Hardball with Chris Matthews, 1/11/13, 7:00 PM ET

Matthews: Washington can get messy, but we can still make things work

Chris Matthews talks about the highs and lows of the drama inside the nation’s capital, and how Washington, D.C. can work for Americans.

Washington can get messy, but we can still make things work

Updated

Let me finish tonight with this.

Washington, D.C.—this city where I am now—is a strange place. If you looked at it from above, from a satellite, you would see hardly a single factory and certainly no smoke billowing up from manufacturing.

No, the only thing made here in the nation’s capital are deals. It’s a place created for one thing: for elected people from across this country to come and meet, get to know each other, and find a way to direct the country.

It hasn’t always worked out. In 1861, we went to war with each other—the North on one side of the Potomac River, the South on the other—and 600,000 men were dead.

The working principle is that we can do better than that—that we, the American people, can send people here who can do the job, to make things work, to make government of, by, and for the people, be just that.

Lincoln, especially the second half of the movie about winning Congressional passage of the 13th amendment to outlaw slavery, is about Washington doing its job. It shows how messy it can get on the inside, how much gamesmanship is involved, how much working your advantage plays a part in even the most noble of political schemes, even the elimination of slavery.

People get squeezed, they get paid off with jobs; in short, they get “worked.”

Go see Lincoln or go back and watch Recount and you’ll get a good look at how politics works on the inside.

Washington can get messy, but we can still make things work

Updated