For Chris Matthews, it's not progress to find out there is less racism in the country than he supposed. THAT does not put the tingle in his leg, not one bit.
Last week, the Democrats' top national pollster, Stan Greenberg, and his partner, James "The Snake" Carville put out a focus group report that essentially said race is "beside the point" for those who oppose Obama's policies.
Chris was not happy.
Now this should be good news for the Left. This means their opponents are not hardened by blind hatred or prejudice, and can be reached by reason, or won over by policies they agree with. This should also be good news for any American of good will who should hate to think that our politics are based in race hatred.
But Chris is too invested In his opposition-to-Obama-is-racism narrative. (Note in the video that he even has a logo for "ANGER on the RIGHT" Please. Even after the Seattle riots, or the burning of George W. Bush in effigy, we didn't see an "Anger on the Left" graphic.)
Friday night, Matthews was so over-the-top on the topic, that even David Corn, whose career has been spent with Marxist rags like The Nation and Mother Jones, had to try to act as a voice of reason on the topic, as Matthews claimed that the Right wouldn't even like a black conservative President!
MATTHEWS: We're going to the belly of the beast right now.
Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and his partner, James "The Ragin' Cajun" Carville, put out a report today about a Republican focus group they held in the wake of Joe Wilson screaming "You lie" at President Obama during that joint session. Here's part of their conclusion, which may surprise you—quote—and you can with this. We're going to do it—quote—
"We gave those groups of older white Republican base voters in Georgia a full opportunity to bring race into their discussion, but it did not ever become a central element, and, indeed, was almost beside the point."
So, if race is beside the point, then what is the point?
David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, and Ron Brownstein is the political director for Atlantic Media. Gentlemen, before we go further than that—that bottom line, that race is not a factor in this right-wing thinking, let me show you something from a poll, a research poll, done by the Daily Kos this summer. It talks about those who believe in this birther thing out there. It was back in July. And they sponsored this poll.
The Daily Kos? Really? Chris clings to his theory so desperately that he will take a suspect Daily Kos poll over Stan Greenberg now? The Greenberg focus group was intended to HELP DEMOCRATS, not to exonerate Republicans. The Democrats are in a hole right now, and Chris Matthews is emotionally invested in having them use his shovel to keep digging.
MATTHEWS: …The highest percentage of people who believe that Obama wasn't born in the country was down in the South. Only 23 percent say he was born in America — 47 percent—only 47 percent say he was born in the United States. The rest either don't know or thought he was born somewhere else.
Up North, the more liberal Northeast, which is attacked by the right, 93 percent say he was born in the United States. So, the birther direction has radically different answers depending where you ask it in the country. Ron Brownstein, you do a lot of number-crunching. What do you make of that? Is that, in fact, a counterpoint to the argument that there is not a race element to the right?
RON BROWNSTEIN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, ATLANTIC MEDIA: Well, there is obviously a racial element to our politics. About 90 percent of John McCain's vote came from whites…
The fact that Barack Obama got at least a 95% vote from blacks, and despite slipping poll numbers still gets approval ratings from black Americans in the 90s is NOT "racial," apparently.
BROWNSTEIN: …But I agree with Stan Greenberg, who really is as sharp as they come in American politics, that the principal engine of the reaction we are seeing to Obama is not race. It is part of it, this kind of a sense of cultural alienation from the new America that he represents, the multicultural America that he represents. But the principal force that we're seeing here is an ideological recoil from the conservative Republican base on the broad sweep of his agenda.
MATTHEWS: So, Lyndon Johnson you was wrong, you're saying, Ron, back when he said, when he signed the civil rights bill, he wrote off the South for decades to come? He was wrong, you're saying.
Lyndon Johnson? Why not Andrew Johnson? Why do liberals go back 2 generations whenever the topic of race comes up?
BROWNSTEIN: No, that was the initial impetus. But we have moved way past that, Chris.
