|Bylines: Chris Matthews, Frank Luntz, David Shuster
Guests: Ann Coulter, Howard Fineman, John Lott, Carol Lear, Willie Brown,
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Iím Chris
Matthews. Letís play HARDBALL.
The ďBig StoryĒ tonight, best
selling author, Ann Coulter, her new book is called ďTreasonĒ, and in
it she says liberals are unpatriotic. Sheíll be here to tell us why...
MATTHEWS: Letís talk about the
question of your book ďTreasonĒ. What do you mean by treason? Talk
about the word treason? I mean, Iíve looked it up in the dictionary the
other night, it has a couple of meanings. One is, treason. I mean, you
turned over of the documents to the enemy. You are Alger Hiss, someone
like that. Thatís treason.
MATTHEWS: What do you mean by-in
terms of this cover of this book?
COULTER: What I mean is that the
Democratic Party, as an entity, has become functionally treasonable,
including what youíre talking about, turning over documents to the
MATTHEWS: Well, should they be
prosecuted? Should anybody in the party be prosecuted either today, or
should have been prosecuted in the past? I mean, itís a criminal charge
of treason. Should anybody be charged with it?
COULTER: I wish it were that easy a
problem, but that trivializes the point...
MATTHEWS: No, itís a crime.
COULTER: ... of my book, which is not
that there are just a few dozen traitors out there. It is that the entire
party cannot root for a America.
MATTHEWS: Well, letís talk about
the leaders of the Democratic Party over the years. It-was Jack Kennedy a
traitor, was he guilty of treason?
COULTER: He was not as strong a
MATTHEWS: But was he guilty of
treason. That is what you are saying about him. I read the book.
COULTER: ... as a Republican would
have been. But Iím referring, as I say again, Iím referring to a party
that is functionality treasonable.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me get to the
bottom line here...
COULTER: No, he shouldnít have been
MATTHEWS: I just want to know who you
mean, because I think it is a very well written book, but I find it hard
for you to step back from the strength of this book on television. Was
Jack Kennedy a traitor?
COULTER: No, he was not a traitor.
MATTHEWS: Was he guilty of treason?
COULTER: His heart was in the right
place but he was surrounded by bad policymakers...
MATTHEWS: Was he guilty of treason...
COULTER: ... and he harms the country
and its national security. No. Iíve said he is not guilty of treason. I
am speaking of a party. If there were just a few...
MATTHEWS: OK. I am just going to go
through the leaders of the Democratic Party, because you are talking about
a party. So I am trying to be fair with you. Was Harry Truman a traitor?
COULTER: He promoted a known soviet
spy, Harry Dexter White, after the FBI told him that. After Winston
Churchill gave his iron curtain speech, he invited Stalin to come give a
rebuttal speech. Truman and Kennedy were far better than todayís
Democrats were, but this is a party that has been creeping toward a
refusal to defend America.
MATTHEWS: Has Harry Truman...
COULTER: Iím not talking about
MATTHEWS: ... Republicans, I am going
to keep doing this. I am trying to nail down so that people can decide
whether to read a book or not. Was Harry Truman guilty of treason?
COULTER: I think itís a more
important indictment and you can keep asking me to say this is an entire
party that cannot be trusted.
MATTHEWS: You say the Democratic
Party is guilty of treason. I just want you to tell me which of the top
Democrats, not go into details-I agree with you by the way about Harry
Dexter White. I agree with you about Alger Hiss. There is a lot of these
people guilty of treason,...
COULTER: But you are asking me...
MATTHEWS: ... but which Democratic
Party official-which official of the Democratic Party, or its
COULTER: Iíll give you my thesis
again. My thesis is, that the entire Democratic Party cannot be trusted
with the defense of the nation.
MATTHEWS: Start with a name, please.
COULTER: It is not to start trying a
few individuals. I wouldnít...
MATTHEWS: OK. Weíre not getting
anywhere here because you donít want to give me any names.
COULTER: That is because I am talking
about the Democratic Party.
That is the name I am trying to give
MATTHEWS: OK. Half the American
people, roughly, in most elections averaged over the last 50 years have
voted Democrat, letís face it, for president. Those people who vote for
Democratic candidates for president after hearing their case with regard
to foreign policy, why would they vote for someone who you say is a
COULTER: Because this story has not
been told, because I have what has been systemically excluded from history
books in high school and college, and that is why I wrote this book, to
prove to Democrats, as Joe McCarthy said...
MATTHEWS: But half the people in the
U.S. Army are probably Democrats. You say they vote for Democrats out of
COULTER: I am saying, as Joe McCarthy
said, the loyal Democrats of this party no longer-or of this country no
longer have a party. This is a party that cannot defend America, that
loses wars, that loses continents to communism-that nay say Ronald
Reaganís response to the Soviet Union, and then they keep turning around
and say, oh, it was inevitable. No one lost China. Anyone would have lost
Vietnam. It was...
MATTHEWS: Do you think if you oppose
the war, youíre a treasonist for opposing the war?
COULTER: No, but thatís why I have
50 years. At some point itís not a mistake. It is not an error of
MATTHEWS: For example, was it wrong
for Pat Buchanan to oppose this war in Iraq? Was he treasonous for doing
COULTER: I think Iíve answered
that. No. A single ó Look, Pat Buchanan has shown his bona fides in a
million other areas.
