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Matthews: Is Palin Talking the Language of Far Right Nuts?

On Wednesday night Chris Matthews invited on Salon.com's Editor in Chief Joan Walsh to link the Holocaust Museum shooter to Rush Limbaugh, but it was the Hardball host himself, on Thursday's show, who connected Sarah Palin to James von Brunn as he wondered if the Alaska Governor was "getting very close to the edge" of the same "attitude" of the "far right," and questioned: "Is she talking their language?" [audio available here]

After playing a clip of Palin expressing her concern that the federal government could get more involved in the running of the states, something any governor of a state would rightfully be worried about, Matthews asked his guest, terrorism expert Roger Cressey: "What do you make of that comment Roger? What does that say to some of the nut cases on the right? The far right? The nuts? What is, is she talking their language? Not saying she's triggering them. But is she talking the language of, of paranoia?"

The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the June 11 Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's take a look at something that Governor Palin said the other day on, on the third of this month, up in June 3rd. Here's what she said, talk about, I'm trying, we're gonna try to this thing because I think it gets to this question of whether the government itself is the enemy. The use of the term government often times in a kind of generally cold way, in a way that people like me who are getting, and all of us who get involved in the political debate, clearly isn't the case. Government is divided a 100 different ways among all kinds of number, kinds of people and interest groups, and certainly among the branches of our government. There is no such thing as the government that's coming to get you. But some people have this very, nasty cold attitude. Roger, tell me about it. People who see the government as some cold, frightening force. Well take a look at this. Here's Governor Palin, I think coming to the edge, obviously on the non-violent side of this, on the safe side of it. But getting very close to the edge of this attitude we're talking about.

(Begin clip)

SARAH PALIN: We need to be aware of the creation of a fearful population and of fearful lawmakers being led to believe that big government is the answer. To bail out the private sector? Because then government gets to get in there and control it. And, mark my words, this is gonna happen next I fear, bail out, next, debt-ridden states. Then government gets to get in there and control the people.

(End clip)

MATTHEWS: What do you make of that comment Roger? What does that say to some of the nut cases on the right? The far right? The nuts? What is, is she talking their language? Not saying she's triggering them. But is she talking the language of, of paranoia?

 

ROGER CRESSEY, TERRORISM EXPERT: So in the broad, in the broad brush Chris there are people who view the government and they use that as a pejorative. And it's the, it's the, it's the excuse for all that ails them. And there is a, there is an extremist component that looks for very simple solutions to these complex problems and blaming the government is a very easy excuse. So when the Governor comes up to that line, and she is coming up to that line and saying things like that, and she is a national voice? By being a national voice and saying that, people out there who, who are truly despondent, and are angry and are thinking about becoming activist can look for that as justification. So you have to be very careful about keeping this debate within the framework where people will, will talk these issues but not end up taking up arms against us.

- Geoffrey Dickens is the senior news analyst at the Media Research Center.