Hardball with Chris Matthews, 4/9/13, 7:58 PM ET

Matthews: Thatcher is ‘enormously worthy of respect and admiration’

Chris Matthews shares his thoughts about the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and her portrayal over the years by a Hollywood that...

Hollywood, get it right: Thatcher is worthy of respect and admiration

Updated

Let me finish tonight with Margaret Thatcher.

Let me repeat what I said on Morning Joe today when I first got word of the former British prime minister’s death.

I don’t like the way Hollywood makes movies about people they don’t agree with politically. Ronald Reagan comes off as an amiable dunce. Margaret Thatcher gets a movie about her life that focuses on the dementia which she suffered late in life.

Let’s do this right. If you disagree with someone politically, take on their strengths. Do what they did in that little British film Brassed Off. Take your shots—hit them where they were strongest and you disagreed with them the most.

Don’t come off trying to be so compassionate, so “balanced” when what you’re really doing is finding a velvet glove to punch them with one more time when they’re dead and can’t sue.

One of the best examples I’ve discovered in politics and in covering it is that the best of people—the ones I admire—are always there to say something good about the best of those on the other side. Reagan would always salute FDR; Clinton would salute Reagan. It comes with the territory. You admit great leadership because that’s what you, yourself, hope to achieve.

So here goes: I think Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to lead a great western country in our times, is enormously worthy of respect and admiration. I think her great premiership, second only to Churchill’s in modern times, stands as a great precursor of what a woman leader can bring to office. If and when Hillary Clinton seeks the presidency, the legacy of Thatcher will be a strong standard on which any woman, especially the recent secretary of state, can run and win.

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Hollywood, get it right: Thatcher is worthy of respect and admiration

Updated