Tag Archives: Chris Matthews

Trump’s record ‘too controversial’? Hmmm …


This is too good to keep to myself.

OK, it’s already out there in the public domain, but I have to share a bit of it here. It involves something Donald J. Trump told columnist/TV commentator Chris Matthews in 1998.

It comes from the Guardian in Australia. A friend of mine sent it to me overnight in an e-mail. To wit:

“During a 1998 appearance on CNBC with host Chris Matthews, current Republican presidential nominee and then simple tycoon Donald Trump declared that if Bill Clinton’s personal peccadillos were enough to prompt impeachment proceedings, his own history with women was more than sufficient to keep him out of the White House.

“‘Can you imagine how controversial I’d be?’ Trump said at the time. ‘You think about him with women. How about me with women? Can you imagine?

“Trump was still confident that ‘his women’ would be better received by the American public. ‘Yeah. They might like my women better, too, you know?'”

Hmm. Well, time will tell — probably around, oh, Nov. 8 — whether Americans like Trump’s women better. My strong hunch tells me the decision voters make — once they get past his utter ignorance of the substance of anything at all — will also be based on Trump’s “own history with women.”

Gary, we hardly knew ye


Pity poor Gary Johnson.

He (almost) had me, then he lost me.

The former New Mexico governor is running for president as a Libertarian. His running mate is former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld. They’re both Republicans, actually.

Johnson’s main claim to notoriety has been his long-standing belief that we should legalize marijuana.

He’s now known as a presidential candidate who, in short order, froze up when asked about Aleppo. “What’s Aleppo?” he asked when quizzed about the largest city in Syria, the epicenter of the refugee crisis that has erupted in the Middle East and Europe.

Then, when he was asked this week by MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews to name his “favorite world leader,” he couldn’t come up with a single world leader who he admires. Oh, he finally blurted out “Shimon Peres,” the former Israeli prime minister and president — who died this week of a stroke.

I had considered backing this guy for president, hoping he might exhibit some semblance of knowledge of issues other than legalizing grass. Alas, it’s not to be.

‘Talk show’ becomes ‘scream show’


Chris Matthews is a loud, sometimes-abrasive TV commentator who opines for MSNBC.

He often, though, has learned guests on his nightly cable TV talk show “Hardball,” in which individuals are invited to make their cases with knowledge and a healthy dose of respect for others’ points of view.

Matthews invited Donald Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro and Hillary Clinton economic guru Jared Bernstein to discuss Trump’s economic plan for the nation.

It didn’t go well.

I now will let the video speak — or scream — for itself.



Trump’s dark picture turns on beacon for Democrats


Vice President Joe Biden just finished speaking to the Democratic National Convention crowd.

I now shall echo something that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews just said about Biden’s speech. It is that Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s dark, foreboding and gloomy picture of America has given Democrats license to yell “USA! USA!” at their national convention.

It’s “cool to be corny,” said Matthews, who added that Trump has “opened the door” for Democrats to cheer their country.

What does all — or any — of this mean to the outcome of the election?

I haven’t a clue.

All of what we’re hearing tonight and likely Thursday at the DNC is that the nation that Republicans have described — a country in decline, with a military that’s a “disaster” — is one that I do not recognize.

JFK becomes part of this campaign?


Chris Matthews is a well-known liberal commentator with a reputation of talking over anyone he’s interviewing.

When the MSNBC pundit gets his dander up, he’s quite capable of delivering profound analysis of all things political.

Consider this: Matthews is incensed at Donald J. Trump’s assertion that Ted Cruz’s father somehow was complicit in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Matthews’ point? It is that Trump has crossed yet another boundary of good taste as he campaigns for the Republican Party presidential nomination. This time he has invoked a tragic memory that has burned itself indelibly into the minds of Americans old enough to remember the Nov. 22, 1963 murder of a president.

And for what purpose? Matthews called it cheap politics. Trump has cheapened Americans’ heartbreak by using the JFK murder as a political cudgel with which he seeks to beat a political opponent.

Trump remembers that day, just like the rest of us who were old enough to recall it.

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Matthews’ belief that Trump once again has displayed an utter and absolute lack of respect for historical context.

Matthews also believes Trump’s preposterous assertion about Cruz’s father’s relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald is going to “matter.”

