updated 3/23/2006 11:11:38 AM ET 2006-03-23T16:11:38

Guests: Tony Perkins, Mark Pudlow, Ed Feulner, Michael Hainey

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”:  Thanks and thanks to you at home for tuning in.  We always appreciate it.  Thank you, and thanks to you at home for tuning in.  We always appreciate it.

Tonight, should teachers be paid on how much their students learn?  Of course, you say?  Then you don’t represent a teachers union.  We’ll talk to someone who does. 

Also, Charlie Sheen spouts off on something he appears to know nothing about.  We’ll play you a tape of what he said about the attacks on the World Trade Center and bring you the top five dumbest political statements ever made by celebrities.  It wasn’t easy narrowing that list down, I can tell you. 

Plus, are Republicans better in the sack?  A shocking new report from “GQ” magazine that may have you changing your voter registration.  We’ll bring it to you in just a few minutes.

But we begin tonight with a disturbing story we first reported on Monday.  Forty-two-year-old Abdul Rahman is currently facing the death penalty in Afghanistan because of his conversion from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago.  The prosecutor in the case called Rahman a traitor and said he should be removed from Muslim society and killed.

Finally, after days of silence, President Bush spoke out on the matter.  Here’s what he said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It is deeply troubling that a country we helped liberate is—would hold a person to account because they chose a particular religion over another. 

We’ll deal with this issue diplomatically and remind people that there is something as universal as being able to choose religions. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  So four years after we liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban can we once again let it become the kind of place where people are executed for their religious beliefs?  And if not, what’s President Bush going to do about it?

Well, to answer those questions, we welcome the president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins.  He joins us tonight from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Tony, thanks for coming on. 

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL:  Good evening, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Why hasn’t the president done more about this?  Why did he wait until today?  He gave a briefing yesterday in which he touted religious freedom in Afghanistan and said that’s why we went in, made no mention of this story.  Why is that?

PERKINS:  I’m not sure.  Of course, yesterday the governments of Italy and Germany spoke out very strongly and decisively.  We encourage the administration, including Secretary Rice, to speak more firmly. 

I mean, there should be no question of our country’s resolve that a government that we help establish, that we’re supporting, that they would provide their citizens the most basic of human rights. 

Religious freedom is not simply another element of democracy.  It’s indispensable, and we need to treat it as such. 

CARLSON:  Well, how...

PERKINS:  If you can’t guarantee...

CARLSON:  Just to point to something you just said, yesterday, just to make certain our viewers understand this, the governments of Italy and Germany moved on this and said they were going to withdraw troops unless this matter was solved, this man was not executed. 

How embarrassing is that?  Italy and Germany beating us to the punch on something like this?

PERKINS:   It is disturbing.  I am glad that the president made it clear today where we stand, although I think more needs to be done than simply diplomatic discussions.  I know Secretary Rice had meetings today. 

But it’s much more important that we send a very strong message that we are totally resolved to see this issue taken care of in such a way to guarantee religious liberties. 

And we provide—in fact, I think Secretary Rice just recently pledged another $1 billion to support the Afghan government.  That needs to be put on the table.  We should not support regimes that do not protect the most basic of human rights, religious liberty. 

CARLSON:  But here’s the problem.  That’s not our position at all.  Our position appears to be we’ll come in...

PERKINS:  No, it’s not.

CARLSON:  We’ll come in.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will die to secure your freedom.  Then we’re going to turn the country over to you to do with what you see fit. 

Here’s the official position of the State Department as explained by Sean McCormack, a spokesman, yesterday.

Quote, “The U.S. is encouraging the government of Afghanistan to conduct any legal proceedings in a transparent and fair manner.”

Reporters said, “Wait.  Don’t you think the trial should just be canceled?  What’s the possible justification for putting someone on trial for changing his religion.” 

To which the spokesman replied, “This is a question of the Afghan constitution and its laws.  There are different interpretations, and I think that’s the issue they’re trying to grapple with.” 

Huh?  No.  It’s not a matter of letting them do what they want.  We occupy the country, don’t we?

PERKINS:  Well, we bear responsibility for what is now in place in Afghanistan. 

And Tucker, this is—this is intertwined with Afghanistan—not only Afghanistan but it’s intertwined with Iraq, as well.  Because if you read the constitutions, there’s very similar language about how there could be no conflict with Islamic law. 

We raised questions with the State Department when the new Iraq constitution was put forward that this same language is in there.  Now, they said, “Well, this was the best we could do.” 

I do not think the American people want to make the type of sacrifices that we have made to remove these totalitarian regimes, these oppressive regimes like the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, simply to be replaced with another one.  I don’t think that the men and women of our military have made the type of sacrifices they have—they have made so that Christians can be executed here. 

CARLSON:  Of course not.  Of course not.  And I’m a conservative, far more conservative than the president, and so I hate to beat up on conservatives.

However, where are they now?  I mean, doesn’t—it seems to me that conservatives are the reason this president is in office, the reason his war has any support at all.  Because it all comes from conservatives, as you know.  Shouldn’t they be saying to the president and Congress, “Either you do something, you make sure these two countries don’t turn into Islamic theocracies, or we’re not going to vote for you anymore”?

PERKINS:  Well, I think clearly that message—I think it’s actually more important than that, Tucker.  It goes much broader. 

