Chris Matthews Trots Out Todd Whitman and Lincoln as Beleaguered 'Moderates'
Here's what MSNBC apparently defines as a "centrist" or "moderate" politician. A Republican, Christine Todd Whitman, who had massive conflict of interests while running the EPA and taking actions that benefited her husband and Citigroup in a Superfund cleanup case and who misled the 9-11 workers about the air quality at Ground Zero. And a corporate, union hating "Democrat" in the form of Blanche Lincoln.
It's the same game Andrea Mitchell was playing with Olympia Snowe this week. They just keep pushing that Overton window to the right every chance they get and pretend like these so-called "moderates" are a solution to what's wrong with our government instead of the very heart of it, which is politicians bought and sold by big corporate interests and doing the bidding of those interests instead of their constituents. That deal making Chris Matthews is so enamored with here usually ends up doing one thing these days, which is benefiting the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent in the name of "bipartisanship."
And it's a game that's growing more tiresome by the day. They run these kind of segments constantly on the network. Apparently they think their viewers are incapable of using the search engines or have no memory about what any of them have done for the last decade.
Transcript below the fold.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with an issue close to my heart.
Moderates are an endangered species in American politics in both parties. The latest example, a really good senator, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, has decided this week not to seek reelection. Her exit and her criticism of what she calls the toxic environment in Congress today has many people wondering whether moderates can survive in today`s polarized political climate.
Blanche Lincoln was a Democratic senator until recently from Arkansas.
And Christie Todd Whitman, a pal of mine, was a Republican governor of New Jersey. Both are moderates.
Thank you, ladies, for coming on.
I`m going to step out of the way, because I`m just a television commentator. You guys have ran for office, won election, difficult elections, lost some. I don`t think Christie Todd Whitman ever lost any.
CHRISTIE TODD WHITMAN r, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: I did.
MATTHEWS: You lost that first one for governor up there.
WHITMAN: No, Bradley, Bradley. Senate. I lost the one for Senate.
MATTHEWS: Bradley, that`s right. Tell us -- and that was a close one.
Tell me your views about the two political parties. And I know you want to hit both. Hit both of them. Why is there no room for people crossing the aisle, making deals with the other side, being close to the aisle in your own politics so that you can be one of those people that helps make those deals work?
BLANCHE LINCOLN (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, I will just jump in there.
WHITMAN: Go ahead, Senator.
MATTHEWS: Senator, you first.
LINCOLN: Yes, sure.
And, hello, Christie. It`s great to be with you.
LINCOLN: It`s because it`s all about politics. It`s all about who is going to win and stay in charge. It`s not about what are we going to get done and what are we going to do for the country.
And that`s why it`s so sad so see Olympia leave. Olympia was amazing.
She was always about hard work, solving the problem, and getting down to making a difference.
MATTHEWS: I wonder, Governor Whitman, who is supposed to represent a state like Maine, which is sort of a middle of the road state to begin with? Do they have to have a lefty or a right-winger there, when the state is neither?
WHITMAN: No. And most of the country is neither, Chris. You know that. We know that.
As the senator said, what we have had now is we have put politics ahead of policy. And it`s damaging. And it`s time for the American people to stand up and say enough of this. We have had it. We`re not going to allow this to go on anymore, because we have serious issues in this country that are not being addressed, because the senator is absolutely right.
It`s all about what`s going to get me another vote in caucus, what`s going to get me another percentage on my reelect, not about how do I solve the problems and do what I have been elected to do, which is represent the people.
And I think we have an opportunity in this election cycle with Americans Elect. That`s a new Internet way of nominating a bipartisan team that will be on the ballot in every state in the nation for president.
WHITMAN: But we are going to have to do things like that to get people to sit up and say, enough already.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the vote today.
It was very interesting. You had Olympia Snowe joined the Democrats.
OK? And you had, I believe, Bill Nelson of Florida and Manchin, the new senator from West Virginia, and my friend Bobby Casey of Pennsylvania join the Republicans.
What do you think of that? That seems to be getting back to the older way, where there was spillover.
Your thoughts, Senator Lincoln?
LINCOLN: Well, there`s got to be spillover, but there has got to be a conscious effort at really going through these issues and figuring out what the middle ground is, so you don`t just have one or two crossing over in that sense, but that you`re building a consensus in the middle.
We have got to change people`s perspective and make sure that they know that they are never going to get 100 percent of everything they want -- that that 90 percent is critical because it helps us move the ball from the 10-yard line to the 50-yard line.
MATTHEWS: Is a lot of this fundraising, Governor, where you just -- you know, the parties have to play to their base, what they call a base. It`s not always the base. It can best jus the wealthy people on the Democratic side, you got all the way on certain issues.
And you know how the fundraising goes. The same issues are raised in every fundraiser in both parties. You know, they have automatic ones. And then they don`t have to make any deals. I mean, I was thinking of the tough race of Claire McCaskill is facing in Missouri now, for example.
WHITMAN: You know, it`s about -- they are playing to the base. But the problem is the base is a small percentage in each of the parties.
And the issue that we have, the American people started turning off because they are so disgusted by what they see going on. That`s why independent registration is starting to surpass Republican or Democrat.
But that`s the wrong response. They don`t vote.
We have a 10 percent average voter turnout in primaries, which means that you`re leaving it to the very most partisan people to vote. And they tend to be the ones that are excited by the red meat issues.
And those are the issues that are not the things that are most important to peoples` everyday lives. They are all the social issues.
We`re not talking about the economy the way we need to. We don`t have an energy policy in this country. I mean, you can go down the list of things that we need to solve. And compromise has become a really dirty word.
But if you go back to our Founding Fathers, finding consensus is what it was all about. And why we have the separation of powers in the Constitution, why we are set up the way we are.
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Snowe, she`s the most important topic of this conversation right now. She`s leaving as senator from Maine and she could have won with 70 percent if she wanted to.
Her cousin Georgia Chomas tells "The New York Times" the pressure was beginning to be too much for the senator. Quote, "Social conservatives and Tea Party activists in Maine were hounding her at home, while party leaders in Washington had her hemmed in and steered the legislative agenda away from matters she cared about. There was a constant, constant struggle to accommodate everyone, and a lot of pressure on her from the extreme right."\
We were talking before we went on. If I were get elected to anything, I know I`d be a maverick, and I`d like to be a maverick, I like to go to into the cloakroom and says, if you guys don`t like me today, tough. You need my vote. OK?
That`s pretty hard to do, isn`t it, Senator?
LINCOLN: It is, but if you want to get something accomplished and that`s what you`re here to do -- I mean, we`re moving to politicians instead of public servants. I mean, you got to be able to stand up and say, this is not going to get us where we need to be.
MATTHEWS: You know, I think progressives love watching my show, I`m in many ways a progressive myself. I have to tell you, in many ways, 21 percent of the country calls itself liberal -- 21 percent. You don`t run the presidency or hold it for long if you don`t get moderates and a few conservatives to see your way in terms of who they think should be the president. You will lose every election if you only vote ideologically.
By the way, your party is dominated now by the right, 41 percent of the country calls itself conservative now, Governor. So that base is getting pretty scary for you guys, you moderates.
Anyway, thank you for coming on. You`re always -- don`t get mad.
Don`t leave mad.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Governor Christie Todd Whitman, and, Senator Blanche Lincoln.