Wow. Chris Matthews really gave the smackdown to some punkass rightwing talk radio host. This wasn't hardball; this was dodgeball, except this jerkoff didn't have the brains enough to know how to dodge a god damn thing. Matthews nailed the guy head-on repeatedly and the guy was so dazed that he actually imagined that he could somehow shout his way out of the situation rather than shutting the fuck up and letting someone bail him out.
But the funniest thing about it was how it showed that these nutjobs really don't know what the hell they're talking about. Here he is, shouting about Obama being the next Neville Chamberlain and loudly praising Bush for making this point, yet...he clearly didn't know what the hell Chamberlain did wrong, beyond being an "appeaser." Not a clue. He couldn't even begin to answer Matthews' question. All he could do was repeat the words "appeasement," "appease," and "appeaser" and imagined that this was all anyone ever needs to know about Neville Chamberlain.
But to guys like this, that IS enough. This guy's like 45 years old, a lawyer, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, and didn't know the first thing about why Neville Chamberlain is infamous. And that's fine. Not everyone is a history buff. Not everyone cares about this stuff. I'm no snob to think that everyone needs to know what I know. But...if you're going to be insisting that somebody is doing "the exact same thing" as Chamberlain, you really should have some sort of fucking clue of what it was that Chamberlain did, beyond "appeasing" Hitler.
The Exact Same Thing
But it was obvious that he not only didn't have a clue what Chamberlain did wrong, he didn't even know what the word "appeasement" means. And that's why this is important. This isn't like when Matthews nailed my former mayor for not being able to name Obama's legislative accomplishments. This guy was on the show to specifically talk about the Obama-Chamberlain nexus, and how Obama did "the exact same thing" as Chamberlain yet...didn't know what that thing was.
For as much as he was clearly prepared to shout about how foolish Obama was, he clearly wasn't even the least bit prepared to actually say anything informative about it. For him, Obama is Chamberlain, Bush was right for saying so, and he had just planned on screaming about this for ten minutes straight without actually saying anything. And to be honest, I'm quite positive that the reason he shouted is because he knew he didn't have anything else and that he's one of those morons who imagines that a point becomes more convincing if it's made LOUDLY.
And more importantly, Chris Matthews' point was entirely right, because what Obama is suggesting is NOTHING like what Chamberlain did. Nor is Obama wanting to "appease" Iran at all. Because appeasement doesn't mean "being nice." Appeasement means you give in to your enemy's demands in the hope that it satisfies them and they'll be nice. And as Matthews pointed out, in Chamberlain's case it meant handing over an important part of Czechoslovakia.
And what did Obama suggest that is "the exact same thing"? Talking to Iran. That's it. Talking to Iran, a third-rate power that is just asking to be toppled from within, if only we'd stop propping them up with anti-American patriotism. And we're supposed to imagine that talking to them is the same as handing Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Right. And we're supposed to take these people seriously?
And let's not forget the last time these dopes kept sounding the Appeasement siren. Back then, it was when we were "appeasing" Saddam by slowly destroying his country. For these people, there are only two gears: Stop and Go. And "containment" surely doesn't exist in there. Remember, these are the bozos who hated our containment policy with the Soviets too, preferring a hot war over a cold one; but now pretend as if they were the ones who caused the Soviets to fall. And whaddya know, here we are after seven year of a macho Republican president, and the Russians are becoming more aggressive every day. Big surprise.
You Just Can't Please War-Mongers
And even then, appeasement isn't necessarily always a bad policy. In Hitler's case, it was a bad policy because he was a war-monger who really only wanted power and war. And he was actually upset at the appeasement given to him, because he didn't want to be appeased. He wanted war. And nothing could stop him from that. Appeasement didn't "energize" or "legitimize" Hitler, as this doofus suggested to Matthews. He was intent on war, and while giving him Czechoslovakia helped him immensely, it didn't cause WWII. It didn't make him more aggressive. He wanted war from the start, and a big reason why giving him Czechoslovakia didn't help is because that's not really what he wanted. That was a fake demand, used as an excuse to act aggressive. He wanted war.
But that in no way suggests that you can never give in to your enemy's demands. It didn't work with Hitler because they didn't actually fulfill Hitler's demands. But if your enemy has a real grievance they want resolved, giving it to them can satisfy them. Or at a minimum, it can pull the rug out from under their aggressive rhetoric and deny them the ability to continue to push their points. Of course, this is all difficult, nuanced stuff, which I guess is why wingnuts never understand the purpose of diplomacy in the first place. Their idea of nuance is a fart joke that involves them farting in your face and then mocking you for complaining about it.
And what's so funny is that this rightwing douchebag wasn't re-living the past, where he's seeing Chamberlains everywhere, based upon what happened in the past. Rather, he's wanting to attack Obama and casting Chamberlain's actions in the same light as a way to attack Obama. Because the criticism of not wanting to "legitimizing" your enemy isn't part of appeasement at all, That's just a neo-con creation as a way to stifle diplomacy. And what's ironic is that this was Hitler's attitude too. No moral equivalence suggested here, but it's our own war-mongers who are repeating Hitler's strategies, and the only way Obama would be the "appeaser" here is if he gave into their demands and launched the war against Iran they desire.
They may scream about appeasers and Iranians training Sunnis and any number of other phony issues, but at the end of the day, it's all about the bombs. They want people to die and they'll say whatever they think they need to in order to get it. Heck, that's a big way that Bill Clinton's Iraqi policy amounted to appeasement. He gave the neo-cons the tough embargoes, inspections, and bomb missions they demanded, but could never satisfy them because it was really all about war. And then, all it took was a new president to start up where Bill left off, and now we're trapped in eternal war that will be blamed on us when we pull the plug and admit that it was a huge failure.
And the lesson for that is the same one we learned from Winston Churchill: You can appease your enemies in the short-term, but if you don't have a long-term plan to deal with them, you're just delaying the inevitable.
Oh, and as a piece of advice: When Chris Matthews asks why you're screaming, you're a nutjob.