Is criticizing welfare the new racism? According to MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews it is.
On his Monday MSNBC show, Matthews cited a speech former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gave in Georgia on Friday in which he said, “You want to be a country that creates food stamps, in which case frankly Obama is an enormous success – the most successful food stamp president in American history, or do you want to be a country that creates paychecks?”
The “Hardball” host’s assessment, which mirrored the assessment of “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, was that Gingrich’s remarks had a hint of racism in them. Matthews suggested Gingrich was using the language of the era of Reagan, which even the “right-wing had dropped it.”
“They stopped talking in this dog whistle like the white racists were going to hear it because everybody hears you now,” Matthews said. “They know what the whistle sounds like. Is Newt just out-of-date or is he deliberately using this dog whistle in a way he thinks he knows exactly what he’s doing. He doesn’t care what we think?”
Even MSNBC contributor Richard Wolffe disagreed with Matthews’ assessment, but the “Hardball” host stuck to his position.
“[I] haven’t heard food stamps discussed since the last racist guy tried to play the card,” Matthews said. “I mean, I can’t remember the last time it was talked about. [It has] a particular tinge to it.”