Guests: A.B. Stoddard, Peter Fenn, P.J. O‘Rourke, Maxine Waters, Roxanne Roberts
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the show.
The U.S. military strikes al Qaeda in East Africa.
A new study says a border fence would cost billions of dollars.
And the physical embodiment of the Democratic Party, the Reverend Al Sharpton, weighs another presidential run.
Big news across the country.
Here in Washington, though, the city waits for President Bush‘s address to the nation tomorrow night on his new plan for Iraq. The Associated Press is reporting this hour that Bush could be sending new troops there within two weeks.
Democrats are close to united in their opposition to that idea. They are also, by and large, unwilling to do anything about it.
Despite winning November‘s election on an anti-Iraq war platform, the Democratic leadership has already conceded defeat in that debate. Bush is the president, they whine, the commander in chief. If we oppose a surge, Republicans will accuse us of not supporting the troops.
In other words, if we vote our consciences, they will be mean to us and call us names. So there is nothing we can do.
Actually, there is something they can do. The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, has compiled a helpful list of examples from recent history of Congress stepping in to shape American foreign policy—Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Haiti, Rwanda, Colombia, Somalia, Bosnia, not to mention the first Iraq war. In each case, Congress approved and, in some cases, limited or forbade the use of troops.
Congress can‘t stop the president from having a surge in Iraq? That‘s a crock. The truth is, congressional Democrats are too cowardly to stop it. People who voted for them ought to know that.
Well, joining us now to bat it around, associate editor of “The Hill, A.B. Stoddard; Democratic strategist Peter Fenn; and the author of “On the Wealth of Nations,” a tremendous new book, the great P.J. O‘Rourke.
Thanks for joining us.
P.J. O‘ROURKE, “ON THE WEALTH OF NATIONS”: Thank you.
CARLSON: So, P.J., the Democrats—I know you‘re not a Democrat, a very active Democrat, anyway.
O‘ROURKE: No, I guess not.
CARLSON: No, I guess not.
CARLSON: But they get elected on—essentially an antiwar platform. Certainly were elected by people, by and large, who despise the war and wanted to do something about it. Don‘t they have a moral obligation to act on that now?
O‘ROURKE: That‘s their problem.
O‘ROURKE: It was interesting, that list you read, where Congress had intervened. Were there any successful things on that list?
CARLSON: Probably not. Probably not.
O‘ROURKE: Well, there you go.
CARLSON: But the point is, you know, if you‘re going to—if you‘re going to whine about belonging to a body that is a co-equal to the executive to the president—I‘m a member of Congress. We share power in this government.—don‘t you have an obligation to act on it?
O‘ROURKE: If you‘re going to whine and not do anything, you belong in the press.
CARLSON: Yes, that‘s probably right.
O‘ROURKE: They just ran for the wrong office, didn‘t they?
O‘ROURKE: They should have been running for ombudsman, or however you say that.
CARLSON: But thank God members of the press, Peter, are not elected. Democrats and all politicians are. I think the base is real great (ph) with them.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Listen, I think both Democrats and Republicans, you may see them actually co-sponsoring bills to cut off funds for these—for these added troops.
The best example—and this is a success—was 1970, when my old boss Frank Church got together with Republican John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky with the Cooper-Church amendment to prohibit...
FENN: ... incursions into Cambodia and Laos. Right. It took a long time and it got out...
O‘ROURKE: ... for the Cambodians.
FENN: Yes. Well, except that had nothing to do with it. If we hadn‘t been in the war, maybe things would have worked out a little better for the...
FENN: One might say about the Iraqis, too.
O‘ROURKE: If Pol Pot hadn‘t been educated in France...
FENN: Are you French?
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “THE HILL”: Do I look French?
CARLSON: A. B. Stoddard, Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts gave a press conference of sorts at the National Press Club earlier today—this morning.
STODDARD: That‘s called a speech, actually.
CARLSON: It is called a speech. Very good point.
STODDARD: And reporters come.
CARLSON: Exactly, and dutifully record his words. Here is part of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Our bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation unless and until Congress approves the president‘s plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, this sounds like an actual showdown. I mean, we often hype showdowns. “This is a showdown!” But this one sounds like a real one.
