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  1. Headline
updated 4/8/2010 9:11:16 AM ET 2010-04-08T13:11:16

Guests: Jay Newton-Small, David Remnick, Ron Reagan, Douglas Wilder, Rep.

Jim Moran.

HOST:  Confederacy of dunces.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington.  Leading off tonight:

The real Republican leadership.  Mark your calendar.  Today, April 7th,

2010, the new Republican Party showed its head today.  Move over, Mitch

McConnell, you rascal!  Move over, Mr. Chip (ph) and Pug (ph), John

Boehner.  You may have the titles, but the crowns in your party are now on

the heads of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and

Sean Hannity.

Today on daytime television, we saw the wing team dream team of Palin,

Bachmann and Hannity.  They have the star power, not the backroom schmooze

of Capitol Hill.

Plus, Jeff Davis Republicans.  Cries of succession and nullification

got 600,000 men killed back in the 1860s.  Cries of states‘ rights got us

fellows like Jim Crow and Bull Connor and George Corley Wallace.  What the

world needs now, more of this talk!  Virginia‘s new Republican governor,

Bob McDonnell, has declared April to be Confederate History Month.  To read

his proclamation, you‘d think the of 1861 to 1865 was a joyous war of

independence, great stuff all around, just got overwhelmed by too much fire

power from up north.  Not a word about slavery being the issue or the

election of Abraham Lincoln causing succession.  Former governor Doug

Wilder of Virginia says the Confederate History Month stuff is mind-

boggling.  We‘re going to talk about it.  It just happened.

And will the real John McCain please stand up?  He now says he‘s never

considered himself a maverick.  Could someone please remind him that he

boasted about his maverick credentials throughout the entire 2008 campaign? 

OK, we‘ll remind him right here tonight.  Let‘s go to the videotape.  We‘re

rounding up the mavericks tonight.

Also, why is President Obama having so much trouble winning over white

working-class Americans?  And how can he win a mandate in 2012 if he can‘t

do the job?  We‘ll get to that one.

And “Let Me Finish” tonight with some thoughts on politicians in white

shirts sending messages that other men turn into nasty racist phone calls

in the night.  Virginia celebrates the Confederacy.

That‘s also where we start tonight with Governor‘s Bob McDonnell‘s

decision to declare April Confederate History Month in Virginia.  Ron

Reagan‘s a former radio talk show host who‘s working on a book about his

dad.  And Pat Buchanan‘s an MSNBC analyst.

What you make about today?  Let‘s start, by the way, with what

happened in Minnesota today.  It‘s an amazing event.  We‘ll get to the

Confederate stuff later.  What is going on?  We‘re going to show you right

now.  Here is Governor Palin today with Bachmann.  These are very

fascinating political figures, very good on the stump, much more exciting

than Mitch McConnell or John Boehner, the so-called elected leaders of the

Republican—here are the new—here‘s the new star power of the

Republican Party.  Let‘s watch today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  ... on the outside.  I am here

to testify she is 20 times more beautiful on the inside.  Please help me

welcome Governor Sarah Palin!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  You know, Pat, I think I had a small role here in hosting

this program one day, when Michele Bachmann came on and said we ought to

have a media investigation for anti-Americanism.  You were here.  And the

out of that came—a caterpillar became a butterfly and now we saw her

today.  She‘s dazzling on the stump.  Her speech today was so well given.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  I think she‘s dynamite.  I‘ve seen you in the old days.  I

think she‘s really good on the stump.  I saw her there—I think that she

outdid Palin today.  Is this the new star power of the right, not the Mitch

McConnells and the Boehners?

BUCHANAN:  Oh, star power, there‘s no question about it.  Boehner and

McConnell can‘t compare to this.  These are extremely attractive women. 

They‘ve got passion, Chris.  They‘ve got conviction.  They‘ve got

authenticity.  And I don‘t say this in a derogatory way—you‘ve got a

couple of rodeo queens out there.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, and you mean that positively.  Let‘s take a look. 

Well, let‘s go to this.  Ron Reagan, you know, they‘re woman of the West,

if you will, Minnesota and Alaska.  They talk in pioneer language about

fishing and hunting and certainly gun rights and they‘ve got all the themes

out there, and they are, obviously, dazzling on the stump.  Your thoughts?

RON REAGAN, FORMER RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, they‘re very

entertaining.  You‘re right, they‘ve got a certain glamour appeal to them. 

But they‘re also more than a few McNuggets shy of a Happy Meal, both of

them.

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  And you know this is—you know, Michele Bachmann is a woman

who just a little while ago, sitting with Glenn Beck—and when you make

Glenn Beck look sane, you know you‘re really doing something.  She

suggested that the Census form was actually a secret plot by the government

to place Americans in internment camps.  Now, you know, this is not the

sort of stuff that‘s going to fly with most Americans out there -- 20

percent of America, maybe half the Republican Party, perhaps, but not most

Americans.  This isn‘t going to get the job done in 2012, that‘s for sure.

MATTHEWS:  You know, Ron, I think once you investigate for anti-

Americanism, I think you might be on her list.  Here‘s Michele Bachmann

critiquing...

REAGAN:  I hope so!

