[[H U H ?]] * Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC punditry show Hardball, has said some pretty stupid things in support and defense of George W. Bush (“[S]ometimes it glimmers with this man, our president, that kind of sunny nobility.”). But a remark he made this week might just land on the list of Stupidest Statements Made in 2006. In the course of his interviewing Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency (NSA) employee who was one of the sources of a New York Times article revealing that Bush had authorized domestic spying by the NSA without court approval, Matthews said that after 9/11, “if I were president of the United States and somebody said we had the ability to check on all the conversations going on between here and Hamburg, Germany, where all the Al Qaeda people are, or somewhere in Saudi [Arabia], where they came from and their parents are, and we could mine some of that information by just looking for some key words like ‘World Trade Center’ or ‘Pentagon,’ I’d do it.” A surprised Tice pointed out the obvious--that “you’d be breaking the law.” But Matthews didn’t miss a beat:
“Yeah. Well, maybe that’s part of the job.”
Breaking the law is part of a president’s job? I thought that Bush and his predecessors pledged to defend the constitutional rights of Americans and uphold other laws of the land. Only in the Orwellian world of Bush lickspittles and knee-jerk apologists could law breaking become a behavior worth championing. No wonder a recent AP-Ipsos poll found that 65 percent of respondents believe the United States is headed in the wrong direction.