A little bit more about Hardball this afternoon. Chris Matthews, and Ben Ginsberg, a former advisor to the Bush-Cheney campaign team (and Swift Boat Veterans) were criticizing the assumption that members of Congress are corrupt, suggesting that most are hard-working middle class men and women who barely struggle to get by, often living in basement apartments that they share with others. It’s a nice image, of the citizen legislator, but not an accurate one.
According to the Agence France Presse, 123 of 435 members of the House were millionaires in 2004, with 1/3 of the Senate also being millonaires.
This isn’t the first time Matthews has tried to peddle this nonsense. Earlier this year, Matthews claimed that Tom Delay “really lives basically, like a regular middle class person.” ThinkProgress demonstrates this middle class lifestyle:
As Tom DeLay became a king of campaign fund-raising, he lived like one, too. He visited cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed by PGA champions and four-star restaurants, all courtesy of donors who bankrolled his political money empire.
Over the past six years, the former House majority leader and his associates have visited places of luxury most Americans have never seen, often getting there aboard corporate jets arranged by lobbyists and other special interests.
Public documents reviewed by the Associated Press tell the story: At least 48 visits to golf clubs and resorts; 100 flights aboard company planes; 200 stays at hotels, many world-class; and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.
It seems like Matthews is confusing his idealized memories about his time as a Congressional staffer with reality.