I’m not sure about that.

I do believe, though, that Trump lacks a fundamental trait necessary to become the head of state of the world’s greatest nation.

It is decency.


Memo to Trump: Abortion is not an ‘off the cuff’ issue


Here comes the defense of Donald J. Trump’s hideous declaration on national TV this week that women should be “punished” if they obtain an illegal abortion.

He was speaking “off the cuff” during a town hall meeting that was televised by MSNBC. That’s what the Republican presidential campaign frontrunner’s spokeswoman told Fox News.

Many of us heard Trump make the statement under intense questioning from Chris Matthews. We also heard about his immediate reversal.

Trump needs to understand something if he has a prayer of avoiding a complete implosion of his presidential candidacy.

It is that there are a number of issues that require deep thought and nuance when the candidate is pressed to discuss them.

They include, oh: nuclear proliferation, climate change, immigration reform, health care reform and, yes, abortion.

I’m sure others are out there, too.

Trump’s flack, Katrina Pierson, told the Fox News Channel, “Well I say when you are a political candidate for eight months, you are speaking off the cuff. That’s one of his appeals, that he’s not a scripted politician.“

What is so wrong with thoughtfulness?

Scripted pols learn that their words matter. Unscripted pols need to get that, too. When the subject turns to abortion — an issue that gets zealots on both sides of the divide worked up into a frothing frenzy — then those words matter a great deal.

Trump hasn’t gotten it. He likely never will get it. He’ll keep on speaking “off the cuff” on issues that require some study, soul-searching and a comprehensive understanding.

Pierson is right about Trump’s “appeal” to those who keep laughing off this stuff.

It’s not funny.


Trump does the impossible


Of all the commentary being tossed around in the aftermath of Donald J. Trump’s absurd assertion that women should be “punished” for obtaining an illegal abortion, the most interesting came from a Republican strategist who doubles as a commentator for CNN.

Anna Navarro said this morning that Trump managed to do the “impossible,” which she said was that he managed to anger both the pro-choice and pro-life sides of the abortion divide at the same instant.

Trump told MSNBC interviewer Chris Matthews at a televised town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wis., that women “probably” should face some punishment if they got an illegal abortion. Matthews questioned Trump on how the government could make abortion actually “illegal,” to which Trump didn’t have an answer.

The Republican primary campaign presidential frontrunner quickly backed off that statement, declaring that the doctor should be the one facing punishment, not the woman — who he described as a “victim” of the illegal act.

That didn’t go over well at all with the pro-choice crowd.

The pro-life crowd, meanwhile, was still steaming over the notion that a woman could be punished for obtaining an abortion.

And so the drama continues.

The fun factor of this campaign just keeps getting stronger.

Abortion tempest erupts


Chalkboard - Abortion

Donald J. Trump finds himself in the middle of a tempest over arguably the most contentious political issue ever.


The Republican Party presidential primary frontrunner said Wednesday — in response to some aggressive questioning by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews — that a woman should face “some punishment” were she to obtain an illegal abortion.

Yep. He said that. A woman should be punished.

Then the firestorm erupted. What in the world is he talking about?

Republican candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich were quick to condemn Trump’s statement. Then came the fury from Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Within a couple of hours, Trump issued a statement that said the doctor should face the sanction, not the woman whose pregnancy was ended.

I won’t bother you with a dissertation on my own views of abortion, as you perhaps already know I remain pro-choice on the issue.

What is bothersome about Trump’s answer and then his recanting of his initial response is the non-preparedness the candidate keeps exhibiting when pressed for answers on these critical issues.

Abortion matters deeply to many millions of Americans. It seems, to me at least, that few of us have mild feelings about the issue. We’re either fervently pro-choice or pro-life. Trump’s view on the issue has evolved over time. He is seen on videotape telling an interviewer about a decade ago that he is “strongly pro-choice.” Then he told Matthews this week that he is “pro-life.”

I’d be curious to know what changed Trump’s view on this issue. How did he go from one firm position to another? Perhaps the only other major-party politician I can recall pulling such a dramatic switcheroo would be George H.W. Bush, who abandoned his pro-choice views immediately upon accepting Ronald Reagan’s invitation to join him on the GOP presidential ticket in 1980.

