Rep. Raul Labrador vs. Chris Matthews: "Your Boss, Tip O'Neill, Shut Down Government"


DEE DEE MYERS: So what's the endgame, though, Congressman? Are you willing to vote for-- a continued resolution that comes back that does not delay or de-fund Obamacare?

REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R-IDAHO): I am not. But I think there's enough people in the Republican Party who are willing to do that. And I think that's what you're going to see.

DEE DEE MYERS: But would you--

REP. RAUL LABRADOR: Our first request was to completely def-- de-fund the program. And we knew we were going to lose on that. Now we're asking for a delay, which, again, I don't think is an unreasonable thing to do. You know, your boss, Tip O'Neil, shut down the government 12 different times. And you didn't call him a terrorist.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: No, it wasn't--

REP. RAUL LABRADOR: You did not call him--


CHRIS MATTHEWS: These were always issues of a couple of days. And they were always resolved, and they were over numbers. And it was both sides, though. Let's be fair. Both sides were doing it.

REP. RAUL LABRADOR: But it happened.


CHRIS MATTHEWS: But you said once -- where'd you get your number from?

REP. RAUL LABRADOR: It's from The Washington Post.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: No, it was seven times, though. You were--


CHRIS MATTHEWS: -- counting all the times --


CHRIS MATTHEWS: -- since the '70s. Look, they were always taking--

REP. RAUL LABRADOR: No, there were 17 times since the '70s, and 12 under your boss.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Okay, let me--


DAVID GREGORY: All right, Chris.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me tell you this. They were issues of a day or two. They were issues of funding. Now, what I said before is you can argue over numbers, and then you can-- if it's seven or nine, make it eight. But when you say we're going to get rid of the number one program that you put into law and put in the history books, and your party's been fighting for, for half a century, you can't say, "Give me that." That's a non-negotiable stand.


CHRIS MATTHEWS: That's the problem.

DAVID GREGORY: And so here's the question. And I want to raise it again. When is a law legitimate? And would it be appropriate for the president or Democrats controlling the Senate to say, "Let's go back and let's overturn a Reagan-era law?"

REP. RAUL LABRADOR: They do it all the time.

DAVID GREGORY: Should they do that?

REP. RAUL LABRADOR: One of the shutdowns was based on the Fairness Doctrine. One of the shutdowns under Tip O'Neil was because The Fairness Doctrine had actually been done away with.


REP. RAUL LABRADOR: And they wanted the Fairness Doctrine back.


REP. RAUL LABRADOR: So it has been done before. The Democrats spent the entire decade of the Bush administration trying to repeal the Bush Tax Cuts. It's not like Republicans and Democrats don't fight about their policies. That's what politics is all about. So for somebody to go on national T.V. and to say that, "We cannot fight about our policy differences-- "

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah. What you do in politics is fight. The question is do you play by the rules and eventually move forward? Or do you keep going back of the old terrain, making non-negotiable demands? I think there was a really good debate about health care for 50 years in this country, whether to do it or not. And finally, the country, through the Congress and through the president, and through the electorate, decided to do it.


CHRIS MATTHEWS: Now you seize upon this opportunity--


REP. RAUL LABRADOR: Not a single Republican voted for that law, because you guys, the Democrats, decided to cram it down. You decided to do--


REP. RAUL LABRADOR: --procedural issues. There-- there was not a single Republican--

MATTHEWS: I don't think there was a real effort on either side to compromise.

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