Kung fu on an airplane

KUNG FU ON AN AIRPLANE…. If you caught yesterday’s episode of “Hardball,” you saw Chris Matthews host a pretty good discussion between Salon‘s Joan Walsh and former Dick Cheney aide Ron Christie. It’s fair to say Christie didn’t get end up looking especially good.

But towards the end of the episode, Matthews slipped back into character. (via John Cole)

“I think we have got to get serious about catching terrorists, not just catching weapons. I’m waiting for the terrorist who knows kung fu or something that gets on an airplane without a weapon. God knows what that is going to be like.”

In case you were wondering, you can watch the clip and see that Matthews wasn’t kidding. He seems to think this is a legitimate area of concern.

Now, I don’t know if Chris Matthews has ever actually been on an airplane, but it’s a pretty tight, confined space. A dangerous martial-arts display would be exceedingly difficult in the aisle of even the largest jumbo jet.

And even if a kung-fu-trained terrorist were to start beating up a passenger or crew member, there are still all of the other passengers and crew members to contend with.

Also note the context: Matthews is urging us to “get serious” about counterterrorism, and in the next sentence, warning us of the potentially deadly consequences of terrorists who know “kung fu or something.”

Apparently, “getting serious” means not taking security advice from Chris Matthews.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.