Imagine if you will, it was the best of days–it was the worst of days. A labor union is paying a man (who we will now refer to as Lefty) to protest a right wing extremist group…or something.
Lefty and several of his comrades are riding in a sweet Greyhound bus on the way to the protest. Sure his flask is already empty, but he still has half a pack of Kool menthol cigarettes and a full can of Red Bull. Lefty is riding high on a whiskey, tobacco and sugar buzz. He feels unstoppable.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, Tabitha Hale of FreedomWorks is just wrapping up her lunch hour Bible Study group. She looks out the window and sees an old lady, struggling to cross the street. Tabitha runs outside immediately to help the old spinster. How could she not? It is her way.
Presidents of the United States sit in a unique political position. Unlike their contemporaries on Capitol Hill, presidents have a national constituency. Nancy Pelosi can continue getting elected as the representative of California’s 8th Congressional District because she embodies the values of that far left constituency. Presidential candidates, on the other hand, have to appeal to a much broader electorate.
It is for this reason that President Obama has been forced to moderate somewhat since the Republican victories in November. His most deeply felt convictions pull him in one direction, decisively left. But another conviction restrains him, the desire for re-election. The results of 2010, which Obama has acknowledged as a “shellacking,” surely affected his choice to compromise with House Republicans on an extension of present tax rates. It wasn’t much of a compromise. But it was far more than Obama’s left-wing base would have conceded.
The ongoing union protests against Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin have inspired comparisons to the Tea Party movement. Apparently, for some commentators, people at a capitol building holding signs is inherently “populist.” However, beyond the superficial similarity of people protesting, there is nothing these union demonstrations have in common with the Tea Party. Quite the contrary, the unrest in Wisconsin is the antithesis of everything the Tea Party stands for.
The Nation’s Johann Hari acknowledges this. Rather than compare the events in Wisconsin to the Tea Party movement, Hari plainly states the contrast.
Imagine a parallel universe where the Great Crash of 2008 was followed by a Tea Party of a very different kind. Enraged citizens gather in every city, week after week—to demand the government finally regulate the behavior of corporations and the superrich, and force them to start paying taxes. The protesters shut down the shops and offices of the companies that have most aggressively ripped off the country. The swelling movement is made up of everyone from teenagers to pensioners. They surround branches of the banks that caused this crash and force them to close, with banners saying, You Caused This Crisis. Now YOU Pay.
The only reason anybody even knows who Chris Matthews is today, is that his show, Hardball, became appointment viewing during the Clinton/Lewinski scandal. Matthews was interesting because he was a voice from the Left who was willing to speak the truth and pierce the spin and dissembling of the Clintonistas.
How times have changed. Now, with a “Special Hardball Documetary: Bill Clinton, President of the Wolrd” (no, I’m not kidding) Matthews atones for his previous attempt at independent thinking.
Eager to erase his non-orthodox past (which even earned him a stint guest hosting for Rush Limbaugh) Matthews gushes that the impeached President is more popular than Winston Churchill (in Matthew’s poll of 1.)
Here’s what he said on Morning Joe in the day leading up to the unveiling of his fanboy hour:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: “You know, Churchill’s huge in this country and he’s 70-30 back in England, and Nixon is probably 20-80 here, but in France he’s about 60-40. You know, he’s 100-0 around the world, Bill Clinton…”
I guess they left Sudanese pharmaceutical manufacturers out of that poll, whose numbers Matthews obviously pulled out of his… whatever.
On a February 8th installment of “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” Matthews introduced a new media trend. His guests, Phillip Dennis of the Texas Tea Party and Matt Kibbe from FreedomWorks, were on the show to discuss the strength of the Tea Party within the new Congress, but the first question Matthews asks after introducing them is whether or not they believe Barack Obama is a Muslim. Although Phillip Dennis clearly stated that he was disinterested in Obama’s religious identity, Matthews spends the first four minutes of the interview sparring with him in an attempt to unearth some form of conspiratorial view.