I mean, certainly, in the '60s and '70s, the initial wave of realignment of white Southerners from the Democratic to Republican Party was overwhelmingly driven by race. But now it is—the attachment to the Republican Party goes way beyond that.
You're talking about cultural values, evangelical Christians overwhelmingly Republican, especially in the South, views on national security, views on the role of government. Race is no longer, I believe, the principal reason why conservative Southerners identify with the Republican Party. If you had to pick one reason, I would say it is religious values and cultural values, rooted in Evangelical Christianity, far more than race.
Matthews can't let this go. He was sure he could get David Corn, who only writes for ultra-left wing publications to jump in on his side.
MATTHEWS: I'm not sure. David Corn, I want to ask you this question: Why is it that all the liberals we know, every liberal we know was thrilled that this country was capable of electing an African American president? And you did not hear that thrill exciting the body or the soul of conservatives. They were not thrilled by the idea that this country was capable getting beyond its race past—it's racial past, not racist, but racial past.
Why is it that liberals liked that idea and conservatives didn't like were not thrilled by it? They just didn't have the same reaction.
CORN: You could say because, in fact, they liked Barack Obama. If it had been Michael Steele being elected president, god forbid, there might have been a different reaction.
MATTHEWS: Do you think so? I disagree with you… David, you're wrong. Let me tell you, David—let me tell you, David, if Colin Powell were the Republican nominee for president in any one of the last cycles, a hell of a lot of Democrats you know would have voted for him. A hell of a lot. They would been thrilled if he had beaten their candidate. That's how they're different.
Yes, Chris, conservatives hate blacks so much that they wouldn't love a President Sowell, or a Supreme Court Justice… never mind. And Democrats are so excited by the success of blacks, regardless of party. They were SO happy to see Ken Blackwell elected to statewide office in Ohio, they welcomed J.C. Watts into the Congressional Black Caucus with open arms. That's why they celebrated the prominence of Condoleezza Rice. Let's ask Clarence Thomas how much he enjoyed his gracious reception by those tolerant liberals on the Hill...
Who are you trying to kid, Chris?
Good liberals would NEVER use "Uncle Tom" or "house negro" to describe these people, and Lord knows they could NEVER employ crude racial stereotypes about their sexual or intellectual proclivities. Oh no!
Corn and Brownstein both gave lip service to the idea that Carville and Greenberg underestimated the race element to mollify Chris, but then Brownstein brought up more actual DATA:
BROWNSTEIN: You know, Gallop polling, last month, 57 percent of Americans say that government is trying to do too much. That is the same level that we had in October of 1994. It is over 60 percent of independents agree with that sentiment. So while the conservative Republican base is among most agitated, they are not alone in having this kind of reaction that maybe perhaps we are going too far too fast. Obama does have to deal with it. He is never going to mollify the conservatives, but he does have to find a way to reassure those independents who have been moving Democratic, especially those upper middle class, college educated voters.
So, Chris decided data means nothing, HE knows better… so he fell back on, "Do either of you guys believe that you get an honest answer on race from anybody in America?" and brought up O.J. Once again, Ron Brownstein brought up the stubborn data.
BROWNSTEIN: On the other hand, Chris, Obama's approval rating among white voters at this point in his presidency is probably higher than Bill Clinton's was at the same point in his presidency. The fact is that his share of votes among whites was really within the band that Democrats have experienced for the last 30 years. You know, the share of the Democratic vote among non-college whites has only varied between 38 and 44 percent. He got 40.
So I have a hard time seeing race—sure, there are voters who will not be for him because he is black. But many of those voters are the same voters who would not be for almost any Democrat. The principal problem he faces now, I believe, is not a racial reaction, as it is an ideological backlash that is most fierce in the Republican base, but does extend beyond that to some independents that Democrats have been winning.
Sorry, Chris, I bet this spoiled your weekend. Funny thing, You started this discussion by touting the good will of the Left and liberals on racial matters. Shouldn't part of all that sunny racial optimism you claim also include hoping that nearly half the country is NOT a bunch of bigots?