Democrats and Republicans have the class to allow a President to deliver his farewell address without having it immediately countered by a crass and petty rant from a political opponent trying to settle old scores while issuing cheap insults. Not MSNBC.
Seconds after President George W. Bush completed his speech Thursday evening, MSNBC's Countdown featured a diatribe from Chris Matthews ridiculing Bush for picking up, "almost in the way a hermit crab does," some "scary" notions from the nefarious "neo-conservatives."
The condescending Matthews raged:
"He was a rich kid driving his father's car. He got to be President because of his father, let's face it, the same way he got into school and everything else, the same way he got his car probably. But the scary thing about Bush is somewhere he came to meet people like Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby and Paul Wolfowitz and Feith and the rest of them...
"The scary thing about Bush is he picked up on -- almost in the way that a hermit crab does -- another identity in becoming President....He became this new scholar of freedom, and he's going to spend the rest of his life selling this stuff. This stuff cost the lives of 100,000 Iraqis, it cost the lives of 4,000 U.S. service people....
"The idea that we have some brand new neo-conservative ideology of freedom that's going to bring peace over in that part of the world is not true, and he's still selling it, and that's the tragedy of the last eight years."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Before Bush spoke, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, Matthews had laughingly derided the suggestion the fact Bush reads books means he has "knowledge." The exchange at the end of Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: John Kerry, who's not good at telling jokes, a couple of years ago, told a joke about, "If you don't study at school, you end up in Iraq," and that was misconstrued by his critics, like Senator Clinton, to mean you'll be drafted. What he meant, it was clearly what he meant to say was, "If you don't study, if you don't have intellectual curiosity, you don't understand the world, you make mistakes like taking America into an Islamic country and become an army of occupation." Was his lack of curiosity and interest in subjects like the Middle East the biggest problem of this President, he lacked curiosity about what he was doing?
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: I don't know that I think that's true. I mean, President Bush, in fact, has been a big reader, he says, and I believe him, that he's read a lot of history, but I'm not sure-
[LAUGHTER FROM OTHER GUESTS: ROGER SIMON AND BOB SHRUM]
MATTHEWS: You can hear the laughter because he said he read the books, but is there any evidence of knowledge?
© Janet Crain
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