host Chris Matthews cannot understand how conservatives could think
that free enterprise is somehow American, and that being anti-free
enterprise seems anti-American. On Tuesday night's Hardball, Matthews
boosted a new effort by Democrats like David Brock and Kathleen Kennedy
Townsend to organize their own independent-expenditure campaign to beat
Matthews brought on Townsend, who couldn't even win a race
for governor of a blue state (Maryland) to explain how she would make
the Democrats victorious. Matthews aired BBC video of Rep. Michele
Bachmann (clearly borrowed from the Think Progress blog, since you can see the "Pro" of their logo), and attacked her as like a zombie, a Moonie, and a Manchurian Candidate:
MATTHEWS: Look at her eye contact. I asked her when we had her on election night if she's under hypnosis. She doesn't answer the question. She looks straight ahead in that kind of zombie-like manner, like she's waiting for somebody to flash a card, like in "Manchurian Candidate."
I mean, I don't know what her state is. She apparently just got blown
away running for leadership, so the members of the House on the
TOWNSEND: Well, they know.
MATTHEWS: Know who she is.
TOWNSEND: They know that she`s a problem.
MATTHEWS: But this kind of bizarro behavior, where you come on, Moonie-like, if you will, and just stare into the camera and recite this- the question was, Do you think the president's anti-American?
TOWNSEND: No, no, no.
MATTHEWS: Yes or no? No, she talked about, what, equity shares and-
TOWNSEND: It's totally strange. And the fact is, she's wrong about
what's going- what we need to America. We need a strong health care
system, which every other industrialized country has. And if you do
polls, as you know, Chris, of the American people, they want health
care. In fact, they wished it were stronger.
There was no laugh track as this losing second-generation Kennedy tried
to assert in the face of the election returns that the voters want
ObamaCare...and even more than that. How is that assertion less "under
hypnosis" than Bachmann?
So what did Bachmann say to the BBC that was "bizarro"? She calmly,
clearly defended the conservative view, opposing government intervention
in the best health care system in the world:
EMILY MAITLIS (outraged): You've suggested that President Obama's anti-American. Do you really believe that?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Well, you know, I've been really
concerned about the policies that come out of the White House, and I
think I share that agreement with people who voted at the ballot box on
the first Tuesday of November. They're rejecting the federal government
foray into buying and owning an equity share-
MAITLIS: But that's a different thing.
BACHMANN: In private businesses.
MAITLIS (stressing out): Do you think he's anti-American? Do you think that the president of America is anti-American?
BACHMANN: Well, the policies that are anti-free enterprise are ones
that are not familiar to the people of the United States. And that's why
we saw such a strong reaction to the ballot box. In fact, the
government takeover of health care is a great example. That's not what
we've done here historically in the United States, and the people don't
want to see the federal government control and dictate our health care.
Conservatives nod along to this in agreement, but Chris Matthews viewed
this clip and said "She doesn't answer the question." She answered it
quite well, but obviously not to the satisfaction of liberals like
Matthews and Emily Maitlis. It's a little funny that a British anchor
would take such umbrage at someone being called anti-American - as if
that isn't a staple of the British left.
- Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.