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The Tea Party has its newest, and most unexpected, member. No, he's not outwardly acknowledging that he's joined the club, and most likely, he would vehemently deny and disparage any notion that he inadvertently did. But if Chris Matthews really believes what he eloquently (a relative term when discussing the staff at MSNBC) stated on his program the other night in a debt ceiling riff, Matthews belongs out at the rally in a Paul Revere outfit.
Watch the video to see for yourself. Here's the transcript:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why doesn't the American people, why don't we have a big debate about what percentage of our economy we want the federal government to spend and are we willing to pay for it? Some sort of big picture discussion. Okay. The aging of our population requires us more spending on healthcare for people over 65. Do we want to meet that commitment or not? Do we want to meet a portion of it? Do we want to help with education at the federal level? Do we want to do real infrastructure spending? Do we want to cut down our overseas military operations? When are we going to make a lot of serious, households make those decisions every day. Republicans like to say the household, the household. The average household decides can we afford to buy new shoes for the kids? Can we afford to go to the movies this week? What kind of vacation can we take? Can we travel, or do we have to stay in the neighborhood? People make these decisions. Why doesn't the federal government decide what it's going to spend money on and then decide it's going to pay for it? [...]
Well I grew up with parents who had that conversation every week, and that's how we lived. And that's how we got to today. Middle class parents from aspiring cultures make those decisions all the time. Ezra, your thoughts. I don't know why can't we as a country - you don't get steak, you don't go to nightclubs, you don't go on expensive vacations, you give the kids educations.
I am aghast. Surely Matthews' guests were sitting there in shock as they listened to him bring up and support the Tea Party/conservative argument that if family's and working class citizens have to balance their checkbooks and make necessary cuts and sacrifices, spending less than maybe they want to spend to make ends meet, the government should do it too.
This, after all, is what the Tea Party has been all about. Maybe Matthews is unaware of that reality since he and his colleagues have spent the last couple years assuming it was their job to demonize and smear these common sense patriots as racists and violence-inciters. But it was a truly jaw-dropping moment hearing Chris pontificate like he was aboard the Sarah Palin Tea Party Express!
Noel Sheppard also pointed out what was, quite revealingly, not part of Matthews' family budget argument:
In reality, this is exactly the "big debate" America has been having for over two years, and people like Matthews have been heaping scorn on those in the center of it. The family household argument is exactly what members of this movement have been saying all along: if families have to cut expenses to balance their budgets, so should the government.
More telling, Matthews didn't say that when his parents were discussing their finances "every week," somewhere in the conversation was the need for Dad to get another job to "raise revenues." Quite the contrary, it was about "can we afford to buy new shoes for the kids, " or "go to the movies this week," or "can we travel, or do we have to stay in the neighborhood?" No "maybe Daddy should work more hours or get another job so that we can afford our current lifestyle."
The old adage about the wayward squirrel finding a nut or the broken clock being right is perhaps appropriate here. After all, this is simple common sense...the backbone of conservative thinking and policies. And look Chris - you don't have to be a racist or a hater to come to those conclusions! Amazing.