February 9, 2010

Chris Matthews talks to former McCain advisor Mark McKinnon and Richard Wolffe about Sister Sarah's flame throwing speech at the National Tea Party Convention this past weekend and her performance there is finally enough to scare the crap out of even Chris Matthews. He blasts her for war mongering on Iran.

MATTHEWS: I don`t know what to make of it. It gets worse, Richard. Let`s look at this. Here she -- asked her about what -- well, should Obama would be -- would it take to defeat Obama in 2012? And here`s what Palin said. This is getting truly scary. This isn`t just not knowing what you`re talking about, or pretending you know what you`re talking about. Here is scary thinking you know what you`re talking about. Let`s listen.


PALIN: Say he played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran or decided really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years because I think if the election were today, I do not think Obama would be reelected.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: You`re not suggesting that he would cynically play the war card?

MATTHEWS: I`m not suggesting that. I`m saying if he did, things would dramatically change, if decided to toughen up and do all that he can to secure our nation and our allies.


MATTHEWS: Is she a balloon head? I mean, Richard, listen to this. I`m asking the question. She said it would be popular in this country to go to war, to declare war on yet another country with 77 million people and a pretty darn modern air force to fight with. To declare war on Iran would be popular in this country. What world does she -- and then she puts the oath up, like to Israel. What was that putting the hand up, kind of an oath there, and bringing in Israel into this? What did that have to do with anything that`s reasonable?

WOLFFE: Well, number one, I think she suffers from living in a pre- Iraq war mentality, which is that, you know, you can go out and prove you`re tough by invading another country. Two problems with that. First of all, it ignores the fact...

MATTHEWS: Declaring war on Iran, she`s talking about.

WOLFFE: First of all -- right. First of all, it ignores the experience that we had in Iraq. Secondly, her brand is that she`s an authentic politician, that she is somehow bringing a sense of reality to the Washington dynamic. And here in this question, she`s engaging in some nakedly political scenario, role playing, as if it`s acceptable. It isn`t! It isn`t to regular voters. It`s not acceptable to foreign policy folks. I -- I -- you know, what can you say except she`s ripping off Pat Buchanan`s column, apparently.

MATTHEWS: Mark, I don`t get it, declaring war on Iran. I mean, everyone knows that Iran is a hell of a lot more sophisticated country than Iraq, a hell of a lot more fierce a war to take on. To go into a ground war of any kind, even -- I would think the most far-right hawk in the country would say drop a few bombs on them, knock out their plant, their nuclear plant. But the idea of declaring war and going to all-out war with -- well, I don`t know what to make of why she`s doing it and saying that would be popular in this country. Where?

He also asks which neocons are writing her material for her:

MATTHEWS: Who`s writing her material, Michael Ledeen?


MATTHEWS: Who`s writing this stuff?

MCKINNON: ... no accountability...

MATTHEWS: Randy Scheunemann? Who`s putting this stuff in her mouth?

Then he hits her for prasing Rick Perry's talk of Texas seceding from the union:

MATTHEWS: I think you`re really smart, Richard, to pick up this mix and match thing she`s doing here, a little bit of neocon, a little bit of libertarianism, throwing it all together, anything that works with the crowd. Here she -- I don`t think going to war with Iran would work with any crowd. But here she is saying something that scared me because it did work with the crowd. She`s chuckling here about secession. Here she is in that speech, talking about Rick Perry. Let`s listen.


PALIN: And then I started hearing up there in Alaska, I started to hear all this news coverage about, Oh, Texas is seceding from the union, the governor --


PALIN: And I said -- I said, I think they got that wrong. Texas today? I don`t think they`re seceding, they are succeeding.



MATTHEWS: Did you hear the applause she got on secession? What is this, the opening scene to "Gone With the Wind"?

MCKINNON: Well, listen, I...

MATTHEWS: Or "Birth of a Nation"? What is this with these people?

And then he follows with this:

MATTHEWS: You know, there`s some people, Richard, who believe that the further right you are, the more American you are. You can talk about another revolution in this country, you can talk about secession, and somehow, that positions you as more patriotic. The further right you go, the more patriotic you are. I heard that in that crowd, and that was pretty ugly. She`s talking to people that like to hear what she has to say, apparently.

WOLFFE: Well, look, patriotism has worked pretty well...

MATTHEWS: No, far-right ideology. That`s not patriotism.

WOLFFE: Well, no, it isn`t, but playing the patriotic card worked well in 2004. I just think this is a different time. Playing the anti- Washington card is clearly a winning thing. Mark is right there. But it`s secession and anti-Washington card, or is it two steps, three steps beyond that? I think what you`re picking up here is -- may work regionally in a place like Texas, maybe even in Alaska. But elsewhere, as a national platform? I can`t see how it resonates.

MATTHEWS: You know, Budd Schulberg couldn`t write better than this. This -- you know what I mean, "Face in the Crowd"? You know...

MCKINNON: Oh, yes, no...

MATTHEWS: ... coming out with somebody who has little hand things written on their palm, calling for revolution, calling for secession, calling for declaring war on third-world countries. And people are cheering!

MCKINNON: Yes. No, I was actually thinking as we were coming on the program about this would make a screenplay and people would probably reject it as being too...

MATTHEWS: You know, Huey Long wasn`t the most sane guy in the world, Richard, but he said that when fascism comes to America, it will call itself anti-fascism.

WOLFFE: Well, that`s an interesting mix here, what we`re seeing about being anti-government and yet also asking for a strong military, as if having a strong military has nothing to do with government. It`s an interesting mix.

MATTHEWS: Or maybe a replacement. This may be "Seven Days in May," Richard. Here`s another thought. Here`s Palin mocking those who believed in President Obama`s message of hope, making fun of the people who believed in the possibilities of this country to be more democratic! Let`s listen.


PALIN: This was all part of that hope and change and transparency. And now a year later, I got to ask the supporters of all that, how`s that hopey-changey stuff working out for you?



MATTHEWS: And how are those private e-mail accounts doing, Governor? Richard?


MATTHEWS: She likes transparency on the other side.


WOLFFE: I actually thought that was the best line of her entire weekend. Yes, it`s annoying she`s playing the sort of Spiro Agnew, Let`s rile them up, the Dick Cheney lines. The attack dog persona actually works pretty well for her. Does it reach out to independent voters? I`m not so sure. It`s playing to the crowd. It`s the red meat.

But as you point out, her Alaska position -- even on the political correctness question, whether she`s talking about Rahm`s language or calling other folks kooky, I -- I -- you know, again, the inconsistencies are enough to put a Hummer through it.

MCKINNON: Yes, well, listen, this is early theater. Barack Obama made a lot of mileage out of saying, I`m not George Bush. She`s getting a lot of mileage out of saying, I`m not Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS: Aren`t you an even-handed bloke!


MATTHEWS: Thanks, Mark...


MATTHEWS: ... straighten things out. Mark McKinnon and Richard Wolffe, it`s a strange day in America in politics, but people ought to pay attention to what politicians say because what they say may well end up being what they do.

Now if we could just get Chris Matthews to quit treating so many members of the Republican Party who don't sound a whole lot better than Palin with such deference. Palin put the entire dose of crazy that's coming from the extreme elements of the Republican Party out there on full display last weekend, but she's not alone. So when is Chris Matthews going to start asking Republicans who come on his show to denounce her rhetoric since it obviously scared the hell out of him? Maybe he could start with her former running mate who sadly unleashed her on us, his buddy John McCain.

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