Tuesday, December 17, 2002

It's official. Hardball is no longer a television show, it's a lunatic asylum. On Monday, the patients in group therapy were Frank Luntz, Pat Caddell, Howard the Duck, Nooner, Bill Bennett and Pat Buchanan. Except for Mario Cuomo, they're all certifiable head cases.

Take Frank Luntz, identified by Matthews as an "anal cyst...." er ... "analyst of public opinion." His conclusion: If Strom had been President in '48, we wouldn't have "the moral decay of the country" we have now. None of that "acceptance of certain types behavior" so rampant nowdays. Luntz wasn't even talking about what Lott was thinking, he was voicing his own opinion.

MATTHEWS: ... because you�re an analyst of public opinion. We�re going to have a poll in a few moments about what�s going on here. He was asked by Ed Gordon, a very effective, I thought, interviewer tonight on Black Entertainment Television. What problems were you talking about when you said we wouldn�t have them if we�d voted for a segregationist back in �48. What do you believe he thinks those problems are that we�ve avoided or that we�ve incurred because we didn�t vote racist back in �48?

LUNTZ: It has to do with problems that we�ve had over the last eight or nine years. I don�t want to speak...

MATTHEWS: He said we wouldn�t have these problems if we had voted for Strom Thurmond in �48 for president, a segregationist who ran against Harry Truman. What is he talking about there?

LUNTZ: I think that some of the issues that he�s talking about, quite frankly, and I don�t know if he would agree or disagree, but I think some of it has to do with Bill Clinton and the things that happened in the 1990s, the moral decay of the country. The acceptance of certain types of behavior. If...


LUNTZ: ... you-if you...


MATTHEWS: He said it in the context-this is why the man is in deep trouble and probably...


MATTHEWS: ... will lose his leadership job. He said we wouldn�t have had all the problems over the years. That�s a long-term statement about the direction of American social life and racial existence, all the way back to 1948 because of that vote.

LUNTZ: But he was making-it wasn�t the issue of the problems. It was the issue of a compliment. He was trying to say something nice to a 100-year-old man. Chris, this is Washington. You know how tough Washington is. Washington isn�t hardball. They are-the meanness and the partisanship and the negativity in this town, you know, is damn rough...


MATTHEWS: And you believe he�s clean on the charge of racialism?

LUNTZ: Without a doubt...


LUNTZ: One hundred percent.

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