Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 26, 2010

MATALIN'S MENDACITY.... CNN's Mary Matalin's latest contribution to the public discourse:

"As we all know, without boring our audience, reconciliation process was not made for what they are trying to use it here. No one is afraid of it. Go ahead and do it. The president's notion that the people don't understand what this is belied by the polls. They understand what it is. The majority vote is tyranny of the minority."

There's an inordinate amount of nonsense in these 61 words. But since it's representative of the kind of rhetoric we're hearing from more than a few shameless partisan hacks, let's quickly take the three main points, one at a time.

Reconciliation wasn't made for a situation like this? Actually, that's backwards. Health care reform already passed the Senate with 60 votes. Lawmakers are considering some additional budget-related changes. Without boring Matalin, we all know that reconciliation exists for exactly the kind of circumstances Democrats are facing now. That's not a matter of opinion; it's just reality.

"People" understand the details of the Democratic policy? I wish that were true; it's not. To be sure, thanks to a combination of a massive misinformation campaign, inadequate media coverage, and Americans' easily-manipulated fears, reform proposals fare poorly in the polls. But there's plenty of data that shows Democratic plans looking quite popular after respondents are told what's actually in the legislation. Ironically, it's Matalin's argument, not the president's, that is "belied by the polls."

And finally, "The majority vote is tyranny of the minority"? I'm not sure what that means. In fact, I'm fairly certain that Mary Matalin doesn't know what that means, either. If we give the GOP operative the benefit of the doubt, and assume she meant to say that majority rule is the "tyranny of the majority," that's still rather ridiculous. At what point does a majority-rule decision become tyrannical? Should we not approve anything unless the vote is unanimous, so as to prevent oppressive tyranny against those in opposition?

Is it me, or have Republican talking points taken on the air of desperation?

Steve Benen 2:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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Mary Matalin is another partisan hack from the Bush Criminal Enterprise who seems to be deemed credible by the corporate media.

She was a member of 'The Iraq Study Group', which was put together in the Bush White House in 2002 to put together a 'marketing plan' to sell the invasion of Iraq. As such, she should be in the dockets in The Hague, standing along side Bush, Cheney, and their seemingly countless minions.

CNN has become a Lite version of Fox Noise, where a person is deemed credible because they are a repugnican.

Posted by: AngryOldVet on February 26, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I've come to the conclusion that there are just a lot of rotten people in the World, including the USA and a larger proportion of the rotten Americans self identify as conservative republicans. And that's just the way it is. We should talk about this problem in those terms. It really is a simple case of good and evil. No misunderstanding, no interpretations differ, no just politics, it is bloody good vs evil here. Let's all stop making ecuses for them, like excuses were made for the slave-states and their politicians, there should be no excusing these immoral cretins. Matalin is in the evil camp.

Posted by: Northern Observer on February 26, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"The majority vote is tyranny of the minority"

--This reminds of when I went out in NYC and some guy nearby was spouting off about I don't know what, but one of the gems from that was "Androgynous is the new black."

Posted by: r_m on February 26, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Vocabulary words for Mary to study this weekend:

tyranny
majority
minority
opnion
reality

Posted by: Gaia on February 26, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

D'oh. Opinion.

You knew what I meant.

Posted by: Gaia on February 26, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

This is what you get when you take the hawk out of the chickenhawk. Besides---going with the unemployment story a couple spaces backthread, I'm getting a good feeling that Mary and her ilk will be hookin' on the hammock with her hobo-GOPer johns about a year from now.

Posted by: S. Waybright on February 26, 2010 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I watched Matalin say this live and was more disgusted than baffled. I read "tyranny of the minority" as a reference to polling: that is, the Democratic healthcare plan commands a minority of popular support.

Mostly, I'm always annoyed that CNN pairs Matalin -- who Northern Observer nails as pure "evil" -- with party hack Donna Brazile, who's incapable of saying anything memorable.

Posted by: Matthew B on February 26, 2010 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Matalin apparently believes that whichever party has the majority, they live and breathe to oppress the minority.

Which means when her asspal Bush was President, she loved oppressing the minority, because it was us. It just sucks NOW, it's wrong NOW, and will continue to be wrong until a Republican controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches again. THEN all will be both hunky and dory.

THIS is conservative think. If we're not allowed to do whatever we want, whenever we want, we're being oppressed and won't SOMEONE Puh-LEEZE stand up and fight for the rich white faux-Christians!

