Greg Mitchell reminds us of the NYT’s coverage of Chimpy McFlightsuit’s aircraft carrier landing, five years ago today. It’s painful reading, but nothing compares to reliving the MSNBC coverage, e.g., G. Gordon Liddy saying Bush’s parachute harness “makes the best of his manly characteristic.” But, the following exchange from the May 9, 2003 airing of HARDBALL remains my all time favorite moment in the history of cable news. It says it all, without really saying anything at all.
MATTHEWS: We have a visual while we’re looking here. In Hollywood, they say how did you get the part. I fit the costume. You know, it’s an old joke in Hollywood. I fit the costume…
MATTHEWS: … because they have the — this guy fits the costume, doesn’t he?
MATTHEWS: I mean Bill Clinton — do you think they had jump-suits in Bill Clinton’s size?
MATTHEWS: Just asking.
NOONAN: Oh, well, Bill Clinton used — you remember Bill Clinton landed on the Theodore Roosevelt back about 1993 or ’94 and he was in his bomber jacket. Do you know what I mean? It was lots of show business then.
The key with Bush, however, is that, you know, he seems like one of these guys and one of these gals because he’s just like them. He’s a regular American male. He also…
I’ve got to tell you what I think — can I tell what you I think the key to the great landing on the aircraft carrier was?
MATTHEWS: That’s why you’re here, Peggy.
NOONAN: All right. This is what I think it was. It wasn’t just it was showy, it was showbiz, it was “Top Gun,” it was Tom Cruise’s suit, it was all that wonderful stuff. It’s that the American president not only put himself in harm’s way going to see American troopers, but he showed them by coming in on that ship I trust you.
MATTHEWS: A little risk. Just a little bit of risk.
NOONAN: It wasn’t just risk. It was trust. It was faith. You’re going to take care of me. You’re going to hit that second trap, the third trap, or the fourth. I’m safe in your hands. It was a compliment, you know.
MATTHEWS: Even a daytime carrier landing is tricky.
NOONAN: Oh, absolutely. I mean it’s taking a chance. I’ll tell you one of the ways you know you’ve gotten a little old? If I’d been in the White House now I would have told them don’t do that, that’s a bridge too far, you’ve got to be crazy, and, instead, it turned out to be, I think, one of the brilliant moments…
MATTHEWS: It’s like knowing to bring…
NOONAN: … indelible political moments.
MATTHEWS: … a meg — to bring a bullhorn to ground zero on September 14, not to bring a mic. It’s that little difference. If he’d had a mic there, if he was like Wayne Newton with a mic or some show-business guy, he would have looked like a lounge act.
NOONAN: Barney Rubble.
MATTHEWS: Because he had that bullhorn, he was a guy like them. We’ll be talking more…
NOONAN: He was a guy with his arm around the…
MATTHEWS: … about this accoutrements of…
NOONAN: … other firemen.
MATTHEWS: … greatness with Peggy Noonan, an expert at the verbal discussing the pictorial.
Happy Mission Accomplished Day!! If you have a favorite piece of wankery, post it in the thread.