David Shuster was on "Hardball" earlier interviewing some of the MoveOn folks who are coming out to the Capitol to protest Republican obstructionism and support Harry Reid's all-nighter. And what was the first thing out of Chris Matthews' mouth? "Well it's certainly a wholesome-looking crowd for an antiwar bunch."
Apparently he was expecting to see some longhaired college kids burning bras and taking over the ROTC building, which isn't a huge surprise. It's just the Washington establishment's irrational fear of hippies rearing its anachronistic head again.
But Matthews has a very strange grasp of history on the best of days. Here's a segment from yesterday's show, in which he's speaking with the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti:
CONTINETTI: I look at that video; what strikes me is you look at footage from the waning days of the Vietnam War -- I was not around, so I have to rely on the footage -- and you see thousands of people marching, huge clashes between government forces in some cases. I look at that video and I see five people, mainly Cindy's entourage, and then one guy.
MATTHEWS: Jonathan, me to you, the draft. The draft; that explains it all. If you were vulnerable to the draft right now, you would have a much less frisky attitude about this war than you might have right now. Jonathan, your thoughts? I think it's the draft that explains why this has become a microcosm of a fight in the streets, rather than hundreds of thousands of hard hats going up against lefty college students. It does not look the same, because the stakes at home, unfortunately, are not being shared.
It's certainly true that the draft was a huge part of the Vietnam protests. But Matthews and Continetti don't have to reach that far back to see large numbers of antiwar people taking to the streets. I realize that MSNBC was told by its marketing gurus not to make too much of them, but you'd think people would at least recall them when they are complaining about the lackluster Iraq war protests.