Chris Matthews: Reality Check on Racial Fantasies

If you ever had any doubts about how out of touch with reality MSNBC’s media pundits are on race then look no further than Schlock-Meister Chris Matthews and the Chutzpah-challenged crew at MSNBC during the recent coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, which includes convicted slanderer and race hustler Al Sharpton. (For a good report on Sharpton, see here.)

What was once a suspected case of cerebral hypoxia seems more like cerebral anoxia — not merely a reduction but complete lack of oxygen flow to the brain of the ever-obnoxious Matthews. MSNBC producers should keep fully stocked oxygen tanks on the set of Hardball — not that, in the final analysis, it would make much of a difference to the brain-dead political hacks at the far-Left network.

For starters, Matthews claimed that any reference to Obama’s Chicago connection was racist because it’s a code word for poor Blacks. “They keep saying Chicago … have you noticed?  They keep saying Chicago.  That’s another thing that sends that message—this guy’s helping the poor people in the bad neighborhoods, screwing us in the ‘burbs.” His guest, John Hielemann of New York Magazine completed the thought by noting there are a lot of Black people in Chicago.

The mind-boggling dishonesty reached a new delusional realm on Tuesday evening when Matthews was wound tighter than a Joan Rivers’ facelift. In an unrestrained rant on welfare—viewed by liberals view as an unmentionable topic —— Matthews tied Mitt Romney to Ronald Reagan, George Wallace and David Duke because “they all talked about welfare.” (In reality, racially aware politicians simply connected with middle class Whites on an implicit level, which reflected the negative experience of many Whites. Ronald Reagan’s campaign stops in 1980, certainly his swing through Louisville, Kentucky, would have given Matthews cardiac arrest with his appeals to White voters with themes like “welfare queens, opposition to busing and big government.)

Here’s Matthews unloading dishonest rubbish between speakers early in Tuesday evening’s MSNBC coverage:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, “HARDBALL” HOST: You know, I think that people that don’t recognize the code about welfare and food stamps are really being dishonest. I think if you look at our history from Ronald Reagan, who would talk about the young buck in the line using food stamps to buy t-bone steaks, or certainly George Wallace or David Duke. They all talked about welfare.

Welfare has been a classic tool to pry apart working class whites from working class blacks. It’s brilliant, because everybody sees it who wants to see it. Certainly blacks can’t avoid seeing it because they see the prejudice involved. Whites can deny it because it isn’t technically racial or sectarian, but everyone knows what’s going on here. Everyone knows this.

And now for Mitt Romney, who should be able to win on the arithmetic, on the unemployment rate, on the job creation, on a number of factors, growth in this country not being what it should be, for some reason has resigned himself to the fact that he’ll get no black votes and therefore he might as well work for the working class white vote.

This isn’t prejudice on his part. There’s no evidence of that. It’s really about engineering the country politically. It’s a very bad sign of this ability to still be able to do it in our country.

It’s amazing. Here we are in the 21st century, 2012, and what worked 60 or 70 years ago is still working today. Say welfare, people think black because politically they’ve been taught to say so. I get back to living in D.C. all these years. I’ve lived there 40 years, a black majority city.

Anybody who wants to get up early in Washington and drive down North Capitol [Street] and drive past Florida Avenue sees nothing but black people up and 6:30 in the morning going to work. That’s where they’re going, to work. And not at big wage jobs and not to get a welfare check. They’re out working hard all day and not coming home with a fantastic paycheck.

So this notion that blacks live on welfare and whites live on work is a brilliant political ploy, but it’s not true, Rachel, and you know it, I know it.

As someone who spent years working in the District of Columbia, commuting via the Metro subway system, overhearing Black federal employees bragging about how much work they managed to evade on any given week, and running up against the Black work ethic in various employment positions, Matthews needs clinical treatment for this whopper:

I get back to living in D.C. all these years. I’ve lived there 40 years, a black majority city. Anybody who wants to get up early in Washington and drive down North Capitol [Street] and drive past Florida Avenue sees nothing but black people up and 6:30 in the morning going to work. That’s where they’re going, to work. And not at big wage jobs and not to get a welfare check. They’re out working hard all day and not coming home with a fantastic paycheck.

Anyone familiar with North Capitol Street knows just how slum-ridden and dangerous the Florida Avenue section is. This is an area where being White at night on foot is a life-altering experience! There is some gentrification in the past few years, but it still remains a crime-infested, no-go zone for Whites. Needless to say, I would wager that Matthews hasn’t spent much quality time getting to know all of those hard-working blacks at Florida Avenue and North Capitol Street.

A Google search of Florida Avenue and North Capitol Street and District of Columbia will tell you all you need to know about this area.

Consider this blog posting at TBDNeighborhoods from February1, 2011:

The stretch of North Capitol Street where it crosses Florida Avenue has long been a hangout spot for homeless men and women waiting for the next mealtime at SOME [So Others May Eat]. Combine that with a preponderance of liquor stores and carryout joints, the inevitable handful of Kids Up to No Good, and the intersection of half a dozen busy city bus lines, and you’ve got a brilliant recipe for, for lack of a better term, Stuff Going Down.

