Chris Matthews Goes After Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers For Opposing Violence Against Women Act

I'm not sure what's gotten into Chris Matthews' drinking water lately, but we're seeing him be a bit harsher with Republicans who come on his show and just try to spew their talking points unchallenged. Matthews and Rep. Barney Frank grilled right

I'm not sure what's gotten into Chris Matthews' drinking water lately, but we're seeing him be a bit harsher with Republicans who come on his show and just try to spew their talking points unchallenged. Matthews and Rep. Barney Frank grilled right wing bigot Tony Perkins last week over his stance on homosexuality and gay marriage, and this Monday, Matthews got a bit tougher with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers with her playing the role as GOP apologist for her party's continued attacks on women than we saw during his last interview with her.

He challenged her support of the Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act and it was nice to see him end an interview by telling her that her views are going to be pretty hard to swallow with the voters in her district, instead of praising her as one of the new, "great leaders" in her party as he did when she was blaming Democrats for creating "all this war on women stuff" during his interview with her a couple of months ago.

Matthews' other guest was Rep. Gwen Moore, who we posted about here, who is a sponsor of the Democrats' version of the bill, and who laid out very plainly why there should be protections extended to same sex couples, Native Americans and immigrants no matter what their legal status as long as they're cooperating with authorities. I think Moore made a pretty compelling case for why the law should be extended to all of these groups during this segment.

McMorris Rodgers on the other hand, kept attempting to take the debate back to the fact that there are no federal laws legalizing same-sex couples. I was happy to hear Matthews' response to that which was a similar one I might have made myself if asked and basically summed up with this statement when McMorris Rodgers tried to call those protections "a side issue."

MATTHEWS: Well, they`re not side issues if you`re getting beat up by your partner. That`s not a side issue, it`s your life.

Thank you Chris Matthews. I was happy to see him take her on and call her out for the fact that they don't want to protect women against violence because heaven forbid those protections might include groups they want to discriminate against. The GOP has entrenched itself to the point where they are so anti-gay rights and anti-immigrant that they'd rather tank an entire bill that protects women than heaven forbid vote for something which includes those groups and protections for any of them as well. And that in spite of, as Rep. Moore noted, the fact that those recommendations for those protections were made by those in law enforcement, the DOJ and the FBI.

I find it sad and disheartening to listen to the likes of McMorris Rodgers make excuses for her party being on the wrong side of bigotry, sexism, hatred and allowing for violence to escape prosecution if you believe the person the act was committed against is a second class citizen.

I know I should not be surprised by the fact that we've got women willing to make embarrassments of our sex by being willing to vote for issues that harm women as McMorris has done, but it doesn't make me any less disgusted with her ilk. She is doing as much damage to women making strides towards equal rights and protections under the law as hate monger Rush Limbaugh. She's actually worse, because she does it under the guise of pretending most women don't care if other women are abused and giving those claims credence in our corporate media.

Transcript below the fold.

MATTHEWS: Well, this week in Congress, women`s issues take center stage again with a vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act -- there`s an interesting title -- which some people say has been turned into a political football.

Democratic congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin is actually sponsor of the House version of the Violence Against Women Act -- she joins us right now -- which is similar to the bill passed on a bipartisan vote by the Senate. And Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state is a co-sponsor of the Republican version of the bill, which will be voted on, on Wednesday.

So let me start with Congresswoman Moore. It seems to me impossible for a woman member of Congress or any member of Congress to go back to their district and tell the women voters, I voted against the Violence Against Women Act. I don`t even know how you get past the title of the act and try to explain that.

REP. GWEN MOORE (D), WISCONSIN: Well, just let me say, Chris, that not only was the Violence Against Women Act -- not only was it not just a women`s issue, but it was a bipartisan issue. And both genders voted for it.

I think the extent to which it`s been politicized is because the Republicans really don`t want to follow the recommendations of the Department of Justice, the FBI, advocates who have learned from best practices that in order to be more inclusive, you`ve got to expand the bill to protect native Americans, to protect women in lesbian relationships, and certainly to protect immigrant women who cooperate with law enforcement officials.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask on the other side of this issue, Cathy Rodgers, Congresswoman, why -- what`s wrong with taking care of people who are involved in these same-sex or whatever kinds of relationships? As long as somebody`s being beat up by somebody, don`t you want to protect them?

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: Absolutely. And what the Republicans have introduced is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. We actually took some of the recommendations from the Congressional Budget Office in our reauthorization. We are committed to this program that has long enjoyed broad bipartisan support.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but why not these other -- why don`t you cover people who are not in a traditional marriage? Why would you limit it to just traditional marriage folk?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well, what I -- those are -- those are side issues that have been attached to this bill, and I think it`s very important...

MATTHEWS: Well, they`re not side issues if you`re getting beat up by your partner. That`s not a side issue, it`s your life.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: That is an issue -- there is no -- there is nothing under federal law that currently recognizes same-sex couples.

And so if we`re going to have that debate in Congress, it should be a separate debate from the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: But you`re a congresswoman. You write the law. You said there is nothing in the law. You write the law. You could write it any way you want. Why not write it to include people in these different kinds of relationships that could involve physical violence?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well, that`s a separate issue from the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

MATTHEWS: Why?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: We`re committed to getting it -- it should be debated separately...

