Tonight with his interview of former South Carolina Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews worked a trifecta of Matthewsian tropes into one segment: adulation of all things Kennedy, bashing the GOP as "anti-science," and praising a renegade Republican politician who in this case lost his job in part because of a pro-tax position he staked out.
Inglis was brought on the Earth Day (April 22) edition of Hardball in part, Matthews noted, because he has been named to receive the 2015 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. "Back in 2004, at the urging of his children and scientists, Inglis reversed his long held position that climate change wasn't real" and "he ultimately proposed a carbon tax in the U.S. Congress" only to pay for it with a primary challenge loss to Trey Gowdy. Matthews added:
In announcing the award, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation noted that, Inglis, quote, "displayed the courage to keep an open mind and uphold his responsibilities as a leader and citizen at the expense of his own political career."
With that introduction, Matthews then launched into his interview in Inglis, which involved both praising the Palmetto State pol and trashing the GOP -- and indeed many everyday voters -- as "anti-science" "troglodytes."
"Is this, is it about being troglodytes?" Matthews groused. "What makes people not want to see what they see about science and climate change?" he asked.
Matthews was so wedded to his "anti-science" talking points that he complained that a Republican gubernatorial candidate who said human beings "didn't even get here" until the close of the last ice age was taking his cues from fundamentalists in the Scopes "monkey" trial of 1925.
Of course, Matthews didn't react contemptuously when Inglis cited St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, perhaps, of course, because he was deploying Scripture in service of his politically-correct political argument.
Here's the entire interview transcript:
April 22, 2015
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Congressman, thank you for joining us. What do you, do you think it's, what is it? Is this, is it about being troglodytes? What makes people not want to see what they see about science and climate change?
Former Rep. BOB INGLIS (R-S.C.): Well, it really is sort of a indication that we've got to change, you know. And change is hard, unless you're in control of the change. And that's really what we've got to prove to conservatives is that there's a solution that fits with their values that they can control, and that therefore works for them. And that's been hard so far, but I think we're getting there. And making progress on this front.
MATTHEWS: I have -- I'm not a scientist, of course. But I have to tell you, I've never seen wackier weather in my life than just the last six months. It's not that it's gotten hotter and obviously so. It's just that, it's not like seasonal like it used to be. Is that an evidence to you of climate change, or is that just weather?
INGLIS: Well, I think we're all experiencing climate change. You know, and experience is an effective teacher. It's sometimes a very harsh teacher. So we will be taught about climate change. And it's just that sometimes we want to discount the information because we don't want it to be so. It would be a lot more convenient if it weren't so. But on the other hand, what we need to sell, and really convince people of, is this idea that, really good things can come out of addressing climate change, that we can create more energy, more mobility, more freedom around the world. And it really can be, yes, a danger, but also an opportunity.
MATTHEWS: Well, let's look at this. All four Republican gubernatorial candidates in Kentucky actually deny that climate change is caused by men. Here's a former Kentucky Supreme Court justice in a televised debate this week. Let's listen to the judge.
WILL T. SCOTT, Republican gubernatorial candidate: We've had five ice ages. Scientists all agree, five ice ages, complete ice ages, and five meltdowns, and we didn't even get here until the tail end of the last one. We didn't even have fire then. So how'd we cause it?
MATTHEWS: How'd we cause it? I mean, talk about -- it's almost like a debate against nature. Is this like the monkey trial again, the Scopes trial? Is this a battle against science?
INGLIS: To some extent. Yeah, there's a sense among people of faith that perhaps this is an attack on faith. Of course, I don't see it that way. I see it the science affirms my faith. You know, the Apostle Paul in Romans [chapter] one says that what may be known about God is clear from the creation itself. So, I don't think it has to be an attack on faith. In fact, it can be a called to stewardship.
INGLIS: For preserving this part of Eden that's left.
MATTHEWS: You know, every time you go camping, as a kid and as a grownup, you're told "leave the site better than you found it." And I think we should say that about our planet too.
Thank you, Bob Inglis. And congratulations on getting this wonderful award from the John F. Kennedy Foundation.