Why Does Chris Matthews Think Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz Are Not Hispanic?

chris matthews sm

I don’t know if Chris Matthews has a drinking problem but he gives a great approximation of the old guy at the bar who is about half in the bag at lunch time… and who you’ll find there again after work. I don’t mean to disparage Matthews’s ethnicity, because he is apparently (according to Wikipedia) half Irish, and if he does have a problem we all certainly hope he dries out, but I bring it up as I search for possible explanations for some of his behavior. For instance, Via Newsbusters we have this clip of Matthews discussing the Cruz versus Rubio skirmish over sugar subsidies on Tuesday night:

MATTHEWS: I couldn’t believe that last night.

TERKEL: I was surprised it was mentioned too, but, you know, he is clearly watching Rubio.

MATTHEWS: So you’re trying to insinuate that [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ], a fellow, uh, Spanish surname, I’m not sure the right word is Hispanic for them, because they are Cuban nationals or whatever, or come from Cuba. But, uh, is he going to insinuate that he is still basically for what he calls amnesty?

You can catch the whiff of Tullamore Dew on that statement.

Both [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] are “natural born” United States citizens. Neither are “Cuban nationals.” Are they Hispanic? Well, in 2010 the Census Bureau used this definition:

Definition of Hispanic or Latino Origin Used in the 2010 Census

“Hispanic or Latino” refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

Though, in reality, since ethnicity is based upon self-identification all it takes to be Hispanic is to simply say you are. So by any definition, both Rubio and Cruz are Hispanic.

What Matthews is really saying is one of three things: a) only non-Cubans can Hispanic or b) Hispanics are by definition Democrats ergo Rubio and Cruz can’t be Hispanic or c) he’s trying to keep the Cruz-birther story in play.

Or he could just be saying, “when does the bar open?”