O‘ROURKE: But Nobody has listened to him since Chappaquiddick.
CARLSON: That‘s true.
STODDARD: Spoken well.
CARLSON: Other Democrats do, though, don‘t they?
STODDARD: Not exactly.
Look, I think that it serves the purpose for the Democratic Party to have Joe Biden as running for president, and Ted Kennedy the stalwart, Nancy Pelosi the speaker, and others. Jack Murtha and Dennis Kucinich and everybody come up with their own plans to de-fund the troops or solve the war or resolve the problem, or whatever.
They do have, as you mentioned, an angry base that is waiting for answers. But at the same time, it serves their political purposes to continue whining and screaming, raging against the Bush war policy while keeping it his problem.
CARLSON: Does it, though?
STODDARD: It‘s much easier for them. It carries far less political risk to ask the Republicans which—and they will follow along—to end up abandoning the president and forcing, effecting change. Through the hearing and investigation process they are going to bring so much pressure to bear, and the Republican Party is going to be the one to do the dirty work for the Democrats.
CARLSON: It seems to me, Peter, in fact, it increases the political peril for Democrats because it reveals them as impotent and cowardly. They come out and say don‘t do this, and Bush does it anyway, what does that say...
FENN: No, here‘s what‘s happening here, Tucker. The Republicans are equally as concerned and nervous about this policy as the Democrats.
You talk to them even after they have been to the White House to get the spin, they come out of there, they ain‘t spinning. So what you have got now is you have got a lot of Republicans that are concerned. And obviously you have Democrats that are going to offer amendments.
The problem with—that Bush has is he has got two more years with this policy. And this isn‘t a change. This isn‘t a real difference in strategy.
Twenty thousand troops, what is that going—he‘s going to try to put it and couch it in a big, comprehensive plan tomorrow night. But it isn‘t going to be comprehensive at all.
CARLSON: Well, P.J., one part of what Peter said, just one very narrow part, true—no. But his initial point is impossible to argue with.
A lot of Republicans aren‘t supportive of the president‘s plan as we know it so far. In fact, there was a meeting the other day for Republican senators at the White House. And Thad Cochran of Mississippi said when he emerged, “I was the only guy who agreed with Bush.” And this is a group of Republicans.
O‘ROURKE: Well, let‘s face it. It‘s a tough problem. I mean, I would love it.
This is a town beset by certainty. And I would love it if Bush were to come out tomorrow and say, “I haven‘t got the slightest idea what to do about Iraq.”
This thing is really, really screwed up. One possibility, if he sent 20,000 new troops into New Orleans and send everyone who lives in New Orleans to Baghdad. This is the P.J. plan. But...
CARLSON: That would ensure disorder, I think, in Iraq.
O‘ROURKE: Well, it would be interesting. It would be interesting.
FENN: It worked so well when...
CARLSON: But can—do you see—I mean, can you imagine formerly stalwart Republicans, particularly ones who are up for reelection in ‘08, abandoning the president publicly?
O‘ROURKE: Yes, I can. I really think that this thing has gotten messed up to the point that there really may be no good answers.
In fact, you know, this is a weird thing about life. Sometimes there just aren‘t good answers to a problem that you have got.
I remember my sister and this long-haired creep on a motorcycle she was dating, there were no good answers. You know? You could kill him, you know, but that was against the law, et cetera.
There may never have been a good answer to this problem, to Saddam Hussein, to Iraq, to the potential that Iraq—of the trouble that it could have caused. You had a bad man, he was running a bad country that did bad things, had the oil money to do more bad things with. That was probably going to do more of those bad things.
There may simply have been no good answer.
CARLSON: Do you think the war is winnable at this point? Do you think it‘s possible?
O‘ROURKE: Well, I don‘t know about winnable. I think we can kill more bad people, which I think is a good thing. But winnable, you know, that would—that would mean that I thought that there was ever a situation in the Middle East where things couldn‘t get worse.
O‘ROURKE: It has not been my experience that there is ever a situation in the Middle East where things can‘t get worse.
