Chris Matthews on Friday got himself marvelously smacked down by a Louisiana Congressman.
In an at times heated discussion about energy policy with Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.), the "Hardball" host continually bashed the GOP.
"The smartest move for your party is to screw things up for the next couple of years, right through November, get the country completely bollixed up, and they will vote Republican out of desperation, and you will have more power," said Matthews. "Is that the strategy of the Republican Party this year?"
When Scalise refuted this claim, Matthews added, "If the Titanic sank today, you know what the Republicans would be saying? Don`t be telling the shipping lines they need more life rafts or life preservers."
Scalise marvelously responded, "If the Titanic sank today, I`m sure the president would try to blame it on George Bush" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Here`s Mitch McConnell`s position, which I think is not a position. He said: "What I believe most of my members, if not all of them, will not be interested in is seizing on the oil spill in the Gulf and using that as a rationale, if you will, for passing a national energy tax referred to down here at the White House as cap and trade."
Now, that`s a negative position. What is the positive position in terms of moving forward? And do you support some kind of negotiation with the Democrats, which never seems to get done in this presidency? You guys -- McConnell from day one has said you guys` platform is no. That`s your platform.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: That`s what...
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA), ENERGY & COMMERCE CMT: Well...
MATTHEWS: Is he right? Is McConnell right? The smartest move for your party is to screw things up for the next couple of years, right through November, get the country completely bollixed up, and they will vote Republican out of desperation, and you will have more power? Is that the strategy of the Republican Party this year? Because McConnell says it is. [...]
MATTHEWS: What I see here...
MATTHEWS: What do I see? If the Titanic sank today, you know what the Republicans would be saying? Don`t be telling the shipping lines they need more life rafts or life preservers. Don`t get involved with industry telling them what to do. At some point, the government has to intervene, because the private sector is not doing the job. The private sector is what we`re seeing on that live bug every night on television. By the way, Congressman, that`s the work of the private sector without regulation. That`s what it looks like without being taxed heavily.
Actually, what we're seeing in the Gulf of Mexico right now indeed IS the result of an over-regulated industry. If our oil companies were allowed to drill in Alaska AND set up more rigs closer to the coast, they wouldn't be drilling in mile-deep seas.
For some reason folks like Matthews just don't get that! But I digress:
SCALISE: Well, but the federal government is the regulator, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Your oil patch people have been getting away for centuries without paying taxes.
You have had the biggest tax breaks in the world because you have controlled the Ways and Means Committee. You have controlled the Finance Committees and the regulating committees to the point there is no regulation of safety.
This is either astonishing stupidity or an out and out lie. The Democrats have controlled both chambers of Congress -- and therefore the Ways and Means Committee as well as the Finance Committees - since January 2007! That's approaching three and a half years.
In fact, Democrats have mostly controlled Congress since oil exploration began in this country. As such, any suggestion to the contrary is absurd.
Fortunately, Scalise had the best line of the night:
MATTHEWS: You have had your way. So, that works. And we`re seeing it every night on the air.
SCALISE: If the Titanic sank today, I`m sure the president would try to blame it on George Bush. And we have seen where that has gotten us.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s not useful.
Actually, it's quite useful -- and spot on!
Bravo, Congressman! Bravo!