The one point that Matthews misses in his otherwise commendable performance -- the most important point for my money -- is his faulting Representative Gigglepants for "playing to the nut wing".
Sorry, Chris: that was the problem in 1980.
By 1994 these same fucks had been whipped into their predictable hysterics by an equally bughouse nuts concatenation of GOP Der Stürmer-grade hateprop the gist of which was that Bill Clinton had not been legitimately elected. Later they wet their pants on cue as Hate Radio and Jerry Falwell screamed into their furry little ears Every!Fucking!Day! that Vince Foster had been assassinated, that Hillary Clinton was a lesbian, that the Clintons had made a fortune dealing drug in Arkansas, that they had murdered scores of people to cover it all up.
It was in Clinton's second term that Tom "We're in charge. We don't have to negotiate with the Senate. We don't have to negotiate with the Democrats" DeLay became the wingnut's leading political plague-vector, building on earlier Orwellian, delegitimizing work by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and Lee Atwater and adding steel plating to the by-now concreteized core GOP belief that all opposition to them was, by definition, inherently evil.
From "The American Prospect":
...it's worth remembering just how virulent the opposition to Clinton's presidency was. Republicans began plotting to impeach Clinton long before anyone had ever heard the name "Lewinsky," and many on the right simply refused to accept that he legitimately occupied the office he held. Then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey, when talking to Democrats, used to refer to Clinton as "your president."
In the years between the first days of Reagan and the last days of Clinton, it had become received wingnut wisdom that Democrats -- all Democrats -- were gay commie monsters who needed to be destroyed at any cost, by any means, and screw the consequences. And as election strategies and results ever since show with absolute clarity, GOP officeholders like Representative Gigglepants know perfectly well the truth that dare speak its name: that the “nut wing” is the Party.
Which brings us to the present day, idiocy like the Conservative birther twaddle, and the "debate" over health care.
Republicans want to kill health care reform dead -- regardless of the scale of the crisis or the timidity of the Administration's proposal -- not because they know enough about the subject to intelligently rub two adverbs together about it (beyond whatever ridiculous lies and demagogy their corporate puppeteers pay them to parrot on any given day) but because it offers them their first, early-inning opportunity to "break" and destroy Barack Obama.
And, as always, fuck the cost, because hey, they've already got their gold-plated evil gummint supported health care, and if you were stupid enough to be born poor, or lose a job, or have your DNA turn against you, or fall down in the shower, or trip over a crack, or have your kid get sick at just the wrong time, or didn't take enough accounting and pre-law to fully understand the acres of legal gibberish on page 322 of your insurance policy, or just don't have the time and energy to fight an army of lawyers who get paid by the hour to screw you, it's your own damn fault. Loser.
And so the three, central realities around which the entire political and media class orbit continue to be these:
1. On issue after issue, the reason things get and stay so completely broken in this country is that Republicans can only get ahead in the Modern GOP by doing the political equivalent of standing on our cultural overpasses and lobbing cinderblocks into rush hour traffic.
2. The more havoc Republicans wreak, the more their base rewards them because the GOP is now mostly made up of zealot Christopaths, bigots, moral imbeciles, gun nuts and the generally cactus-fuck-crazy scum of the nation.
3. Every major media outlet knows the minute they acknowledge the incredibly dangerous reality that 1/3 of the American electorate are zealot Christopaths, bigots, moral imbeciles, gun nuts and the generally cactus-fuck-crazy scum of the nation – and that they are not evenly or randomly distributed across the political spectrum, but instead have been carefully and deliberate recruited en masse by the Right for the last 30 years – they will instantly lose millions of readers, listeners and viewers – along with the billions of dollars in ad revenue that come with them – and will instead be subjected to an around-the-clock cry for their blood by the orc armies of the Right that would make the Kill Bill havoc of the anti-Clinton crusade look like a friendly round of nude Stratego.
For Republicans like Tom DeLay, politics was no-holds-barred, Hate Radio-driven jihad, 24/7/365, and what Chris Matthews misses in his comment about "playing to the nut wing" is that after 30 years of brutal winnowing, the war for the soul of the GOP is long since over.