Chris Matthews Sneers: Concern Over Executive Orders Is 'Second Term Birtherism'
Chris Matthews is at it again. The liberal MSNBC anchor on Friday found a new way to deride conservative concern over Barack Obama's use of executive orders to get around Congress. Matthews dismissed it as unthinking and tribal, sneering, "I think it's a second term birtherism. 'He was illegitimately elected. Now he is behaving illegitimately.'" [MP3 audio here.]
Using his typical broad generalizations, Matthews railed, "This goes back to the whole notion that the right has. 'He really wasn't a law-abiding or even legally, legitimately elected president.'" According to the host, the concern over Obama's plan to sidestep Congress isn't even rational: "And this seems to be based upon ideology rather than events or even behaviors of the President."
Matthews spun the whole topic as not very serious. Rather than bring in other examples of the President's overreach, such as whether Obama circumvented Congress by making recess appointments when Congress wasn't in recess, the anchor psychoanalyzed:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why do they have to insist on this most primitive approach to Obama which is he is not really President? And I'm not making this up you, because you ask these guys, they could just throw it off the board and say, "of course, he's legitimately elected. But let's move on to policy issues." They don't.
For Matthews it's as simple as declaring, "They don't want to accept him as president, let alone executive orders."
As the MRC pointed out in a new analysis, MSNBC has a long record of dismissing almost all conservative and Republican concerns as unhinged or racist.
A partial transcript of the Janauary 31 segment is below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: President Obama's decision to go around Congress and use executive action to do things like raise the minimum wage for federal contractors may not seem like the end of the world, but, in the right-wing clown car, it came close. Ted Cruz wrote in "The Wall Street Journal" -- quote -- "Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president's persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law, and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat."
MATTHEWS: Well, why is the right-wing freaking out over the president issuing a series of relatively modest executive actions, something he is far from the first president to do?
Well, sadly, it fits a pattern from the right in dealing with this president, of course, and calling into question, as they often do, his legitimacy. Dana Milbank is a columnist "The Washington Post" and Sam Stein's a political editor for The Huffington Post. Dana, this word lawless seems to -- lawlessness, like he is some cowboy maverick out there in the saddle somewhere, breaking the law, shooting up a town. Where did the word lawless first originate in the -- I think it's a second term birtherism. He was illegitimately elected. Now he is behaving illegitimately. This goes back to the whole notion that the right has. He wants -- they want to put an asterisk next to this guy. He really wasn't a law-abiding or even legally, legitimately elected president.
DANA MILBANK: Right.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts. Your own thoughts here.
MILBANK: Yes. I think what is going on here is, this is one of those episodes when it flares up, Chris. And the Republicans from the very beginning have been seeking to discredit Obama, not saying we disagree with his policies, but to say, this guy is bad, this guy is other, this guy is something else. And, you know, there has been this sort of latent Obama derangement syndrome. The virus remains in the blood. And it just seems to flare up from time to time. But it's not necessarily something they're calculating, I think. It's just there is some sort of reflexive hatred that drives us from time to time.
MATTHEWS: And this seems to be based upon ideology rather than events or even behaviors of the President. They grab at these behaviors. But they really believe this long before he came into office. And now, they're using him as the worst case scenario.
MATTHEWS: It's almost like a trump card. You say once you say somebody is a dictator, you really don't have to lay it out much, because I think they think his very election was giving the guy too much power, a lot of people on the right. Why is this guy got all this power? Who says (ph) he's president?
MATTHEWS: "Where did he come from anyway? Wait a second, are you sure he is legal?
And remember the guy I had on the other night. I don't know if you're watching every night. But I thought it was interesting on HARDBALL, the other night this week. I had someone on, an activist, a local Republican figure who was pushing this petition in Arizona to get rid of John McCain and some sort of lefty.
STEIN: Oh, yes, I saw that one. Yes.
MATTHEWS: And I asked him, do you think this president was elected legitimately. And he said I'm not going down that rat hole. I knew you would take me there. Why do they have to insist on this most primitive approach to Obama which is he is not really president? And I'm not making this up you, because you ask these guys, they could just throw it off the board and say, of course, he's legitimately elected. But let's move on to policy issues.
They don't. They say, I will not answer your question because I don't think they go back to their crowd at home, wherever they are, people the far right of them, and say, they have to answer the question, did you say Obama was legitimately president of the United States? How dare you say that? Anyway, was that too primitive to say that's where they are at? That they don't want to accept him as president, let alone executive orders?
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.