clean and nice-looking go well past dumb, to the point of cultural tragedy.
BIDEN: Who is articulate and bright and, and, and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, thats a storybook, man.
MATTHEWS (1/31/07): I want to ask you, what do you think? Before Ill give you my view, which is Chris Rock—let me give you Chris Rock`s view. He has this wonderful riff he did in his act where he would say, every time an African-American guy comes out of college or makes it and has very good standard English and all and speaks well, isn`t it great, he is so articulate.We dont think Bidens a bad person either. But then, we didnt spend Monday and Tuesday nights trashing an uppity woman—a girl—for making a joke. Suddenly, though, after trashing Clinton, Matthews wanted to measure Bidens heart. Soon, he played the consummate clown, issuing a heartfelt plea to the masses—a plea drawn from his religion:
He says like, well, what do you he is? He went to college, of course he is articulate. So it is seen as kind of a patronizing term for a white guy to use about a black guy.
But, hey, I measure people by their heart. I dont think Biden was saying anything more than somebody of his generation would say. But what do you think?
MATTHEWS: OK. I ask everybody out there to do what Im trying to do, is look at this reasonably. In my religion I call it a venial sin. Im not sure it is even that. Im waiting on this. And by the way, he comes on this show a lot. And we like him to do that. And want him to keep coming back.Suddenly, a plea to be reasonable! Its a plea that doesnt seem to obtain when uppity women who remind Matthews of strip-teasers tell jokes and then giggle like girls.
MATTHEWS: Mike Barnicle, you first. Joe Biden said today something that could be taken, if not in context, out of context, as positive about his opponent—about his leading opponent [sic], I should say.Apparently, Obama felt that Bidens remark was somewhat offensive! Here at THE HOWLER, we laughed out loud—and Barnicle explained that Biden is most likely pure of heart. For the record, we assume that Bidens a good human being too. But then, we hadnt spent the past two days trashing Hillary Clinton. For the record, we assume that Clintons a good person too.
"I mean"—he is talking about Barack Obama—and he says, quote: "I mean, you got the, you got the first sort of mainstream African-American presidential candidate who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that`s a storybook, man."
And apparently, Barack Obama felt that that was somewhat offensive to, to his background. And what do you make of it?
BARNICLE: Well, knowing Joe Biden a bit, Chris, you know, not much. I think he is pure of heart. I think its just Joe Biden being Joe Biden, talking a little bit too much, talking a little bit too glibly. Thats who Joe is. I would hope that it wouldnt damage him in the long run, having nothing to do with his view on the issues. Its just that he is a good human being. And I dont think there is any dark motive—no pun intended there.
MATTHEWS: But, hey, I measure people by their heart. I dont think Biden was saying anything more than somebody of his generation would say.But we know someone whos roughly of Bidens generation who hasnt been uttering dumb racial gaffes. Her name, of course, is Hillary Clinton—and no, she hasnt issued cringe-making remarks about Obamas cleanliness. She hasnt done so for an obvious reason—shes smarter than Biden about such matters. She has cared more about matters of race; she has paid much better attention. But inside the club, inside the clan, the boys arent going to think about that. In the reptilian part of the brain, its been this way since we crawled on the land. Matthews—one of Jack Welchs Lost Boys—continued to work for the clan.
BROOKS (7/9/06): There is a difference in their [McCain and Giulianis] constituencies. When you look at whos backing Giuliani, oddly, it's the people to the right of the people who back McCain because they like the tough guy...Matthews was describing what voters may think—but trust us, he was tracking his own feelings too. He seems like us, Matthews said—as he began to slide away from McCain and over toward Giuliani. And other big pols dont seem like us inside this throwbacks reptilian brain. Heres the appalling remark Matthews made to Imus shortly after 9/11. Sounding much like Joe McCarthy (Irish Catholic), he spoke repulsively about Gore:
MATTHEWS: I'm not so sure that the people on the Catholic side who are usually pretty cautious about issues or negative about issues, like gay marriage, abortion rights, don't find a kinship with this guy that may trump all that. A familiarity coming up in ethnic neighbors in the big city. Being a big city mayor, that grittiness. That Catholic school education may trump all that. People say, I know he's had some mistakes in his life, but he seems like us.
