Whether you love him or hate him, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has a habit of planting his foot firmly in his mouth, which he did again tonight during MSNBC’s coverage of President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan when he claimed that by giving a speech at West Point, Obama had ventured into an enemy camp.
Here is the video from Media Matters:
While selling his point of view that the military hates Obama, Matthews said, “I watched those cadets, they were young kids, men and women who are committed to serving their country as professionally, it must be said as officers, and I didn’t see much excitement, but among the older people there, I saw, if not resentment, skepticism. I didn’t see a lot of warmth in that crowd out there, the president chose to address tonight, and I thought that was interesting. He went to maybe the enemy camp tonight. That’s where Paul Wolfowitz used to write speeches for back in the old Bush days.”
Once again, Chris Matthews has decided to fall back on a tired political cliché to push a storyline instead offering anything intelligent or insightful. The cliché is that the military hates Obama, but the reality is that Obama got 44% of the military vote in 2008, which was up 3% from John Kerry support in 2004. Democrats have also elected ten former veterans to Congress in the last two election cycles.
I am sure this will come as a shock to Chris Matthews, but there are both Democrats and Republicans in the military, and his reference to West Point as an enemy camp was disrespectful to the institution. West Point is not the enemy of any president, Democrat or Republican.
I understand that Matthews was trying to make the point that the audience Obama spoke to didn’t like him, but he could offer no facts to back up that statement, nor should he have expressed it in such a clumsy way. I don’t understand what Matthews was expecting the audience reaction to be to the announcement that 30,000 more troops are going to Afghanistan. The president was making a serious announcement, and I thought the audience reaction was appropriate.