CARLSON: I agree with that completely.
But Peter, I think you probably are among those who think this war is not winnable. And I believe most Democrats in Congress feel the same way.
If you think this war cannot be won, if you really believe that...
CARLSON: ... then you do have a moral obligation to bring the troops home, do all you can to bring the troops home as soon as possible.
Why aren‘t Democrats doing that?
FENN: Well, I think they are going to start doing it. And as I say, Republicans are—that‘s what I have advocated for a long time.
I think—look, Tucker, we now have a situation where 80 -- over 80 percent of those folks in Iraq want us to leave. We have a situation where we skyrocketed the unemployment rate to over 40 percent. That‘s totally unacceptable. I mean, we are making matters worse by being there.
So what do you do? You send more troops in?
FENN: I mea, you say to them, look, it‘s over. We‘re done. The president—the policy has failed. Basic bottom line, and you have got to...
O‘ROURKE: So, wait a minute. You think...
FENN: And let me just finish this. I think that you try—you do two tracks.
You say we‘re leaving, but you also say look, you know, we‘ll work with the countries in the region and other countries to try to come up with political solutions to this problem. But we can‘t control this.
O‘ROURKE: ... hate us.
FENN: Well, I wonder why. I mean, surprise.
But the point being is that this is not—there is no military win here. There is a possible political way out. But there is no military...
O‘ROURKE: If you‘re telling—you‘re telling me actually that things
in a way, though, you‘re saying things couldn‘t get worse.
FENN: Oh, I think they could get worse. I hate to say it.
O‘ROURKE: I think they will get worse. And I think how we can make them get worse is by pulling out.
Do you think it‘s bad staying there? Wait until you see what happens when we pull out.
STODDARD: There is a case to be made for staying, but the White House has not figured out how to make that case.
CARLSON: Well, it will be interesting to see if they make that. I mean, I think—this is the point at which—you know, everyone always says, “It‘s the most important speech of his presidency.” This actually is.
If not it, it‘s certainly in the top three. And he‘s got to make that case.
O‘ROURKE: Let me vent a little bit about the president.
What ticks me off about the president, as a conservative, as a Republican, as a pro-war conservative and Republican, George Bush will not explain himself to the American public.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
O‘ROURKE: He simply will not do it.
Now, he‘s not good at it. We know that. But not many of us are good at explaining ourselves. Even those of us who do this kind of thing for a living, when we get caught at home trying to explain ourselves to our...
FENN: It doesn‘t work too well, does it?
O‘ROURKE: No. Nobody is god at explaining themselves. You can make yourself do it.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
O‘ROURKE: I mean, he‘s got the best speechwriters in the world. He could read a speech from them.
CARLSON: That‘s absolutely right. And if he had done that at the beginning, I think you would see stronger residual support for the war.
O‘ROURKE: It‘s a democracy.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
O‘ROURKE: The leader of a democracy has got to be the explainer in truth.
Coming up, the Democrats don‘t appear to have a unified position on Iraq during their successful campaign for Congress. And guess what? They still don‘t appear to have a consistent position on Iraq.
How will they respond to the president‘s new way forward tomorrow tonight?
Plus, for a Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger looks a lot like a liberal. The governor‘s new immigration initiative could hardly be less conservative than it is.
How does he get away with it? We‘ll tell you.
CARLSON: With reports that President Bush is planning on moving the first wave of reinforcement troops into Iraq by the end of this month, and Democrats are still trying to figure out how to fight it, who has got the upper hand? And more important, why can‘t the Democrats unite on just this one front?
Here to help us answer that question, Democratic congresswoman from California, Maxine Waters.
Congresswoman, thanks a lot for joining us.
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: You‘re certainly welcome.
CARLSON: So why can‘t Democrats get their act together to do the one things voters wanted them to do when they elected them—elected you all last November?
WATERS: How do you know Democrats don‘t have their act together?
CARLSON: Because the leadership of your party has basically already rolled over and said he is the commander in chief, we have no authority to stop this surge. They have already given up.
WATERS: No, that‘s not really what they said. What they said was they were going to give the president an opportunity to document, to prove, to make his case. I think that‘s being very generous, but that did not conclude that we don‘t have a position.