A snapshot of recent D.C. police data for the area shows this Stuff is happening with increasing frequency, although far more likely to involve nonviolent property crime than anything else. Over the last 60 days, thefts and stolen cars accounted for fully 27 of the 40 reported crimes within a two-block radius of this intersection. The percentages were roughly equivalent for the same period last year, when 16 of 25 reported crimes were nonviolent.

But with two shootings in recent weeks within a stone’s throw of this spot, the big guns stopped by Monday evening for the usual crime walk/photo opp, hoping to get the message out that this community will not tolerate more bloodshed. (“How do you solve a problem like North Capitol and Florida?”)

Hanging out near Florida Ave. in DC

For corroborating evidence, consider as well this reality check coverage two-days later, February 3, 2011, in D.C.’s City Paper:

Just after 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, Bill Mitchell was walking home from the New York Avenue-Florida Avenue-Gallaudet University Metrorail station. He hopped over busy Florida Avenue to a little triangle of land where a woman had been approached by a man on a mountain bike. According to the woman, the man on the bike asked her for sex. When she declined, he went up to Mitchell at the bus stop and asked him for money. The woman told him to lay off, and as the two got into an argument, Mitchell jumped on the man’s back.

Bad decision.

“This is what I been waiting for,” the man said, as the police report tells it. He pulled out a gun and fired two shots at Mitchell, who died in a hospital two hours later.

What followed was the kind of outpouring of shock and outrage usually generated by the killing of community-minded young white people like Mitchell. There was a vigil, an emergency public safety meeting, a walk-through of the neighborhood with Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., Mayor Vince Gray, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier—one of several similar visits since she was appointed—and a handful of other agency directors. Calls for more police on the corner were issued.

But this time, it’s not just a matter of having more cops come through and bang heads. Neighbors think the physical shape of the immediate area and the buildings nearby might have helped cause the crime.

Here’s the lay of the land: Florida Avenue cuts across the busy six lanes of North Capitol Street in a chaotic basket of stoplights and signals. There’s a bus stop right next to a liquor store on the southwest corner, and another across the street on the traffic island, which allows sauced loiterers to claim they’re waiting for the bus when police come by to move them along. A few blocks away, So Others Might Eat feeds two meals a day to more than 400 homeless people at its headquarters on O Street NW. There’s an outpatient substance abuse treatment center a few blocks south on First Street NE, a transitional residential program for 100 men up on Lincoln Road, and a needle exchange van that occasionally sits on Florida Avenue.

Tom Usselman, who’s lived in the neighborhood for nine years and serves on the board of North Capitol Main Street, says he would never wait for a bus at the intersection, which he sees as a maelstrom of disorderly activity.

“We come in, we hit the meth clinic, we grab breakfast over at SOME, we sell our methadone to drug users, and then they don’t need to purchase as much cocaine or whatever it is they’re on—because they’ve got the methadone, it was just a big feeding circle,” he says, sitting at a folding table in NCMS’ storefront office. “The police have to be extra vigilant to know who is where and what they’re doing. There’s so much activity that it allows the drug dealers and the other guys that are doing bad things to slide under the radar, as long as they keep below that noise.”

Lonna Hooks, NCMS’ executive director, thinks things have gotten worse recently. “The situation is escalating,” she says, of street harassment and panhandling. “There is a large amount of people who are clearly not residents, and they have become extremely aggressive.”

Except crime isn’t escalating, at least not the kind that shows up in the city’s CapStat system. The last three years show no consistent trend of incidents taking place within a quarter-mile radius around the intersection (and the average crime rate is actually lower than the same radius around M Street NW and Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown). Plus, there are fewer social services in the neighborhood than there used to be—at least one meth clinic has relocated, and police say the needle exchange truck rarely comes by anymore.

To understand Usselman’s perspective, I spent quite a bit of time “waiting for a bus” at the intersection. It’s a fairly affable atmosphere; people stand around, a little aimlessly, chatting about getting off drugs, getting out of jail. The line for cigarettes and singles inside the liquor store is polite. The most uncomfortable thing was having to stand the whole time: The spiked treeboxes meant to keep homeless people from sitting on them make the little traffic island inhospitable to everyone. At no point did I feel threatened, but I did notice that people who looked like me hustled past quickly, as if the intersection were made out of quicksand. (“Florida panhandle”)

Somewhere in this mayhem between the substance abuse center, soup kitchen, “needle-exchange truck,” liquor store, and yellow homicide police tape are Matthews’ phantom Blacks not collecting welfare but “going to work” and “working hard all day.” Perhaps that explains why Matthews lives across town in the wealthy upper-Northwest enclave of D.C. with other fellow White liberal scribes and policy wonks. Wouldn’t want to impede all those hard working African Americans getting up early and punctually making it to work on time every day.

And just in case you thought that was as outrageous as it could get at MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell accused Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of racism because he said that Obama is playing so much golf that he should try out for the PGA. In the fevered minds of the left, this was plugging into the Black sexuality stereotype because of an entirely implicit connection with Tiger Woods.

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