An unhinged Chris Matthews on Monday decried the debt ceiling deal negotiated in Congress, attacking Tea Party Republicans as a group of baby-kidnapping terrorists. He also bizarrely described the compromise as "political polygamy."
Talking to Jonathan Chait of the New Republic, Matthews excoriated, "Why did [Obama] let this develop for six months...this drum roll of the Republicans saying, 'We've got the baby. You don't get the baby back unless you pay us?' Why do you let the other side have the baby, to use kidnapping terms?" [WMV video here . MP3 audio here .]
In an earlier segment, Matthews talked to Jack Lew, Barack Obama's Office of Management and Budget Director. The frustrated Hardball host lamented the President's failure to say,"[I will accept] no game playing, no hostage-taking, no terrorizing this country with the debt ceiling. I'm not going to negotiate with you guys. You can't play it that way."
Matthews began the program with this odd explanation of the deal: "Leading off tonight, political polygamy. The problem with this deal being struck among Republicans, Tea Parties and Democrats today is the problem with polygamy. It's not balanced. It's not equal. It's not fair."
[Thanks to MRC intern Alex Fitzsimmons for the video.]
A partial transcripts of the various exchanges can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight, political polygamy. The problem with this deal being struck among Republicans, Tea Parties and Democrats today is the problem with polygamy. It's not balanced. It's not equal. It's not fair. First of all, there were three parties in this thing. Two parties of the right. The Republicans and the Tea Party making demands on a President who in the end was negotiating for the center left. The result is what you'd expect. Something well to the right of center. So we have a piece, but at a price. The Tea Party setting the terms. The Republican Party living with it. The Democrats forced to live in a political household dominated by the other side. Today the Republicans have been preening. Democrats bowing their heads and the House of Representatives expected to vote sometime this evening. What about President Obama? Progressives are furious saying he gave away too much and got nothing in return. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called it an abject surrender.
MATTHEWS: Jack Lew is the Direct of the President- Director of the Office of the Management and Budget. He's the President's budget director. Mr. Lew, Mr. Director, I have got great respect for you, as you know. And I know you have the President's trust. And the question that keeps bothering me now is was there another way to govern? Was there an option play, way back in December? I want to watch what the leader of the the Republicans, the Speaker of the House, John Boehner said today, here he is late this afternoon, declaring victory. Let's listen.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE BOEHNER: The President asked for an increase in the debt ceiling. And I made clear at that time, there will be no increase in the debt ceiling without significant cuts in spending and changes to the way we spend the American people's money. And when you look at what we've been able to achieve, we've met those two standards that have been outlined. The American citizens said it's time for us to deal with our spending problem and deal with the fact that we've made promises to the American people that are kids and grand kids just can't afford. In addition to that, we've worked with our members and listened to the American people who have a real interest in making sure that we don't get into this spot again.
MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama sounded like he was almost conceding defeat tonight. Let's listen to him.
BARACK OBAMA: Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could have made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now, rather than through a special congressional committee process.
MATTHEWS: That was the President last night. And Jack Lew, Mr. Director, the question I have is, there is Speaker of the House, Boehner, a smart parliamentarian, bragging, basically, that way back last December he said they were going to do this thing. They were going to hold the whole debt ceiling hostage to get their way. Why did- Couldn't the President have said at that moment, way back in December of last year, "no game playing. No hostage-taking. No terrorizing this country with the debt ceiling. I'm not going to negotiate with you guys. You can't play it that way." Could he have done that?
MATTHEWS: [to Jonathan Chait of the New Nepublic]: Why did he let this develop for six months, well, eight months since last December, this drum roll of the Republicans saying, "We've got the baby. You don't get the baby back unless you pay us?' Why do you let the other side have the baby, to use kidnapping terms?