CARLSON: OK. Well, how about—you‘re right, of course, that we don‘t know the entirety of the president‘s case. He‘s going to say things we don‘t know about. But we‘re pretty certain at this point he‘s going to call for new troops, an escalation, as Democrats are calling it.
WATERS: Yes, but the point that the speaker has...
CARLSON: Are you going to allow that?
WATERS: The point that the speaker has made is, how is he going to justify that request? What is he going to say? How is he going to make the American public believe that he‘s telling us the truth?
Don‘t forget, this is the president who lied to us about weapons of mass destruction. He and Rumsfeld both told us we were winning the war. They were training troops, we were going to get profits from the oilfields to rehabilitate and to reconstruct Iraq.
We have not been able to hold them to any of the promises that they have made.
CARLSON: OK. OK.
WATERS: And so let‘s hear what he has got to say.
CARLSON: Well, wait a second.
CARLSON: Why would you—wait a second. You just made the case yourself.
You‘re, I think, with all due respect, making a pretty inconsistent argument. You‘re, on the one hand, saying this president is a liar who has misled you over the last six years about foreign policy.
WATERS: That‘s right.
CARLSON: You‘re also saying, let‘s wait to hear what he has to say.
Why are you wait to go hear what he has to say if he‘s a liar?
WATERS: Listen—well, let me just say this—I certainly do not trust the president of the United States to be able to lay out a case that is believable and one that I would support. I think the speaker is being consistent in what she said about trying to work with the opposite side of the aisle, trying to give them an opportunity to make their case. I commend her for that.
WATERS: I don‘t trust him. I don‘t believe him. I won‘t be supporting it for sure.
CARLSON: OK. But she is naive enough to believe him. I think I understand the point you‘re making.
WATERS: Oh, I don‘t think she‘s naive at all. She‘s the speaker, and she didn‘t get there by being naive.
CARLSON: Right. OK. But on the other hand, you‘re saying you‘re sophisticated enough not to believe him, but she is not.
But let me—let me ask you this.
WATERS: What I‘m saying is I have lived long enough and I have heard enough from the president of the United States.
WATERS: And it‘s turned out that everything that he said about this war has been false.
WATERS: He has mismanaged the war, the American public knows it.
WATERS: They want us out. That‘s what I‘m saying.
CARLSON: OK. So—and the speaker is too callow to reach the same conclusion.
But can you imagine any circumstances under which he would support an increase in troops in Iraq?
WATERS: I certainly would not. I don‘t speak for my caucus. I speak for myself.
WATERS: And I will be discussing this with the 73 members of the out-of-Iraq caucus. But I certainly do not support an expansion of this war. I do not support the idea that the president of the United States, who has mismanaged this war, is going to come to us one more time when the deterioration is profound in Iraq and make us believe that somehow he has got the magic answer with 20,00 more troops. It doesn‘t ring true.
CARLSON: OK. Then you are entitled to your opinion. I believe it‘s heartfelt.
CARLSON: And I don‘t begrudge you that opinion.
CARLSON: I‘m a little surprised, though, Congresswoman, that believing what you do about this president and the effects he is having on our nation, you and your fellow Democrats are standing by idly and allowing him to do it.
Why aren‘t you sponsoring legislation to cut of funding for this war right now?
WATERS: Well, let me just say this, that‘s your conclusion. And I know...
CARLSON: Well, it‘s a pretty obvious conclusion.
WATERS: ... I know that you would like to make that case. But you can‘t make the case because you don‘t have all of the information about my caucus. My caucus has not indicated a position relative to this expansion of this war by the president.
CARLSON: I know. It‘s pretty shocking. That‘s my point. How can you not have a position on one of the most important issue of our time?
WATERS: We have got time. We have got time.
Let‘s hear what the president is going to say. We have got new members who are coming in. Let them understand what he is saying and how it all works. We have got time.
WATERS: So don‘t—don‘t say that you know what we‘re doing at this point.
CARLSON: OK. Well, as soon as you figure out what you‘re doing, give me a call.
