Chris Matthews: What's up with these "Stalinesque" purges on the right?

Via the ‘Busters, this isn’t the first time he’s floated this rhetorical air biscuit lately. Check out the closing monologue from his show a few days ago. In fact, this meme has been in vogue on the left for months: As always, look no further than eminent Times bottom-feeder Frank Rich for a leading example. The obvious counterpoint here — the attempted “Stalinesque purging” of Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary — is too easy, so let’s try one closer to home. Remember that health-care law that passed a few weeks ago, the one that realized a decades-old liberal dream to set America on track for European-style welfare statehood? Remember who the 60th vote for that was, the person without whom the bill would never have made it through the Senate? Right, that was Blanche Lincoln. Blanche Lincoln, who cast her vote knowing that it likely amounted to political suicide given the climate in Arkansas this year. The left’s thanks for her sacrifice? An attempted “Stalinesque purging” of her in the primary, replete with a fundraising bonanza for the loser who’ll be utterly destroyed in the general election if he somehow makes it past her. No mention of that here, funnily enough — although in Matthews’s defense, let it be known that he’s always thought the nutroots were tools too.

The best part, though, is his musing about the Jewish vote, attributing the fact that Obama took 90 percent of it in 2008 to Jews’ fear of gun-toting Christians like Sarah Palin. One minor problem with that: Obama didn’t win 90 percent of the Jewish vote, he won 78 percent — which is perfectly in line with what Kerry, Gore, and Bill Clinton won (even in a three-way race) in the pre-Palin era. In fact, scroll through this breakdown and you’ll see that 80 percent of the Jewish vote is a fairly standard take for Democrats, with a notable exception occurring in 1980 when super-wingnut Ronald Reagan took 39 percent from Matthews’s horrible old boss. Given The One’s relations with Israel, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next GOP nominee cracks 30 percent or more even after the “purges” are through. But aside from all that, everything here makes perfect sense, I guess.

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