Chris Matthews blasted the GOP's apparent "bad manners [and] lack of dignity" minutes before Tuesday's State of the Union address. Matthews expressed his outrage moments after MSNBC's Chris Hayes spotlighted a Republican congressman's attack on President Obama on Twitter: "The very idea that they would do this, in what is a historic occasion, just tells you that there are no rules."
The Hardball host continued by targeting the "right wing – sort of, revolutionary thinking...We're throwing stones at the window of the American republic. That's fine, because somehow, we're so angry that anything goes." [MP3 audio available here ; video below]
Hayes invoked Rep. Joe Wilson shouting "you lie" at President Obama in 2009, and spotlighted a Tweet from Rep. Randy Weber: "On floor of [the] House waiting for kommandant-in-chef [sic], the socialistic dictator who's been feeding us a line or is it a-lying?" The bespectacled MSNBC host added, "I don't know even understand what that means, but it gives you a sense of – what the flavor of the obstruction still is five years into this presidency."
Rachel Maddow replied tongue-in-cheek by asking, "Have we confirmed that's an actual member of Congress and not one of the fake Twitter feeds, where they're trying to troll us into condemning them – but really, there's somebody...that has been made up?" Hayes replied, "I totally thought the same thing – but, of course, it is impossible to tell the difference between parody and actual GOP members of Congress often."
Matthews then interjected his "historic" labeling of the anticipated State of the Union address, as well as his "throwing stones at the window of the American republic" line. He continued by recalling an exchange he had with a Republican a few days earlier, where he threw the birther card at his guest:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I had a guy on the other night. I said to him the standard question, which he called me 'taking him down the rabbit hole.' I did my, sort of, mental check. I said, was President Obama a legitimately-elected president? And he said, I'm not going down that rabbit hole. I knew you'd do that. That wasn't a curveball- (Maddow laughs)
CHRIS HAYES: Classic rabbit hole, Chris-
MATTHEWS: It was like, is this president the President of the United States? And that is considered a trick question.
Later, Maddow returned to the Joe Wilson moment and contended that Republicans/conservatives haven't let up at subsequent State of the Union addresses:
RACHEL MADDOW: ...[A]fter Joe Wilson did that in September 2009, part of the reason, I think, we knew we were in for something different with the way this president was treated, was that we saw it happen again at the next State of the Union in 2010, when a conservative Supreme Court justice, Samuel Alito, also mouthed the words at the President, 'That's not true.' And Samuel Alito hasn't been back to a State of the Union address since. I mean, we have seen – you know, Ted Nugent was brought to the State of the Union as a congressional guest last year. This year, it's a member of the 'Duck Dynasty' clan, after the comments controversy over the anti-gay comments there. (Matthews laughs) I mean, there is, sort of, an agit-prop thing going on that involves no respect for the President, and that isn't policed anywhere within the right wing. And that is – that is a different cultural feeling that we're having about the presidency, and about moments of what are usually gravitas like tonight.
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.