MSNBC host Chris Matthews praised President Barack Obama for his response to the end of the partial government shutdown while claiming Republicans and the tea party believed in the Three-Fifths Compromise and the birther conspiracy theory.
Matthews, however, wasn’t ready to say Obama had smooth sailing on his next policy agenda item: immigration.
“I think immigration is tough and the president has a credibility problem as a Democrat,” Matthews said on Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “NOW with Alex Wagner.” “Because nobody really believes the Democrats believe in enforcement. They know they have done tough stuff with deportation. But over time, we saw the failure last time in ’86 when they never enforced the bill. So he has to work on that.”
But he did give Obama props for his response to the end of the shutdown.
“I think what he did today — what I liked about the speech was he put the fact there of the cost of this thing,” Matthews continued. “It wasn’t street theater. It wasn’t without cost. It wasn’t showing off. It was really hurting the country. And then he said we have to change the way we do business. It’s not about values. It’s not about philosophy or partisanship — they are all good. They are how we run our country. It’s tactics and respect.”
Matthews saved his ammo for Republicans, questioning why some who supported using the shutdown as a tactic to defund Obamacare called themselves “we, the American people.”
“And what the right, the small part of the Republican party, maybe a third of it, was willing to do — showed no respect for who’s president, for the voter that elected him and they have this weird way they referred to: ‘We, the American people,’” Matthews said. “Why does a group of people that always loses elections or tends to lately, why do they call themselves ‘the American people?’”
Matthews associated the tea party and the GOP with the Three-Fifths compromise and the birther conspiracy theory.
“Do they still count blacks as three-fifths, three-fifths of a vote?” he continued. “Is that the way they count it? Because seriously — why do you say ‘we, the American people’ when the president keeps getting re-elected? You keep saying ‘we don’t like him, we don’t like him.’ How does that work? Who voted for him? So there is this ‘we’ I am very worried about — we’re more American than the rest so we should get a higher weighing of who ‘we’ are? I think it’s dangerous. And it goes with the birther stuff and all the rest of it.”