MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said on Monday’s edition of Hardball that he and his guests would be willing to help Hillary get elected in 2016.
If you’re watching, Madam Secretary, all three of us have brilliant ideas. All of us have great ideas. And I especially put myself in that group with Joan and David. We know how to do this, we’ll get you in there.
Matthews’ offer was reported on the conservative web site BizPac Review.
In the past, Matthews’ support for Hillary and the Clintons was lukewarm at best. In his opinion, they were much too liberal and “left-leaning.” In a telephone interview the Hillary Clinton Quarterly did with Matthews following the Gingrich upheaval in 1994, this is how we reported his evaluation of the mid-term elections —
If Zuckerman was wetting his pants with joy over Hillary’s comeuppance, Chris Matthews, a new-Democrat type who writes for the San Francisco Examiner and appears regularly on Good Morning America, was doubled over in pain. It’s true: Matthews often looks like he’s about to pass a kidney stone, but the day after the election his anguish was unusually intense.
Matthews regularly faces off against former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett on Good Morning America. On this particular good morning, we thought we heard Matthews proclaiming Hillary the Guilty One during his post-election tete-a-tete with Bennett, so we got Matthews on the phone.
“Are you blaming Hillary?” we wondered, eager not to misquote him.
There was silence on the other end. Then he sighed. “I’m not saying it. I’m trying to be careful. I’m not giving you new material to exploit. The Clintons hate me enough as it is. You gotta give me a break here. I erupt some times and I say certain things. If you catch me, you catch me. But I’m not saying it.”
“We’re not trying to ‘catch’ you, Mr. Matthews. We’re just trying to check out the story. Were you saying that Hillary Clinton was at fault for getting Bill Clinton to drift away from his more centrist positions?”
“That’s not what I said.”
“Fine. OK. You didn’t say it. But what is your opinion? Did she play a role?”
Long pause. Then Matthews erupted, angrily squeezing out every word.
“Bill Clinton is a grown up. He’s the President, and if he wants a left-wing, socialized-sounding health care plan, he did that. If he wants to let his wife do that, he did that. It’s still him. How are we to interpret this? Is Bill Clinton just a caboose on her train? The whole health care thing was too far to the left. In substance and in selling. Both. The old Eleanor Roosevelt approach, the paternalistic ‘we know better, we’re gonna do this for the little people’ stuff is gone. It’s gone!”
Matthews took a breath.
“I am absolutely convinced that the reason the Administration lost every close race, the reason the Democrats were lambasted, the reason every Republican was reelected is because if the election had been held last year, this would not have happened. I know that, you know that. The economy’s gotten better this year, so what’s changed? The year-long push for a socialistic health care program, which was the showcase of this Administration, which gave it its definition as a left-wing Administration.”
While Matthews didn’t have the stomach to say it outright, he clearly believes that Hillary Clinton — directly or indirectly — was responsible for the gang bang of the Democratic Party. The equation, if we follow his logic, is this: Hillary = Health Care Reform = Left Wing Big Government = Crushing Defeat for the Democrats.
Evidently, Matthews has changed his opinion about what type of “left-leaning” government America really wants.