I do not think that—this is how I see it.  I think the fate of this one man really will determine whether or not the American people continue to have the resolve to see our efforts in Iraq and elsewhere.  I don’t think we’ll make the type of sacrifices and the type of money, commit our women and our men in the military to go into harm’s way to simply—to simply see an exchange of regimes that oppressed people the way it appears is happening now in Afghanistan. 

CARLSON:  That is very, very well put.  I hope the president hears your words.  I hope you—I hope you repeat them day in and day out until he does.  Tony Perkins, thanks a lot. 

PERKINS:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Time now for our “Under the Radar” segment.  Time now for our “Under the Radar” segment.  Each night in this segment we plan to bring you stories you might have missed on television or haven’t yet read online. 

For instance, did you know that beginning next year, teachers in Florida will have their raises and their bonuses tied to the standardized test scores of their students? Jeb Bush is standing firmly behind the policy but some in the education establishment claim exams cannot possibly measure how much teachers have taught their students. 

We go now to Tallahassee, Florida, and bring in Mark Pudlow.  Mr. Pudlow is the spokesman for the Florida Education Association, a group that is appealing the new pay for performance program. 

Mr. Pudlow, thanks for joining us. 

MARK PUDLOW, SPOKESMAN, FLORIDA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION:  Thanks, Carlson—Tucker.  How are you doing? 

CARLSON:  I’m doing great.  What’s wrong with rewarding teachers for doing an especially good job?

PUDLOW:  There’s nothing wrong with rewarding teachers for doing a good job.  In fact, we wish the state of Florida would come up with a plan that made a little bit more sense than this one does. 

We’re a state that teacher salaries are far below the national average, more than $6,200 below the national average.  We have a high cost of living.  We have a situation where housing costs are going through the roof.  And we really need to address the base pay before we look at a performance pay plan. 

CARLSON:  Well, why do that?  Wait, why do that?  In any other enterprise, public or private, people who do a better job are compensated more.  That’s a good thing.  Those sort of pressures, competitive pressures make people better, more efficient, better teachers.  Why wouldn’t you want those kind of pressures brought on teachers in Florida?

PUDLOW:  I don’t have any problem with—with rewarding teachers who do an excellent job.  The problem is with this particular plan. 

This particular plan was imposed by the Department of Education, the governor, and it had no input from the teachers in the state of Florida, from the school boards, the school districts.  It’s just an imposed plan that bases the worth of education in Florida on a single standardized test. 

CARLSON:  Look, nobody is saying that this test or any other test can measure comprehensively, completely what a child knows.  I mean, of course not.  But you’ve got to have some measure of it.  And nobody has thought of a better one. 

Moreover, kids are judged on these tests.  I mean, these tests and the SAT and all sorts of tests are what people determine how much kids know.  Why shouldn’t—if they’re good enough for the kids, why are they not good enough to judge the teachers by?

PUDLOW:  Well, it’s not the sole determinant of what children are judged on.  They’re also judged on the papers they write, the report cards that they do, their class work, how they behave.  They’re judged on a myriad of determinants. 

And we think that this is just a simplistic way of determining the worth of a teacher.  It’s kind of—it’s kind of silly, when you think about it, that just this one test that’s taken on one day of the year is going to determine whether a teacher is deemed outstanding or not. 

CARLSON:  Well, I don’t know, I mean, what’s the alternative?  I mean, I sort of understand what you’re saying, but you and I know you don’t want teachers judged at all on their performance.  You just want them paid more money, because you’re a member of a union.  And I get that.  And I’m not even attacking you for it. 

But if this isn’t an accurate measure, what’s a good way to reward teachers who are good, and what’s a good way to punish teachers who are bad?

PUDLOW:  Well, if you’re going to have a performance-based pay system, and we’re not opposed to that, what you need to do is you need to have all the partners that are involved in this, the school boards, the school administrators and the teachers deciding the—the rationale and the—whatever measures that you use to do this. 

CARLSON:  OK, but you’re arguing process.

PUDLOW:  But you need to have a funding source in place.  You need to have a clear and transparent system so that a teacher knows that if they do A, B, C and D they’re going to be rewarded as an outstanding teacher. 

CARLSON:  But this is—but this is the clearest and most transparent possible system.  It’s a standardized test.  You fill in the bubbles.  I mean, there’s no favoritism possible.  The test scores are read by a machine.  And there’s no cheating.  So you either make the grade or you don’t.  That’s kind of the appeal of this whole system. 

PUDLOW:  Well, that is, if you trust the test.  And this test in Florida is shrouded in secrecy.  Teachers can’t look at it.  Parents can’t look at it.  There’s no way to determine just how accurate a measurement it is. 

CARLSON:  See, but you have no evidence—hold on.  This is silly.  You have no evidence that it’s not accurate.  I mean, if you do, I’m welcome—I’m more than happy to hear it, that this test is somehow deeply flawed, but you’re just saying it could be flawed. 

I guess my point is people want accountability from teachers.  They have them in private schools.  Those teachers are paid a lot less than you guys are, as you know.  And they have accountability.  If they’re bad, they get bounced out immediately.  That’s why private schools are better than public schools.  So why not introduce that in the public system soon?

