Limbaugh started off by claiming that Matthews' appearance on "The Tonight Show" should be required viewing for "[t]hose who deny the overwhelming liberal bias of the mainstream media." Limbaugh conveniently forgets thatMatthews was a reliable basher of President Clinton. Limbaugh himself once praised Matthews as "usually fair to Republicans and intellectually honest."
Limbaugh then noted that Jay Leno stated that "God told him [Bush] that we should fight this war," adding, "Matthews said Bush needed 'a little humility.' Even Abraham Lincoln, Matthews said, didn't claim to have God on his side in the Civil War." Limbaugh responded: "While I can't prove a negative, I am confident Bush never said that God is on our side in this war – though it wouldn't bother me if he had – or that God directed him to attack Iraq." But he never quotes Bush directly on what he has actually said on the subject, only paraphrasing that "[h]e has said he continually prays for divine guidance and reads the Bible every day."
In fact, the UK Guardian reported:
George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.
Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."
Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."
While the White House has denied Shaath's account, Limbaugh should have noted that Leno and Matthews have a basis for making such a claim about Bush; instead, he attacks Matthews for "distorting the truth" by "unequivocally implying that Bush has claimed to get his marching orders directly from God and that that is scary – as if he's in some kind of spiritual trance."
Limbaugh quoted Matthews as saying, "I think we gotta be damn skeptical of this crowd, because on WMD, on the connection to 9/11, on the surge … on the torture, on every step of the way we've been given misinformation to the point now, we just did a poll, a fifth of the American people believe we found weapons of mass destruction when we got there. They're still indoctrinated. … How do we get all this misinformation? From the top, unfortunately. It's a sad thing." To respond, Limbaugh goes into full disingenousness mode:
- "The administration never said Iraq attacked us on 9/11. It never said there was an operational relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida, just that there was a relationship, which there was. ... If two-fifths of the American people believe Iraq attacked us on 9/11, it isn't Bush's fault, because he never said that." Limbaugh narrowly defines his response, focusing only on Bush. In fact, Vice President Dick Cheney has tried to tie Iraq to al-Queda and 9/11.
- "Only grassy-knoll nutcakes and anti-military types believe the 'brass' authorized systematic abuse of enemy combatant detainees." Limbaugh doesn't mention a 2002 memo by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo that pushed previous limits on "interrogation techniques" by narrowly defining what was torture. The Justice Department's advocacy of ways to seek ways to make such so-called "enhanced interrogation" permissible can very well be seen as coming from the "brass."
- "And if one-fifth of the people believe we found new WMD stockpiles (we clearly did find old WMD), it isn't because Bush said so. Yet Matthews says this 'misinformation' came from 'the top,' meaning Bush. But he knows that Bush has never said we've found WMD there. Never. He's said quite the opposite. This one isn't even arguable." Limbaugh again draws his question narrowly, saying that because Bush never said, nobody said it. In fact, there's an important related issue: numerous war supporters -- and, thus, Bush supporters, have claimed that Saddam had WMD and that they were moved to Syria just before the war. While the Bush administration has denied this claim, shouldn't Limbaugh be taking his fellow conservatives to task for forwarding such misinformation that reflects badly on the Bush administration?
Matthews actually has a point, and rather than acknowledging that, Limbaugh merely attacked him by not telling his own readers the full truth.