MATTHEWS (11/2/01): He doesnt look like one of us. He doesnt seem very American, even.Astonishing. Yes, and disgraceful. But Matthews is a perfect nut. He draws on the worst parts of our Irish Catholic culture—the mossback portion that gave us Tailgunner Joe—as he makes that astounding remark about the looks of Gore.
MATTHEWS (1/21/07): You know, I thought one of the smart things President Carter did as a candidate...was, every time President Carter won a primary, instead of standing on a platform with a bunch of sweaty, yelling people—you know, the scene with the Democratic Party usually, a bunch of crazy people yelling—and you had to have the full potpourri of Democrats present on that stage or someone would be ticked at you—you would meet in a hotel room and it was amazing. Youd sit down one-on-one, it was a unilateral, with some anchor or reporter, a serious reporter. And every time you saw a primary, youd stay up till 11:30 to see who won, and youd see the president, the candidate, sitting there very calmly talking about the future of the country.As we told you, lets not be stupid; Matthews was talking about blacks and working people when he described the Democratic Party as a bunch of sweaty, yelling people...a bunch of crazy people yelling. But then, thats the ways Dems are seen by the NBC clan—by the angry Archie Bunkers from whom Matthews has emerged. And then, last night, Matthews did it again! Running his mouth as he so often does, he described the Libby jury. He spoke with Newsweeks Michael Isikoff:
MATTHEWS (1/31/07): Let me try this again, as a non-lawyer. They got a D.C. jury. They made a point of impaneling a jury that is not that highly educated, not that there`s anything wrong with that. But they are not advanced-degree people. Theyre not college people. The idea being they are suspicious of power, reasonably suspicious of big shots. So—and theyre all, probably all Democrats.Lets be clear. This is Matthews picture of black people—of people who live in DC. But as is so often the case on this program, Matthews pretty much didnt know what he was talking about. Isikoff quickly rejected his portrait. Im not sure I agree with your characterization of this jury, he quickly said. There may be some very well-educated people on that jury. And they seem to be alert. They seem to be taking notes. Theyre asking good questions. My sense is, this is a very sophisticated jury.
LEONNIG (2/1/07): It is very unusual for jurors to be able to ask questions during court proceedings, but U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton is allowing it as Libby stands trial...The 12 jurors and three alternates get to write questions down and pass them to Walton, who reviews them with the attorneys and decides which ones he will ask on their behalf.For the record, this jury had been described in the press before. On January 23, Neil Lewis took a crack in the New York Times, noting that [t]he jury includes a former reporter for The Washington Post who said his editor was Bob Woodward. But the most detailed description came from the AP. With apologies for the length of the excerpt, we thought you should see how disconnected from reality Matthew often is. Michael Sniffen did the reporting:
Some of the questions have been dead on, showing that the highly educated jurors—who include an art curator, a retired math teacher and an international health policy adviser—seem to home in on key evidence or testimony. Other questions have elicited new insights into witnesses' thinking, and still others have evoked a few laughs.
SNIFFEN (1/23/07): In a city where blacks outnumber whites more than 2-to-1, the jury has 10 whites and two blacks. Two of the alternates are black.Does that sound like the uneducated, Democratic DC jury Matthews described on Hardball last night? Question: Where did Matthews get his picture—the picture Isikoff quickly rejected? Well take a guess! He got it where he gets a lot of his notions. He got it inside his own head.
The critics chosen to serve include a woman who works for a senior citizens agency and said, "I think Bush was not candid" about why he began the war. There is also a retired woman who worked for the Air Force, Navy and nonprofit groups and said the administration was not "forthright about the reasons for engaging in" the war.
The other two were a retired math teacher who said he would have sent 500,000 troops to Iraq about four times the number Bush sent and a Web architect who said he questions administration credibility at times.