MATTHEWS:  ... President Obama today on his nuclear policy.  I am

confounded by why she‘s upset by this nuclear policy, since Ronald Reagan

was one the great idealists about some day getting rid of nuclear weapons

in this world.  But here she is.  Let‘s listen to Michele Bachmann on this

new conservativism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN:  And then earlier this week, we found out that the president

said that he was going to change the United States‘ strategy on dealing

with nuclear weaponry.  Did this shock anyone?  So if, in fact, there is a

nation who is compliant with all the rules ahead of time and they‘ve

complied the United Nations on nuclear proliferation, if they fire against

the United States a biological weapon, a chemical weapon, or maybe a

cyberattack, well, then, we aren‘t going to be firing back with nuclear

weapons!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t get that.  I guess I‘m waiting for the applause

line there.  But I guess I never thought of using nuclear weapons against

somebody hacking into our system here, our computer system.

BUCHANAN:  Oh, come on!

MATTHEWS:  Nuclear weapons are basically used in the context of the

cold war...

BUCHANAN:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  ... at its worst as counter to other nuclear weapons.

BUCHANAN:  Look, James Baker...

MATTHEWS:  Except in Europe.

BUCHANAN:  James Baker told the foreign minister of Iraq that if they

used chemical or biological weapons on our troops in Desert Storm, we would

retaliate with nuclear weapons.  He took him out of the meeting...

MATTHEWS:  How about the cyberattack part of this?

BUCHANAN:  ... and told him that.  Look, to have a cyberattack, you

need a nuclear weapon on the other side because the cyberattack—

(INAUDIBLE) you mean the...

MATTHEWS:  She was saying if we get hit with a cyberattack...

BUCHANAN:  Well, I...

MATTHEWS:  ... we should strike back with nuclear.

BUCHANAN:  You mean computer?  Do they mean computers or the...

MATTHEWS:  Yes, that‘s what she means.

BUCHANAN:  ... or the attack in the atmosphere?

MATTHEWS:  No, no, no, no, no.  She‘s talking about a cyberattack.

BUCHANAN:  Well, if they hack into your computer?

MATTHEWS:  If somebody—if somebody gets (INAUDIBLE) computer

system, we just...

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think...

MATTHEWS:  ... we‘d strike with nuclear weapons.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think I‘d strike with nuclear weapons if they

hacked into my computer, no.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Well, I guess I don‘t get this.  Ron, there‘s an urgency in

her voice that doesn‘t—it isn‘t matched by the strategic thinking here,

I don‘t think.

REAGAN:  No, and...

MATTHEWS:  But anyway...

REAGAN:  Nuclear weapons have been used twice in all of history, and

we‘re not eager to use them again.  And no, we‘re not going to nuke

somebody just because they hacked into our computers.  That‘s not going to

happen.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me talk about this.  I was absolutely dazzled by

Michele Bachmann‘s development.  I really do think that what I‘m watching

there is a person who could hit the stump, campaign in Iowa...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... as you know very well, you‘re an expert—where

evangelicals are strong, her reference to the fact that our rights are God-

given, which is a fact in our...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... written into our—into our Declaration of

Independence.  No surprise there.  But running on that kind of language,

very strong church language there—that seems to be ringing the bell.

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me say this.  I don‘t know about Michele

Bachmann, whether she‘s ready for it, but I do know this.  If Sarah goes in

Sarah Palin goes into Iowa, I think she starts off with between 30

percent and 40 percent of the vote.  She shoulders out all the other

conservatives.  And Mitt Romney, I think, is the only one that could stop

her, given, A, his standing in the moderate wing of the party, B, he‘s got

some conservatives, and C, there are a lot of the people in the Republican

Party, Chris, scared to death of Sarah Palin.  I think they would move to

Romney as the alternative.

These races always come down to the conservative, and as Ron, Jr.,

knows, Ron Reagan, for example, against George H.W. Bush.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, but Reagan won that.

BUCHANAN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  And I‘m wondering whether this is more like 1980 or it‘s

more like ‘68?  Which year is it more like?  Is it more like a year where

you go to the center right or you go to the hard right?

BUCHANAN:  Well, it‘s not -- ‘68, we didn‘t have any real competition. 

It could be a ‘64 year...

MATTHEWS:  You had Romney.

BUCHANAN:  ... a ‘64 year, where you get Goldwater versus Rockefeller

down to the final.

MATTHEWS:  I think the current Romney could fall victim to the same

problems of the Romney in the past.  I‘m just not sure he has the political

chops.

BUCHANAN:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  Let me—here‘s more of Palin today.  Our story today is

really about the rise to the top of the Republican Party of Palin and

Bachmann, of course, Sean Hannity and the talk show radio people like

Limbaugh we‘ve been talking about before.  But these two women have really

grabbed the stage here today and more than just today.  Here they are. 

Here‘s Palin welcoming the crowd.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FMR. VP NOMINEE:  It is really good to

be here in the land of 10,000 lakes with patriots, patriots who love your

country—you are so proud to be Americans—and you who love your good

hunting and fishing and...

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Some of you are proudly clinging to your guns and religion,

like the rest of us!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  You know, you talk about buttering up an audience.  I

thought it was a Land of Lakes commercial there, you know, with the land

the 10,000 lakes!  I mean...

BUCHANAN:  Chris, maybe you didn‘t hear what she was saying.  She

would love your guns and religion.  What did Obama say?  You know, those

middle...

MATTHEWS:  This clinging...

BUCHANAN:  ... middle of Pennsylvania, clinging to their guns and

their Bibles and their bigotry.  She‘s appealing to the folks that he

pushed (ph) away!

MATTHEWS:  Does this get beyond the snow sled vote?

BUCHANAN:  Oh, Sarah Palin does—I mean, Sarah Palin could win the -

if she...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m waiting for her to go, Mush, you huskies.

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  Oh, no, no, no, no, no!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... more of it.  Let‘s watch more of it.  Here‘s more

Palin...

REAGAN:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  Yes, go ahead.  I want to watch...

