Perhaps it is a low regard for the racial sensibilities of Rush Limbaugh’s audience, or what he calls “non-college whites” as a whole, but MSNBC host Chris Matthews and the panel on this weekend’s broadcast of “The Chris Matthews Show” has branded an entire segment of society as being guilty of prejudice.
In a segment analyzing Limbaugh’s remarks that First Lady Michelle Obama was guilty of “uppity-ism” from last week, Matthews noted a potential electoral obstacle for President Barack Obama — the loss of white male voters, which he had gotten more of in his 2008 election than any one of the last three Democratic presidential nominees.
“For Rush Limbaugh to haul out that word, it may be a sign that his audience thinks it’s acceptable,” Matthews said. “Back when Barack Obama won in 2008, when that kind of talk was less public, he got 43 percent of white votes and that was the same level as Bill Clinton got in 1996 and higher than Al Gore got with 42 percent of whites, and John Kerry’s 41 percent of whites. But the slippage with whites was clear in the 2010 midterms, when Democrats got just 37 percent of whites and the president’s current support with whites is at 38 percent.”
And that polling data according to Matthews was Limbaugh playing on racism for his audience.
“Clarence [Page], this is about politics and ethnicity,” Matthews continued. “And for him to throw out that word — I have never heard the word ‘uppity’ used, that adjective except in combination with another word, the ‘n’ word.”
Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page said Limbaugh used the word “uppity-ism” to appeal to his demographics, perhaps as a ploy for higher ratings.
“It is the perfect dog whistle word and we also know Rush Limbaugh loves to walk that political correctness line and appeal to the demographics you’re talking about,” Page said “I think it’s important to remember that what Democrats haven’t carried the white male-vote since what, LBJ in 1964? This is all a part of the larger culture war that’s been going on in the country since the 1960s. And Rush Limbaugh knows how to plug into that group. That’s his base. As soon as I heard that he had said this, I said, ‘Is this sweeps month? Is this ratings month in radio?’”
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However, Matthews took Page’s observation a step further and said Limbaugh was playing the prejudice tendencies of his audience, which he said come to light during “hard times” with “non-college whites.”
“I think it is this audience — I think he knows who he is playing,” Matthews declared. “He’s very commercial, Rush is. But let me ask you about this. I don’t think it was a dog whistle. I think it was a bugle call. Let’s narrow this down to the politics, get away from the ethnicity. Working-class whites and the way they call it in the polling is ‘non-college whites.’ He’s going to have a problem with them, because in hard times — you know how prejudice rises during hard times — it’s clear that he sees those people as angry and workable, Rush Limbaugh.”
The rest of the show’s panel including the NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan and the BBC’s Katty Kay, echoed those same sentiments and said that could be a problem for the GOP because they are losing certain segments of voters.