I appreciate it.
WATERS: I certainly will. Any time.
CARLSON: Thank you, Congresswoman.
WATERS: You‘re welcome.
CARLSON: Coming up, if at first you don‘t succeed, rev, rev again. Al Sharpton, the folk hero, the American hero, considers another presidential bid on the Democratic side, of course. There is hardly a more compelling speaker in either party. Would he help or hurt Democrats? We‘ll bat it around.
Plus, if you have ever remodeled, you know how demoralizing a contractor‘s bid can be. How about $49 billion for a fence at your border?
CARLSON: Tomorrow night, President Bush will propose action in Iraq, but it‘s the reaction of the Democratic Congress that remains a mystery at this point. What will they do? And more pointedly, what can the Democrats realistically do?
Here with precise analysis on that question, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard; Democratic strategist, Peter Fenn; and author of “On the Wealth of Nations,” just out, P.J. O‘Rourke.
A.B., what can Democrats do?
STODDARD: They can sit back and enjoy having their cake and eating it, too. As I—as I mentioned previously, I think that these various ideas to reintroduce a war resolution or a cap of the troops at January 1 levels or anything are risky business for the Democrats. I think that the rhetoric is—you know, serves their purpose as well.
I think that the hearing process will bring out a lot of information and answer a lot of questions. And I think it will ultimately affect some change on the war. But I think the Democrats have decided that they—that they‘re going to let this be Bush‘s war, and they‘re going to do what they can to hide behind—the question of cutting off the funds can be misconstrued later on.
If you say, “No, no, no, I voted against the surge but I was still supporting the boots on the ground,” you really run a risk for those freshmen that won in those red Republican districts. And I think 12 years in the wilderness will teach you about political survival.
CARLSON: God, what a copout (ph).
OK. So, Peter, we‘re waiting for the hearings. We‘re waiting for the Halliburton hearings. We get to find out about how much the U.S. government has paid...
STODDARD: No. You know, that‘s not going to be petty.
CARLSON: But here‘s my point. By the time those hearings roll around, the surge, whatever it winds up becoming, will be under way, if not close to over.
FENN: No. First of all, it‘s going to take them a while. But this president has got to put forth on February 4th a budget of now in excess of $100 billion to fund this surge and other parts of this war.
He is going to have all kinds of things in that goodies that he will try to win over some Democrats and Republicans about. You know, building more schools and helping out with the power grid. And, you know, rehabilitating this country. But no one is going to buy it.
Here is what‘s going to happen. And I think I disagree a little.
Here‘s what‘s going to happen.
These three weeks of hearings that Joe Biden is going to have, hearings in the House, you are going to see Democrats and Republicans rejecting this policy.
The other thing is, what‘s going to change on the ground in three months or six months? I mean, unless he can prove very quickly that 20,000 American troops in Baghdad is going to turn this war around when people are unemployed, when hospitals can‘t work, when pregnant women can‘t get an OB/GYN to take care of them, this is a disaster in that country. And it‘s Bush‘s disaster. And that‘s why...
O‘ROURKE: It sounds like we need 100,000 troops.
FENN: Well, listen, one can make the argument...
O‘ROURKE: And I will do it right now.
FENN: ... if you do this right, you do 100,000 to 200,000. You don‘t fool around with 20,000.
O‘ROURKE: I will do it right now.
I mean, one thing that I think the Democrats better keep an eye on is that—while they are having fun politically with the Republicans here and enjoying their victory and enjoying the prospects of victory in ‘08 -- this war is going to go on for decades, decades, decades. This is a big war, it‘s a long war, it‘s a war that may outlast everybody that‘s in this room.
We had better figure out a way to win it. It is not going away.
We can disappear from Iraq. We can pull everybody out of Iraq. It‘s not going to make this war go away.
FENN: But you‘re talking about the Middle East, you‘re talking about terrorism. Look, you know, you‘re talking—in northern Ireland the war has gone on for decades.
O‘ROURKE: Five hundred years.
STODDARD: But there is no consensus in the American public about withdrawal, redeployment, timelines, anything. There is actually no consensus.