PUDLOW:  Well, private schools aren’t better than public schools.  That’s for sure.  I mean, there are good public schools.  There are good private schools.  There’s bad public schools and bad private schools.  And you know that, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  The appeal of private schools if a teacher is bad, you can boot him right out.  In a public school where everybody is a card carrying union member, you can’t do anything about bad teachers.  And you know that that’s true.  And that’s why people are very frustrated by it.  So why not have a system that makes sure we recognize and reward the good guys and recognize and bounce the bad guys?

PUDLOW:  Well, every—every contract in the state of Florida has provisions for disciplining teachers that aren’t doing their jobs.  So I don’t see where you say that it’s impossible to bounce teachers. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Because I know a lot of parents who are frustrated by it.  That’s how I say it.  Plus I need the newspaper.  But that’s even off topic.

Mark Pudlow, I appreciate your coming on and giving us your point of view.  Thank you. 

PUDLOW:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, you knew Hillary Clinton was running for president, but did you know she could preach a sermon?  The first lady waves the Bible at political rally for illegal immigration.  We’ll discuss the implications of her revival.  She’s red hot.

Plus, what do the Dixie Chicks, Barbra Streisand and Jane Fonda all have in common?  They’re all part of our top five dumbest celebrity political statements ever made.  We’ll reveal the list when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, Charlie Sheen shares his bizarre theories about the World Trade Center attacks.  Plus, declaring a major is common place for most college kids.  But what if you’re a high school freshman?  A stunning new plan you’ll hear about only on this show, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  She’s gone from former first lady to preacher, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Today she was in the pulpit, accusing House Republicans of creating, quote, “a mean-spirited immigration bill” that goes against her understanding of the scriptures.

Speaking at an immigration advocacy event in New York City, Clinton said the bill that would make living in America illegally a felony would also, quote, “criminalize the Good Samaritan and possibly even Jesus himself.”

Here to tell us that she’s been converted to Hillary’s old time religion, Air America host Rachel Maddow.

Rachel, welcome. 

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST:  If she talked a big preacher voice.

CARLSON:  Be healed, Rachel, be healed.

“It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the scriptures,” Hillary intoned, “because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan.”  Literally.  Whenever anyone says “literally”, you know it means figuratively.  “Criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself.” 

Who is she, Jerry Falwell?  What is this?  How dare she lecture me about the gospels?

MADDOW:  This is what the Bush Republican politics have brought us. 

CARLSON:  No.

MADDOW:  Everybody’s got to talk God all the time, or it doesn’t sound like you’re talking about values.  We’re not allowed to talk right and wrong any more without talking Jesus talk.  That’s the way it goes now.

CARLSON:  So it’s their fault.  Actually, I will say her husband talked more about Jesus than this current president talks about Jesus and in an even less convincing way. 

The second he gets busted with his girlfriend he barricades himself in the White House behind all these dopey sellout preachers who come and, like, give him cover.  They’ve been doing this for a long time.

But Hillary, I’m a little—I’m a little surprised.  She’s supposed to be like, tough, hard, secular, non-practicing Methodist from Illinois.  Come on.  And all of a sudden, she has the gall to tell me Jesus is for illegal immigration?  Buzz off, pal.

MADDOW:  No.  Listen, Hillary Clinton is talking Jesus, because Hillary Clinton is talking values on this issue. 

The thing that’s most interesting to me about this is this shows a major Democrat getting into the immigration debate. 

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  Major Democrats have been not in the immigration debate.  Because I think it’s been fun, and I think most Democrats think it’s been fun to watch Republicans punch themselves in the face on this issue, over and over again.  It’s been really bad for the Republicans, and they keep going back to it.  And so Democrats have been on the sidelines until now.  Hillary’s decided to jump in, make it a values issue.  I think she’s brave to do it. 

CARLSON:  She hasn’t jumped in, though.  If you read carefully what she says in this A.P. piece by Beth Fouhy from Lake Sina (ph), a nice woman, now an A.P. reporter, she says, “Clinton expressed sympathy to representatives of communities along the border who are stuck with the bills.”

MADDOW:  Yes.

CARLSON:  She doesn’t really want to find—do much to prevent businesses from hiring these people.  She only wants to fine them if they, quote, “mistreat” the illegal immigrants. 

So she’s on the side of the immigrants.  She’s on the side of people who are mad at the illegal immigrants.  Whose side is she not on? 

MADDOW:  She’s saying, “Listen, I recognize the border communities are having to deal with the social impact of having lots of immigrants there.  That’s a bad thin.  We should deal with that in some way.”

She does talk about cracking down on employers to a certain extent.  She—what she’s saying, what she’s against is the Republican-passed bill, the Republican-led bill that passed in December that said if you help an illegal immigrant then you are aiding and abetting a felony and you potentially are liable to criminal prosecution.  It is actually an anti-Good Samaritan bill. 

CARLSON:  So tell me how...

MADDOW:  It is putting people who work at soup kitchens at risk.

CARLSON:  How—right.  How would this bill, and I’m quoting now, “literally criminalize even Jesus himself”?  How would this bill criminalize Jesus?

MADDOW:  I’m not doing the Jesus talk thing myself.

CARLSON:  You’re not?

MADDOW:  No.  I mean...

CARLSON:  Come on.  Is Jesus being criminalized?  I want you to jump in and stop this, Rachel?

MADDOW:  Did Jesus ever help an immigrant?

CARLSON:  I—presumably, he did help them.  I think he did help both immigrants and felons.  The government is not Jesus.  The government is a secular organization, as liberals often remind us. 

