MSNBC host Chris Matthews devoted most of Wednesday night's Hardball to criticizing Dick Cheney's declarations on Fox News that offering 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Muhammad a courtroom forum for Islamic jihadism is giving "aid and comfort to the enemy."
Matthews suggested Cheney was headed into "birther country," and his guest, former CNBC host Donny Deutsch declared Cheney was an "evil and dangerous" man who should go away, as should Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh:
MATTHEWS: It's amazingly sharp, personal charges. I say it gets to the very heart of this man's legitimacy, our president. It gets into birther country. 'He shouldn't be our president if he is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. He shouldn't be our president if he's out there not believing in the greatness of this country.' He is getting to the heart of this man and he's making - I have never seen charges like this in politics.
DEUTSCH: I was watching at the top of the show. I was sick to my stomach. I was embarrassed as an American that this man was our vice president. That is disgusting and vile to suggest - to use constitutional language for treason to say that this leader of our country, whether you agree or disagree with his politics, does not believe this is an exceptional country. Dick Cheney is an irrelevant, angry man, who is concerned for his legacy because history will be very rough on him.
He is actually the guy in the corner of the room right now, in a strange way - don't take this the wrong way - I won't say hoping for a terrorist attack. He keeps going terrorist attack, terrorist attack. When one day - unfortunately, at some point, there will be a terrorist attack - he can say, I told you so. He is the guy warning against all. This is an evil, dangerous man at this point. He is no different right now in the media than Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. They are hatemongers and they should just go away. Dick Cheney, go away. For your party's sake, go away.
MATTHEWS: Thank you for that opinion. Thank you, Donny Deutsch, for joining us.
How Deutsch can find Cheney to be both "irrelevant" and "dangerous" is quite a conundrum.
Is charging an administration with "aid and comfort to the enemy" unprecedented in its meanness. No. It's been done on MSNBC. Check out Bill Press's question to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson on the October 22, 2003 edition of Buchanan and Press:
PRESS: Ever since the war in Iraq began and even during the post war, anybody who questioned the progress of the war or the progress of the war on terror has seen their patriotism questioned, Senator. So I ask you, by questioning our progress in the war on terror do you think Don Rumsfeld is getting - giving aid and comfort to the enemy?
Here's a bit of what Cheney said to Hannity to so upset the Obama fans at MSNBC:
CHENEY: I mean that I think it'll give aid and comfort to the enemy. I think it will make Khalid Shaikh Mohammed something of a hero in certain circles, especially in the radical regions of Islam around the world. It'll put him on the map and he'll be as important or more important than Osama bin Laden, and we will have made it possible.
Cheney last night said, "When you have a president who goes around and bows to his host" - he's talking about Japan, obviously - "and then proceeds to apologize profusely for the United States, I find that deeply disturbing. And that says to me this is a guy who doesn't fully understand or share that view of American exceptionalism that I think most of us believe in."
-Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.