HARDBALL. Here's Ezra:

Note that Ezra managed to actually stop Matthews in his tracks for a nanosecond right off the bat with his green-card-for-snitching-on-illegal-employers proposal. Nicely done.

Meanwhile, yesterday I mentioned that, earlier in the program when talking to Ben Affleck, Matthews actually invoked fascism in criticizing Rudy Giuliani's approach to the politics of terrorism. It's admittedly somewhat indirect, the way he does it, but here it is:

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you -- before we go to break, I want to ask you the key question here. We're going to come back and talk about the Democrats. You have an interest in Obama. You have an interest in Hillary and the rest. I want to know where you stand on that. But before we do that, who's the toughest Republican that they could put in the field? Admittedly, the war's unpopular. Admitted, this president, George W. Bush, is not popular. Admitted, it's a terrible terrain to go in next year. Who's their strongest champion next year to go against Hillary or Obama or someone else, Edwards or someone else?

AFFLECK: Giuliani, without a doubt. Giuliani is by far their toughest candidate. Giuliani is -- I thought he did great in the debate. I think he has -- because he -- if he can get through the primaries with some of those liberal views, it's harder to paint him as an extremist socially. I think he's well-spoken. He's assertive. I think he knows how to play to his strength, which is being the kind of -- the daddy that protects you when times are hard. Unfortunately, the way that he does that is by kind of engendering fear in the audience. But it's an extremely effective political tactic, and he's very good at it.

MATTHEWS: I agree. And he never lets us forget 9/11 and never lets us forget the possibility of another terrorist attack, does he. Ever.

AFFLECK: No. And I don't think it's -- frankly, I object to it, but I think just from the macro point of view, it's excellent politics. And if he's the only one I think that -- from a totally amateur man on the road, what do I know, I'm just a dumb actor point of view...


AFFLECK: ... I think he's the only one who's got a shot at it.

MATTHEWS: And by the way, I disagree with you about you being an amateur. But I`ll tell you one thing. I agree with what Fareed Zakaria wrote in "Newsweek" this week, which is terrorism isn't explosions and death, terrorism is when you change your society because of those explosions and you become fearful to the point where you shut out immigration, you shut out student exchanges, you shut people out of buildings, you begin to act in an almost fascist manner because you're afraid of what might happen to you. That's when terrorism becomes real and frighteningly successful. That's what I believe, and that`s why I question the way Giuliani has raised this issue. He raises it as a specter. In a weird way, he helps the bad guys.

And there you have it.

--Sam Rosenfeld