Once again, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews showed his over-eager liberal partisanship and Obama puffery following Marco Rubio’s response to the State of the Union on February 13. Speaking on Tuesday night with the rest of the liberal MSNBC panel, Matthews slammed Rubio’s speech as “primitive” and “tinker toys.”
Following Rachel Maddow’s liberal critique of Senator Rubio’s speech, which she said was, “a claws out kind of aggressive speech,” Matthews offered no such restraints in slamming Rubio, snarking that Rubio’s speech was, “something you would hear on a high school debating team.” [MP3 audio here .]
On some level, that's tame for Matthews, who claimed that the Republican message in 2012 was a return to slavery , that Mitt Romney’s RNC convention speech was “piggish”  and that the GOP used coded racial language  and "dog whistles" to appeal for the votes of racists.
The Hardball host admitted that he was "very pro-government," proceeding to rail against what he said were inconsistencies in Rubio’s speech, wherein the Florida senator said he wasn't anti-government but pro-constitutional government.
Matthews then concluded his anti-Rubio rant by claiming that Rubio’s speech was:
Almost like a YAF’er convention speech, Young American for Freedom speech from the 1950s. There was no originality to it. It was basic. Again it was tinker-toys. It was a kids presentation of a philosophy, reduced to maybe the ninth grade level. I’m sorry, that’s what it was.
See relevant transcript below.
State of the Union
February 12, 2013
10:44 p.m. EST
RACHEL MADDOW: Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, being given the honor tonight of giving his party's response to the president's State of the Union address. Honestly, Mr. Rubio's speech will be remembered in part for the odd punctuation of the big reach for the water glass -- in the middle of it. That was just an odd bit of staging in what was otherwise set up visually as a nice speech. I will say in tone, Mr. Rubio proclaiming himself frustrated. Kind of an edgy speech, hard-edged, laced throughout with criticism of the president. Much more of a speech about the president than a speech about the country. He said that the president believes that the free enterprise economy is the cause of our problems as a nation. He accused the president of attacking republicans' motives. He said he accuses us, criticized us. His favorite attack, he said I hope the president will abandon his obsession with raising taxes. The president loves to blame. When is the president going to offer his plan? Tonight would have been a good time for him to do it. Nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the ones the president laid out tonight. I did not expect that from Marco Rubio. I thought he was going to give his optimistic Reaganesque speech. This was a claws out kind of aggressive speech.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I thought it was tinker toys. I thought it was primitive, something you would hear on a high school debating team. First of all, he went after government as some kind of evil. Then he admitted that he had gone to school on student loans, Well, I went to school on student loans. My dad went to school with the GI bill. Most of us have benefited from good government. Government’s worked for us. I got in the Peace Corps, changed my life. I mean I'm very pro-government. And he admitted he was too. He says I love Medicare because of how it takes care of my mother. How it took care of my father with dignity. He says I went to school with student loans, I benefitted from it, I got my education. Where was the consistency here? I didn’t get it. He was saying he’s the product of solid government and positive programs and then he just trashed the whole thing and then he played this victim game that everybody seems to play. What’s the Republicans, victims, paying one in six dollars now, we have 15% of GDP going to revenues. We’re spending 25%, who is being over-taxed? I mean, what are they talking about. It was almost like a YAF’er convention speech, Young American for Freedom speech from the 1950s. There was no originality to it. It was basic. Again it was tinker-toys. It was a kid’s presentation of a philosophy, reduced to maybe the ninth grade level. I’m sorry, that’s what it was.
-- Jeffrey Meyer is an intern for the Media Research Center.