Chris and Eugene and Jack Welch oh my: Embarrassment is watching your own side do it.
Last night, a repurposed Chris Matthews and two scripted guests were complaining about the fact that a candidate said something accurate.
The offending person was Candidate Romney, who had appeared on a radio show (last week). Matthews played tape of Romney's exchange with his pal, Laura Ingraham:
INGRAHAM (videotape): How do you answer the president's argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign if you yourself are saying that it’s getting better?The economy is getting better, of course, compared to where it has been. It would be absurd to say different. (The economy grew by 2.8 percent in the last quarter.)
ROMNEY: Well of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession. But the question is, has it recovered by virtue as something the president has done or has he delayed the recovery and made it more painful? The latter is, of course, the truth.
INGRAHAM: Isn’t that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast?
ROMNEY: Well, have you got a better one, Laura? This happens to be the truth.
Quite correctly, we liberals have gotten upset when Republicans make absurd misstatements about such matters. (The stimulus didn’t create any jobs!) Last night, the children got mad when Romney made this accurate statement.
Chris is a clown, as he always has been. But today, he’s a clown on our side:
MATTHEWS (continuing directly): “Have you got a better one, Laura?” Is he asking Laura? I mean, I like Laura. You know, I disagree with her, but I think— Is he like counting on her to give him a better campaign strategy?What an embarrassment these silly hired hands are.
ROBINSON: He’s just fishing around, you know? What’s interesting about that, of course, it’s a would have, could have, should have, right? And it’s a hypothetical. Of course, that’s his very case against Obama, and that’s Obama’s argument. Obama has made the recession worse. Obama says, “You know, if I hadn’t done the things I did, it would have been much worse than it was.”
MATTHEWS: Too much nuance.
ROBINSON: So it’s very difficult for Romney to say that Obama’s argument is ridiculous when in fact, he’s making the same argument.
MATTHEWS: Chris, last question to you. Why would you give away the store on the way to buy something? Why would you give it all away and say, yes, it's getting better? Sure. And, by the way, do you have a better argument for me, lady? Can you help me out here because I don’t have a better one?
I mean, give me a break! He’s admitting he doesn't have an argument against Obama.
CILLIZZA: I think Laura Ingraham asked the exact right question, which is, "Isn’t that a tough argument to sell?" And the reality is, Chris, it is. We know for a fact in politics is that the president probably gets too much blame, I should say probably gets too much blame when the economy is bad, gets too much credit when the economy gets better.
Romney seems to try to thinly slice that onion to say, "Well, yes, things are getting better, but it wouldn’t have gotten better as slowly if it wasn’t for what President Obama did."
CILLIZZA: It’s a lot more complicated argument than just to say things aren’t getting better. And remember in politics, especially campaign politics, especially presidential politics, simple is what sells.
MATTHEWS: Yes. You won the football game, but I would have won it by more points. Give me a break!
Romney made an accurate statement; the economy is getting better, although it’s improving slowly. Everyone knows that’s true. But the hands all knew what the script demands. They pretended to get upset.
This is now the perpetual shape of the game on Our Own Liberal Channel. Almost every word is pretense. Ironically, we watched Piers Morgan a few hours later—and Jack Welch was Piers’ featured guest! Memories lit the corners of our minds as we remembered the way they were—the way Chris and his regular guests once pimped and recited for Jack, who was then Matthews' boss and patron:
WELCH (1/30/12): Well, I'm a big fan of Mitt Romney, not because of his combativeness, but because of his intellect and his ability to persuade all kinds of people to get together and get the right answers. So I'm—I think he's a solutions person. And this combative thing is necessary during these primaries, which is sort of crazy. But he's more of a conciliatory, pull teams-together and get- the-right-answer guy.There was more. But you get the idea.
MORGAN: He's also, Jack, and I would imagine you would have been delighted by this. He's also turned the whole debate from his wealth and his success from what looked like a negative, because he looked so defensive about it, into much more of a positive now where he finally stood up and did what I guess you would have done a long time ago and said, “Hey, I've been successful, so what? That's the American way, isn't it?”
WELCH: Finally, he did it. It took him a long time. He's not a braggadocio guy. Candor like that doesn't come easy. Patting himself on the back doesn't come easy but he did it. And he did it in a first-class way. And he is a first-class person. And in doing that, he absolutely put the thing on the table. People might not like it. But John Kennedy was a wealthy man. Franklin Roosevelt was a wealthy man. Teddy Roosevelt was wealthy. We've had wealthy presidents.
We’re so old that we can remember when Matthews was pimping the viewpoint of Welch every night of the week. As he performed this nightly service, his salary went from $1 million to $5 million per year.
The “liberal” world just let it go. That includes people like Robinson.
You see, career liberals need good jobs at good pay! As editor of Style, Robinson savaged Candidate Gore in real time too.
Darlings! The hired hands were all doing it then! Today, though, things are much better. Today, they get to invent stupid claims which send thrills up our legs.
Romney made an accurate statement, saying it happens to be the truth. Treating his viewers like low-IQ fools, Chris Matthews got very upset.
The way the hired hands play you: Obama says this: “The economy is getting better. Except for me, it would have been worse.”
Romney says this: “The economy is getting slightly better. Except for him, it would have been better.”
Robinson knows what he's hired to do. “In fact, he’s making the same argument” as Obama, the hired hand brightly said.