I know it's been a long time since Scooter Libby was indicted, so maybe Chris Matthews can be forgiven for appearing to have been so willing to be a useful idiot. Or maybe he's just one of the most gullible people in Washington DC:
MSNBC reporter Chris Matthews today hammered the Democratic Party, claiming it was circulating a document that emphasizes the fact Samuel Alito, President Bush's latest Supreme Court nominee, failed as a prosecutor to win a case against Italian mafia figures, suggesting the issue was highlighted because Alito is an Italian-American.
"I'm sitting here holding in my hands a pretty disgusting document," Matthews told viewers of "MSNBC Live." "This is put out not for attribution, but it comes from the Democrats. They're circulating it; I can say that."
In what he describes as a Democrat "complaint sheet," Matthews says, "The first thing they nail about this Italian American is he failed to win a mob conviction in a trial … way back in '88.
"In other words, they nail him on not putting some Italian mobsters in jail from the [Lucchese] family. Why would they bring up this ethnically charged issue as the first item they raise against Judge Alito?"
The only reason I know about this claim is because I just turned on the television, and he was beginning Hardball with the same claim, that such a document was being circulated by "the Democrats."
I call bullshit.
I'll recant if proven wrong, but I just find such a claim utterly ridiculous. If true, if some Democratic operative or organization actually thought such a claim would be an effective first salvo against Alito, they should be brought up on charges of political malpractice and eternally banned from Democratic politics. But it's hard to believe anyone would believe such a charge would be both effective and without a huge backlash.
If such a document were really circulating widely and were viewed credibly as an authentic Democratic document, it's hard to believe that a Google web search and a Google news search would yield only one reference to the supposed document, but the rightwing WorldNetDaily. It's almost as if someone planted the document--maybe even forged it--and convinced a prominent and gullible member of the national press corps seeking a scoop to believe what was clearly disinformation planted by dark forces seeking to advance the agenda of the Bush administration.
Yeah, I know, that's just crazy talk.
But in the meantime, how 'bout it Chris? How 'bout telling us how you know that document is legitimate? How 'bout proving your source didn't play you? Or are you that convinced that a legitimate effort to tar Alito with insinuations about being soft on the mafia would go only to you, or would only be believed by you?
We'll be waiting.