On last night's Hardball, host Chris Matthews led a lengthy discussion about Bill Clinton's weekend comments noting that conservatives are leveling baseless and outrageous attacks on Barack Obama, just as they did to him during the 1990s. That isn't particularly surprising; Chris Matthews is obsessed with the Clintons, and even more obsessed with anything that allows him to bring up the Lewinsky story.
But in dismissing Clinton's comments about the "vast right-wing conspiracy" working against him in the 1990s, Matthews ignored a key part of what Clinton said. Matthews reacted throughout the show as though Clinton had blamed his relationship with Monica Lewinsky on the right-wingers. Here's Matthews:
Do you remember when Hillary Clinton said the Monica Lewinsky story was a frame-up, a conspiracy by the right to make her husband look like he had a sexual entanglement with the young White House staffer? Well, now Bill Clinton said that conspiracy of the right continues. Is he trying to spin away his scandal by identifying himself with President Obama? ... Bill Clinton that says the conspiracy that sort of created the Monica mess for him is still at large and is going after Obama. ... Pat Buchanan, your thoughts about this "vast right- wing conspiracy" which Hillary Clinton blamed for the trouble her husband got in. I don't buy that. I think he got into his own trouble.
And so on. Now, here's the clip from Sunday's Meet the Press that Matthews played during his show:
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: Your wife famously talked about the "vast right- wing conspiracy" targeting you. As you look at this opposition on the right to President Obama, is it still there?
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, you bet. Sure it is. It's not as strong as it was because America has changed demographically, but it's as virulent as it was. I mean, they're saying things about him -- you know, it's like when they accused me of murder and all that stuff they did.
That last part -- the part where Clinton points out that conservatives accused him of murder -- went completely ignored by Matthews. Just pretended it didn't exist, so he could focus on Lewinsky, and mock Clinton for saying he was wrongly accused.
What makes Matthews' disappearance of the bogus murder allegations all the more absurd is that those allegations were made, among other places, on Chris Matthews' own television show.
Here's an exchange between Matthews and Gennifer Flowers from the August 2, 1999 edition of Hardball:
MATTHEWS: Now what do you think of Hillary's sort of role here in this role of offering herself up as the therapy nurse, and he's the jade--juvenile delinquent from the troubled background, and she's looking out for him all these years, and she ought to get rewarded for that with a Senate seat?
Ms. FLOWERS: Well, in the first place, I--you know, I hope that she does not succeed at becoming a United States senator from New York. I think that would be a travesty. We've had enough of these people, these criminals, these liars, these murderers. We need to get them out of political office, please.
Ms. FLOWERS: I--I--well, there is a Clinton death list if anyone would like to go to my Web site and--and take a look at it.
MATTHEWS: Well, we have your Web site here, www.genniferflowers.com. But what will they find if they go there in terms of murder? I didn't know that one.
Ms. FLOWERS: Well, there are--there are a number of deaths associated with Bill Clinton and the--and--and his administration and his operatives. And--and there's a--there--I would just suggest that they go on and take a look at it, because...
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that the president ordered the killing of anyone?
Ms. FLOWERS: I believe that he did, and I believe that I wouldn't...
MATTHEWS: In what case?
Ms. FLOWERS: ...I believe that I wouldn't be sitting here talking with you today had I not become high profile, as I did. Even though I didn't do it on purpose, it saved my life.
MATTHEWS: And who did he try to kill that you know of? Give me one hard case.
Ms. FLOWERS: Look--well, I would tell you that Jerry Parks, who was the head of his security when he was involved in the campaign, was shot five times and on a major thoroughfare in Arkansas because, according to his son, he had claimed to have videos and photographs of Bill Clinton with other women, as well as Hillary Clinton.
MATTHEWS: Right. But you don't know there's any connection.
Ms. FLOWERS: I don't know for--I didn't hear Bill get on the phone and call and place the order to have this man killed, no.
MATTHEWS: Well, that's not--you sort of need evidence like that to accuse even this guy, your--a guy you don't like, perhaps, of murder, don't you?
