Wrong: Matthews Claims 2016 Is Chance for Dems to Take Congress, WH for First Time Since LBJ

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Tuesday’s Hardball on MSNBC featured textbook Chris Matthews with a mix of liberal spin (fretting over Donald Trump bringing up Clinton scandals in the debates), a decent segment (a touching tribute to the late John McLaughlin), and creepiness (uttering “what’s new, pussycat” to a female guest), but it also included a struggle with the facts as Matthews claimed that 2016 marks a chance for Democrats to control Congress and the White House for the first time since the Johnson administration. 

Kicking off the Hardball roundtable segment, Matthews turned to Bloomberg’s Megan Murphy and repeatedly struggled to argue that the prospects of running the White House and Congress should enthuse even Bernie Sanders supporters. 

“This party, the Democrats, has a real chance for the first time in what, since LBJ, of actually being able to govern this country, running the Congress, running the White House, passing bills or tax equity, for reducing the polarization of wealth in this country, building things again, infrastructure, all kinds of good things, solidifying ObamaCare,” Matthews bloviated. 

Matthews made sure to hammer the point home for good measure that Murphy and the other panelists would get the picture that Democrats should want to “win big” and “roll...up” the score on Republicans:

Win big. That’s what they — tell young people, you can be part of a mandate. Don't say oh, don't get complacent. It just seems like a loser's way of talking to people. You don’t — in football games, you don't go don't get complacent. You say roll it up. Roll it up. That's what you do. 

Examining the record, Matthews’s claim would, if Politifact actually did their jobs, would be rated “Pants on Fire.” Most recently, President Obama had firm Democratic majorities in 2009 and 2010 when they could have enacted (and did) a laundry list of liberal policies and Bill Clinton had the same deal in 1993 and 1994. 

Of course, the American people didn’t seem to like what they saw following financial regulations, tax increases, and successful and unsuccessful efforts to uproot American health care as Obama lost the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014 while Clinton lost both in the 1994 midterms for the remainder of his presidency. 

Where Matthews should have definitely known better was how then-President (and former boss) Jimmy Carter had a Democratic Congress for the entirety of his presidency and it certainly was a different time with southern Democrats, but nonetheless the notion that Democrats haven’t controlled the executive and legislative branches to carry out their agenda since Lyndon B. Johnson was president from 1963-1969 is a downright falsehood.

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on August 16 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Hardball
August 16, 2016
7:44 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: It seems to me in terms of enthusing people, enthusing — making them enthusiastic, some — especially Bernie people, hey, this party, the Democrats, has a real chance for the first time in what, since LBJ, of actually being able to govern this country, running the Congress, running the White House, passing bills or tax equity, for reducing the polarization of wealth in this country, building things again, infrastructure, all kinds of good things, solidifying ObamaCare. Win big. That’s what they — tell young people, you can be part of a mandate. Don't say oh, don't get complacent. It just seems like a loser's way of talking to people. You don’t — in football games, you don't go don't get complacent. You say roll it up. Roll it up. That's what you do. 

MEGAN MURPHY: I’m not sure that’s in her nature to run that kind of campaign and she's gone this entire campaign without creating that kind of enthusiasm behind her except for in her core base. 

MATTHEWS: You're putting her down right now. 

MURPHY: I think the Senate is well within reach. I think the House is a tough — is going to be very tough to crack.

MATTHEWS: When will they ever get the House if not with this type of opportunity with Trump blowing it? 

MURPHY: Her campaign is still quite conservative in terms of the goals they’re setting out and I think there is still concern about the kind of personal brutal war we will get into in September in the debates and how much damage he could still in inflict.