Chris Matthews on Wednesday departed from the liberal media conventional wisdom that Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell's defeat of Republican favorite Mike Castle was good news for Democrats and President Obama.
Quite the contrary, the "Hardball" host has become extremely pessimistic about Democrat chances to retain Congress in the upcoming midterm elections, so much so that he likened his Party to the Titanic.
"The boat is sinking," he told fellow liberal David Corn. "The establishment is sinking."
When Corn tried to push back on Matthews' view, the devout liberal said, "I take O`Donnell. How many points are you going to give me?" (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Two points. First, you have -- we have to see how these Tea Partiers do with a general election audience. And the second point --
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Oh, you`re taking the -
CORN: No, no, no.
MATTHEWS: You are trying to deny --
CORN: See what happens.
MATTHEWS: You`re still denying it.
CORN: I was on last night. You know I`m not denying it. I think they`re major threats to the Democrats. But we got to see what happens.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me get this straight. As the Titanic sinks and it`s all the way up to the top decks, and it`s already up to the top decks, well, let`s see how it affects the first class passengers. The boat is sinking. The establishment is sinking.
CORN: Listen, Leonardo is still holding on tight. And we see how -- what happens to him.
CORN: But the other point is, you know that presidential primaries are like family holiday gatherings. All of the internal dysfunctions get played out. And so, really what happens right now, whether the establishment comes and supports people like Christine O`Donnell or not, those passions are going to be really stirred up and if you see Karl Rove continuing to battle with the Tea Party forces, then I think it will put more pressure and create more anger on the far right that will turn into explosive.
CORN: You know -- it will be explosive.
MATTHEWS: You`re using a lot of words, David. Usually, you`re much more punchy. The reason you`re taking a lot of words --
CORN: I`ll make it simple --
CORN: I think it`s still hard for the Republicans.
MATTHEWS: I look at Rand Paul, that the guy is going to win. I look at Pat Toomey now and I hate to say, this is a guy who`s going to win. I think the right has got the upper hand now going into this general election. And I`m looking at these numbers --
CORN: But they always -- they always did.
MATTHEWS: They have the upper hand. Your thoughts.
Wow! Matthews now thinks Paul and Toomey are going to win. But it gets better:
MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: But if you look at the people who have been basically sent running from the Republican Party this year, we`ve got Crist, Arlen Specter, Lisa Murkowski -- there is definitely a lot of dissension within the Republican Party, and, quote-unquote, "establishment people," could literally see themselves completely knocked out of Republican politics by the time we get to 2012.
CORN: But at the same time -- but at the same --
MATTHEWS: So, the establishment lost every one of these races, they`re at the bottom of the league. The people that are winning are all the challengers. And I just -- every night it happens, I say, this can`t happen. Castle can`t lose. Specter can`t lose. They all lose.
The establishment of the politics of America is playing defense now and they`re losing.
CORN: The Republican establishment -- all those Republicans who are beaten, most of them would probably have done very well in general election. What we`re worrying about now, what some people are worrying about is that -- is that Castle would have done better than Christine O`Donnell.
I mean, Murkowski would have an easy walk to re-election, right? Joe Miller probably will win, but he has a smaller chance of winning, at least that`s the constitution wisdom at the moment.
MATTHEWS: I take O`Donnell. How many points are you going to give me?
CORN: How many points will I give you?
MATTHEWS: Yes, how many you give. Because you keep acting like this is all over, that she`s going to lose.
CORN: No, but I don`t believe it`s all over.
CORN: But I do believe that the Republicans have this internal split --
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. I get back to this.
CORN: -- that they still haven`t dealt with.
MATTHEWS: I can`t see the Republican convention meeting, wherever they`re going to meet, in Tampa, right? They`re down there and they`re thundering in there with delegates, one of these Tea Partiers after another, storming the gates, all excited about they`re going to get rid of the 14th Amendment, get rid of, what, the 17th Amendment, energize the 10th Amendment, love the Second Amendment, and then they go pick Romney, Tim Pawlenty.
CORN: But who`s the Tea Party candidate?
MATTHEWS: I don`t see how it happens.
CORN: But who`s the Tea Party candidate? Sarah Palin? Who else?
CORN: Well, what if she doesn`t run?
MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t know what happens.
CORN: What happens to them?
MATTHEWS: I don`t see what -- I`m asking the question.
BERNARD: I don`t -- I don`t think this is the death now for, quote- unquote, "establishment people," like Mitt Romney. He`s a good guy. I think -- we just don`t know. I know you think it`s funny --
MATTHEWS: I think you like establishment-type Republicans.
BERNARD: I do.
CORN: He also knows -- he knows how to change his skin. He already sent money to Christine O`Donnell.
BERNARD: But he`s also never going to campaign like Christine O`Donnell. We are never going to see that type of a flip-flop, I hope, from Mitt Romney or others, I hope.
BERNARD: We`re not going to see someone like Christine O`Donnell --
MATTHEWS: -- abortion rights.
CORN: These guys run the way they run and then they look to the vice president to sort of send that message.
BERNARD: We will not see a Christine O`Donnell on the Republican ticket in 2012.
MATTHEWS: The tea point is boiling and steaming and it`s going to make that whistle sound when it`s ready to coffee.
MATTHEWS: The whistle is making that sound.
MATTHEWS: You try to put a lid on that (INAUDIBLE).
In the final segment of "Hardball," Matthews really drove this point home:
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a question. Just where do you think this explosion of voter anger we saw last night in Delaware and have seen growing in voters in Pennsylvania, Florida, Utah, Nevada, Kentucky, Colorado and in just about every poll across the country is going to take us?
Last night, as the dust began to clear, I heard progressive glee that the anger was on the verge of burning itself out, that the victory of Christine O`Donnell in Delaware like that of Sharron Angle in Nevada, was throwing away the election. How could voters in the general election go so far as to elect one of these candidates the angry primary voters have kicked pup?
I supposed I had my eyes on something different. While others were seeing dead people, the defeated Mike Castle, who was supposed to be strong this November, I saw the strength of the flames that consumed him and will consume many others this rapidly approaching election night. I have waited all my adult life for an election in which voters have the fire to reach up and burn those who have been running the show for decades. But I didn`t know it would come from the right and center.
2010 could be the first year in modern times when being in office in Washington and part of Washington is the worst possible credential when facing voters. I don`t know how far the fire will burn. Based upon last night`s returns, I expect it has a long way to go. It could topple the House and, yes, the U.S. Senate. It could bring the defeat of people who feel even now they are not endangered. It could produce an election night spectacle of name brand politicians standing before stance supporters saying their careers are kaput.
Why is this happening? Because this economic system is failing to produce the security and opportunity people have come to expect in this country. In this middle-class country, the middle class are scared and when people are scared, they get angry. They sense a rot at the top and are ready to chop it off.
If the plan of those in power to raise a ton of cash and run nasty TV ads saying you can`t vote for this new person, that he or she is flawed -- I expect the voter will say, "Are you telling me I have no choice but to vote for you? Are you saying that I, this little voter out there, dare not take a chance on someone who has not yet let me down as you have? If that is what you`re telling me, that I have no choice, well, Mr. Big Stuff, you just have to wait -- stay up late election night and see what I have done."
Wow! It appears Mr. Matthews is starting to understand just how strong this anti-Democrat, anti-big government movement is.
The only question remaining is when will the rest of his liberal colleagues in the media?
Will they get it before Election Day?