Chris Matthews really needs to retire the name "Hardball" for his talk show on MSNBC. When it comes to liberal or radical guests, he ought to rename the show "Cuddles with Chris."
When did this toothless trend become too obvious to ignore? It could have been with John Kerry about a year ago, when Matthews asked him "hardballs" like whether the Bush campaign was hoisting themselves "on their own petard by bringing up the issue of your service," and whether it was possible the Republicans were questioning Kerry's service because they realize "they can't beat you on the jobs issue, they can't beat you on foreign policy, so they're gonna drop this nonsensical stuff [on you]?"
Maybe the saddest recent example was the incredibly kissy-kissy Matthews interview with Jane Fonda on April 15. As part of a strategy to sell copies of her new memoirs, Fonda has suggested she is sorry for sitting behind a communist anti-aircraft gun pointed at American pilots in North Vietnam in 1972. But Fonda isn't really sorry. She still believes all the same hard-left baloney about communist good guys and American bad guys. Matthews did lob a few mildly tough questions, but they were more than outnumbered by obsequious comments about Fonda's correctness.
For example, when Matthews tried to ask if Ho Chi Minh was working in league with other communist governments, Fonda claimed Vietnam could have been a neutral country: "Ho Chi Minh begged the United States to become independent of France," and Matthews replied, "I remember it, in '45." That's funny: Matthews was born in 1945.
Fonda continued with her wacky history lesson. Ho Chi Minh "was essentially a nationalist," but "many people, I think rightly, have said he was really more like Tito, the Yugoslav president, Marshal Tito," the man generally seen in the 1970s and 1980s as a less doctrinaire communist tyrant. Matthews was eating it up: "I understand exactly. You know your stuff!"
Matthews pressed her on whether the Left actually shortened the war. When Fonda replied that yes, she and "tens of thousands of others" succeeded, Matthews fawned: "I think you're right! ...If that war was supported by the American people, we might have stayed in there a lot longer and still lost."
When Matthews asked about how Fonda critics are "still fighting the war," Fonda fussed that Vietnam is still an "oozing wound" because of conservative "revisionism," and Matthews again endorsed her: "You're right! The war keeps bleeding us."
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