Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Matthews Mangles Healthcare Interview, Pulls A Gregory

One would expect at least that Chris Matthews would not take any bullshit and talking points from Republicans on the healthcare repeal issue, that he would be minimally prepared with facts and information at his fingertips that he could recite. That's just part of being a professional. No such luck.

Hosting Rep. Bobby Schilling, Matthews failed to correct the Illinois Congressman THREE times on the BALD-FACED LIE that it'll be four years before anyone in an Illinois emergency room is covered: "For four years the uninsured aren't going to have it."


Matthews should have known that it WILL NOT take four years to extend coverage to:
  • Children with preexisting conditions.
  • Children up to age 26 to be automatically covered, as of the 1st of the year, on their parents' policies.
  • People with preexisting conditions and serious illnesses who could not obtain private insurance and are not eligible for Medicaid; they can be covered under the state's emergency temporary pool (until the exchanges are set up) for uninsurable individuals.  
These changes alone will ease the burden on Illinois emergency rooms of caring for thousands of previously uninsured and uninsurable people, TODAY. Got it, Chris? I ticked these off the top of my head. It's the kind of thing you are expected to know and be able to push back against when the Republicans try ramming their LIES/talking points down our throats.

In addition, Rep. Wasserman Schultz first corrected Matthews on using the pejorative "Obamacare," then tried to correct the Illinois record, that in effect 160,000 small businesses in the state are already profiting from tax breaks under the law allowing them to provide coverage for their employees. Matthews replied with a weird non sequitur about Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the Tucson massacre, that made no sense whatsoever.

The interview was an absolute disaster, well below Chris's usual level of competence.

But then Chris buys into the Republican's line, "we (he and Michele Bachmann) believe the President is going to become more of a moderate ... there's already some shifting going on ..."

Matthews: "I see it too." Oh really, Chris. Then perhaps you can tell us when the President was not a moderate. Was it when he cut those deals with Big Pharma and killed drug reimportation? Or when he killed the public option? Or caving to Traitor Joe Lieberman, sending Emanuel in to tell Reid to "take the deal"? Or his expansion of the Afghan war? Or appointing some of the architects of the financial collapse — Larry Summers and Tim Geithner — to his economic team? Or retaining Bob Gates? (I thought it was a good reappointment, for continuity's sake, but a conservative one, nonetheless.) Or in extending the tax cuts for the super rich?

I'd be fascinated to discover where, in this panoply of policy moves and appointments, we see the "liberal" or "progressive" President Obama. Please enlighten us, Chris. I'll give the President credit for initiating healthcare reform, against the objections of his conservative advisers. That was the ONLY spontaneously progressive impulse he exhibited during his entire presidency, to date. Give me a week or two, and I might think of another. To claim the President was ever anything but a "moderate" or, more accurately,  a Bill Clinton right-of-center Democrat is utterly ridiculous and completely inaccurate.

By far the most obnoxious recurring theme in Chris's arsenal of pet peeves is his stubborn animosity for the Left. David Corn must have the patience of a monk to shrug off the offending fictional term "FAR LEFT" every time Chris utters it. For the Nth time, Chris: THERE IS NOT SUCH THING. The "FAR LEFT" in the context of American politics hasn't existed in 30-40 years, dating back to the 60s and 70s. Not since the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Weather Underground.

There is no equivalent on the Left today to the militia movement,  the KKK, American Nazi Party, Tim McVeigh, Dr. Tiller's assassin, or Lyndon LaRouche. Not to speak of the growth, by leaps and bounds, of extremist Right wing groups as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and singled out by DHS as a dangerous threat until Republicans squelched the report.

There is no equivalent on the Left. 

So if you want to scratch around for that fleeting equivalence in the New Black Panthers (both of them), or the handful of folks in this socialist party or that, or the US Communist Party, be our guest — and check with the FBI. These fleabag "FAR LEFT" groups probably couldn't meet their membership drives if not for the participation of undercover FBI agents. The term itself — "FAR LEFT"— comes from one of  Chris's favorite sources, Bill O'Reilly, who is notorious for bandying it about. He is also a master false equivalence spinmeister.

I don't know if it's a marketing thing for Matthews, or what, but his numbers are not going to improve with his gratuitous insults smears of liberals and progressives. Nor with using Bill O'Reilly as a primary source. Word of advice to Chris: Try to shed your prejudices, stay away from O'Reilly, and take Politico and Krauthammer in small, skeptical doses. Best to keep your own counsel. Your good instincts will emerge if they're not submerged in all the beltway garbage piling up around you. And do not ever use Bill O'Reilly as a primary source!

Peace. But first ...

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