REAGAN:  All right, Chris, I...

MATTHEWS:  Just a minute, Ron.  I want you to get more time here.

REAGAN:  ... I‘m sorry.  Your analogy to—your analogy to ‘64,

Chris, was apt.

MATTHEWS:  It was ‘68.

REAGAN:  Sarah Palin may even win the Republican nomination, but she

is unelectable.  She is unelectable in the country at large.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s take a look at the tea partiers and Palin, what

she had to say about them, and the women.  Here she is.  Let‘s listen.  She

is really good on the stump.  She‘s nothing but applause lines.  Here she

is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  Something kind of interesting—I was going to mention this

to Michele.  Something kind of interesting about some these tea party

leaders.  We‘re finding out most of them are women!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Yes.  Some surveys show that.  And that‘s inspiration that

gives us hope for this—hope for this movement because, you know, as

Ronald Reagan‘s friend, Margaret Thatcher, used to say, she used to say, In

politics, you want something said, ask a man.  You want something done, ask

a woman.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I‘m much more traditional than that, though.  My old mantra is

no, Behind every good, productive man stands a very surprised woman.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I—I don‘t know what to say.  Ron, you pick up on this. 

It‘s only fraught with peril for me to comment.  But I do—I do—never

mind.  I‘m not saying it.  There‘s a certain kind of presentation, then,

that is so Tina Fey, I wonder who‘s imitating who.  I think she‘s doing Fey

imitating her.  It‘s a cartoon, in a sense, but it works with the crowd

she‘s working.  I mean, the fingers, the windshield wave, everything seems

to be—seems to be contrived for brilliant click, click, click applause

lines that works dramatically with the audience.

REAGAN:  With a particular audience, but not the broader audience in

America.  We‘re talking about maybe, max, 20 percent of the country here. 

It may be—it‘s a sizable minority of the Republican Party, though, and

this is a huge problem for the Republican Party.  They—they want to

somehow coopt the tea party movement.

MATTHEWS:  OK...

REAGAN:  They want to ride...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

REAGAN:  ... Sarah Palin‘s coattails, but they‘ll ride them to defeat,

ultimately.

MATTHEWS:  There‘s that happy guy, John McCain—happiest man in

America!  I need Sarah Palin!  Thank you, Pat Buchanan.  Thank you, Pat—

thank you, Pat Buchanan.  And thank you, Ron Reagan.

Coming up: The new Republican governor of Virginia has declared April

to be Confederate History Month.  That‘s got a lot of people in Virginia a

bit upset.  Why are we going back?  Pat wants to stay so hard, but he has

to leave.  I‘m sure he‘ll be able to get by (ph).  Doug Wilder, the first

ever African-American elected president—governor of the country, has a

thought on this.  He was the governor of Virginia.  He doesn‘t like this go

back to Confederacy stuff.  You‘re watching HARDBALL—by the way they go

south, they go west.  The Republican Party‘s going all over the place.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  April is Confederate History

Month in Virginia.  In a proclamation, Republican governor Bob McDonnell

said, quote, “It is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our

commonwealth‘s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the

Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil

War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present.”

Well, his proclamation left out a key word in American history,

slavery.  “The Washington Post” quotes McDonnell saying, “There were any

number of aspects to that conflict between the states.  Obviously, it

involved slavery.  It involved other issues.  But I focused on the ones I

thought were most significant for Virginia.”  And he left out slavery.

Doug Wilder‘s the former governor of Virginia, and more recently, the

former mayor of Richmond.  And Jim Moran‘s a Democratic congressman from

Virginia.

Governor, you were elected as the first African-American in the

country to become a governor, and you‘ve been through—you grew up there. 

You‘re a Virginian.  Why are we going back to the Confederacy and honoring

in this strange sort of—well, I don‘t know what the right word is,

sanitized way?

DOUGLAS WILDER (D), FMR. VIRGINIA GOVERNOR:  Chris, good to be with

you, as always.  But you‘re absolutely right.  That reference to my

election some 20 years ago shows you and showed any numbers of people

across the country just how far Virginians have come from that period.  I‘m

the grandson of slaves, and I can tell you that during that period of time

that the proclamation speaks of, almost half the population of Virginia was

of African descent.

These people were not happy, and when you speak about all Virginians

should be happy now about the contributions of those people who thought to

dehumanize, to enslave and still hold our nation apart—fortunately, they

lost that war.  And fortunately, we‘ve united to the extent that we have a

president now, an African-American president, and we‘ve moved past it.

This is a no period of glorification.  Should we recognize the

contributions that families made and sacrificed during that period?  Yes. 

Glorification?  No.

The governor called me today and I spoke to him.  I hope that we‘ll

see some revision relative to either...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

WILDER:  ... the proclamation or his statement and sentiments.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Congressman Moran, I want to just read some of the

language in this proclamation.  For those who have mixed feelings about

this, I don‘t think you‘re have them very long.  The way he describes the

Civil War—first of all, he calls it “the war between the states,” it was

a war of independence.  It sounds like the original war for independence. 

It was fought for people‘s homes and communities and the commonwealth. 

They were fighting a war of defense, basically.  But they were overwhelmed

by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union army.

No mention of which side may have been right on the issue of slavery. 

No mention of slavery, just this, as I said, sanitized version of history. 

This is like one of those Soviet history books we used to read about, where

they set it up their way.  Your thoughts, Jim?  Congressman?

