On Morning Joe today, Chris Matthews, a bulldozer on most days, completely demolishes GOP Party chairman Reince Priebus. “That cheap shot about ‘I don’t have a problem with my birth certificate’ was awful,” Matthews said of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney’s Friday embrace of the birther notion that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. “It is an embarrassment to your party to play that card. This stuff about getting rid of the work requirement for welfare is dishonest, everyone has pointed out that it’s dishonest,” he continued. “And you are playing that little ethnic card there. You can play your games and giggle about it, but the fact is, your side is playing that card. You start talking about work requirements, you know what game you’re playing, everybody knows what game you’re playing. It’s a race card. And this thing about birthers — yeah, if your name’s Romney, you were well born, you went to prep school, you can brag about it. And this [Barack Obama] guy, he’s got an African name, he’s got to live with it. … This is absurdity! Making fun of this guy’s birth certificate issue when it was never a real issue, except on the right wing.”

“You got your monologue in, so congratulations,” Priebus quipped to Matthews. “You’re loaded up, you got it out. So, good for you. The fact of the matter is, is he’s from Michigan, he was born in Michigan, he was making the point that I was born in Michigan. And you know what? We’ve gotten to a place in politics that any moment of levity totally frowned upon by guys like you just so that you can push your brand.”

“It just seems funny that the first joke that he’s ever told in his life is about Obama’s birth certificate,” Matthews pointed out.

“I think Obama’s policies have created a sense that, for whatever reason, he’s looking for guidance, as far as health care is concerned, as far as our spending is concerned, as far as these stimulus packages are concerned — he’s looking to Europe for guidance,” Priebus explained.

“What?” Matthews exclaimed. “Where do you get this from? This is insane! … What’s this got to do with Europe and the foreignization of the guy. You’re doing it again now! You think he’s influenced by foreign influences? You’re playing that card again.”

“I’m not going to get into a shouting match with Chris,” the RNC chairman said, dismissing the MSNBC host with a wave of his hand.

“Because you’re losing, that’s why,” Matthews shot back.

“No, I’m not losing,” Priebus insisted. “I’m not going to sit here and take shots.”

“Cheap shots about how Obama being a foreigner is the thing your party’s been pushing,” Matthews noted. “[Romney surrogate John] Sununu pushes it. Everybody pushes it in your party.”

“It’s garbage,” Priebus replied. “Garbage.”

“It’s your garbage,” Matthews concluded.


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A jury acquitted John Edwards of one count of campaign finance crimes last week, and hung on five other counts, allowing the smarmy ex-senator to go free. Afterwards, Edwards offered a self-serving but fairly innocuous comment to the media (it appears at around the 2:15 mark above, and lasts around a minute.) Innocuous to me, anyway; on Hardball with Chris Matthews a couple hours later, it set HuffPo‘s Howard Fineman and Cap’n Huffinpuff himself into arias of denunciation.

HOWARD FINEMAN: He has so veered off into the land of creepy self-delusion. I–I’m watching–I’m watching a, a, a, a, a car crash of, of, of craziness here. And I know there are second lives in American politics. But the notion that he took this occasion to weave the story of his children, of all his children, including the one that he had with the mistress that he was having relations with while his wife was dying of cancer, that he’s going to weave the story of those children into the story of the poor people of America and the world, and thus I am going to be the Pied Piper leading the Americas and the children of the world together into a new public role for myself, that was so beyond any level of self awareness as to be almost pathological.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: (sounds like) Yahhmmmmmm.
HOWARD FINEMAN: Did I make myself clear?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yah, I did, I did, I think you captured it.
HOWARD FINEMAN: It’s just, sometimes the shamelessness–shamelessness of public figures, especially of politicians, is astounding to me. You have to have to a certain level of shamelessness to be in political life, let alone to run for office–
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You put it so well.
HOWARD FINEMAN: –let alone to run for office–but to but to do that, on the occasion was just mind-boggling, completely mind-boggling. I’m sorry, it’s mind-boggling.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You’ve never been better, you’ve never been better at explaining the reality of political thinking, which is, it’s all id. It’s all ego.

Matthews and Fineman went on and on, working themselves into a froth about the specter of an Edwards comeback. Thank goodness in the next segment Melinda Henneberger came on and coolly suggested that Edwards was just chucking platitudes, mercifully throwing a bucket of cold water on the poor heated puppies before they dry-humped themselves into exhaustion.