Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dude, Stop Digging!

I watch Hardball with Chris Matthews a lot and most of the time he comes off as a political blowhard that just likes to hear the sound of his own voice, but today he acted like the kind of political talk show moderator I love to see on television: he ignored the prepackaged talking points being spouted by one of his guests and simply called an ignorant talking head on his shit.

Right wing radio host Kevin James came on the show to defend remarks made by George W. Bush earlier today in which he compared the foreign policy plans of "some" (read: Barack Obama) towards Iran to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler by signing the Munich Agreement in 1938, which conceaded part of Czechoslovakia to the Nazi's. After parroting and defending Bush's words, he's asked flat out by Matthews exactly what Chamberlain did that he objected to and he had no fucking clue! Of course, that didn't stop him from embarrassing himself even further as he was berated by an incredulous Matthews; this is one of the more entertaining things I've seen on this show in quite a while:
On the same topic, Matthew Yglesias at The Atlantic (a fellow who's obviously read a history book or two) had this to say about Bush's comments:

Meanwhile, Bush continues to fundamentally misunderstand the purpose and nature of diplomacy. The idea of talks isn't that you marshall convincing arguments and beat your enemies back with force of words. The idea is that it's sometimes possible to achieve a reconciliation of partially divergent interests. Maybe Iran wants a nuclear weapon in order to deter American attack. And maybe America wants a nuclear-free Iran to help preserve stability in the region. Down one path, we have conflict and the U.S. sanctions and bombs Iran which causes suffering but only delays Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon. But down another path, each side discusses it's top priorities and we reach an agreement on verifiable disarmament in the context of security guarantees and a path to normalized relations. Down the road, that gives the U.S. the stability we want and creates more prosperity and security for Iran.
Will this approach work with our enemies and other foreign governments we consider a legitimate threat? No one can yet say, but the Bush policy of never talking to anyone we disagree with smacks of the negotiating tactics employed by five-year-olds; fitting, as that's the way this administration has always spoken to the American people: as if we were ignorant children that don't understand what they're trying to accomplish and just don't realize what a great job they're doing. 249 days left.


Doug"e" said...

Yeah I caught this exchange on T.V. tonight and concur that was well worth watching. My mother who is in the hospital with a stroke is more lucid on foreign policy than this neo-con PUTZ! Unfortunately the Bush administration has consistantly stocked their staff with people whom are loyal to the "Party"or share similar "faith", rather than having any particular knowledge or expertise about the problem they are purporting to solve.
How does that old saying go"talk is cheap"? Nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, F-16 fighterjets, up-armored Humvees, KC-137 tanker planes and Blackhawk helicopters are NOT! The only people we are "appeasing" right now are people who own stock in companies that do defense contract work. 249 days left as far as I'm concerned IS 248 TOO MANY.

JBW said...

Word, Doug E. Here's hoping your momma is doing better every day.

Anonymous said...

Boy, that was painful. I was well and prepared to say that's reason #1 why I feel much too young to be in any position of teaching/lecturing/etc. I just haven't experienced enough, read enough, anything like that to be able to answer all the questions. Much like Kevin just seemed to be regurgitating stuff.

...then I went and found out he's 45 years old.

Wow. I feel really bad for the guy, but at the same time it is entirely his fault. I've spent my entire life trying to be a likeable guy who's not above reproach. You just saw why.

JBW said...

This could merely have been a slight embarrassment if he had just admitted up front that he didn't know what he was talking about but by trying to yell and bluster his way out of it made him look like a colossal fool.

This illustrates two real problems with the American political system: 1) that someone can reach middle age making a living as a political commentator without having a basic knowledge of political history, and 2) that the level of discourse on discussion shows like this one is so low that he didn't even think that he'd need that knowledge.

Real, honest debate on television has been replaced by two people on opposite sides of an issue taking turns spitting out the pre-approved talking points decided upon by their respective parties, with a know-nothing moderator present to make sure that they each get their turn. That's why he didn't even bother to take 30 seconds to Google what he was talking about; he didn't think he needed to. All three of them, and we the viewers for that matter, already know what the script for this type of show is. That's why I liked this so much: they went off script.