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  Well, Chris, it was written by the Sons

of the Confederacy, who continue to refer to the Civil War as the second

American revolution.  You know, James McPherson, who as you know, was the

eminent historian of the Civil War, has made clear the Civil War was fought

because a man opposed to slavery was elected president and that‘s why the

states seceded.  They seceded from this country.  They wanted to destroy

this country so they had the right to own other human beings!  And as Doug

has said, there were 500,000 slaves in Virginia at the time.  And Virginia

fought the war so that they could continue to own those human beings!

And, for Governor McDonnell to suggest that this was not about

slavery, to commemorate the Civil War as though this was some, you know,

neutral part of American history, this was all about slavery. 

And these people wanted to destroy our country, so that they could

control other human beings.  And we ought to face up to that...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

MORAN:  ... get beyond it, and—and—but it‘s very much related to

the first part of your show.  This is about appealing to that base who

wants to change...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

MORAN:  ... history and wants to change the country for the worse. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, the progress of America has always been two steps

forward and one step backwards. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at a rally in March. 

Let‘s listen to her.  She makes a point that I don‘t think is defensible. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  Democrats said that they were

called N-word, which, of course, would be wrong and inappropriate.  But no

one has any record of it.  No witness saw it.  It‘s not on camera.  It‘s

not on audio.  They were told—they said that they were spat upon.  No

one saw it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Audio, Congresswoman?  Audio?

Here‘s a voice-mail left at the office of Congressman John Lewis. 

Let‘s listen.  I hope that you‘re listening, Congresswoman Bachmann. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That God (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  Don‘t tell me I got

to get some God (EXPLETIVE DELETED) health insurance.  I ain‘t paying no

God (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fine.  Tell that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) he can come

put my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in jail if he don‘t like it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, the N-word was used prolifically—prolifically the,

Governor, as you wouldn‘t be surprised. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  The language was familiar from the past.  It‘s still out

there.  It‘s redolent of the bad old days.  But anybody in public life

knows these words are not far from the lips of some people.

We saw, of course, Congressman Cleaver get spat upon.  We have an

adequate visual record of that.  And I think the congresswoman should pay

attention to that scene. 

There it is.  Amazing.  There it is, Congressman Cleaver trying—

well, he restrained—he was a gentleman.  The other guy was worse than I

can think about.  There he is.  He won‘t even stop with his spittle. 

Congressman—governor, you have been through all this.  Why do you

think people are going—is this a play for what‘s called the Republican

base?  Is this just clearly aimed at the...

WILDER:  I don‘t think so, no.

MATTHEWS:  ... the people who don‘t like change?  Or what is it? 

WILDER:  I think it‘s a miscalculation, period.  That—that base

doesn‘t belong any place in forging any what I call majority party or

majority manipulation any place in America today. 

The American people are past this.  Jim Moran absolutely right.  What

this proclamation suggests is that that period was something, well, just a

little spat.  Well, we did the best we could, but we were overwhelmed. 

(LAUGHTER)

WILDER:  And why were we overwhelmed?  We were overwhelmed because the

right one—if those people that had been successful, you and I wouldn‘t

be here talking like we are today.  I know I wouldn‘t be here at all under

any circumstances.

And, so, it is revisionist history.  Unfortunately, it got its play. 

I hope the governor sees fit to revise his statements, even revise the

proclamation, because, if he doesn‘t, it will be an evergreen story, and it

will be something that will continue to define his administration.  He

doesn‘t need that.  He shouldn‘t want that.  Virginians are beyond that. 

MATTHEWS:  I want to get to the constitutional questions here,

gentlemen. 

And, Congressman Moran, I want you to jump on this here.  Here‘s the

health care issue, which is still very much debated in this country. 

Here‘s Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a former colleague of yours,

who is running—he‘s attorney general in Florida, but he‘s running for

governor down there.  And he‘s hitting this issue pretty hard. 

“It‘s the constitutional duty I have,” he says, “to protect the

citizens of Florida, to protect an unconstitutional—to protect it from

an unconstitutional invasion of the state,” using the words like the

sovereignty of the state, the invasion of the state by the north.

Then you have got Rick Perry—we will have to play this again—we

have played it so many times—he‘s talking up succession.  We got a

Republican candidate for governor down there talking about nullification,

interposition. 

This stuff, Jim, you and I grew up with.  We studied it in school. 

Governor, you lived through it. 

These words like nullification, I mean, do we have to go back to Dr.

King to—to get some refutation here.  Congressman, what‘s going on? 

MORAN:  I don‘t know...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Why are they talking this language of secession and

nullification again? 

MORAN:  Well, you know, it‘s human nature.

And they fought the Civil War because a man who was opposed to slavery

was elected president.  I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that

we have an African-American president who has an agenda.  He wants to make

-- create equal opportunity for everyone in this country.  He wants to make

this a greater, more inclusive society. 

I think he‘s doing a good job, personally.  But they object to who‘s

doing it and what his ultimate objective is, because they think this is

their country.  And I don‘t think...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

WILDER:  I think a lot of this has do with race, but a whole lot of it

has to do with this attitude that government is the enemy.  It started back

in 19 -- in the 1980s. 

And, you know, it sure is defining the Republican vs. the Democratic

Party.  It‘s a schism.  But I don‘t think that these folks represent more

than 20 percent of the American electorate.  Let‘s hope not. 

MATTHEWS:  Congressman Moran, thank you, as always. 

And, Congressman...

WILDER:  Chris...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Governor, I have got to cut you off, but thank you so

much...

WILDER:  OK.  Good.  We will talk.  We will talk. 

MATTHEWS:  ... for coming on the program.

WILDER:  Thanks again.  Real good.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s an honor to have you on, sir. 

WILDER:  Always good.

MATTHEWS:  Up next...

WILDER:  Thank you, sir.