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 26, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought Mary Matalin was the real life character Susan Sarandon played in that movie where, in the end, she gets swallowed up by the Big White Worm...

Posted by: neill on February 26, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Tyranny of the Minority???

That is what the rethugs do when they filibuster everything but lunch. By the way - in the case of her and Carville, that whole "couples starting to look like one another" thing really fucked both of them with the ugly stick.

Posted by: Realist on February 26, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"To be sure, thanks to a combination of a massive misinformation campaign, inadequate media coverage, and Americans' easily-manipulated fears, reform proposals fare poorly in the polls."

Steve, you keep falling for GOP framing. The big part of the disapproval rating is from people (like me) who think the bill doesn't do enough. Yet you mindlessly imply that because the current bill has low approval ratings, EVERYONE is on board with the GOP plan. That just isn't the case.

Snap out of it!

Posted by: bdop4 on February 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

If we give the GOP operative the benefit of the doubt, and assume she meant to say that majority rule is the "tyranny of the majority,"

There's no reason to do this. Screaming "up is down" has been the MO of the conservative establishment for almost a decade now, and that's because it works.

It has the further advantage that it can be used effectively by people who might genuinely be slow or addled enough not to be sure whether up was up or down. Bush is the best example here, but Matalin certainly illustrates the point nicely. She may or may not think up is down, but the important point is that someone put an index card in her hand reading "up is down," and so we end up having a Grand Debate about whether up is down.

Posted by: Matt on February 26, 2010 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno about desperation. For at least a decade -- and arguably ever since Gingrich -- Republicans have turned the dial to 10 and left it there.

What might be changing is that enough people might finally be starting to ignore even the max-volume ranting, at least with respect to health insurance reform.

But count on the Republicans to scream at the tops of their lungs right to the end, and even afterward. Remember, anger is the central motivator for most of their base, and they gotta keep that fire burning.

Posted by: bleh on February 26, 2010 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Is it me, or have Republican talking points taken on the air of desperation?

You mean, GOP gasbags are really sounding like idiots at this point? In a word, yes.

Posted by: LL on February 26, 2010 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure I understand what she meant by " The majority vote is tyranny of the minority."

I think she meant that policy should be determined by polls. Note the claim comes immediately after a reference to polling data.

Her position (on this issue) is that we should have direct not representative Democracy *and* no need to bother with referenda -- we can just have Rasmussen or Fox or someone handle it.

This is hypocritical. When most US adults wanted to leave Iraq, Republicans asked if you want your orthodontists make foreign policy (if the alternative is Bush I'd say bring em on).

Similarly, it was irrelevant that, for months almost 2 thirds opposed invading Iraq without UN approval (flipping only when it was clear that there would be an invasion so the question is invade united or invade divided).

Oh and the overwhelming support for higher taxes on corporations and the rich registered in every poll for the past 20 years ? That doesn't exist.

So she says politicians have a democratic obligation to do what is popular now that (she claims) it is convenient for her. The claim that a majority vote is tyrrany of the minority hypocritical but it wasn't a slip of the tongue.

The claim that people know what the bills say was, in contrast, a flat out lie not a slip of the tongue. The point is the Kaiser family foundation poll on what's in the bill. The issue has been debated a lot and people are relatively well informed. Each question was answered correctly by about half of the people polled (then about one quarter gave the wrong answer and one quarter said they didn't know).

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on February 26, 2010 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Want ratings? Pair Mary Matalin and James Carville on a TV debate over the issues. We'll see who wears the pants in the family and whose balls are the largest. I'd almost watch this debate!

Posted by: st john on February 26, 2010 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

The majority vote is tyranny of the minority.

Perhaps she was thinking of Bush v. Gore...

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on February 26, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I was wondering when we were going to get to the democracy is tyranny argument in the Republican philosophy.

Posted by: thebewilderness on February 26, 2010 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I have no desire to defend Matalin's stupidity but I would argue that majority rule becomes tyrannical when the majority violates a persons rights. Since I don't think there is anything close to a right being violated here her statement is obviously crazy. Unfortunately there seems to be an epidemic of crazy out there.

Posted by: Camus on February 26, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

"This reminds of when I went out in NYC and some guy nearby was spouting off about I don't know what, but one of the gems from that was "Androgynous is the new black."


"The new black" is a fashion term, derived from basic black being the standard that never goes out of style. What the guy meant is that trendy clothing styles which could be worn by either gender are hot right now, and he's correct.