MADDOW:  But if the government makes helping a felon—helping a felon sort of a criminal act and makes illegal immigrants felons then technically, maybe Jesus was going to get in trouble.  The political point here.

CARLSON:  So the government should do exactly what Jesus did?  Is that what you’re saying?  What would Jesus do?  Is this what we got, you telling me, “What would Jesus do?”  I love this.

MADDOW:  At some point, there will be some beautiful day where the small government conservatives, when rational conservatives, when people who are small “c” conservatives like yourself decide, “You know what?  The Jesus talk thing has gotten out of hand.  Let’s talk about values and what’s right without talking about Jesus.” 

CARLSON:  Actually, I’ve already decided that.  I decided that a long time ago.  I am stridently pro-Jesus.  OK?  Actually, I honestly am pro-Jesus.

MADDOW:  I’m pro-Jesus.  I don’t want Jesus to be the basis of our political debate. 

CARLSON:  And I don’t want Hillary Clinton to talk about Jesus any more.  So we agree on that.  Hillary, no more Jesus. 

MADDOW:  As long as the Republicans keep talking about immigration, which I think is the worst thing they’ve done to themselves in years, I’m happy that anybody stays out of it. 

CARLSON:  Rachel Maddow.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Bless you. 

Still to come, what did actor Charlie Sheen say to make the list of worst celebrity activists of all time?  Jane Fonda, the Dixie Chicks and Barbra Streisand appear on that list, too.  You’ll have to stick around and find out. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR:  It seems to me like, you know, 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. 

When the buildings came down, later on that day, I said to my brother, “Call me insane, but did it sort of look like those buildings came down in a—in a controlled demolition?”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  All right, Charlie, you’re insane.  That was actor and call girl aficionado Charlie Sheen sharing his personal insights on the events surrounding September 11 with radio host Alex Jones. 

Sheen joins a long line of outspoken celebrities who employ their Hollywood clout to fight for their favorite causes, whether that’s animal rights, clean air or water, or the war in Iraq.

In tonight’s top five, we offer our favorite celebrities turned political pundits.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  People are misled and I think people are fighting a war that they didn’t know they were going to be fighting. 

CARLSON:  We kick off our celebrity activist countdown with country sweethearts the Dixie Chicks.  They struck an unexpectedly sour note when they declared their embarrassment that President Bush is a fellow Texan. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is what’s going to happen if you keep speaking out.  And it’s a way to kind of shut you up. 

BUSH:  The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their minds. 

CARLSON:  Celebrity activist No. 4.  Paul McCartney isn’t willing to let it be when it comes to the mistreatment of animals.  He’s become a lead vocalist for PETA, his late wife Linda’s pet cause. 

PAUL MCCARTNEY, MUSICIAN/ACTIVIST:  We shared the views exactly, you know, so now she’s here, you know, I’m stepping forward. 

CARLSON:  Celebrity activist No. 3, Martin Sheen.  Like son like father, this “West Wing” honcho takes a left wing approach on a variety of topical issues, including nuclear power. 

MARTIN SHEEN, ACTOR/ACTIVIST:  I come here as a conscientious American patriot.  I love the country enough not to want to see the air and the water destroyed. 

CARLSON:  Celebrity activist No. 2, Susan Sarandon shares this stage with antiwar “Yentl”, Barbra Streisand. 

BARBRA STREISAND, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST:  I need to know what did Iraq do to us?

CARLSON:  And finally, the dubious honor of top celebrity activist goes to Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda. 

JANE FONDA, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST:  There’s no way to describe what it’s like for an American to be walking through cities which are virtually in rubble and hear the words of Nixon telling us that the war is winding down. 

CARLSON:  After her 1972 performance in North Vietnam will any celebrity activist ever be able to top Hanoi Jane?

FONDA:  I don’t believe so, no. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Wow.  Speaking of annoying lefties, the “New York Times” reported this week that Venezuela has recently become a favorite destination for vacationing left wingers.  Misty-eyed young lefties around the world are heading to Venezuela to see and to celebrate Hugo Chavez’s failed revolution. 

The only problem is, there’s nothing particularly revolutionary going on in Venezuela right now.  It’s still an old-fashioned corrupt Latin American dictatorship, run for the benefit of a small group of rich people.  Just because those rich people now wear fatigues and quote Che doesn’t make them progressive.  No, it makes them unoriginal.  We’ve seen this movie before.

So Venezuela isn’t really revolutionary.  Why are so many upper middle class college kids making pilgrimages there?  Because the government hates the United States.  And to the left, hating America trumps everything else.  If you hate America enough the left will give you almost anything. 

You can starve your own people by the millions, as Robert Mugabe has done.  You can throw AIDS patients into concentration camps as Fidel used to do.  You can build a brutal secret police force, as the Sandinistas did, and all is forgiven as long as you hate America. 

So have fun in Venezuela, kids.  Be sure to believe the propaganda and to ignore the repression you see.  And while you’re there, why don’t you just stay there forever?

Up next, the last of a dying breed.  What happened to good old-fashioned conservatives who believe in small government and modest spending?  We’ll ask the author of “Getting America Right”, next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, should high school freshmen be forced to declare a major?  And is Wal-Mart betraying bargain hunters by catering to the rich?  That’s all next.  But first, a look at what’s going on elsewhere in the world tonight. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Now to a story that has me genuinely bothered: conservatives acting like liberals.  Who would have thought government would get even bigger and more invasive under a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Congress?  Never occurred to me. 

