Chris Matthews Compares Republicans to Stalin

“Hardball” host Chris Matthews likened the Republican Party’s quest to nominate more conservative politicians to Josef Stalin’s murder of twenty million innocent people.

Geoffrey Dickens has the transcript:

MATTHEWS: Coming up what happens to Republicans who don’t march to the right wing tune? Well they’re getting purged. This is Stalinesque, this stuff.

[…]

MATTHEWS: Chris it seems to me we’re getting into something here that I do think is particularly nasty. Chuck says there’s precedence, and there may well be, but here you see a party basically pruning itself. Going around and saying, “Well we really don’t like Arlen Specter. You go find something else to do. Go be a Democrat.” We see this with Charlie Crist perhaps being given the boot. Bob Bennett, a real conservative, getting perhaps the boot out in Utah at some point in this process this year. And then of course John McCain who was the Republican nominee for president last time around. All being treated like, well, you know, like tissue rejection, like “You don’t belong here.”

We’ve likely reached the point where pointing out the outrageous and stupid things that Chris Matthews says is akin to shooting fish in a barrel.  But I seem to remember him being a serious and likable political commentator as recently as a decade ago.  What happened?

And, granting that his show — once the crown jewel of MSNBC’s lineup — now airs in the middle of the afternoon to an audience of housewives and shut-ins, why is he still on the air?  I hear Ron Reagan’s itching to get back on TV.  And there’s always Tucker Carlson.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. pete says:

    But I seem to remember him being a serious and likable political commentator as recently as a decade ago. What happened?

    Simple, like so many liberal elites who have enjoyed predominance in the political debate, he has become mired in mediocrity, approaching irrelevance. That, of course, offends his exalted sense of self and he runs to his room and has a temper tantrum. Can you say Dan Rather?

  2. Pug says:

    Well, certainly Stalinesque may be a bit of an exaggeration as Joe Stalin really took out people he didn’t like.

    However, Matthew’s point is that Republicans are purging established politicos like Arlen Specter, Bob Bennett, John McCain, Charlie Crist and, now, Lindsey Graham has some issues. These are all moderate to conservative guys and long-time Republican office holders.

    Your next, James. The Republicans prefer a smaller tent and I don’t think you toe the line.

  3. James Joyner says:

    However, Matthew’s point is that Republicans are purging established politicos like Arlen Specter, Bob Bennett, John McCain, Charlie Crist and, now, Lindsey Graham has some issues. These are all moderate to conservative guys and long-time Republican office holders.

    Your next, James. The Republicans prefer a smaller tent and I don’t think you toe the line.

    While that has some merit, most of these people are being “purged” in the primaries. That’s happening to moderate Democrats, too. The parties are more polarized than they’ve been in living memory.

  4. PD Shaw says:

    pug, what’s the difference btw/ your use of the term “purge,” and anti-incumbent backlash?

  5. john personna says:

    What’s the big deal? I was called Soviet, in my crushing of dissent, here just yesterday 😉

    (I’m OK with Chris Mathews. I think part of his technique is to wander across positions, to give his audience chances to agree, and disagree, with him in turns. His caricature attack on “Wall Street types who make money for doing nothing” for instance is a little overblown, but fun, and close enough.)

  6. Frank says:

    Uhm, I don’t know, but you might want to consult a source for what “Stalinesque” means, because you clearly have no idea. Sad, given that you are some sort of a reporter, blog or not. Pathetic.

  7. Wayne says:

    When a “moderate” loses a primary, it’s a purge but when a conservative loses, everything is great. Exclude conservatives and it proof of a big tent. When a moderate wins, we must all get behind him in the general election. Not so when a conservative wins.

    What am I missing here?

  8. Wayne says:

    As for Matthews, give him a couple weeks and he will go off on a rant when someone calls Obama policies Stalinist. He will say he has never heard such commentary or comparisons before.

  9. What happened?

    Whatever caused that tingling feeling to run up his leg has migrated to his brain. Maybe you should ask Andrew Sullivan, perhaps it is contagious.

    Just curious, but whatever happened to, ahem, conservative Democrats like the Scoop Jacksons and Sam Nunns and Bob Caseys of the Democratic Party? The partisan divide is growing on both sides of the aisle — center not holding and all that — though some of you have your heads too far up your asses to see it.

    Maybe Joe McCarthy, uh, I mean, Chris Matthews needs to alert the media that there are Stalinists subverting the government from within.

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    But I seem to remember him being a serious and likable political commentator as recently as a decade ago. What happened?

    The coolaid is very strong and it will **** you up permanently!!!!!!

  11. Just curious, but whatever happened to, ahem, conservative Democrats like the Scoop Jacksons and Sam Nunns and Bob Caseys of the Democratic Party?

    Um, you means like Blanche Lincoln, Kent Conrad, all the Blue Dogs, etc.

    Ignorance is a curse, not a virtue, you know.

    By ANY measure, there is more ideological diversity in the Democratic party today. As the kids, say, you could look it up.

  12. john personna says:

    Matthews is probably a little left of center, which is enough to make him look far-left to the far-right … as we see in the last few comments.

  13. James Joyner says:

    Matthews is probably a little left of center, which is enough to make him look far-left to the far-right … as we see in the last few comments.

    The problem isn’t that he’s center-left but that he’s off-center. I essentially agree with the substance of his point but he’s making it in such a ridiculous, histrionic way as to make it laughable.

  14. Drew says:

    Websters: ideological diversity – mush mouthed, unprincipled, spineless, chameleon-like, bland

  15. Drew says:

    “Coming up what happens to Republicans who don’t march to the right wing tune? Well they’re getting purged. This is Stalinesque, this stuff.”

    Ludicrous on its face. Attemps to defend it, and those who do so are similarly described.

  16. Oh Bernard, your witty repartee is so devastating. My barely adequate psychic defenses are crumbling. Not.

    I’ve never before heard anyone offer up Kent Conrad or Blanche Lincoln as equals to Scoop Jackson or Sam Nunn. But keep telling yourself that while calling me stupid. Awesome stuff. Just awesome.

  17. Drew says:

    Websters – ideological diversity: spineless, rudderless, wishy-washy. Of a chameleon-like, non-descript and useless character.

  18. G.A.Phillips says:

    “Coming up what happens to Republicans who don’t march to the right wing tune?

    It’s not a right wing tune it’s the right tune.