It's so good to see that Pat Buchanan has the poor and possibly disenfranchised voters that the teabaggers want to see stripped of their voting rights at heart. Buchanan disagreed with Tea Party leader Justin Phillips’ position that only land owners ought to be allowed to vote, but only because it might affect rich people that rent as well. Buchanan also espoused civics tests to allow Americans to be allowed to vote, apparently ignoring the fact that his favorite teabagger, Sarah Palin, probably couldn’t pass them.
Someone tell me how this wasn’t just a cheap shot for ratings for Hardball knowing ahead of time that Buchanan would say something idiotic? He’s the crazy old grandpa on the set that they keep bringing back out there that keeps babbling racist and sexist nonsense that hasn’t been acceptable dinner conversations for the better portion of America for twenty years or so. David Corn did some good push back here but why MSNBC thinks they need to keep their closet, or not so closeted racist, Sarah Palin fan-boy commenter Buchanan constantly on hand and ready to trot out on the set is beyond me.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The Tea Partiers have famously said they want to take their country back, but no one thought they meant back in time, until now.
A small group of conservatives are clamoring right now to change the country`s voting rights. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips recently said that the right to vote should be limited to property owners.
Here he is on his own radio program.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JUDSON PHILLIPS, FOUNDER, TEA PARTY NATION: The founding fathers originally said they put certain restrictions on who got the right to vote. It wasn`t just you were just a citizen and you automatically got to vote.
Now, some of their restrictions were -- you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of them was, you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because, if you`re -- if you`re a property owner, you actually have a vested stake in the community. And if you`re not a property owner, you know, I`m sorry, but they -- property owners have a little bit more of a vested stake in the community than non- property owners do.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Pat Buchanan is an MSNBC political analyst. I`m not sure where he stands on property requirements for voting. David Corn is a Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and a contributor writer to PoliticsDaily.com.
Pat, this is a throwback. I mean, there`s nothing in our founding documents, certainly not in the Constitution of the United States, requiring landownership before you have the franchise, or the suffrage, if you will.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the right to vote, Chris, as you know, is restricted to the states.
BUCHANAN: They make the decision, and that`s why you needed a constitutional amendment to make sure African-Americans could vote and women could vote.
And I understand the principle behind it, but I`m afraid we`re pretty far beyond that. A lot of folks who are very wealthy and contribute to a community rent property, or they rent in places. A lot of retired people do.
I have thought that maybe it ought to be restricted to folks who pay taxes to the community, but can you really do that, when some young 18- year-old is not paying any taxes, but he is on some hill in Afghanistan?
I think you should leave it to the states. And I think the restrictions on the franchise, I don`t think any of them, realistically, are going to get through in any state.
MATTHEWS: Do you support, if you had the opportunity, a landowning requirement to vote? Do you support it in principle, if it could pass?
BUCHANAN: Well, no, I would not restrict it to that.
But the idea of owning property -- let me say this, Chris. I often thought when I was out in Saint Louis and I was renting, I don`t bother voting and stuff. I was having a good time. And the people that lived there and owned houses were really concerned about schools and about traffic and about -- and they really get concerned in the community.
And there`s no doubt, in that sense, they were a better citizen of the community than I was, and then I am right now, when I`m a property owner in McLean, as you are in Chevy Chase.
So, I think there`s an argument that can be made, but, as a practical matter, it ain`t going to happen.
MATTHEWS: So -- but I can`t get you straight. Do you like the idea? One last thought here we move back to Corn.
MATTHEWS: Do you think, in principle, it`s a good idea to have land requirements before you vote, yes or no?
BUCHANAN: Well, let me say this.
MATTHEWS: You keep -- you waffle.
BUCHANAN: Winston Churchill -- no, I`m not. Winston Churchill said it very well. Anybody who thinks democracy is the best form of government ought to spend five minutes with the average voter.
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "MOTHER JONES": Whoa.
MATTHEWS: No, he said it`s the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.
MATTHEWS: Don`t challenge me on Churchill. I`m the Churchillian. You`re the guy with Chamberlain. Remember that.
MATTHEWS: You`re the Chamberlain guy.
CORN: Pat, you didn`t say that -- Pat didn`t say that when he was running in New Hampshire back in `96 and beforehand.
But you came real close to endorsing this. I mean, Pat, you`ve wanted to take us back to the 1950s. But Judson Phillips wants to take us back to the 1750s. I mean, this is just nonsense.
And the funny thing about this guy is, Chris, he wants property owners to have a right to vote. Well, what about people who go bankrupt? Because he filed for bankruptcy a few years. Does that mean you get your right to vote taken away? I mean, it`s just nonsense and it shows you what`s happening with the leadership of the Tea Party.
BUCHANAN: It is not right. Look, the proposition (INAUDIBLE) is true, but the idea that there is, that the franchise is universal -- Chris, you had a little test the other day with (INAUDIBLE). Four -- they have four answers you had. A multiple choice, who`s the chief justice of the United States? John Roberts, Hillary Clinton, Antonin Scalia or Joe Lieberman. Twenty-eight percent got John Roberts.