Here to help us make sense of what happened is Ed Feulner.  He’s the president of the Heritage Foundation in Washington.  He’s also the author of “Getting America Right”, which incidentally is No. 20 on the “New York Times” best seller list right now.  Mr. Feulner joins us live tonight from Atlanta. 

Ed Feulner, thanks for coming on. 

CARLSON:  Great to be with you, Tucker, always. 

FEULNER:  Thanks.  I think your organization more than any other private organization in the country is responsible for the Republican Congress, for the takeover in 2004.  You’ve watched this from the very beginning. 

What did happen?  We are we spending more now that we have a Republican president in Congress than we did before?

FEULNER:  I think too many conservatives, Tucker, bought the line that big government is good government if it’s our government.  In other words, as long as we’re in charge, let’s take care of our own needs and our own special interests instead of going back to those core beliefs that really brought people here.  And either that or they’ve been drinking too much Potomac River water. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  Remind us what, briefly—what those core beliefs are.  What is a conservative?

FEULNER:  Well, a conservative is somebody who believes in limited government, strong national defense, individual liberty, free enterprise and traditional American values.  You take those five, you put them together with the rule of law and you got what most Americans believe in and what 2 ½ times as many identify themselves as conservatives than as they do as liberals. 

And that’s what our kind of bedrock beliefs there.  That’s what we think we’ve got to get back to. 

CARLSON:  It seems on some issues those, though, those ideals conflict, or appear to conflict, with one another.  Take illegal immigration.  Free enterprise seems to suggest we would want unfettered immigration.  National security concerns suggest we ought to have safe borders.  So how do you reconcile? 

FEULNER:   Well, the first—first rule of the federal government, it seems to me, is if there’s on the books on the books, the law has to be enforced.  We have to look at secure borders, not only in terms of the needs of the labor force but also in terms of security. 

You know, when we’re talking about the Dubai ports deal, let’s think about the guys or gals who can come across illegally from our southern border with a small nuclear bomb in a backpack.  We’ve got real problems down there, and we’ve got to enforce a law that’s already on the books. 

The president has come out now and said we’re going to.  He’s going to have Chertoff actually doing something like that, and I applaud him for it. 

CARLSON:  The question of Iraq, obviously, the central question of this moment, maybe of our age, breaks down—breaks conservatives, really, in half.  There are genuine conservatives who are for it.  There are genuine conservatives who oppose it.  Both sides recipient appeal to conservative principles to support their position.  Is there a conservative position on Iraq, do you think? 

FEULNER:  Well, my conservative position, at least, is that we are in a long war.  It’s a war on terror.  I think the president has been doing quite a job in terms of leading us on it. 

And some days it does seem like we’re taking two steps forward to only take one step back the next day.  But look again at the historic analogies.  Normandy, lost 5,000 men in the first hour.  Iwo Jima, took us a week.  If we had had news reporting 24/7 during the—War World II, I’m not sure we ever would have won it. 

And I think basically, we’ve got to keep it in perspective.  That’s what the president is trying to do as he goes around the country now.  And I applaud him for getting us back to basics, reminding us why we’re there. 

CARLSON:  What do you think the Republican chances in the midterm election coming up this November are?

FEULNER:  Well, as you know, Heritage is conservative.  We’re not necessarily Republican.

CARLSON:  Right.

FEULNER:  But just looked at it as someone who analyzes it, I think the three big issues are the economy, immigration and the war in Iraq.  If the president gets out, defends where we are in Iraq and does it successfully to the American people; they get their act together over there and get a government formed, that one should be moving in the right direction, at least. 

On the economy, the economy is going well.  Some of the reforms that we’ve been advocating, like a line item veto and dynamic scoring, he’s starting to put in place, finally after five years.  But I’m glad he’s doing it now. 

And on immigration he said just yesterday that he’s opposed to amnesty.  This again, I think is something that will help reenergize and remobilize his base.  That we have to have a coherent immigration policy that pulls it all together and makes—makes real common sense to the American people.  If that all happens, then I think it’s going to look pretty good. 

CARLSON:  Of the 535 members of Congress, a little more than half Republicans.  Of those, how many would you say are conservative?  Just off the top of your head?  What percentage of Republicans would you call conservative by the definition you just gave?

FEULNER:  Sixty-five to 70 percent. 

CARLSON:  Boy, that’s depressing, because they’re not acting like it sometimes.  But hopefully you will remind them. 

Ed Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, longtime president of the Heritage Foundation.  “Getting America Right” is the book on the best seller list now.  Thanks a lot. 

FEULNER:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  We turn now to a man who I believe is coming around on the whole conservative thing.  He is “The Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman—Max.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Since when is a line item veto a core conservative issue?  It’s the opposite of that, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  How is that the opposite?  A line item veto would allow the president to cut spending more. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, it may or it may make it worse, but the point is it kind of turns the executive branch into a de facto legislator. 

CARLSON:  That is—that is a fair and debatable point.  Right.  In its effect it’s conservative.  In principle, is it conservative?  We ought to debate that one, but that’s not the topic tonight. 

KELLERMAN:  Just on a lighter note have you seen “South Park”?  I know you haven’t.  You’ve been hard at work.

CARLSON:  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  What an episode tonight.  They went after the Scientologists again.  It was unbelievable.

