Matthews: Obama Needs to Break a Union Like Reagan

matthews-alterMSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews and liberal pundit Jonathan Alter agreed on last night’s show (5/14/13) that Barack Obama needs to be more assertive in controlling the various scandals swirling around his administration. But it was Matthews’ choice of historical comparisons that was especially illuminating:

MATTHEWS: I think actions speak louder than words. And I got to tell you something. When Reagan broke the PATCO strike and fired them all for breaking their oaths, everybody in the world, including the people in Moscow, got the word.

ALTER: Right. He should do that.

MATTHEWS: It’s one of the reasons we ended the Cold War, because they knew we had a strong president.


MATTHEWS: Talking ain’t going to do it. Henry Higgins. It doesn’t work.

ALTER: Right.

Praise for a conservative president’s breaking the air traffic controllers’ union–that’s what you hear on the liberal cable channel. (The video is below.)

That wasn’t Matthews’ only reference to Reagan. Later on:

I go back to Reagan and the PATCO strike, I go to all the history of Iran/Contra. Reagan didn’t put that behind him until Nancy, his wife, got him to admit he did do it, he did trade arms for hostages. Until he did that, it wasn’t over with.

Was Reagan’s handling of Iran/Contra really anyone’s idea of how to handle a scandal?

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About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.