Chris Matthews: It’s Jim Crow All Over Again

There have been plenty of ludicrous charges of racism against the right for the last few years, but few are as blatant and devoid of sense as this latest one from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Closing out his Hardball program on Thursday night, Matthews took direct aim at the current state of the Republican Party, claiming that “the age of Jim Crow managed to find a new habitat in the early 21st century Republican Party.”

His argument? He rattles off the usual suspects: the Senate leader digging his heels in against Obama when the nation’s first black president took office. The “You lie!” incident from an old State of the Union speech. In other words, the same old story. If you oppose this president, you’re somehow a racist.

He was spurred to make this observation by the letter 47 Republican senators published last week. An open message to the Iranian leadership, gently informing them that whatever nuclear deal they happened to strike with Obama would not necessarily stand the test of time. This, of course, was also racist.

“[Future Americans] will read all this and wonder what was it that made this Republican opposition so all out contemptuous of an American president?” Matthews said. “What made it treat him as below respect, below the dignity historically accorded his office?”

Three guesses, and the first two don’t count!

It must be nice to be able to play the racism card whenever your ideas are attacked. To stand above criticism because of the color of your skin. To dismiss any opposition to your ideology as being driven by bigotry. What a world that must be to live in.

Matthews, a history buff, must have been snoozing during the Clinton administration when Republicans were just as dead set against the president. He must have been otherwise occupied during the years when his colleague Keith Olbermann – to say nothing of Democratic lawmakers – painted George W. Bush as the worst man to ever walk the earth. Was Bush afforded the “dignity historically accorded his office?” Matthews apparently thinks so.

There have been precious few moments in any of our lifetimes when the country rallied around a single president. That’s not what we do. When the time comes, we go along for the sake of the country. When there is a serious threat to national security, we unite briefly before going back to out respective corners. When the economy is sailing, we are willing to put up with a lot of nonsense. But otherwise, we like to get in there and fight. Not because it’s fun, but because we have different ideas about what’s best for the nation.

There’s nothing wrong with that. If there was, people like Chris Matthews wouldn’t have a job.

Any conservative – particularly those in Washington – can tell you exactly what’s wrong with President Obama. They can probably give you a 400 page book outlining the problems without once mentioning his race. Stop hiding behind a non-issue, liberals. The fact that Obama is the first black president is one of the only respectable things about him.

It’s everything else that’s a problem.

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