Wait. Did I just hear what I thought I heard?
Did Chris Matthews just applaud Ronald Reagan for busting a union and winning the Cold War?
For winning the Cold War in part by busting a union?
The context was a “Hardball” segment with veteran political commentator Jonathan Alter about the need for a foundering President Obama to swallow his pride and, in the time-honored tradition of White House damage control, place his increasingly distressed political fortunes in the hands of a Beltway wise man. An eminence grise — you know, a Howard Baker, a David Gergen, a George Mitchell — who won’t shrink from delivering hard truths to a chief executive shielded from political reality by a genuflecting retinue of callow yes men.
But, sounding skeptical that the incumbent president had the requisite command presence to master his multiplying travails — and a little wistful for one who did — the pugnacious MSNBC host wrapped the segment (the 3:55 mark of the linked clip) with this digression:
“Actions speak louder than words, and I gotta tell you something: When Reagan broke the PATCO strike and fired ’em all for breaking their oaths, everybody in the world, including the people in Moscow, got the word. It’s one of the reasons we ended the Cold War — ’cause they knew we had a strong president. Talking ain’t gonna do it.”
Hey — gotta run now. Off to check out a bizarre rumor making the rounds here. Something about — if I have this right — multiple reported sightings of airborne pigs.