Rhonda Robinson

Leg Thrills and Spine Chills With Chris Matthews, Part 3: Apology to the “Enemy Camp” at West Point

Posted on December 4 2009 1:00 pm
Rhonda Robinson is part of NewsReal's editorial team. As a columnist, Rhonda has provided readers with thoughtful insight into social, political, and parenting issues since 1995.
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West Point Barracks

Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, is not known for his tact, nor is there any need for his audience to guess what he really thinks during his show. Yet, after saying that President Obama had chosen to give his speech to the “enemy camp” at West Point, claimed in his apology that those who really know him knew what he actually meant. He obviously felt misunderstood.

My bet is that those who know him, as well as his audience, knew exactly what he meant. That’s why they corrected him. According to Matthews, it was a friend who is a former cadet that enlightened him about cadet conduct.

That’s nice. He owed the cadets an apology. In it, he inadvertently showed his complete ignorance of the military, their values, discipline and the role a president plays as a commander-in-chief.

Chris Matthews’ original statement:

“…I watched those cadets…but I didn’t see much excitement. But among the older people there I saw, if not resentment, skepticism. I didn’t see a lot of warmth on that crowd out there that the president chose to address tonight… He went to maybe the enemy camp tonight to make his case. I mean, that’s where Paul Wolfowitz used to write speeches for, back in the old Bush days. That’s where he went to rabble rouse… So I thought it was a strange venue.”

Then, obviously after being corrected to some extent, the following show Matthews offered this apology.


“…Let me just say to the cadets, their parents, former cadets and everybody that cares about this country, and those who defend it: I used the wrong words, and worst than that I said something that is just not right for that I deeply apologize…”

Then, he goes on to explain:

“My point was that the military up in West Point was probably a skeptical audience given his strong position against the war in Iraq, and generally more dovish image. I was wrong to make that conclusion based on the lack of applause or apparent enthusiasm in the ranks of officers and cadets last night. Cadet’s, one former cadet and a friend of mine just told me, aren’t suppose to show that kind of reaction to a speaker. He, a former cadet, reminded me that soldiers including those now in training to face the enemy, want wars to be fought effectively and ended as quickly as possible. I had no reason to assume that the cadets at West Point, or their officers, who are present last night are more hawkish than the president…”

Let’s say for just a moment that Matthews was correct in his original statement about the military being skeptical and unenthusiastic while listening to the president say he was sending more troops to Afghanistan. Alright, if that’s what he thought, what did he expect? Cheers of elation that they are going to get an opportunity to fight?

Matthews once again demonstrated both in his original statement his view of the military as the enemy, and in his apology, admitting he assumed the military was hawkish. Also, he thought it odd, that a “dovish” president would do just as a “hawkish” president did—address those who defend our country as the commander-in-chief.

Matthews gave nothing more than lip-service in his apology. While may no longer be politically correct to openly disrespect our military, he still managed to illustrate clearly the left’s ignorance of the military and their character.

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