Chris Matthews Absurdly Compares Conservative Ted Cruz with Leftwing Father Coughlin

MSNBC bomb thrower Chris Matthews recently compared Sen. Ted Cruz and other conservative commentators to the 1930s socialist commentator Father Charles Coughlin, a once ardent supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who later became a Nazi sympathizer.

“This guy goes pretty far,” Matthews said of Cruz. “I think he fits in the tradition of Father Coughlin and McCarthy and, of course, maybe to a lesser extent, Pat Buchanan and, of course, O’Reilly. These guys are hard right-wing guys. They look a lot alike. They have what we call the black Irish look to them. They don’t smile much. It’s quite a tradition here, but it does run to the right of the regular Republican Party.”

Coughlin was definitely a demagogue, but was not a man of the right, as Matthews and others have characterized him. Matthews is the not the first to make the odd comparison.

“Coughlin has so frequently been called ‘right wing’ it became an article of faith despite the fact that nearly all of the policies he advocated were radically progressive,” The Right Frequency explains. “He was a staunch supporter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, telling his vast audience in the 1932 election it was “Roosevelt or Ruin.” When Roosevelt took office, Coughlin insisted that no good Christian could oppose the policies of the New Deal, and he declared an end to capitalism. So how did he earn the label rightwing? He became a virulently anti-Semitic on the airwaves and grew to sympathize with Nazi Germany. It is difficult to understand how either of those would qualify someone as a conservative. But the justification for liberal writers would be that he became just as virulently anti-Roosevelt. Never mind that the anti-Roosevelt tirades were because he thought the New Deal did not go far enough and simply lost patience with the president he so vehemently supported in the 1932 election.”

“Coughlin called the New Deal ‘Christ’s Deal.’ … Roosevelt invited Coughlin to attend the inauguration, and Coughlin praised this “Protestant President who has more courage than 90 percent of the Catholic priests in the country.” Coughlin told his listening audience that “Capitalism is doomed and is not worth trying to save,” which sounds similar to the title of one of Michael Moore’s films.

Sounding almost like a cult leader, Coughlin once declared, “I know Congress will do nothing but say ‘Mr. Roosevelt, we follow.’” He continued, “God is directing President Roosevelt,” and that “he is the answer to our prayers.” He further warned, “If Congress fails to back up the president in his monetary program, I predict a revolution in this country which will make the French Revolution look silly.”

The book goes on to say, “In 1938, Coughlin’s newspaper, Social Justice, fed readers a steady diet of pieces on Jewish control of America’s financial institutions. He published a version of the Russian diatribe ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ that accused the Jews of planning to take control of the world. … In 1940, the Catholic Church, which had already been frustrated with him for some time, silenced him. The Detroit Archbishop Edward Mooney strictly forbade Coughlin from having any ties with his newspaper Social Justice or ‘with any other publication.” Faced with the choice of being defrocked or giving up political activity, Coughlin was able to remain at the Shrine of the Little Flower. By April 1942, Attorney General Francis Biddle ordered a federal grand jury investigation of Social Justice because of what he considered its pro-Axis views. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Postal Service suspended his second class mailing privileges for Social Justice.”

Click here to order The Right Frequency.
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