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Chris Matthews hears 'birther' dog whistle in Condi Rice speech

Photo: Juanita Jean's

As we reported on the front page, MSNBC's Chris Matthews was practically foaming at the mouth on live television last night after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered her rousing remarks. So what had Matthews all riled up?

"Could you ask the Secretary — her speech was so overwhelmingly positive — but was it kind of a rejoinder to all the birtherism and the narrowness she’s heard in their party?” Matthews asked.  To point to "all the birtherism and the narrowness" implies that these two ideas are prevalent in the Republican Party, so Matthews bases his question on an entirely false premise. But I digress...

“Well, I think on both sides of the aisle, quite frankly, we’re hearing some voices for America to pull back,” Rice responded. “It would be a shame if America pulls back, because we’ve done so much good in the world. … That was the theme of the speech, and I had a great audience. It was well received.”

Ed Morrissey relays a translation of Rice's response:

Your question is so idiotic, I’m going to do you the favor of pretending you asked me something intelligent and answer that instead.

Apparently Matthews heard a birther "dog whistle" in Rice's words... which got me wondering: What exactly in Condi's speech seemed to be confrontational and divisive?

Was it...

"We need to have high standards for our students – self-esteem comes from achievement not from lax standards and false praise.  And we need to give parents greater choice – particularly poor parents whose kids – most often minorities — are trapped in failing neighborhood schools.  This is the civil rights struggle of our day."

Or...

"The essence of America – that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea — and what an idea it is:  That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.  That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going."

Or perhaps...

"Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect.  But of course it has never been inevitable – it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values."

How about...

"And I know too that there is weariness – a sense that we have carried these burdens long enough.  But if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen – no one will lead and that will foster chaos —- or others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum.  My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice.  We cannot be reluctant to lead – and one cannot lead from behind."

Sigh.  I give up.  There's no use in trying to understand why Chris Matthews says the things he says because there is no logic to it.

In case you missed it, here's Ms. Rice's full address -- a must watch:

One last thing…
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