Was he just kidding? Or does MSNBC host Chris Matthews really believe the tea-party movement is the American equivalent to the Muslim Brotherhood, the terrorist organization currently vying for power in Egypt, Tunisia and Arabic countries throughout the Middle East?
On Tuesday’s Hardball, Matthews, a former speechwriter for Democratic President Jimmy Carter and aide to Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill, devoted a segment to tea-party plans to mount primary challenges to Orrin Hatch of Utah and other Republican senators.
After Republican consultant John Feehery said incumbent senators need to “get home and listen to their constituents,” Matthews asked Feehery, “Why are you treating Orrin Hatch like Mubarak?”
Hosni Mubarak is the Egyptian strongman currently facing a revolt at home and pressure from abroad to relinquish power.
Matthews went on to compare the tea party with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic extremist organization attempting to depose Mubarak through mass protests and violent clashes in the streets of Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has spawned terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and Hamas, has declared its intent make Islamic law supreme over the world.
“So the Muslim Brotherhood has a parallel role here with the tea party,” said Matthews. “They’re the ones who keep you honest and decide whether you’ve stayed too long. Whether you’ve got a ‘sell by’ date looming.”
“Oh dear God,” replied Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest tea-party organizations in the United States. “That’s the most asinine thing I ever heard. It’s such a stupid comment, I’m having trouble coming up with a response.”
Phillips contended that Matthews was showing disrespect for the American political process and the influence exerted by grassroots tea-party activists on the watershed 2010 elections, which drove the Democrats out of power in the House of Representatives.
“It’s absolutely stunning. Maybe Chris Matthews would prefer the one-party elections they used to have in his beloved old Soviet Union. Apparently he thinks the only people who should be allowed in office are those to the left of him and Karl Marx.
“This is America, the land of freedom. If he wants to get out there and oppose Orrin Hatch he has the right to do that. It’s the height of stupidity to suggest American citizens cannot oppose somebody they disagree with.
“Here’s what it says: it says the left is afraid of the tea-party movement. If you watch the blogs that liberal groups put out, you can read right between the lines they fear the tea-party movement. The Los Angeles Times came out with a poll a couple of days ago that 77 percent of the American public supported the tea-party movement. I think what the hard left is afraid of is the ascendance of the tea-party movement. They’re afraid of the tea-party movement because we’re reaching out to middle-class America, and if middle-class America is waking up to what the liberals are doing, they’re going to lose their hold on power. James Carville wrote a book on how the Democrats were going to rule for the next 40 years. Not only will they not rule, they’re afraid they’ll be the minority party for the next 40 years.”
Phillips confirmed that Tea Party Nation hopes to defeat in primaries incumbent Republican senators Hatch, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Scott Brown of Massachusetts in the 2012 election.