The jury includes a retired Washington Post reporter who once worked for Post editor Bob Woodward and was a neighbor of NBC reporter Tim Russert, both of whom are to be witnesses in the case.
Other jurors include a retired postal worker; a travel agent who only looks at newspapers for the sudoku puzzles; and a hotel sales agent who described herself a "master of all things pop culture, but nothing related to current events."
Two female jurors had voiced personal critiques of Cheney, a likely defense witness. The hotel sales agent said Cheney seemed like "a responsible but slightly cold man." A woman who works for the Health and Human Service Department said, "I'm not particularly impressed with a lot of his manners of being." But neither of them criticized administration policy.
GORE (videotape): I'm proud that I have the—the highest COPE rating of any candidate in this race, even though I have represented a right-to-work state. I am pro-labor, pro-union, pro-working collective bargaining. I am pro-working family, and I always will be. You can write it down and count on it. And if you elect me president, I will be veto any anti-union bill that comes across my desk. I guaran-damn-tee it!Gore expressed his support for working people—and Matthews, looking at all the ringers, could only think of the Third World. (Clutch Cargo is a cartoon character to whom Matthews often compared Gore.)
MATTHEWS (11/12/99): You got to go pretty far into the Third World to find tribal rituals like that one. All those ringers jumping up and down and clapping their hands, him doing those incredible Clutch Cargo gestures.
MATTHEWS (11/12/99) Quickly, you know, there's been a lot of talk about the new costuming of Al Gore. You know, he used to wear blue suits like I do—or gray suits. Now he's wearing these new olive suits. He's taking up something rather unconventional, the three-button male suit jacket. I always—my joke is, I'm Albert, I'll—I'll be your waiter tonight. I mean, I don't know anybody who buttons all three buttons, even if they have them. What could that possibly be saying to women voters, three buttons?How does my mind work that way? Matthews asked. The question is well worth asking.
DIMITRIUS: Well, I—I think that—
MATTHEWS: Is there some hidden Freudian deal here or what? I don't know, I mean, Navy guys used to have buttons on their pants. I don't know what it means. Go ahead.
DIMITRIUS: No, I—I—I think actually that Al's probably read the—our second book that's about to come out that talks about the different colors, that, particularly males can wear in their suits. We talk about how olive green, dark green is—is much more approachable, whereas, your dark blue and your black—
MATTHEWS: Right. Is that why Peter Pan wore green?
DIMITRIUS: Could be. Could be.
MATTHEWS: How does my mind work that way?
Lets face it; Jack Welch knew a live one when he saw Matthews! Years back, he went out and hired this visible crackpot, this guy who can make Archie Bunker seem mainstream. And Matthews plans to savage your hopefuls again. This time, do we plan to resist it?
BARNICLE, APTLY NAMED: But then, Jack Welchs Lost Boys of the Siasconset had quite a day this past Tuesday. That evening, Matthews continued to batter Clinton for all her girl humor, for the way shed been giggling like a girl. And that morning, Barnicle had turned up angry on Imus—angry at the loss of his party. He spoke in praise of the virile Jim Webb. No, this isnt Webbs fault:
BARNICLE (1/30/07): You know what Webb is, Don? Webb is the antidote to 25 years of liberals in the Democratic Party taking the party of my parents and my party, when I was growing up, before I became an independent newspaper columnist, taking the Democratic Party so far left that the people who need it dont recognize it and have come to despise it. Most Democrats, over the last 10-15 years on the national stage, you stand up and you put a gun to their heads and you say, What are the top two or three issues that concern you as an activist, as a partisan, as an official in the Democratic Party and they say, Oh, gay marriage—uh uh uh uh—choice, uh—stuff like that. But its not! But thats not the Democratic Party! The Democratic Party is war and peace. The Democratic Party is how to provide people with health care, how to provide people with college education, how to help people and not how to piss people off!The boys went on to trash Hillary Clinton—who had recently proposed expanding health care to all children. Clinton is disgraceful. Beyond disgraceful. Repugnant. Repugnant. Repulsive. Disgraceful, Imus stupidly said.