Donald Trump initial answer to the question of whether a woman should face punishment reveals what Sen. Cruz identified correctly as Trump’s utter lack of preparation to discuss these issues when confronted with them.

Somehow, though, I cannot escape the feeling that Trump will find a way to deny he ever said what millions of Americans already heard him say.

Most disturbing of all will be that many Americans will believe him.


Change the federal judicial system? Please, no

What is it with some American politicians?

A court ruling or two doesn’t go their way and they want to toss aside one of the basic tenets of our federal government? They want to elect federal judges, make them stand for “retention” if they make a decision that upsets some of us?

That’s the view of a leading so-called “conservative” U.S. senator who’s also running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Take it away, Ted Cruz of Texas.


Cruz jousted this week with MSBNC’s Chris Matthews over the setup of the federal judiciary. Cruz doesn’t like the two recent Supreme Court rulings that (a) upheld the Affordable Care Act and (b) legalized gay marriage in the United States.

The junior senator from Texas now thinks Supreme Court justices should stand for retention to enable voters a chance to decide if they want them to keep their jobs.

Matthews, not surprisingly, went semi-ballistic — which is part of his shtick. He brought up the Bush v. Gore decision that settled the 2000 presidential election. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to stop the Florida recount. Texas Gov. George W. Bush was leading by 537 votes at that moment over Vice President Al Gore. Gov. Bush was awarded Florida’s electoral votes, which were enough to elect him president of the United States by a single electoral vote.

The five Republican-appointed justices’ overruled the four dissents cast by the Democratic-appointed justices. Politics? Gosh, do you think?

Conservatives hailed that decision. And why not? It was all done according to precisely the manner allowed by the U.S. Constitution. Some of us might not have liked the outcome, but that’s how it goes. The justices made the call.

Cruz didn’t object then, Matthews reminded him.

The nation’s founders set up a system in which the federal judiciary is intended to be free of political pressure. The president appoints judges and Supreme Court justices, who then are subject to approval by the Senate. They get lifetime jobs and, therefore, are able to rule according to how they interpret the Constitution.

This idea that we should now subject justices to the political will of the people is simply not in keeping with what the founders intended when they wrote the Constitution.

Political conservatives, such as Sen. Cruz, keep harping on “original intent.” Well, the founders’ “original intent” was to separate the judicial branch of government from the political tug-of-war that exists in the legislative and executive branches.

Cruz said he is “reluctant to call for elections,” and said it “makes him sad.” He added that he has made that call because “a majority of the justices are not honoring their judicial oaths.”

Yes they are, senator.

Let’s leave the judicial system alone.

Fighting a war by fighting poverty

Having already criticized a State Department spokeswoman for suggesting that job creation should be a strategy in fighting the Islamic State, I am struck by the amazing outrage by right-wing media over her comments.

I hope I stipulated clearly that I wouldn’t join the right-wing hysteria in questioning President Obama’s commitment to destroying ISIL. Others have done enough of that already. Some of the comments are contained in the link attached to this blog post. Take a look. They’re pretty wild.


Media Matters, a left-wing media watchdog website, has produced a most interesting video showing President Bush offering strikingly similar advice in 2002, at a conference in Monterrey, Mexico.

While the comments of State Department flack Marie Harf have drawn considerable condemnation, it fascinates me that President Bush said more than a dozen years ago, “We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror. We fight against poverty because opportunity is a fundamental right to human dignity.”

Perhaps Harf’s comments got blown out of proportion, and weren’t viewed in the totality of the message she sought to deliver on MSNBC’s “Hardball” show with Chris Matthews. I regret not digesting fully all of what she said, which included comments about the administration’s intention to keep killing terrorists as the war on terror rages on.

I just caution, though, that war remains the dirtiest business that humankind ever conducts. It must be fought hard and it must be fought with the intent to defeat the enemy. There can be no doubt about our enemy’s intentions on the current battlefield — and there should be no doubt about our own intentions.

If working quietly with nations that produce terror cells to alleviate the root cause of people taking up arms against the United States and our allies is part of an overall strategy that includes waging all-out war, then by all means let’s proceed.

Let’s never lose sight of the undeniable fact that we’re dealing with a nasty enemy, as Presidents Bush and Obama both have understood.