CARLSON:  Good for them.  They’re doing the Lord’s work.  You’ll pardon the expression. 

Well, did you have a pretty good idea of what you wanted to do with your entire life when you were just 14 years old?  I didn’t think so.  Under a new plan proposed by Florida Governor Jeb Bush, high school freshman would have to declare a major, just like in college.

Governor Bush says the plan will better prepare students for careers and help lower dropout rates by allowing kids to study subjects they’re interested in.

I’m against high school freshmen declaring majors.  Meanwhile, Max likes the idea of having kids lock themselves into a career path just as they’re hitting puberty. 

Good for you, Max.  I just can’t—I can’t agree.  Look, this is a system that is common in France and in other parts of Europe and in fact, in other parts of the world, including Asia. 

And I think it stifles creativity.  I do.  I don’t think knew what you want to be at 14.  I think you’re likely to have kids making decisions that turn out to be very, very misguided because you’re not a fully formed person at 14.  That’s like the whole point, is to learn what you’re good at. 

CARLSON:  By the way, not just in high school; even at 20 or even 24 sometimes you don’t know what you want to do.  High school is not vocational school; neither should college be a vocational school.  I think too many people are mixed up and they think education to get a job. 

The point of an education is for education’s sake, to make yourself a complete human being.  That said, really, how did you do in college?  Did you do better or worse in college than you did in high school, Tucker?

CARLSON:  I was not a great success at all. 

KELLERMAN:  I was—I was a terrible student in high school, a much better student in college because of electives, essentially.  You can take what interests you.  And when you’re allowed to follow your interests, you’re going to be more successful.  And I think that’s what this is really about. 

CARLSON:  I’m not sure, though.  I mean, in high school I had to study this, that and the other thing.  I was forced to and I did pretty well.  In college I could study modern feminist poetry because I knew I’d get a B minus for declaring myself a self-hating man and I did, and I learned very little. 

KELLERMAN:  Actually, what you find in those supposedly soft classes in college—it’s interesting—is that they have such an insecurity about taking themselves seriously academically that they’re harder on you.  It’s easier just to take the astrophysics course, I think.

CARLSON:  I don’t know.  I found the feminist stuff pretty easy.  Pretty amusing, too. 

Well, would you buy an expensive bottle of wine at Wal-Mart?  How about a plate of sushi?  The nation’s largest retailer opened a new super store in suburban Dallas this week that targets affluent shoppers.  The new store carries high end electronics, fine jewelry, expensive wine and exotic foods.  The fancy new Wal-Mart does not, however, sell guns and gives less much less space to lawn and garden and automotive products. 

I think Wal-Mart ought to stick those guns and automotive parts back in the store. That’s what they do best.  Max, on the other hand, cannot wait to buy organic arugula and a bottle of Bordeaux at his local Wal-Mart. 

Max, it’s just not the venue for this.  Do what you’re good at.  Be who you are.  It’s a discount retailer.  They sell—actually, they sell fine guns ammunition and hunting licenses.  They’ve got a good stock of fishing poles.  They ought to stick to that and leave the arugula to Whole Foods. 

KELLERMAN:  This is the McDonald’s argument all over again.  They want to get into the high end coffee business.

This is a suburb of Dallas we’re talking about, Tucker.  And while it’s not exactly the middle of nowhere, it’s also not exactly midtown Manhattan.  If I want to get sushi or arugula or my wife wants to go get it for me, there’s a million different options.  I live in Manhattan.

If you’re living in the suburb of Dallas, maybe not so much.  And so they’re getting into the business.  It makes sense. 

CARLSON:  It makes sense but I think they—they risk diluting the brand.  I mean, every time—I remember when Sears tried to sell tuxedos, you know, or formal wear.  It didn’t work.  Even the Donald Trump collection doesn’t work when it goes down market.  Right?

Be who you are.  You confuse people when you try to be too many things.  It’s a discount retailer.  It’s where you can you buy a gross of 32,000 Dixie cups for $11.95.  It’s not a place you want to buy good wine.

KELLERMAN:  All that stuff is changing nowadays.  You go to these big supermarkets, these megamarkets, whatever they’re called, you get everything there.  You never have to leave.  You can get like, you know, a sweatsuit and a half gallon of milk. 

CARLSON:  Yes, that’s true.  But let me bottom line it for you, Max, nobody is buying sushi at Wal-Mart.  Period.

KELLERMAN:  No, I certainly am not. 

CARLSON:  Max Kellerman.  Thanks, Max.

KELLERMAN:  thank you.

CARLSON:  Coming up on THE SITUATION, Bill Clinton is the undisputed Casanova of the Democratic Party, but is it party of George W. Bush that really wins the female vote in the sack?  We’ll debate bedroom politics when THE SITUATION rolls on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SUNITA SOHONI, PRODUCER:  Coming up, are Republicans better in bed than Democrats?  Our next guest has done some exhaustive research and says the answer is yes.

CARLSON:  We’ll tell you about some of the research methods used in that study when we come back in just 60 seconds.  See you then.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Republicans control Congress and the White House.  According to an informal study in the latest issue of “GQ” magazine, the GOP is also asserting its dominance over Democrats in the bedroom. 