That tells you, why are people -- let me ask you, it`s a valid question to ask -- why are people voting for the next president of the United States who can`t even name or don`t even have any idea --
CORN: You want a test, Pat? I mean, go back to literacy tests? Maybe a poll tax? I mean, what do you want? Maybe English only? I mean, where are you going to restrict it?
MATTHEWS: No, no. I don`t mind. Let me go back to Pat. Pat --
BUCHANAN: Yes, English. Yes, English only, I`d go for that. Yes.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go to your requirements. Your requirements are land ownership, sufficient knowledge of world events and history. Where are we at? You have to have some geography in there or not? Or where else do you need to go for education?
Seriously, Pat, I think you would have a very elitist --
MATTHEWS: -- I thought you were anti-elitist. I think you didn`t like the cultural elites.
CORN: Elite is his position.
BUCHANAN: Let me just say, I know -- listen, what I`m saying is that the idea of universal franchise, I don`t think that`s the greatest idea in the world. It`s what we`ve got.
BUCHANAN: And we`ve got to live with it. But I think people who put out these ideas ought not to be thrown out simply because they violate some ideological cannon of people`s political religion.
MATTHEWS: Look, I know people in our business, Pat, who I don`t -- I mean, on television, who I don`t think know hardly anything about America`s political history or politics today. They can express left wing or right wing opinions easily. That`s easy. That`s gut stuff.
But I would like to see a lot of people that I work with around this business and I`d like to ask them, just name the presidents in your lifetime. I think they would falter.
MATTHEWS: I think Sarah Palin might have a serious problem with some basic information. She was talking the other day about Ronald Reagan going to college out in California. She doesn`t even know his life, the hero of your party. I mean, the ignorance is so overwhelming.
MATTHEWS: How if you want a requirement for people to run for president know something, Pat? How about that for a test?
BUCHANAN: Chris, you`re making a very good point. You`re making a very good point, which is -- which is this. Look, I mean, do we get the best possible decision on who our leaders should be from folks who don`t know about anything --
MATTHEWS: Anything, right.
BUCHANAN: -- politics or issues? Do we? And what I`m saying is why not that these Tea Party guys when they at least are raising a valid criticism of --
CORN: -- also know -- they said they want the government out of Medicaid. They don`t even understand the basics of things that they are arguing for or against.
MATTHEWS: You had a press secretary, Pat, recently, a couple of years ago in your brilliant George W. Bush administration, which didn`t -- they didn`t want to know a lot of the facts, they had a press secretary, a president of the United States had a press secretary who had never heard of the Cuban missile crisis, had never heard of it. And she`s representing the president on national and international affairs.
So, I`m baffled sometimes by the people that are put in these positions.
BUCHANAN: But you`re making my point, Chris. If --
MATTHEWS: These plutocrats can find plutocrats.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me just tell you, suppose in 1963, after the missile crisis, somebody said, I don`t know what this is. And they say, who you`re voting for? I don`t know. Whoever -- they take me down on the bus, whoever they tell me to vote for, I`m going to vote for him.
How do you get the best possible person elected when this is what`s going on?
CORN: Pat, do you believe the voters you had behind you in New Hampshire and elsewhere could have passed all these tests? Were you ready to give them a test?
BUCHANAN: Well, they were committed enough to be out there in the middle of winter at a rally. They know what I was saying and believed. And it was --
CORN: OK. Wait a second, a lot of people do that.
CORN: Anyone who`s committing to have to go to a voting booth deserves a right to vote.
MATTHEWS: You know, they do things you didn`t know. They know what night the Knights of Columbus met. I`ll tell you that, out there. Pat, your crowd, though.
BUCHANAN: Are you knocking the Knights of Columbus?
MATTHEWS: No, I`m kidding.
MATTHEWS: No, I would never. My family has grown up in that group. But there were certain bits of knowledge, I`m being lighthearted here, that some people know and other people don`t know. That`s all. But I think you should know about American history before you become president of the United States.
BUCHANAN: Right, Chris, wouldn`t you agree that we want the best educated electorate we can with knowledge and understanding of issues and principles and beliefs and history? I don`t care who they are without regard to race, color or creed, but who really know something. That`s who we want selecting our leaders.
MATTHEWS: You know what I want?
BUCHANAN: That`s all I`m saying.
MATTHEWS: You know what I want Pat and David? I want to have a button with all this button communications that we can do -- go to your laptop, your computer at home, and before you vote, the week before you vote, or the weekend, sit there and push a button that tells you, call it citizen or whatever, that tells you how the people in your district voted, state Senate, state assembly, U.S. Congress. And it just tells you everything about their voting record and issues like life that you care about or foreign policy.
MATTHEWS: I`d like to have all of that. And by the way, with computer technology today, voting knowledge should be easy.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, we got to go. Property rights, yes or no, Pat? All right. Can I put you down for property rights for voting?
CORN: I think he`s a maybe on that.
MATTHEWS: Property rights?
CORN: I think he`s a definite maybe.
BUCHANAN: Yes, stocks are included.
CORN: I`d say no.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Pat Buchanan -- a little undecided on the issue of property rights. I think he`s back with John Adams on that maybe.
Anyway, David Corn as always, I know where you stand. No property rights, but intelligence rights.