MATTHEWS:  ... why is Rudy Giuliani criticizing President Obama for

doing something that Ronald Reagan said he wanted to do over and over

again, get rid of nuclear weapons, get rid of the threat of them?  Check

out the “Sideshow” tonight.  Some of these guys ought to do a little

dusting up on their—well, pull out the history books once in a while and

read them again. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  Time for the “Sideshow.” 

First: Rudy vs. Reagan. 

Catch how Mr. Mayor Rudy Giuliani critiques President Obama‘s nuclear

weapons policy in “The National Review” today—quote—“A nuclear-free

world has been a 60-year dream of the Left, just like socialized health-

care.  This new policy, like Obama‘s government-run health program, is a

big step in that direction.”

What‘s wrong with wanting a world free of nuclear weapons?  Good

question.  Is it really just a dream of the left?  I recall that was a

dead-serious mission of a fellow named Ronald Reagan. 

Here, the former president was in China back in ‘84. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1984)

RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  A nuclear war cannot

be won and must never be fought.  And no matter how great the obstacles may

seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war.  We—

we must never stop at all until all—until we see the day when nuclear

arms have been banished from the face of this Earth. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  I want to thank Andrew Sullivan of “The Atlantic” for

remembering those lines of former President Reagan. 

Next: Alan Greenspan in the hot seat?  This morning, the former Fed

chair sat before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to answer for the

Fed‘s failure to prevent that subprime mortgage implosion. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN GREENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN:  My experience has

been, in the business I was in, I was right 70 percent of the time, but I

was wrong 30 percent of the time.  And there are an awful lot of mistakes

in 21 years. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, give credit to Greenspan for standing up for his

watch.  His hero Ayn Rand would be proud. 

On to someone who got, well, a lot of confidence about his job

performance, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada.  Despite polls out in Nevada

showing him trailing a still unknown opponent by double digits, Senator

Reid declared at campaign stop just yesterday—quote—“If the election

were held today, I would win.”

Well, don‘t bet against him.  Harry Reid‘s a worker bee.  He will own

his record, not away from it.  Nevadans will have to decide if they have

got somebody better to represent them in Washington. 

Time for the “Big Number.”  What a big one it is tonight.

A new Harris poll asked Americans who they blame most for the bad

economy.  Fourteen percent said President Obama.  Sixteen percent said

Democrats in Congress.  Twenty-five percent blame Wall Street.  But who got

the most votes?  George W. Bush, 31 percent.  He left office more than a

year ago, but a third of Americans blame President Bush for the bad economy

-- 31 percent, tonight‘s good-for-Democrats “Big Number.” 

Up next:  How desperate is John McCain?  He told “Newsweek” magazine

that he never considered himself a maverick.  Can we believe our ears? 

John McCain is not a maverick?  He says so?  Really?  We have got the

evidence, and we have got it on videotape.  And your own memory tells you,

this guy ran as a maverick for years.  Now he says he never was one. 

What‘s going to on in the head of John McCain?

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC

“Market Wrap.”

Stocks on the retreat today after a senior member the Fed called on

policy-makers to start raising rates, the Dow Jones industrials sliding 72

points, the S&P 500 down seven points, and the Nasdaq falling 5.5 points. 

News breaking just after the closing bell.  “The New York Times” is

reporting that United Airlines‘ parent, UAL, and U.S. Airways are in merger

talks.  Both companies‘ shares are on the move after-hours, with U.S.

Airways‘ shares soaring more than 14 percent. 

The president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve urging the Fed to

start raising interest rates sooner, rather than later.  Tom Hoenig says

it‘s time to—quote—“put the market on notice” that government

supports won‘t be around indefinitely. 

In stocks, health care and tech showing surprising pockets of

strength, like Palm—its shares soaring 20 percent on rumors it may be

the target of a takeover bid.  And Apple continuing its steady ascent on

better-than-expected sales of the iPhone. 

That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to

HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

John McCain branded himself as a maverick in the old days, but now

he‘s trying to erase the very title he campaigned on.  He told “Newsweek”

magazine, “I never considered myself a maverick.”

Oh, really?  Let‘s take a walk down memory lane.  I hope John is

watching.  The senator deserves to get a little memory check here.  Here he

is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  And what maverick really means, what

this team of maverick really means is, we understand who we work for. 

When two mavericks join up, we don‘t agree on everything, but that‘s a

lot of fun. 

And you have got a team of mavericks, a team of mavericks. 

Send a team of mavericks. 

I have been called a maverick. 

Called a maverick. 

A maverick. 

A maverick. 

A maverick. 

Maverick. 

My old friend and green room pal Chris Matthews, he used to like me,

but he found somebody new, somebody who opened up his eyes.  We have talked

about it.  I told him, maverick, I can do, but messiah is above my pay

grade. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  So, who is the real John McCain? 

“Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman is chuckling away.  He got—his magazine

got this little scoop.  He‘s also an MSNBC analyst, as we know.  And Jay

Newton-Small is Washington correspondent for “TIME.”

Howard, this is chuckle-worthy.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  And we all have a fondness for John McCain.  We have worked

with him.  We have spent time with him for years.  He—he was a great

source of news, and—and, in many ways, inspiring as a candidate.  Why

would he deny being the thing we all know he was? 

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  Well, the amazing

thing is, in the interview that he did with my colleague David Margolick, I

don‘t think that it ever occurred to John McCain that there was any twist

or irony in what he was saying. 

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  And the—and the fact is that, in the last few months,

it‘s been extremely inconvenient for him to be mavericky at all with regard

to the Republican conservative establishment, because that‘s who he

desperately needs to stave off a challenge in the Republican primary. 