The anonymous author, who wrote the piece for “GQ” reports that, quote, “After years of intensive research on both sides of the aisle, I’m here to report that Republican men are infinitely better to have sex with,” end quote, 

The article in the April issue of “GQ” lays out 10 reasons why Republicans are better and kinkier in the sack.  And it’s pretty convincing, I have to say, having read it. 

Here to explain the magazine’s finding, a man who I’m fairly certain did not conduct the study himself, at least we hope, “GQ” deputy editor, Michael Hainey.  Mr. Hainey joins us live from New York tonight. 

Michael Hainey, thanks a lot for coming on. 

MICHAEL HAINEY, DEPUTY EDITOR, “GQ”:  Great to be here.  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  This is so good.  She says—whoever this woman is—I asked you in the commercial break who it was.  You would not reveal her name, but I’m kind of in love I have to say, because she writes very well. 

She says of Democrats, they’re so emotional and sensitive and genuinely care about your day and how you feel and how you felt yesterday.  Is there anything you need, they whimper?  Oh shut up, she says. 

HAINEY:  Right.

CARLSON:  They’re too sensitive to be good; that’s her point. 

HAINEY:  Right.  I think, you know, it’s funny.  I think she does a great job of saying what I think a lot of Democrats feel.  I don’t you.  You and I are the same age, but we grew up believing the Democratic Party is the party of JFK, a very randy and virile party.

CARLSON:  Yes.

HAINEY:  And just like most domestic issues, the Republicans vaulted over the Democrats, you know, and slowly taken what was once their sort of right, which was the sort of party of free love, if you might say.  And they’ve become the more virile party.  It’s a national disgrace, if you ask me. 

CARLSON:  Because, in fact, guilt and politics are both the enemies of sex.

HAINEY:  Right.

CARLSON:  And she makes that point.  She has a line in here about Republicans.  They understand that foreplay is about sex and lots of it.  Democrats are too busy checking if the condoms you keep by the bed are good for the environment. 

HAINEY:  True.  I think she also makes a great point that, you know, Republicans, they’re great on dates, because you know, they’ll just spend and they won’t care about, you know, who pays the bill.  So once again, they sort of like spend, have a good time and they’ll worry about—worry about it later. 

CARLSON:  Now, you edit a men’s magazine, so I know you spend a lot of time thinking about the relationship between men and women.

HAINEY:  Right.

CARLSON:  You really get the sense that this woman is probably a Democrat, probably some center left, you know, kind of moderate Democrat.  And for that reason, probably in name a feminist, but everything she says is kind of antifeminist.

She makes the point that men who don’t decide or proclaim where you’re having dinner are wusses.  And there’s nothing less appealing than a wuss.  Whatever happened to the kind of, you know, the feminist view that we go Dutch on dinner and we, you know, come to a group decision on things like that?

HAINEY:  I think she’s—I think she’s simply saying, you know, maybe she’s more of a Hillary Clinton.  She wants a stronger man there.  I don’t think you should be threatened, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I’m not threatened at all.  I’m kind of aroused, honestly.  I mean, she likes Republicans, because they have no conscience and they’re less sensitive. 

HAINEY:  Exactly, yes, and because you know, they have no regard for who’s going to be going into debt or anything.  She’s like, you know, they come in.  They take control.  They tell you what they want to do.  And I guess she’s found out that’s very attractive to a woman. 

CARLSON:  “A Republican man will never, ever cry,” she writes.  Is there—I remember when I was little, like in the ‘70s, long before I was dating, but there was this idea that men who laid out their emotions for women, who wept, you know, and really empathized deeply, and basically acted like Clinton used to in speeches, were irresistible to women.  Do you think that’s true?

HAINEY:  I think, you know, she’s pointing out that, you know, too many of the Jimmy Carter-Alan Alda era coming off of there in the ‘70s.  And you know, Reagan, once again, sort of like set the standard for, you know, what a strong sort of like virile man, a strong and silent type is, you know.  And you mentioned Clinton.  I mean, the guy obviously had his charms and ways of using them.  So...

CARLSON:  I guess it worked.  I mean, you can convince women to sleep with you by crying, I guess.  It does work. 

Now I’ve asked you to synopsize the research of another social scientist, a female, and I think you’ve done a really great job.  Let me ask you about something you have more first-hand experience with.  Republican women, are they more appealing in bed than Democratic women?

HAINEY:  Did I say I’m more experienced with that? 

CARLSON:  I assume you did.

HAINEY:  I have crossed party lines only a couple of times in my life.  I don’t know about you, Tucker.  But I think that everyone sort of—you know, there’s a reason maybe people like Lindsey Graham crossed party lines.  You sort of, like, want to experiment, and then you sort of come back to where you want to be. 

CARLSON:  So there’s no objective answer for that. 

HAINEY:  No.

CARLSON:  The women of one party are not superior to the women of the other party?

HAINEY:  You know, if you want to meet later we can go out to some bar and do an experiment.  We can do that. 

CARLSON:  This piece makes a claim, and this is apparently vetted by editors of “GQ” and possibly even you personally about physical attributes of Republican men and saying they’re superior. 

HAINEY:  This is your show.  You can say whatever you want. 

CARLSON:  Actually, I don’t think I can.  While I do host the show, I do not, technically speaking, own the show so I can’t quote the piece, unfortunately. 

HAINEY:  I think...

CARLSON:  But it makes a grandiose claim about Republican men.  Do you have research to back that up or is just she going on experience and instinct?

