Matthews on Bush and the port deal: “He looks like he's a wise man now ... almost Atticus Finch”

Chris Matthews compared George W. Bush to Atticus Finch, the hero of the 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (Warner Books).

On the February 24 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, host Chris Matthews joined Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen F. Hayes in praising President Bush's handling of the controversial agreement to turn over control of six U.S. ports to a company owned by the government of Dubai. Matthews compared Bush to Atticus Finch -- the Alabama lawyer who "represents morality and reason" in Harper Lee's 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird (Warner Books).

Matthews's comparison of Bush to Finch -- a character portrayed by Gregory Peck in a 1962 film adaptation (Brentwood Productions, Pakula-Mulligan, Universal International Pictures) of the novel, and voted the number one movie hero of all time by the American Film Institute -- is just the most recent example of his over-the-top praise for Bush. As Media Matters for America has documented, Matthews previously gushed that Bush sometimes “glimmers” with “sunny nobility;” and falsely claimed that "[e]verybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs."

From the February 24 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

HAYES: You know what -- you know what I think is particularly interesting about this? If you go back and -- you remember to Bush's State of the Union? He had this whole passage about not returning to isolationism and to not being protective --

MATTHEWS: Yeah, that's new this year.

HAYES: -- and I thought -- yeah, and, you know, when I heard the State of the Union, my initial reaction to that was, who the heck is this guy talking about? It was out of the blue. It didn't --

MATTHEWS: Yes, who are these straw men?

HAYES: And it now looks as though he might have been right. I mean, he's got --

MATTHEWS: He's talking about [Rep.] Peter King [R-NY]. He's talking about all these guys.

HAYES: No, or [Republican Rep.] Sue Myrick from North Carolina who sent this, you know, two-sentence letter to the president a couple of days ago saying not only no, Mr. President, but hell no. You know, maybe he was actually right and sort of in front of the curve on that.

MATTHEWS: Well, he looks like he's a wise man now and a man of restraint, almost Atticus Finch. You know, almost the guy against the mob outside this -- the police station.