Ms. FLOWERS: Well, I--well, I think if it looks like a chicken and walks like a chicken, perhaps it's a chicken. I mean, come on.
MATTHEWS: Well, perhaps, perhaps.
Chris Matthews knows damn well there were, as Bill Clinton says, a bunch of right-wingers running around accusing him of murder and making other ridiculous and false claims. Matthews knows this happened because he played a key role in promoting this crap.
This isn't really a surprise, of course. Matthews has long been a key practitioner of the media's Clinton Rules (Rule Number 1: You can say anything you want, no matter how false, as long as you say it about the Clintons. Rule Number 2: If any allegation against a Clinton turns out to be true, you behave as though all allegations have been proven true....)
I'm very confused.
Last week the Post's Paul Kane reported that Dems weren't landing as much Wall Street donor cash, in part because there was a "de facto boycott" of the Democratic Party by wealthy donors. Why? Because they were turned off by the party's anti-big business rhetoric. (Too "antagonistic.")
At the time I noted my surprise since I haven't been hearing any kind of populist-driven anti-business rhetoric coming out of the White House or Congress. And indeed, Kane himself didn't provide any quotes to back up his claim about the supposed big business bashing that Democrats were doing.
But the real confusion comes in the form of a new Politico article, which claims Democrats, and especially Sen. Chuck Schumer, are drowning in Wall Street money. And Dems are positively lapping Republicans in terms of cashing Wall Street checks.
Wall Street money rains on Chuck Schumer
Note this passage [emphasis added]:
Of the $10.6 million the [financial] industry has given to sitting senators this year, more than $7.7 million has gone to Democrats.
Maybe Kane and the Post could update the report about that Wall Street "boycott" of the Democratic Party.
During a discussion on FoxNews.com's Freedom Watch, senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano claimed that the White House is taking "an aggressive role in local politics" and wondered if "secession movements" are the answer to maintaining "freedom." Guest Lew Rockwell - a regular on FoxNews.com - said that "we need to return to the original American principles of secession, of nullification, and of interposition."
What far-right bloggers lack in common decency them make up for in blinding ignorance. And FDL's right, this is just beyond belief, even for the morally-challenged GOP blogosphere.
The blogger is Dan Riehl and his twisted premise about the census worker who was recently tortured to death in Kentucky and was found with "fed" scrawled across his chest, is this:
Was Census Worker Bill Sparkman A Child Predator?
Classy the way Riehl puts the dead man's full name right in the headline next to "child predator," right?
Keep in mind, Riehl quickly admits he doesn't have the slightest idea why the census worker was killed, and that the "child predator" thing is just, y'know, a hypothetical. He's simply "speculating" and "keeping an open mind." But he's gonna float it anyway. And then he's gonna open up his comment section to more right-wing crazies who are invited to invent conspiracy theories blaming the murdered census worker for his own death.
Question: Is anybody within the right-wing blogosphere going to denounce this kind of heartless idiocy from a high-profile hate merchant like Riehl?
UPDATED: Right-winger Roger Hedgecock, based on no facts, suggests the census worker was killed because of a "our still open border with Mexico."
From the September 29 Washington Times editorial, titled "Sex scandal double standard":
When Republican Rep. Mark Foley was caught chasing congressional pages, he got exactly what was coming to him. In a blizzard of coverage (1,400 stories, according to Google news), Mr. Foley's creepy behavior was examined from every possible angle. Nobody wanted to hear that the congressman's stupid and objectionable behavior was confined to e-mails and text messages. His immediate resignation didn't quiet the furor. When two years of investigations found no crime, the results got barely a peep.
Whether the press feeding frenzy around Mr. Foley's disgrace was justified or not, the explosion of coverage was certainly understandable, even predictable. That reality is what makes coverage of Kevin Jennings, President Obama's "safe school czar" something of a mystery.
Mr. Jennings brings all the sleaze of Mr. Foley. Sex and the underaged? Check. An older man? Check. Potential misbehavior by a government official? Check.
