Saturday, November 15, 2008

Matthews Denounces Right-Wing Hack's Hypocrisy

After MSNBC's Chris Matthews made the case that Barack Obama should push a bold program in his first year, Republican strategist Todd Harris counseled caution. Matthews responded angrily to this blatant right-wing hypocrisy. The dialogue:

Matthews: It seems to me that he's got one chance to get everything done. Ronald Reagan taught everybody that. Get it done the first year or don't talk about it. ... He's got to do it. He can't say, 'I'll put it off till after the year after next.' ... Do you think this guy can survive as president if all he does is do a little tax cuts and push SCHIP and removes the ban on stem cell?

Harris: Big doesn't need to be conflated with liberal. I think it's important that people not lose sight over what this election was and what it wasn't. What it was was a historic victory for Barack Obama. What it was not was a wholesale realignment of American politics to the left.

Matthews: You guys are so -- you speak with a forked tongue, Todd! George Bush won with less votes than Al Gore -- you talk about mandates. [Bush] came in there and did exactly what he wanted to do. He cut taxes for the rich across the board. ... He took us to war in Iraq. The idea that you should pussyfoot if you're a Democrat, but if you're a Republican go in there whole hog -- you have a totally two standards here! Republicans should take advantage of every victory and call it a mandate. Democrats should go in there and be very cautious. 'Gee whiz, I'm sorry for being here, I hope we don't offend the conservatives.' "

Matthews is right. For the past eight years, did any conservative counsel Bush that he was pursuing a hard right wing agenda as if he had won a mandate, when in fact his elections were achingly close (and, in 2000, actually involved the theft of the election with the collusion of the Supreme Court)?

The majority who voted for Barack Obama by a clearly more sizeable margin than Bush ever received want a change in taxes, diplomacy, energy, health care, war and other major issues. Harris is following the right-wing talking point that America is a "center-right country" and that Obama should not veer too far off of the course we've been on for the past eight years. No matter how much conservatives like Harris try to spin it otherwise, Obama pledged much more than minor adjustments to the Bush administration's disastrous policies.

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