During live coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell declared that he hopes that Rick Santorum wins the GOP presidential nomination because he wants to see "hard core conservatism crushed" in November. Moments later, Chris Matthews declared his belief that Santorum would result in a "moderate to liberal Democratic party running the country" which he believed "would be good for the country."
O'Donnell began the back and forth with Matthews as he pronounced:
I want to see hard core Republican conservatism put up there on a debate stage with President Obama's practical approach to governing, and I want to see hard core Republican conservatism crushed because it represents a minority view in our politics. And if it gets crushed that way, then the Republican party is going to have to say, "We're going to have to listen to more voices than just these right-wing conservatives," and you might eventually get a change in the tenor and eventually the composition of the Senate and the House.
And it might start to look more like what it looked like in the early 1990s when you had very strong conservatives like Newt Gingrich and others, but you had people from states like Missouri, states like Rhode Island who were Republicans who were willing to find a spot to compromise so that you could govern, and you never, ever had standoffs over things like: Should we raise the debt ceiling? Ever. Because there was a sense of responsible governance.
After Rachel Maddow expressed her view that a GOP loss of Congress would just make the party "more radicalized," Matthews jumped in:
I know if they put Santorum as the head of their ticket, they're going to lose probably the House. They'll lose the House, they'll lose the Senate. It'll be an immediate impact when they lose control of the government. And that could be good for the country, very good. Because you would then have a ruling moderate to liberal Democratic party running the country for a couple of years and seeing if they can get the job done. That would be good for the country.