And the Jennings case brings a lot more: A "safe schools czar" who failed to report a statutory rape? An education leader who encouraged a 15-year-old student to be comfortable with sexual abuse? A federal official who ignored a law requiring him to report even the possibility of a crime?
And it is not just sex, there's a political angle, too. Since taking office, the Obama administration has been hammered by repeated breakdowns in its vetting process. Appointees who don't pay taxes. An appointee who signed on to accusations that the previous administration was complicit in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. And now an appointee who thinks sex between an adult and a 15-year-old is no big deal.
More than 60 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his September 28 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Time does not minimize the crime, which in its details is creepy, but jail would no longer serve a purpose.
Actually, Cohen never uses the word "rape." Indeed, at one point, he refers to it as a seduction:
He seduced -- if that can possibly be the word -- the 13-year-old Samantha Geimer with all the power and authority of a 44-year-old movie director who could make her famous.
No, Mr. Cohen, "seduced" cannot possibly be the word. Pick another. Give "rape" a try. It fits pretty well.
At least Cohen's Washington Post colleague, Anne Applebaum, sets him straight. Oh -- wait, I'm sorry; Applebaum agrees Polanski should not be imprisoned:
He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers' fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar.
Oh, he wasn't able to receive his Oscar? Well, that changes everything! Clearly, the man has suffered enough! In fact, let's all apologize to him. Applebaum comes close in her conclusion:
If he weren't famous, I bet no one would bother with him at all.
Well, nobody would write columns arguing that he's already been punished enough by being kept from displaying an Oscar on his mantle, that's for damn sure.
UPDATE: Conservative blogger Patterico says Anne Applebaum's husband, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, is lobbying the US to drop proceedings against Polanski. That sure seems like something Applebaum should have disclosed, doesn't it?
UPDATE 2: Applebaum says she's disclosed before, so it's no big deal that she didn't this time:
"I have disclosed that before, more than once. Also, when I wrote the blog I had no idea that my husband, who is in Africa, would, or could do anything about it, as Polanski is not a Polish citizen. I am not responsible for his decisions and he is not responsible for mine. "
Applebaum's previous disclosure of who her husband is, of course, has next to nothing to do with the question of whether she should have disclosed that her husband is lobbying the US to go easy one Roman Polanski at the same time she is writing a Washington Post column to that effect.
But then, maybe she's just adhering to the Howard Kurtz school of intermittent disclosure.
UPDATE 3: Applebaum's defense of her defense of Polanski has some flaws.
This must be one of the stranger White House critiques I've read in quite a while [emphasis added]:
Obama can seem a mite too impressed with his own aura, as if his presence on the stage is the Answer. There is, at times, a self-referential (even self-reverential) tone in his big speeches. They are heavily salted with the words "I" and "my." (He used the former 11 times in the first few paragraphs of his address to the U.N. last week.) Obama is a historic figure, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.
Does Obama constantly refer to himself as an historic figure? Not that I can tell. But maybe Fineman's hearing something else from Obama.
As for Obama's speech to the U.N., which Fineman claimed was way too self-referential, let's take a quick look at the text:
I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the American people have placed upon me, mindful of the enormous challenges of our moment in history, and determined to act boldly and collectively on behalf of justice and prosperity at home and abroad. I have been in office for just nine months -- though some days it seems a lot longer. I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted, I believe, in a discontent with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences, and outpaced by our problems.
Yeah, Obama just needs to get over himself.
The blogger's creepy desire to demonize U.S. school children who in any way cross paths with Obama, or even sing his praise, is now hurtling into the area of dementia.
In August, Malkin attacked an 11-year old because she stood up and asked Obama a question at a town hall forum. Last week, she smeared second graders because they sang a song in honor of Obama during Black History Month. This week, she ridicules teenagers who took part in the White House's volunteer initiative to be junior lobbyists for the push by Chicago to land the 2016 Olympics.
BTW, in case you didn't know, Chicago's attempt to win the Olympics is now viewed within the fever swamps of the right-wing blogosphere as the epitome of all that is evil and crooked in the world. Why? Because Obama's for it, that's why.
Stay classy Michelle.