Chris Matthews, What’s Gotten Into You?

Chris Matthews, you have been disappointing me so much lately. I
thought you were more enlightened than other “semi-old white men”. I thought
you had experienced things in your life that gave you a more liberal
perspective and, despite the kernel of racism which remains in most of us white
folks, you had learned long ago to fight back whenever these remnants reared
their ugly heads. But perhaps you are finding it more difficult to ignore the
less than acceptable feelings that pertained when we were young.

It is said that most of us get more conservative as we get
older. I think you are harkening back more and more to the halcyon days when
you were so close to Tip O’Neill. The Vice President is getting into trouble
for using outdated lingo. You are guilty of unleashing your outdated feelings.

You showed us all your hawkish side recently. You certainly got
exercised over Obama’s approach to Syria and ISIS. Your perception that Obama
is weak and is harming America’s position in the world came across loud and
clear. I guess you can’t help judging Obama in 2014 by things that happened in
the 1980’s with that paragon Ronald Reagan and your pal Tip O’Neill. I guess
you felt that Obama should have jumped into the situation in Syria back when
that red line was crossed.

You clearly express your feelings that Obama waffles and looks
weak, but since we hardly triumphed in any war since World War II, since we
have spent billions and had many of our soldiers killed or maimed, do we really
want to have a President who takes us into war because his ego was damaged and
that might make America look weak. I am happy to have a President who is
reluctant to commit American lives to wars we clearly don’t fully understand.

Now Chris Matthews, you are nervous about Ebola and you apparently
feel that Obama should do something (although I am not sure what). How could
Obama have helped the situation in Texas? We do not have an epidemic of Ebola.
We have one case that came from abroad and several cases which may suggest that
our medical people are not adequately protected against this disease in its
most critical stages. You, Chris Matthews, went into a long tirade (which is
actually a repeat of past tirades) about Obama’s poor schmoozing skills.

I find it hard to believe that there is any action Obama could
have taken that would make these stubborn Congress people treat him with the
respect which should have been automatic. Their behavior has been abominable, a
terrible example to younger generations. These folks made a decision to shut
Obama out from the very beginning. Perhaps Obama could have been more
obsequious or more obstreperous or more congenial, but still he would never
belong to the old boy’s club which both your Reagan and your Tip O’Neill (and
in fact even you) belong to because you were born white and male.

To me the criticism you hold forth with and the passion with
which you do it sound like you are holding Obama responsible for the behavior
of the haters. It sounds like you are saying that it is Obama’s fault that they
are haters. Well that’s just crazy. I’m not sure that such criticisms by white
guys can offer us any insight into the experiences of our first African
American President. Then you go on to praise an article by Charles Krauthammer
and you recommend that we read it too. What would he know about this situation?

What is wrong with you? Why all those negative Obama tirades
just before the midterm elections. Are you trying to tip the scales to the
right? Well you are getting on my last nerve and I plan to stop watching
Hardball. You have disappointed me too many times lately. Maybe FOX News will
hire you.

Perhaps we can fault Obama for being overly zealous in deporting
people or continuing to let the NSA invade our already sadly depleted privacy.
Harangue him about these if you must, but the rest is not suited to your
audience. I have found your recent hawk-fest embarrassing and then your
analysis of Obama’s troubles with Congress smacks of racism or at the very
least of that sin which names the recipient of gauche behavior as the cause of
that behavior. When we blame women for the things men do to them we recognize
that that is wrong. But you are doing the same exact thing to Obama and it is
badly done, Chris Matthews.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

Into the Fray, The Red Line

 
 
 
Everyone is up in arms. Obama made the use of chemical
weapons in Syria a red line. Late last week the news came across the seas that
some chemical weapons “may have been used in Syria”, and “that there is some
physiological evidence that some people exhibited symptoms of a chemical agent
having been deployed in their vicinity.” It is all very tentative and not at
all what we would imagine a full-scaled chemical weapons attack to be like. I
think Obama’s red line depended on a getting a little more solid evidence than
this about a chemical attack. However that may be, there have been rabid people
all over the media taunting Obama to deliver on his promise and to declare that
the red line has been crossed and to get more aggressively involved in helping
the Syrian freedom fighters gain their independence from Assad. Of course, John
McCain is the loudest and most strident of those who are apparently (they
think) calling Obama’s bluff.

But I have to wonder what it is that they want Obama to do
and I kept asking that of my TV on Sunday, which is Politics Day. I kept
saying, “Do we want a war? What exactly is it that you want Obama to do?
Surprisingly enough, after some initial difficulty getting through to my flat
screen I did get some answers. Everyone agreed that they did not want “boots on
the ground”. One suggestion is that we establish a no-fly-zone. Another is that
we get more involved in the care of the refugees in Jordan and Turkey and
elsewhere around the edges of Syria. There were also some caveats since this
group of freedom fighters is not one unified group but is rather a collection
of sectarian groups and even perhaps terrorist groups who may be at each
other’s throats once hostilities end.

There is also the “no good deed goes unpunished” rule. We
are likely to end up being hated and vilified regardless of what path we decide
to take. This is not a real win-win situation for us. We do like to treat
victims of abuse with compassion and the Syrian people looked pretty well abused
right now. And we do like to back freedom whenever possible. Will we feel good
enough about ourselves if we accomplish these goals, whatever the cost, and
whoever we offend? These are all questions Americans and our American President
must answer. Meanwhile all you hawks, stop acting like bullies. Stop yelling at
the President.  You imply that the
President and the US will look weak if we don’t act, but the President may also
appear weak if he lets people goad him into precipitous action.  Show some understanding of how difficult it
is to deal with the complex issues America faces in the 21st
century. Let’s let there be a little time to collect better evidence of
chemical weapon use and time to make a careful decision before we throw
ourselves into the fray.
Here’s a link to an article that gives some clear and
up-to-date information on this red line issue:

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/implications-of-possible-chemical-weapons-use-in-syria

This article appeared in the Daily Beast today, April 29,
2013:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/27/leslie-h-gelb-obama-is-right-on-chemical-warfare-in-syria.html