MSNBC on Thursday again featured Ron Reagan to trade on the legacy of his father, trashing the Republican Party as a "haven for bigots." The liberal son of the former president appeared on Hardball to slime the GOP and Mitt Romney for discriminating against gays.
Matthews tossed Reagan a softball, complimenting his "Republican family" for not discriminating against gays. The son of a Republican president slimed, "Since the civil rights era, the Republican Party has been a haven for bigots." He added that not "all" GOP members are bigots, but the party "has provided a refuge for bigots and it has exploited their fear and anger." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reagan appeared to discuss a gay Romney aide who resigned from the campaign. Matthews deemed this a "witch hunt."
Reagan continued, insisting that in addition to Mexicans and African Americans, "Gay people will always, and are still to this day, are people who under certain circumstances can be demonized and they are demonized on the right."
A transcript of the exchange can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Ron this because I want to get some thought- Ron, you're thinking about this. Growing up in a Republican family, one thing I really liked about your family, although they were conservative, your parents, they didn't care about gay people.
RON REAGAN: No.
MATTHEWS: This whole thing has gotten to be- metamorphosing into this weird witch hunt thing going on. Your thoughts?
REAGAN: Yeah, it has, but this isn't entirely new, and it goes back farther than the '80s or '90s. Since the civil rights era, the Republican Party has been a haven for bigots. That is not to say that all Republicans are bigots, far from it. But, it has provided a refuge for bigots and it has exploited their fear and anger. It could be communists, of course. It could be African-Americans, Mexicans, women who want to stand up for their rights, but the most reliable "they" that the Republican Party has had, and there's always a they in the Republican Party, it's out there to undo family values and somehow drag down the America of their dreams, the most reliable they are gay people. Gay people will always, and are still to this day, are people who under certain circumstances can be demonized and they are demonized on the right.
MATTHEWS: Well, Allen West down in Florida hasn't gotten the message yet. He's still going after what he calls the 81 communists in the Democratic caucus. Anyway, let's get back to serious business. I worked in Capitol Hill for years, as you know. I knew a lot of gay people worked up there. They were part of- As somebody said to me today, that place would close down if they didn't have gay people working there. At all levels, from the robo-rooms to the top aides. They were there on both sides of the aisle, right? So, how did these women survive culturally, socially, morally, in an environment where this kind of gay bashing still goes on as of this moment? Because Romney- Mitt Romney will not defend this guy. He will not say, come back to the campaign. Right now, if he's watching this show, Governor Romney, ask the guy to come back, we stop talking about it. But he won't.