MATTHEWS: Then Jack Kemp is not a
traitor for opposing the war...
COULTER: These are patriotic
Americans. They do not oppose the Strategic Defense Initiative. They did
not oppose Ronald Reagan...
MATTHEWS: But they opposed-but all
these top conservatives who opposed the war, were they wrong? Were they
treasonist to do so? But with liberals oppose the war, they are
treasonists. I am just trying to figure out what the difference is.
COULTER: Iím just trying to answer.
No, with someone like-are you
Ē can I finish?
COULTER: No. When someone like Pat
Buchanan or Robert Novak say theyíre against the war in Iraq, no, that
gives someone like me pause, and thinks, I just disagree with them on this
issue. But as I say, they do not scream that the country is in the middle
of a civil liberties crisis every time Ashcroft talks to a Muslim. They do
MATTHEWS: Yes, but the problem I have
is that a lot of Republicans...
COULTER: They do not oppose...
MATTHEWS: ... in fact, most
Republicans in the country opposed the Second World War...
COULTER: Let met finish...
MATTHEWS: No. I want to make a point
in response to that, because I think a lot of Republicans have opposed a
lot of wars over time, and you havenít called them traitors. Why do you
call Democrats traitors when they oppose a war?
COULTER: To get back to this point.
Once you have an entire series of incidents-why is it that the Democratic
Party keeps consistently taking the position that is most contrary to this
countryís national interest? When you have someone like Pat Buchanan or
Novak, you say, well, we disagree on this issue. The Democrats fight
unwinable wars. They lose continents to communism. Theyíve consistently
been on the wrong side of every issue.
MATTHEWS: Was World War II a Democrat
COULTER: Thatís why itís 50 years
and not 60.
MATTHEWS: Were the Republicans
willing to oppose World War II before Pearl Harbor right? And they
vigorously opposed getting involved in the war in Europe.
COULTER: As I describe in my book,
they were wrong and I have to describe this...
MATTHEWS: The Republicans were wrong?
COULTER: Yes, they were.
MATTHEWS: Were they traitors?
COULTER: No. They came around...
MATTHEWS: But when liberals oppose
wars, they are treasonists.
Weíll be right back with Ann
Coulter. Iím trying to get these definitions down and being nice to this
COULTER: Then next time let me
MATTHEWS: Back with more to talk
about-plenty of opportunity to answer. You wouldnít believe how much
time I give you. Anyway, thank you.
We are going to be back and talk with
Ann about her opponent on the bookshelves, Hillary Clinton, when we
And by the way, ďDecision 2004Ē
is coming up, and Howard Dean, by the way, is raising more money than the
moderates. We are going to talk about that when we come back-with Howard
MATTHEWS: Weíre back with Ann
Coulter, having an interesting discussion about what constitutes treason.
I just think-I think that the constitution-respond to this statement, I
want to ask you a question. The constitution left the issue of peace and
war basically in the hands of Congress in the terms of big decisions about
declarations of war, and in this case, we had a debate about going to war
with Iraq and the president won his case. But I think the right of an
American to argue whether we go to war or not is basic, and you, I think,
argue that when someone opposes a war action, they are somehow is
treasonist. I think thatís a broad brush, and I think it makes a lot of
very good people, including me, feel very angry.
COULTER: No. I...
MATTHEWS: Because I disagree in
Americaís interest with a lot of these wars. I donít think thereís
good for us.
COULTER: Yes. From what I hear,
dissenting from the nationís war aims is the more patriotic act, but the
one thing youíre not allowed to say is to call someone unpatriotic. You
can say itís unpatriotic to stop us from protesting, but you canít say
burning a flag is unpatriotic.
MATTHEWS: No. I just think people
should be free to express their views on a matter so important as war, and
if a person...
COULTER: They clearly are.
MATTHEWS: ... opposes a war, they
shouldnít be called a traitor because they disagree with the current war
COULTER: Well, donít worry. Iím
the only one doing it.
MATTHEWS: Youíre doing it here.
COULTER: Thatís right.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about
Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clintonís book, how is it doing compared to
COULTER: Well, she has many
advantages over me.
MATTHEWS: You said she weighed more
than you the other day. Was that the case?
COULTER: She had a 3 to 1 pound
advantage. Her book is also three times as large as mine.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this
book. This book is very interesting, and I am not going to comment. I am
going to let you comment on it. The principal difference between fifth
columnists and the cold war versus the war on terrorism is that you could
sit next to a communist in a subway without asphyxiating. What does that
mean? I just want to know. What does that mean? I want to know.
COULTER: It means what it says. The
second difference is, that in far more time the enemy that weíre up
against now has killed far fewer people.
MATTHEWS: So, but the enemy smells.
Is that your knock against Arabs? I mean, thatís your point here. You
sit next to them and you are asphyxiated while sitting next to them.
COULTER: Iím just drawing the
differences between the old war and the currents war.
MATTHEWS: Is that a way to win
friends in the Arab and Islamic world
by saying they stink.
COULTER: I think it is a way to get
MATTHEWS: Is that deep?
COULTER: ... to read my book, so I
MATTHEWS: Well, I tell you. If you
want it at that level, you got it right here. Anyway, sheís a great
writer. I donít agree with her, but sheís a hell of a writer. And
thank you very much for coming on. Sheís a real charmer. Ann Coulter.
The last book was called ďSlander.Ē Maybe this one should have been
called that too.