PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think it’s important to realize that I was actually black before the election.
During the Ted Kennedy memorial coverage, Chris Matthews suddenly decided to become the voice of hard-headed reason on MSNBC–at least compared to his outwardly socialist colleagues who scream that anything less than government-run health care is a cowardly compromise, if not an outright betrayal.
Chris started pushing the line that the Democrats had better pass “something,” or the result would be a “failure” of a Presidency and they would all go down in defeat.Â He began urging liberals to “not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”
Why? Because Bill Cinton said so.Â Chris declared that Democrats had better damned well listen, because when it comes to political advice, “Bill Clinton is the voice of God.”
So, after pumping for months the notion that the opposition to Obama was mostly about race and his charge being echoed by none other than Jimmy Carter, the greatest ex-President in well, ever! Chris was in state of ecstatic grace.
So, imagine Chris’s crisis of faith when on the same day Bill Clinton and Barack Obama disagreed with Carter, and declared Chris Matthews’s favorite new teaching to be in error.
BILL CLINTON: If Barack Obama were a white president, I believe virtually 100 percent of the people who oppose him on health care today would oppose him on health care anyway.
All of a sudden–at least for one day– Chris Matthews is an agnostic on whether opposition to Obama is based on race:
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That’s the man once called America’s first black president, Bill Clinton, reacting to former President Carter saying the overwhelming portion of the animosity directed against Barack Obama is based on the fact he’s an African-American.
In an interview with David Letterman, President Obama answered the same question. We’ll get to that in the politics fix.
Joining me right now is the Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page, our friend, and USA Today’s Susan Page. We’ve got both Pages here. Let’s ask that question. Bill Clinton says health care is health care. It’s got the same enemies no matter who’s pushing it.
CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: He’s right. It’s just there’s a difference in the way the outrage is expressed. You know, those signs we saw on the mall during the tea party demonstrations, for example, some of them had racial innuendo to them, you know?
MATTHEWS: I would call that innuendo.
C. PAGE: What’s the real purpose? The purpose is to stick it to the guy in power. You know, if it were George Bush, it would be seeing Texas jokes of some kind. That’s basically what it is, I think.
MATTHEWS: I don’t even know what’s in and what’s out anymore, Susan. I read the New York Post and they have cartoons about David Paterson being blind and it’s a joke. I used to think there was a decency line about ethnicity and handicaps and stuff. You know what I mean? Where does it lie? Anything can go in the side, if it brings down the other side. And if you can use race against him, jam him. It just seems…
Your thoughts. Is Bill Clinton right? Is Jimmy Carter right? Who’s right here?
SUSAN PAGE, THE USA TODAY: I guess I think they’re both right, if that’s possible, because it would be naive to think that race does not play a part in, of course, some of the opponents of President Obama. There are certainly non-racists who oppose President Obama and have concerns about the health care plan. And as President Clinton said, you know, this was a pretty fierce battle in 1993 and 1994. There was no question it was going to be a fierce battle this time.
Wow. What a difference a day makes. For a week, the MSNBC echo chamber was filled with the cries that the racist wolf was after the flock, and now, well– maybe not?
Just the night before, Chris Matthews had expanded his definition to the point that it was now racist, just for Rudy Guliani to run for Governor of New York if it meant running against a black incumbent.
And I don’t know about Susan Page, but Clarence Page certainly wasn’t expressing this measured opinion when he was talking to Keith Olbermann, or anyone else who wanted to cry racism. These must be considered serious marching orders.
Poor Chris. All that time expounding his new theology of race, seeing it take hold among the evangelists of Leftism, having it embraced by the church of Liberalism’s Pope Pious, the Pompous Peanut-farmer, only to have both of his declared deities call his doctrine heretical.
This, after it seemed like it had been going on with The One’s blessing, as surrogates fanned out over the land chastising the bigoted sinners while he merely deflected questions about it with a smile.
But the teaching was wildly unpopular, and recent converts to the cause were deciding in droves that this judgmentalism was not for them. So, it became time to deliver an encyclical from on high and hope to reverse the tide.
The segment went on, but not one time did Chris repeat his pet theory–or make many declarative statements at all, in fact. This was the biggest reversal for Chris Matthews since the first time he was allowed to eat a steak on Friday.
It wasn’t quite a road-to-Damascus experience. Chris got knocked off–or on? his ass, but he hasn’t gotten up with a new message. Not yet, anyway.