Chris Matthews: GOP Attacks on Pelosi Are 'Ethnic Politics'

UNITED STATES - JUNE 4: Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" and the weekly "Chris Matthews Show," delivers a National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon address at the 25th annual Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation journalism awards luncheon for coverage of the presidency and for coverage of national defense issues. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Sometimes, it appears like Democrats believe that just because they play identity politic, everyone else does too.

Chris Matthews thinks so. He also thinks that Republican attacks on Nancy Pelosi are an example of the GOP playing”ethnic politics.”


While discussing Republican attacks on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” host Chris Matthews referred to attacks on Pelosi as “ethnic politics” and stated that attacking people from the coasts who are “usually ethnic” is an old tactic by Republicans.

Matthews said, “Picking on somebody from one of the coasts, usually ethnic, and making them the poster person of the Democratic Party is old business for the Republicans. They did it with — way back to some guy from the Bronx back in the 40s. They did it with Bella Abzug from the west side of New York City. They did it to Tip O’Neill. They did it to Teddy Kennedy. Now, they’re doing it after Nancy Pelosi. They love to get an ethnic sort of person from one of the coasts and make them the bad person.”

He later asked, “What about this ethnic politics? Okay, Nancy Pelosi is — looks well-off. She’s well-dressed. You know, she seems like somebody who comes from well — pretty good circumstances, but is that why they go after her? Why do they go after Pelosi? Why do they go after all of these people?”

Did Republicans try to make Bella Abzug a “poster person for the Democratic Party”? Or Ted Kennedy? Abzug was a colorful politician but hardly “ethnic” — unless you consider anyone from New York City an “ethnic.” And Ted Kennedy was about as “ethnic” a politician as Henry Cabot Lodge, his brother’s GOP WASP opponent in 1960.

Tip O’Neill was old-line, back of the yards Irish but was made the butt of endless jokes because at the time, he was the highest ranking member of the Democratic Party serving in Congress.

The idea that Nancy Pelosi is criticized because she’s ethnic is about as absurd as it gets. And the idea that the GOP targets ethnic politicians for criticism is equally idiotic.