MATTHEWS: OK. OK.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: ... if we`re going to change our federal law related to same-sex couples.

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, I can imagine.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Congresswoman Moore.

I can`t imagine going back to a district, rural, urban, or suburban, and saying to people, I can`t protect against wives against their husbands because I don`t want to do anything that suggests equality in gay relationships. And,by the way, I can`t even protect a gay person from being beat up by a gay person because I can`t even touch that issue.

It seems like the Republicans are so afraid to touch the issue, they don`t want to protect people. Your thoughts, Congresswoman Moore?

MOORE: You know, Chris, it goes even further than that.

You take the plight of Native American women. You know, two-thirds of Native American women who are assaulted on tribal lands find that these crimes are not prosecuted because non-native white men who live on native properties can`t be prosecuted because the tribal authorities don`t have any authority to prosecute them.

That was part of the expansion that by no means 99 percenters or wild left-wing folk, but FBI agents, DAs, police, the Department of Justice recommended, so it wasn`t just gay or lesbian people that they thought needed to be protected, but even beyond that, immigrants, only those who would cooperate with law enforcement who were being beaten by violent people who threatened and held over their heads that they were non- documented and native women as well.

So I think that the Republican Party is really -- they`re really ignoring the recommendations of a broad swathe of law enforcement...

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.

MOORE: ... who say that the bill is not worthy of being called the Violence Against Women Act if you don`t protect all women.

MATTHEWS: Right. Well, the liberal organization MoveOn.org is out with a new TV ad hammering Mitt Romney for his positions, his positions on women`s issues he took during the primaries.

Let`s listen to that add.

You can respond, Congresswoman Rodgers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MOVEON.ORG AD)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations, Mitt Romney. You`re the presumed GOP nominee, and all you had to do was:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Threaten to let our employers take away our contraception coverage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Threaten to let our insurance companies charge us more just because we`re women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And threaten to get rid of with Planned Parenthood, a lifesaving source of health care for millions of women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, this November, we`re going to remember...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... how you threw women under the bus just to get the nomination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What did you make of Mitt Romney`s performance, Congresswoman Rodgers, when he had to go get up against people of the further right like Santorum? Do you think he fought them or he joined them?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well, boy, the Democrats are creating a controversy here that doesn`t exist.

There is -- it is a myth to say the we`re waging this war on women. The Violence Against Women Act, I`m confident it will be reauthorized. There are women like me, Republican women, that are committed to it. It`s a very important program, and I believe that we can work out a lot of these issues that Gwen has mentioned on -- we support equal pay for equal work.

It`s been longstanding in this country and we will continue to stand up for that. It was the president who made the change through Health and Human Services on contraceptions. It wasn`t the Republicans. It was the president.

They`re creating distractions. They`re trying to divide America and really trying to distract women from the real issues that face this country right now. Women are concerned about the economy. They`re concerned about the debt.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What`s wrong with women, as part of their insurance, having the coverage for contraception? What`s wrong with that?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: What -- it was the president -- what I`m pointing out is it was the president that changed the policy.

MATTHEWS: He`s insisted that that coverage be there. What`s wrong with that?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: It was -- and he initiated the change. It wasn`t the Republicans that initiated the change.

MATTHEWS: Well, what`s wrong with the change?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: And it was...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You guys opposed it, though. What`s wrong with the change?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: The way he proposed it, it actually was infringing upon our religious freedom and it took on the faith of the Catholic Church and their beliefs that they should not be covering contraception in their health insurance plans.

But it`s more important to remember that it was the president who initiated this change.

MATTHEWS: Well...

MCMORRIS RODGERS: It wasn`t the Republicans that came along. No Republican is talking about taking away contraception from women. It is again the Democrats trying to distract and divide Americans and not talk about the economic issue.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I can`t argue the obvious, except that`s what you did so.

That`s so on the record, it`s unbelievable. The Republicans had a problem with the president because he said health care coverage for women should include contraception, and you guys opposed it.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well, but it wasn`t the Republicans who initiated any kind of a change. It was the president who...

MATTHEWS: Well, they never are.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: ... through rules, through new rules, through new rule-making...

MATTHEWS: I know.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: ... said the Catholic Church would have to cover contraceptions.

MATTHEWS: OK.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: And then if the president can take on an entire faith, an entire religion in this country, think what he can do for us individually. It`s scary.

MATTHEWS: OK.

Well, let me just tell you, I`m going to close this with the fact I believe women voters are rational. I look at the voting patterns of women over the years.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: They are.

MATTHEWS: They`re concerned not just for choice, but health care and education, child development...

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: ... their parents.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: All those reasons lead to a gigantic gender gap. Women vote Democrat for a reason.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: And they`re concerned about jobs and their future for their children that can`t find jobs.

MATTHEWS: Who isn`t?

MOORE: That`s true, Chris.

MATTHEWS: OK.

That`s right. We are concerned about jobs.

Hey, thank you. Please come back. I think on the issues of violence against women, I wouldn`t want to have to come back to my congressional district and say I voted nay.

Anyway, thank you, Representative Gwen Moore.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: And we won`t.

MATTHEWS: And thank you, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, Washington.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Thank you, Chris.

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