MATTHEWS:  Is—well, Jay, is maverick such a bad word that even a

guy who embraced it, I think wondrously and effectively, for years—he

went down into that Clemson auditorium and took on, you know, the bad guys,

the Karl Roves, with their dirty stuff about his daughter and his wife,

that horrendous crap that was thrown at him by the right. 

He stood up to them like a man.  And now he‘s denying he was that John

McCain?  How can you deny you at your greatest? 

(LAUGHTER)

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, “TIME”:  Well...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t know. 

NEWTON-SMALL:  Look, he—he—I wrote—I wrote a while back that

he came back from the 2000 campaign virtually a liberal, and then came back

from the 2008 campaign a conservative.

In the last year, since he‘s been back, because he‘s so worried about

reelection, because he‘s worried about challenges from the right, with

former Representative J.D. Hayworth challenging him...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

NEWTON-SMALL:  ... that he‘s seriously worried that he‘s not going to

win reelection, so he‘s really shifted hard to the right, and becoming...

MATTHEWS:  God.  He sounds like—he sounds like Mitt Romney. 

NEWTON-SMALL:  ... Mitch McConnell‘s lapdog, essentially. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Isn‘t that the worst thing you can say about somebody?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I mean, Mitt Romney seems to think that what happens in

Massachusetts stays in Massachusetts, you know?

FINEMAN:  Well, I think, to some extent, John McCain just doesn‘t want

to bother with previous statements, even if they‘re on the covers of books. 

MATTHEWS:  Even if they‘re positive. 

FINEMAN:  But, having watched him a lot up in—on the Senate in the

last few weeks—I know he‘s going to dismiss this comment as just more

carping from the liberal pundits, et cetera, but there‘s a sad—there‘s a

there‘s a sort of sad quality to it, because he‘s taken on a sort of

brittleness, because I think he‘s a little upset with himself...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

FINEMAN:  ... that he has to into what he‘s doing right now. 

My sense is that he‘s not comfortable with it, but he‘s got no choice,

he thinks, politically. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me tell you, Jay, it seems to me, your description‘s a

little tough. 

I mean, all politicians—all politicians—have to shape their

presentations to primary elections and then to general elections. They all

go to the center in general elections.  They all go somewhat to the base in

the primaries.  They have to.  That‘s how politics works.  You sell your

base and then you move out from your base.  Why does McCain look really

ridiculous now, I think, where he looks—I will pose this to you.  When

you deny the tributes paid to you in the past, that you‘re a maverick—

what‘s more American than being a maverick? 

NEWTON-SMALL:  Well, I mean, look, this isn‘t something new that he

suddenly stopped being a maverick and started—and became this sort of

tow the line Republican.  I would argue that in his presidential run, he

didn‘t go to the center for the general election.  He stayed pretty far to

the right.  And he seemed equally as miserable during his presidential

election as he did in—like you know—as he has for the last few

months. 

MATTHEWS:  I love it, Jay.  When was he most miserable, on an index? 

When he had to go and play ball with the Republican establishment?  Or when

he had to play ball as sort of like the star is born role with Sarah Palin,

where he had to stand there and get her endorsement?  What was more

uncomfortable? 

NEWTON-SMALL:  He looked really uncomfortable in both.  I think that

the last weekend, though, looked really, really uncomfortable, standing on

stage with her and needing her endorsement in order to win his own primary. 

And that‘s—they haven‘t had the best relationship since then. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, nor should they.  Here is McCain, the senator.  He

couldn‘t stop Sarah Palin from calling him a maverick just two weeks ago. 

So here she is paying testament to his most famous moniker, maverick. 

Let‘s listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FMR. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA:  It was such a privilege to be

asked to run alongside him in 2008.  And it‘s an honor to stand beside him

now and ask that you, Arizona, for the sake of your state and the sake of

our country, that you send the maverick back to the United States Senate. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  So she shows up in a biker costume, and she says he‘s a

maverick.  That‘s like fighting words.  Let‘s take a look—let‘s take

picture here, a still that‘ll tell you a bigger story.  The name of his

book that he wrote and gave the title to was—let me read it closely—

“The Education of an American Maverick,” which he has now said “I never

considered myself a maverick.”  What are we going to believe, him or our

lying eyes? 

FINEMAN:  Well, the thing is, first of all, having to stand there and

listen while Sarah Palin sort of damned him with faint praise a couple

times—he‘s not too old.  He‘s still fine.  He‘s still strong, et cetera,

et cetera—had to have graded on him.  Having seen him on the campaign

trail, having seen him since, he can‘t stand it, but he‘s doing things that

he knows he can‘t stand because he‘s in a battle for survival.  I think

that he may ultimately be over-stating the threat that he‘s got.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s running against J.D. Hayworth, who couldn‘t get

elected into the House anymore. 

FINEMAN:  He‘s got five times the money that Hayworth has.  He‘s got

the standing.   He‘ll probably win the Republican primary.  I think that

he‘s over-doing it here a little bit. 

MATTHEWS:  When I was a young kid in high school, I was pretty

conservative.  I did like Goldwater before I sort of studied the issues.  I

like Hillary Clinton in that regard.  at any stage of my sort of political

movement over the years, whether it was Gene McCarthy I was in love with or

whoever, at any stage I would have respected John McCain.  I don‘t see he

should have a problem here.  I don‘t understand.  He‘s a great guy from

Arizona.  He‘s in the tradition of Barry Goldwater.  He‘s a maverick like

Barry Goldwater was a maverick.  Barry Goldwater wouldn‘t have endorsed

J.D. Hayworth.  Are you kidding here?