HAINEY:  I think, you know, there’s probably no coincidence that the symbol of the party is a Republican.  I mean, is an elephant and, you know.  You know, some things are hung like elephants, I don’t know.  But you know, there’s probably a reason for that. 

CARLSON:  That is a very solid point.  I got through a lot of college English courses without ever seeing the symbolism in the Republican elephant, but now I do. 

Mike Hainey, I thank you for that.

HAINEY:  Thanks for having me here, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thank you.  Great piece. 

HAINEY:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, toddlers and strippers, they both like to walk around naked, but that’s not the only thing they have in common.  We’ll tell what you a baby was doing in a strip joint when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor,” next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Willie Geist is here—Willie.

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  What do they say about the Libertarian Party as far as you know, my friend?

CARLSON:  Have you ever met—have you ever met a professional libertarian?  It is the “Star Wars” bar, man.

GEIST:  I was going to say, they don’t a lot of opportunities to prove they’re good in the sack, libertarians. 

CARLSON:  I really love—actually, I love libertarians. 

GEIST:  I know you do.

CARLSON:  They’re some of the sweetest people.  They’re the smartest people I know, but boy, are they eccentric. 

GEIST:  Are they?

CARLSON:  I can’t imagine them mating one another or anyone else. 

GEIST:  Better that they don’t. 

CARLSON:  We hate to tell people their business and rarely do, but if you drive your pick-up truck full speed through the front of a check cashing store it is probably time to seek help for your drinking problem. 

In this amazing surveillance video from Ohio you can see the woman behind the counter jump out of the way as the truck barrels into the building.  No one was injured, amazing.  The driver is facing drunk driving charges, severe drunk driving charges. 

GEIST:  I guess, right?  That’s just a guy excited on payday.  He got his check.  He couldn’t even get out of the car.  He just wanted to get right up to counter, cash it and get out of there, throw it in reverse. 

CARLSON:  Boy, I know that feeling. 

GEIST:  Yes.

CARLSON:  You just want to give somebody 20 percent of your paycheck to cash it for you. 

GEIST:  Why do people go to those?  That’s a discussion for another day.  That’s convenient banking, though. 

CARLSON:  Very.  Drive-through.

Internet dating services aren’t for everyone, but apparently, they are for Joan Rivers.  The comedienne and red carpet critic has taken her search for Mr. Right to cyberspace by posting her profile on Match.com. 

Rivers’ profile says she’s looking for a man between the ages of 65 and 75.  Her answer to the question about whether she wants to have children?  Probably not, she says. 

GEIST:  You know what?  If you’re between 65 and 75, you can do a lot worse than Joan Rivers.

CARLSON:  I totally agree with that.

GEIST:  She’s funny.  She’s successful.  She could probably take care of you in your old age and guess what?  She herself does not age as you may have noticed.  She just sort of changes and evolves. 

CARLSON:  I don’t know how old Joan Rivers is, but she looks about 50 years young. 

GEIST:  I do but we’re not going to say it on the air because we love her. 

CARLSON:  Out of respect for Ms. Rivers.

New York City police are used to chasing strange creatures out of Central Park, but they’re usually the kind with two legs.  In a dramatic scene today the NYPD used a tranquillizer gun to capture a wild coyote that had been roaming the park for nearly 20 hours.  The animal sparked pandemonium yesterday when it darted out of the woods and circled an ice rink where people were skating.  The coyote will now be placed in a wildlife facility.

GEIST:  Tucker, I live near Central Park.  I go there often.  I was there today, as a matter of fact.  This is the least strange thing I’ve ever seen in the park.  As a matter of fact, I carry a tranquillizer gun just in case I encounter any characters that I see in there typically. 

CARLSON:  I mean, not to be mean.  I love New York and I love New Yorkers, but toughen up, New York.  I mean, this is like—I have a dog bigger than that.  This is like a scrawny dog, and it created pandemonium?  Come on.

GEIST:  No, but that’s the point.  This was a national story.  In New York people didn’t bat an eye.  Because is you go into Central Park and see a coyote running around, there are so many other bizarre things happening...

CARLSON:  Right.

GEIST:  ... that’s a blip on the radar. 

CARLSON:  And you know it’s not going to mug you so it’s not...

GEIST:  Exactly.  That’s exactly right. 

CARLSON:  Good point.

GEIST:  Mace it.

CARLSON:  Some people would say strip joints are an inappropriate place for anyone to be, but I think we can all agree they are not a very good place for toddlers to be. 

GEIST:  No, no.

CARLSON:  In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a man is in trouble tonight after his toddler son wandered into a local topless bar.  Police say the man, shown here on the screen, left his son in the car while he went into the strip club. 

GEIST:  Wow.

CARLSON:  He reportedly told his little boy that monsters would eat him if he got out of the car.  After half an hour the kid went inside to find his dad. 

GEIST:  Tucker, it’s only March, but the father of the year race is over.  Everybody else, just start practicing for 2007.

He would have won it on leaving the kid in the car and going into a strip joint alone, but the monsters will eat you part, that just clinched it for him. 

CARLSON:  Everything about this is so offensive that you just want to beat the guy to death with a beer bottle for that. 

GEIST:  They should.  Do you think they charged the kid a two juice box minimum?

CARLSON:  Badda bing.  The great Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.  See you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  That’s THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thank you for watching.  We’ll see you back here tomorrow.  Have a great night.

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