MSNBC host Chris Matthews seems to see racism in everything – except his own remarks and lifestyle.
While covering the GOP convention in Tampa last week, Matthews, a former paid Democrat official, accused Republicans of using code words to appeal to racist segments of the population who may not like President Obama simply because he’s black.
He claimed the GOP’s racist “dog whistles” include such common terms as “welfare,” “food stamps,” “birth certificate,” “European socialism” and even “Chicago.”
“They keep saying ‘Chicago’ by the way, have you noticed? They keep saying ‘Chicago’!” Matthews belowed on his “Hardball” show during an interview with black columnist Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post.
“That’s another thing that sends that message,” he added. “There’s a lot of black people in Chicago.”
Of course there’s another explanation: Obama is from Chicago and his campaign is headquartered there.
Earlier in the week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show, Matthews lit in to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for running campaign ads informing voters that Obama is trying to eliminate the work requirement for welfare that former President Clinton signed into law.
“When you start talking about work requirements, you know what game you’re playing and everybody knows what game you’re playing,” he shouted. “It’s a race card.”
He later suggested popular former President Reagan was a bigot for using the term “welfare queen.”
“Race was abused by white politicians in my lifetime – including Reagan,”
Matthews also came unglued over GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney cracking a joke before a Michigan audience that his birth certificate proves he was born in Michigan. He suggested Romney was racist for making the remark.
“It just seems funny the first joke he’s ever told in his life is about Obama’s birth certificate,” Matthews maintained.
He explained in an interview with Politico that racial tolerance is something he champions: “It is obvious that this is something I care passionately about,” he intoned.
But Matthews has made his own share of racially insensitive remarks. In fact, he got into hot water for comments he made about Obama, after viewers complained they thought they had racist overtones.
In January 2010, Matthews made an issue of the president’s skin color.
Following Obama’s first State of the Union address, Matthews said, “You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour.”
The next day, he had to clarify his remarks on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow” show.
With the exception of Obama, Matthews, a former Democrat speech writer and press secretary, does not financially support black political candidates.
A review of Federal Election Commission records of Matthews household political giving, shows that his family donations have gone almost exclusively to white candidates. His household has contributed to several Democrat candidates for House and Senate races, coast to coast, but none of them are black (no Republican received funds either).
Two donations to Obama totaling $4,600 were recorded in the name of his wife, Kathleen C. Matthews, a veteran Washington TV news anchor now working as a corporate executive for Marriott International Inc.
Matthews says he’s also troubled by racially polarized neighborhoods.
“Aren’t you surprised we haven’t integrated in terms of residence, living together, door to door?” he said during one of his “Hardball” episodes last decade. “It’s still a black neighborhood (there) and a white neighborhood here.”
Matthews ought to know. He and his wife live in a predominantly white zip code in the leafy and affluent suburbs of Chevy Chase, Md. Just 5 percent of his neighbors are black, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
His million-dollar home is nowhere near the “ghettos” where Matthews, the self-anointed, prime-time champion of racial equality, suggests more whites need to live.
“We passed the civil-rights bill, and still the country is basically white here and black over there,” Matthews griped. “There’s ‘hoods, there’s ghettos, and there’s whites living in the ‘burbs. It hasn’t changed a lick.”
In fact, however, Census data show more and more minorities are living in the suburbs.
But Matthews still thinks the country is divided, because it’s “run by white guys,” who allegedly are racist against minorities.