FINEMAN:  It‘s a low turnout primary, but also independents can vote

in the primaries. 

MATTHEWS:  Look, if my endorsement helps you, John McCain, if you‘ve

got it.  If it doesn‘t, throw me under the bus.  Thank you, Howard Fineman,

and thank you, Jay Newton-Small.  I don‘t endorse, by the way.

Up next, we‘re going to talk about the president, his rise to

prominence, and what it symbolizes in America with David Remnick.  I want

to talk with this expert, who has come out with this big book on the

president.  Where is the president headed and can he put it together?  Can

he bring the working class whites aboard?  Can he build a real national

unity?  Hasn‘t done it yet.  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  The FBI is now—actually arrested a California man for

making threatening phone calls against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Officials say the man could recite Pelosi‘s home address, and he would say

that if she wanted to see her home again, she shouldn‘t support the health

care reform bill. 

Well, the arrest comes a day after a Washington State man was arrested

after making threatening—really threatening phone calls to Senator Patty

Murray over her support for health care reform.  The beat goes on.  The

horror continues.  HARDBALL continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Can President Obama rally his

base to help Democrats win this November?  And can he get reelected in

2012?  David Remnick is the editor of “The New Yorker Magazine,” and author

of the new book “The Bridge.”  The title comes from U.S. Congressman John

Lewis, who said “Barack Obama‘s is what comes at that end of that bridge in

Selma.”  He‘s where you get beyond civil rights.  So that‘s the great

question for your book.  

Looking ahead from this book that will be a best-seller—it‘s going

to be.  It‘s a great book.  I‘ve been reading it.  In fact, I had to get

ready for the show today.  As I often do, I went right to the last couple

of chapters, because I want to know where it ends.  I love to know the ends

of these. 

Let me ask you about post-racial.  We talked a lot about that.  If you

look at Grant Park on election night, that tremendous diversity of America

cheering his victory, and then, of course, we‘ve seen some of this hate. 

Let‘s take a look at the hate voicemail that was left for John Lewis, the

man that we just mentioned, in his office in Congress.  Here it is, let‘s

listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, Bill, yes, calling from (INAUDIBLE).  I ain‘t

going to get no health insurance.  Tell that son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

that I ain‘t getting the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) health insurance.  That God

(EXPLETIVE DELETED).  Don‘t tell me I got to get some god (EXPLETIVE

DELETED) health insurance.  I ain‘t paying no (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fine. 

Put my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in jail if you don‘t like it.  (EXPLETIVE

DELETED) (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (EXPLETIVE DELETED) who voted for Obama and

all them white trash honkies that voted for that communist socialist dumb

mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  God (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  I ain‘t getting the

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) mandatory health insurance.  (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  A

bunch of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) white trash, honkies, communist (EXPLETIVE

DELETED). 

I didn‘t go fight no god (EXPLETIVE DELETED) war so I can be forced to

do something I don‘t want to do.  (EXPLETIVE DELETED) all of you. 

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) you, John Lewis, you god damn (EXPLETIVE DELETED),

worthless communist. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, lots of F and lots of N words in there.  We had to

pull it out.  But clearly it went on and on and on.  This guy had been

listening to the right-wing attitude toward this guy, and he had his own

homegrown attitudes to go with it.  Ain‘t going away, is it? 

DAVID REMNICK, “THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE”:  No, and the extremes may

never go away, or take a very, very long time to go away.  And you don‘t

want to say that the Tea Party movement is all that.  But I think it‘s

combustible when you have 10 percent unemployment and economic insecurity

and the first African-American president.  And the extremes are going to be

are going to make their voices known and it‘s scary. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me try something that‘s always tricky, and make a

comparison to the sports world because everybody watches—is interesting

in sports.  And for years they thought that HARDBALL was a sports show, so

that‘s fine. 

You‘ve seen people in South Philly, in very ethnic neighborhoods that

I‘m familiar with, where white people will find themselves rooting for

African-American stars for their home team.  If they feel the person is on

their side, in other words, rooting if them, if they feel that person is

one of their champions, they change their attitudes and they root like mad,

right.  So people do have a willingness to root for somebody because he

thinks he‘s leading the charge for them.  Can‘t Barack Obama become the

champion of people who normally have these attitudes? 

REMNICK:  Well, I think his attitude would be be they just passed

through his initiative a health care package that—

MATTHEWS:  It‘s for working people.

REMNICK:  It‘s for working people, and tens of millions of people who

didn‘t have health care before.  So, yes, he‘s a little professorial in his

bearing to some people.  He may be diffident.  John Kennedy could have been

seen as diffident to many people.  Was he an elitist?  Was he incapable of

getting white working class voters? 

Remember another thing, Chris, this country, as James Baldwin said, is

white no longer.  John Kerry didn‘t win the white vote in his presidential

race, barely lost.  Obama won and didn‘t win the white vote.  This is

becoming an increasingly diverse country. 

(CROSS TALK)

MATTHEWS:  Why the Democratic party—whether it‘s Hillary Clinton in

a general election or Bill Clinton—why do they keep losing the white

vote? 

REMNICK:  Hillary Clinton won a lot of white working class folks—

MATTHEWS:  Because the alternative was a black candidate. 

REMNICK:  If she had won the nomination, and faced John McCain—

MATTHEWS:  You think that would have flipped? 

REMNICK:  It might have been much more problematic. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about his own sins.  During the campaign,

Barack Obama, you say, was detached.  He also made a comment in San

Francisco with an elite group.  I think he was pandering to them, myself,

the elite, because they need to be talked to -- 

REMNICK:  And he‘s been pounded over the head for that remark. 

