Before President Bush had even delivered his November 30 speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, MSNBC host Chris Matthews used variations of the word "brilliant" twice to describe it, while deriding Democratic critics of the Iraq war as "carpers and complainers."
Matthews's history of over-the-top praise for Bush and his administration includes his recent false claim that "[e]verybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs"; his statement that Bush sometimes "glimmers" with "sunny nobility"; his claim that Vice President Dick Cheney "hit home runs" throughout his 2004 debate with then-Sen. John Edwards; and his comment that the debate was like "a water pistol against a machine gun."
From MSNBC's live coverage of Bush's November 30 speech:
MATTHEWS: Well it's, we'll have to wait and see how the president delivers it. Clearly, the president still wants to stay in Iraq long enough to build up a democratic government. That has been his goal since the beginning. What he's contending with, of course, right now is the public-opinion problem he has, where two-thirds of the American people don't like what he's doing in Iraq right now. And a lot of that has been bolstered and stimulated by Cindy Sheehan -- that's the -- that's the mother of the soldier who was killed in Afghanistan -- and of course Congressman Jack Murtha [D] of Pennsylvania speaking for the soldiers, coming out and making a case for an immediate pullout, or a very quick pullout.
So you have the public-opinion problem, you also have the partisanship. And I think the president here is right back to his old political craft. This is going to be a very strong political move by the president. He's talking about spending an extra $3 billion for extra economic aid to the new government of Iraq for rebuilding. I think he's going to hold the Democrats' feet to their fire and say, "Are you going to vote for this or vote against it? I dare you to vote against it." And I think this is the brilliant political move here by the president, forcing the Democratic carpers and complainers to come forward, and say, "All right, you don't like my strategy for victory in Iraq? Vote against it. Go ahead, make my day." This is Clint Eastwood stuff. I think the president today is brilliantly putting a marker out there and saying to the Jack Murthas and the rest, "OK, vote against reconstruction. Vote against my plan to turn this war over to the Iraqis, that's my long-term plan, you vote against it and I'm gonna nail you." But behind all this, and this is very important to understand, this president has been absolutely consistent in his philosophy.