On Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews hosted a discussion with Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker and Salon's Joan Walsh as the trio discussed Parker's latest column, "A Tip for the GOP: Look Away," -- which Matthews built up by effusing, "I`ve never seen a stronger column in the newspapers" -- in which she argues that the Republican party is hurt by being centered in the South with its history of racial politics. Matthews, who would later theorize that Sarah Palin will exploit white racism by visiting "cul de sacs of whitedom," set up the segment by reading a line from Parker's column which compares Palin to a white character in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird who falsely accuses a black man of raping her, leading to his conviction by a racist jury. Matthews:
Here`s a quote that really grabbed me: "That same rage was on display again in the fall of 2008, but this time the frenzy was stimulated by a pretty gal with a mocking little wink. Sarah Palin may not have realized what she was doing. But southerners, weaned on Harper Lee, heard the dog whistle." Kathleen, "heard the dog whistle." Is Sarah Palin a poster girl for racism? Yes or no?
Parker suggested that Palin is indeed a "poster girl for racism," though "not consciously," and alluded to white racism being incited by a white woman and black man being pitted against each other, as in Sarah Palin versus Barack Obama, or in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Parker: