Matthews: Bernie’s ‘Growing’ His ‘Reach’ To Include ‘Center Right’ Democrats

Posted on Wed 02/10/2016 by

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Curtis Houck picture-358-1409253645By Curtis Houck ~

After having been up most of the day, the long day for MSNBC’s Chris Matthews dragged on into the 11:00 p.m. Eastern hour as the Hardball host argued that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is “growing in political ability and reach” with his New Hampshire victory and could court “the Democratic center right now” as well as “center right” Democrats (as if there‘s any of them left).

Co-hosts Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow tossed to Matthews for his thoughts just past the 11:11 p.m. Eastern mark and Matthews started by observing that “something that really happened tonight was we can stop thinking in terms of the self destruction of the two frontrunners.”

2016-02-09-MSNBC-PlaceForPolitics-MatthewsBernieCenterRightMatthews denied that Sanders would flame out and instead forecasted that “I see him growing in support” with both “political ability and reach.” The seemingly astute political prognostication from Matthews then dropped as he argued:

I think he’s reaching well into the Democratic center right now and occasionally to the center right. I look at Donald Trump. He was going to self destruct. Well, here he didn’t do it. I think we got to start assuming it’s something different than self-destruction.

Before going onto make similar points about Donald Trump, Matthews did have a few words for Hillary Clinton (who’s donors are helping to fund his wife Kathleen’s run for Congress):

To beat either of them, someone is going to have to beat them and you look at it, Hillary Clinton – she’s got to get her act together. She has to come up with a reason why she’s running. She doesn’t have that most basic motive established. She’s sort of like Ted Kennedy was in ‘80, please tell me why you’re running for president, I don’t hear the answer.

Hours earlier on MSNBC, Matthews proclaimed that the socialist senator was “non-ideological” and a “logical” man in person. As my colleague Scott Whitlock also noted, Matthews’s pinpointing of candidates on the political ideology has not exactly been stellar in previously stating that Hillary Clinton is a “conservative” Democrat and not someone who “want[s] to be a socialist.”

The relevant portion of the transcript from the 11:00 p.m. Eastern hour of MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016 on February 9 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016
February 9, 2016
11:11 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, Brian and Rachel, I think something that really happened tonight was we can stop thinking in terms of the self destruction of the two frontrunners that somehow there was an assumption that somehow Bernie Sanders would go too far with his promises, too far left, if you will and burn himself out. Well, I don’t see that happening. I see him growing in support. I think growing in political ability and reach. I think he’s reaching well into the Democratic center right now and occasionally to the center right. I look at Donald Trump. He was going to self destruct. Well, here he didn’t do it. I think we got to start assuming it’s something different than self-destruction. To beat either of them, someone is going to have to beat them and you look at it, Hillary Clinton – she’s got to get her act together. She has to come up with a reason why she’s running. She doesn’t have that most basic motive established. She’s sort of like Ted Kennedy was in ‘80, please tell me why you’re running for president, I don’t hear the answer. On the other side, the assumption that somehow, everyone’s going to gang up on Trump is a big mistake. If he runs and ends up running against — well, he’s probably going to end up with a situation before Iowa where what’s going to happen is people aren’t going to attack him anymore. Cruz is going to after Rubio and Rubio after Cruz because those are the two who are vying for the alternative position to Trump. So, he may find himself in South Carolina not fending off those two guys but those two guys fighting with each other for number two down there and trump could continue on. It’s sort of a rule of motion. An object continues in direction it’s going unless it’s operated on by some outside force. What outside force is going to stop Trump? What outside force is going to stop Sanders unless its another candidate who’s better than them in politics? And I think both of them are better than their opponents right now. So, forget suicide. Forget self-destruction. Somebody’s got to beat these two guys and I think that’s what happened tonight.

Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center’s News Analysis Division.

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