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Wishful Thinking: Chris Matthews Says, “We Are Like the French.”

Posted on January 28 2010 8:37 pm
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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Hey, Chris, here is one way we are not like the French!

Barack Obama tried unsuccessfully last year to turn America into a European-style social democracy—and the American people didn’t like it.

Now, Obama is facing the backlash from trying to push the country in a direction that every American instinct rebels against—and has for over 200 years.

Chris Matthews, former Peace Corps worker, who has recently returned to his 60s roots over the issue of the Iraq War, actually thinks Americans are already there.  And he didn’t compare us to the British… no, Chris, tell me you didn’t go THERE…

MATTHEWS:  This is like—this is very much like France, this country…  It is not a left-wing or a right-wing country.  It rarely goes for the guy that‘s a moderate or liberal.  It rarely goes McGovern or Goldwater.  It doesn‘t go that way. We‘re not crazy.

We‘re like the French. We basically stay down the middle.  And how can he do anything but that?  He has to keep the progressives by doing some progressive things.  But he can‘t act like one, can he?

No, Chris, we are NOT like the French.  Despite the fact that liberals all salivate over social democracy and think the welfare state leads to a pleasant semi-utopia; in reality, the Paris riots by young Muslims in 2005 were a DIRECT result of the stratification of the French economy that inevitably results when the dynamism of the free market is restrained. You know, that “boom and bust” cycle Barack Obama says he’s going to “transform the economy” to eliminate?

Never mind that the 10% unemployment that we consider a crisis is the NORM in most social democracies… But there is an even more fundamental difference between America and France– the impulse toward assimilation.  As Bruce Bawer points out in his great book, While Europe Slept, immigrants to America are encouraged to think of themselves as Americans– and by the second generation, the vast majority do.  In France, a 4th generation Algerian Muslim is NOT thought of as a Frenchman– and neither will his grandchildren.

So much for European tolerance.

But the divergence from reality didn’t end there.  We are “down the middle country?”  Didn’t Chris Matthews spend at least 6 of the last 8 years railing that America had been taken over by “Neo-con extremists?”  Didn’t he call the Vice President “CHEE-ney” a “war criminal?”

Wasn’t Goldwater beaten by perhaps the most liberal President in American history, Lydon Baines Johnson?  Geez, Chris, didn’t you write BOOKS about this?

And now that the verdict of history has been favorable to Ronald Reagan, and the American people largely consider him a great President, liberals like to pretend they mostly backed his initiatives.  To hear them talk,you would think their disagreements were slight, and principled, and that they all backed the right side in the Cold War—but it’s the worst kind of revisionist baloney.

In fact, in the Harball State of the Union preview, Matthews and NBC/MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell tried to engage in the usual MSNBC fantasy discussion from the other side of the Looking Glass, presenting Barack Obama as a “centrist” because of the State of the Union excerpts released by the White House.

Reality reared its welcome head in the form of Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin, author of the seasons’s hottest political book “Game Change,” who looks bewildered at times at the things his co-panelists are saying.  MSNBC, interestingly, does NOT have this video posted at the Hardball website.

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. Joining me now is NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who also hosts MSNBC‘s “

ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS,” and “TIME” magazine‘s Mark Halperin, whose new book is “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime.” So I have to start with the obvious question.  How does he change the game tonight, Mark?

MARK HALPERIN, CO-AUTHOR, “GAME CHANGE”:  Well, I have great respect for the president and for David Axelrod, for Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs. I confess, I come here telling you, I have no idea what they‘re doing.  Based on the way they‘ve set this up, based on the excerpts that have been released, if they have a strategy here to change the game effectively I cannot discern it.

MATTHEWS:  Andrea, can you find a pivot point here tonight in the speech that will change the mood of this country from a kind of desultory gee whiz, why can‘t you get something done—I‘m blaming both parties, too maybe these guys can get their act together?

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS:  I‘m suspending my disbelief because from these excerpts, this is a Barack Obama as Ronald Reagan. He‘s on the side of the middle class family and he‘s saying, you know, let‘s inject decency and commonsense. He‘s the fighter—the fighter for the American people out there.  He‘s putting himself on the side of the people who are disgusted with Washington, disgusted with the lobbyists and the lack of transparency.  And he‘s basically saying, we‘ve got to change the game.  And I‘m going to fight for you and we‘ve got to take things and that the American people are decent and they are not quitters and I‘m not going to quite either.

I‘m not sure that this doesn‘t work. [DF– What?]

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know, Ronald Reagan was a Houdini.  He was able to be both the California guy who happened to work in Washington a few days a week and also president of the United States.  And so he could always talk about—he went to rallies for balancing the budget.  But he didn‘t balance the budget.  But he‘d be there at the rally.  We got to balance the budget, meanwhile the guy in the White House was him. I‘m not sure everybody has that talent.

HALPERIN:  I see what Andrea means, the Reagan stuff in here.  I see as much Michael Dukakis in these excerpts.

MATTHEWS:  You are being mean. (CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL:  That is so cruel. MATTHEWS:  That is capital punishment.  That is capital punishment. HALPERIN:  This debate about whether he‘s a liberal or conservative.


HALPERIN:  He‘s a technocrat.  He is a technocrat.

MATTHEWS:  Mark, Mark, you are vicious.  Let‘s take a look.  Putting him in the tank here, literally.

Reality rearing its ugly head on MSNBC?  Why, it’s a Massachusetts Miracle!

This is a great example of why you see the same guests over and over again on MSNBC shows– particularly on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, who draws 90% of his interviews, it seems, from the same pool of  10 left wing guests. So, Chris, now that you’ve had a reality check, get on a roll.  Check out this great book .

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