Matthews: 'Reparations Make Sense'

Does my headline bury the lede?  On the one hand, it's catchy to hear Chris Matthews proclaim his belief that reparations for slavery "make sense."  

But in the grand scheme of things, one more liberal pundit coming out for reparations might be small potatoes.  Perhaps the bigger story was the statement on this evening's Hardball by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). The former head of the Congressional Black Caucus revealed that he saw nationalized health care as a part of reparations.

Clyburn was a guest along with Steve Cohen, the very liberal Dem congressman from Tennessee.  I see Cohen as something of a pathetic figure.  Representing a majority black district, he seems so blatantly to pander to his constituency, trying to fend off black primary challengers.  Cohen, whose application for membership was rejected by the Black Caucus,  recently sponsored a resolution, unanimously adopted by the House, apologizing for slavery.  On this evening's show he also boasted of being a co-sponsor of Rep. John Conyers call for a commission looking into the possibility of reparations.

JAMES CLYBURN: Well, I think that Congressman Cohen's resolution that was unanimously passed by the House offered an apology, but it went into talking about how we ought to go about rectifying some of the current effects of that past discrimination. And that's what we're doing today as we roll out this working draft of our health care bill.

. . .  .

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah, I think reparations make sense. I just wonder if we're ever going to figure out how to do it.  Mr. Clyburn, do you have a clear sense of what's the appropriate, if you were the president right now and had the congress 100% behind you, what would you do?

CLYBURN: What I would do is exactly what we're attempting to do with this legislation, energy legislation, health legislation. I would look at ways that we can programatically and with new policy, address these inequities and make concerted efforts to do things that would make up for them and eliminate the disparities.  That's what I would do. We're talking about addressing inequities, disparities that exist in the health care in our communities.  That's the kind of thing that we ought to be doing.

Nice of Rep. Clyburn to so frankly lay out the real agenda. Wonder if PBO will be pleased that Clyburn let the cat out of the bag?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.