MATTHEWS:  Because he talked about the white guys out there who cling

to their guns and religion because they‘re afraid. 

REMNICK:  That was foolishly put. 

MATTHEWS:  What was he trying to say and is it something he believes? 

REMNICK:  I think he believes that people get despairing when they are

out of work.  I don‘t think he thinks that people then start shooting

things and horrible things happen. 

MATTHEWS:  Did he ever se “Deer Hunter?”  It‘s not about people that

are afraid. 

REMNICK:  I‘m not defending that remark at all. 

MATTHEWS:  There are people who love to go hunting deer, and people go

to church who have a lot of money. 

REMNICK:  In fact when Obama found his political voice in Illinois,

it‘s because he got—he attracted a lot white votes in the southern part

of Illinois.  He became something different.  So I think the notion that he

is somehow just appealing to African-Americans or white liberal elites on

the left, you don‘t win presidential elections doing that. 

MATTHEWS:  How does he compare inside?  You‘ve written his biography. 

Is he a guy who has forgiven white people, if you will, their history, of

repression and Jim Crow?  Is he a guy that say, yes, that was history, I

don‘t blame people today for that?  Is he past that personally? 

REMNICK:  I think Barack Obama is deeply aware of the wound of

slavery. 

MATTHEWS:  Does he have any grudge, personally? 

REMNICK:  No, I don‘t think so.  No, I don‘t think so.

MATTHEWS:  I think some of the white working class think he does.  I

mean, Glenn Beck is out there selling this stuff all the time.  Who‘s—

REMNICK:  Chris, there‘s a big difference.  You have—there‘s always

been voices like this in American history.  But now you have the extremes

that you find on the Internet and on television.  You know what we‘re

talking about.  This whips it up.  You have an African-American president. 

This is whipped up by people like Glenn Beck.  And it gets some people

excited in the ugliest way.  You see it in a voicemail like that, not that

one voicemail necessarily means thousands or millions of people.  But it‘s

a very dangerous tendency.  To me—

MATTHEWS:  The unemployment is going to come back.  We‘re going to get

a better unemployment rate by 2012.  Ronald Reagan managed to get back from

11 percent, which spiked way up there, down to seven percent.  We had

morning in America.  It looked really good in the mid-‘80s by then.  If

that happens, will Barack Obama, with the political skills and the

personality and the soul he has, be able to take advantage of that and get

re-elected? 

REMNICK:  He‘s got to run against somebody.  This has to be a contest

between two people. 

MATTHEWS:  Is it going to be a Mondale?

REMNICK:  We‘re three years out, of course. 

(CROSS TALK)

MATTHEWS:  Mitt Romney is a Mondale.

REMNICK:  Is Mitt Romney going to come off as somebody warm and fuzzy

to white working class people?  He‘s many times wealthier and more

diffident. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David Remnick.  The book is called “The Bridge.” 

It‘s going to be a big seller.  I like the way they publish.  It has a nice

feel to it.  I‘m serious.  It‘s a hell of a book.

When we return, we‘re going to have some thoughts about Virginia‘s

Confederate History Month that‘s just been proclaimed, and what it says

about states rights and some of these nasty comments we‘re getting left for

congressional offices.  We‘ll be right back.  You‘re watching HARDBALL,

only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  The party of Abraham Lincoln is acting today like the party

of Jefferson Davis.  The governor of Virginia, as I said before, has

declared April as Confederate History Month.  Here‘s how Republican Robert

McDonnell describes the Civil War for those who got that proclamation as a,

quote, “four-year war between the states for independence.” 

His proclamation speaks of confederate leaders, who, quote, “fought

for their homes and communities and the commonwealth.”  But “how they were

overwhelmed by insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army.” 

Nothing about forced labor here, about the whip and the chains that

held people, the power of the state that separated families, that outlawed

any kind of education for the slaves.  Nothing about the wickedness of the

institution, itself, that lay at the heart of the Civil War. 

Nothing about the 600,000 people who lay dead as a result of that war,

as a result of the Confederate leaders who told their people they had to

fight because Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party had won the White

House. 

How about a little education here along with this reverence for the

cause?  How about real southern American history, along with the “Gone With

the Wind” version? 

I‘m glad to see that the governor has finally, tonight, said that he

should have included some reference to slavery in his proclamation.  And he

has apologized for omitting it.  Unfortunately, there‘s a lot of this talk

today.  The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, talked up succession.  One of

his Republican rivals talked up nullification. 

The candidate for governor of Florida speaks of a new health care bill

as an invasion of his state‘s sovereignty.  What‘s with all this states

rights‘ talk?  We reported last night the phone call Congressman John Lewis

received with all the racial stuff in, you know, how that disgusting public

behavior get into the very voting on the health care bill.  Look at

Congressman Cleaver there getting spit on at the White House—or at the

Capital, rather.

Govern McDonnell of Virginia says that the Civil War was about other

issues besides slavery, that there were any number of aspects to that war. 

Well, what history is he reading?  Lincoln was elected on a platform, a

Republican platform, by the way, that opposed the expansion of slavery into

the Western territories.  Because of that election, the South seceded from

the Union and formed the Confederacy. 

The plain truth is that for all this nostalgia for the past, the

politics of this Confederacy month promulgation is fairly plain.  Governor

McDonnell is doing what Governor Perry did, playing to the base, playing to

the base.  People in white shirts are talking so that people in the night

can send messages to congressman in far cruder language. 

That‘s HARDBALL.  See you tomorrow night. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

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