Posted by: Mark on February 26, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Matalin was apparently trying to paraphrase de Tocqueville, but got it backwards.

We can't expect accuracy in sophistry these days.

Posted by: Kon Kilo on February 26, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Want ratings? Pair Mary Matalin and James Carville on a TV debate over the issues."

-they used to be paired on MTP, with Russert, sparring back and forth with good natured glee.

They're a pair of professional gunslingers, paid to kill the Sodbusters or the Ranchers, depending on who had the biggest wallet.

I know as much about Olympic Curling as I do about Filibusters and Reconciliation, so I have to trust the sports commentators to tell me what the rules are.

Too bad I can't do that with TeeVee politics. . .

Posted by: DAY on February 26, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I think she's gotten into a bottle of whatever Palin has been drinking. Maybe she's been taking snow machine lessons?

Posted by: biggerbox on February 26, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

There's an inordinate amount of nonsense in these 61 words.

look no further than the source. Then stop wasting your time trying to make sense of the rantings of the uncommitted insane.

Posted by: pluege on February 26, 2010 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Any vote on any policy that the Republicans don't like is considered tyranny. They really don't like democracy much and simply refuse to believe that policies they are oppose and the people who propose them are in any way even legitimate.

Posted by: Vince on February 26, 2010 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

The panther sweat of desperation is all over these slimeballs, like mold on bread.

How does Carville keep from killing this bbb....witch in her sleep? She must give better blowjobs than anyone on the bloody planet.

Posted by: TCinLA on February 26, 2010 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

"The majority vote is tyranny of the minority."

She mixed up her morning WaPo with Pravda.

Up is down, black is white, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

Posted by: dadanarchist on February 26, 2010 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

If Ms. Matalin were a hag in the 14th century, she'd be a very noble member of her community - but alas, Ms. Matalin is merely a hag in the 21st century!

Her presence on any talk show is reason enough to turn the TV off! Better to be uninformed, than to be misinformed by the likes of anyone so sophomoric as this Mary Matalin! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 26, 2010 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Mary isn't playing with all her marbles any more.

Posted by: rbe1 on February 26, 2010 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Memo
To: Ms. Matalin
From: Your producer
Re: Today's remarks

Mary--I wasn't quite sure what you were going for with the "The majority vote is tyranny of the minority" bit. Then I saw you had picked up a copy of "1984."

You should be aware that when that nice Mr. Orwell wrote about this kind of talk, he was portraying it as a bad thing, not a good one.

I wouldn't worry though. I doubt that many people were actually watching.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on February 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

rbe1, Mary cannot play with all her marbles when she has no marbles to begin with....

Posted by: S. Waybright on February 26, 2010 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

You don't mean that "tyranny of the majority" doesn't exist, do you, Mr. Benen?

Prayer in schools, flag burning amendments, english as the national language. Any of these ring a bell?

Conservative pundits are under the impression that imposing this health care system on the 25% who don't want it is worthy of steadfast principled opposition.

I might be inclined to respect this view more if they didn't have identical resolve against EVERY law this congress has attempted to pass.

Extraordinary opposition cannot be held for everything or it is no longer extraordinary.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 26, 2010 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

She's just following the latest Standard Republicrat Talking Point (SRTP) that Obama is a Hugo Chavez majoritarian, debuted yesterday or the day before by the Newt.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 26, 2010 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

The neologism "tyranny of the minority," is, however, a really good term for what Republicans have been doing with the filibuster. I think we should adopt it wholeheartedly.

Posted by: Redshift on February 26, 2010 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Is it me, or have Republican talking points taken on the air of desperation?" Steve Benen.

They certainly haven't taken on an air of rationality!

Posted by: Doug on February 26, 2010 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think Matlin is just projecting.

Posted by: Huh? on February 26, 2010 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen says is just "a few shameless partisan hacks" on the right. So does the right wing have anything but shameless partisan hacks? Are there just plain partisan hacks on the right and just a few who have no shame??? Weird point Steven almost sounds apologetic like right wing partisan hacks have sense of shame except a just few like Mary Matalin?

I am thinking presently that on this point Steve has his head UHA.

Posted by: mickster on February 28, 2010 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

Very interesting post, thanks for the great read! I'll bookmark you and visit back once a week or so for an update, so please don't stop blogging.

Posted by: Credit Card Debt on November 1, 2010 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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