Chris Matthews decided that he needed to clarify his earlier remark about how the SOTU speech made him forget that Barack Obama was black. Unfortunately, Matthews seems to have a confusion now over cause and effect. He claims that growing up in a segregated nation gives him better insight into the meaning of Obama being President, and that Obama has just now started to lead this country from its past. Rachel Maddow looks unconvinced at the end:
For most of us, the fact that this nation elected Obama as President showed that those divisions no longer exist in practical terms. Obama’s leadership had very little to do with this; he’s the effect of decades of civil-rights efforts to bring down those barriers. Matthews has it exactly backwards. John Kennedy may not have had an African-American cabinet member, but his successor did, and we have had African-Americans in high federal office for at least five decades. His “at least in presidential politics” qualifier is exceedingly strange after an address to Congress, which has a strong and influential Congressional Black Caucus.
Besides, it’s somewhat amusing to see Matthews sparkling over a color-blind society when he repeatedly accuses people of latent racism in opposition to Obama’s policies, on a network that features no African-American show hosts, and whose news anchor sees racism in pickup trucks. The problem with Matthews’ original comment and his “clarification” is that the rest of the nation has moved on from seeing issues through a race-oriented lens, while Matthews insists on clinging to it — with embarrassing results, as with his analysis of Obama’s SOTU speech.