And so the Democrats, who believe that they were—you know, that they were victorious on an antiwar platform, actually know this, that if you look at the polls, oh, yes, there is a majority that are opposed to a surge and deeper escalation.
STODDARD: But nobody—there‘s not a majority for an answer.
O‘ROURKE: The Democrats had better start coming up with an answer, because the Democrats are going to be running this country.
CARLSON: Well, hold on. I want to know, P.J., since you‘re a writer, a famous writer, you said Bush has good speechwriters, if you were one of them, what would you write for tomorrow night? What would you have Bush say?
O‘ROURKE: What would I have Bush say? I would have Bush say, “I resign,” is what I would have Bush say.
FENN: The Lyndon Johnson approach.
O‘ROURKE: I have had enough of Bush. I will tell you that.
I mean, if you cannot create—I mean, you do one of two things here. Either you go in seriously with another 100,000 troops, or you say, look, this isn‘t working out. We‘re going to pull back out of this, but we‘re coming back elsewhere.
And let me tell you something, folks over there in the Middle East who hate our guts, you don‘t know where we‘re coming back and you don‘t know when, but when we get there, it‘s going to be very unpleasant. So mind your Ps and Qs.
It might be you, Hamas. It might be Damascus. It might be Tehran.
You don‘t know when we‘re coming back.
CARLSON: Boy, you‘re giving me the chills. I like that. I wish you were writing Bush‘s speech.
We‘ll be right back.
Nancy Pelosi, mother of six, grandmother of five, or something to that effect. Leader of 233 Democrats. A chocoholic, cupcake-baking, Jeep-driving, middle-class mom. Does that sound like a hero to you? We‘ll tell you.
O‘ROURKE: And she‘s pro-abortion.
CARLSON: The answer to our illegal immigration problems here in America? Well, according to the Department of Homeland Security, it is a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Even if, according to a little noticed study, the fence carries with it an almost 50 billion dollar price tag. Is it worth it? Where will the money come from? And is there a guarantee that the most expensive fence in the world will manage to keep our neighbors to the south away from the temptation of California?
If Governor Schwarzenegger has his way, illegal aliens and their kids will soon have full health care coverage. Here to answer those questions, the complicated matrix of them, Associate editor of the “Hill”, A.B. Stoddard, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn, and the great P.J. O‘Rourke, author of the “Wealth of Nations.”
O‘ROURKE: The great P.J. O‘Rourke did not mean to step on your intro.
CARLSON: I‘m honored when you step on my intro.
O‘ROURKE: Because I don‘t care how much this fence costs, it‘s worth it to the Mexican ladder industry. This thing is put your money in the Mexican ladder industry. It‘s going through the sky.
CARLSON: But do you see a kind of perversity here? On the one hand you have the federal government considering spending 50 billion dollars on this barrier to prevent people from coming here. And on the other side, in the state of California, you have the governor basically saying come here, please, we‘ll give your kids free health care.
O‘ROURKE: Well, what I don‘t understand is spending 50 billion dollars and also putting U.S. troops down on the border to stand between me and yard care. That‘s the thing that bugs me most.
FENN: You‘re going to get a lot of calls on that one.
O‘ROURKE: That‘s all right. Incidentally, any of you who are calling in, who happen to be good at yard care, at a reasonable price.
CARLSON: I dare you to give your number.
O‘ROURKE: My phone number will be available. No, I mean, come on, am I a Sioux, am I a Cheyenne? How did I get here? I got here because they needed cheap labor. Not me personally, although I am still cheap labor. But you put your finger on a little bit of a problem.
Why is it that we hate immigrants, all of a sudden? We, a nation of immigrants, hate immigrants? It‘s because they cost a lot of money. It used to be, when you brought the Irish over, they didn‘t cost you money, they made you money, because you could hire them for a buck an hour, 75 cents an hour.
My family 25 cents an hour. And they would build stuff for you. They would dig ditches and lay railroad tracks and stuff like that.
FENN: And take over your political machine.
O‘ROURKE: Yes, if you weren‘t careful, they would do that. There was a down side. But generally speaking, they made money for you. Now, because we have this—we don‘t have a welfare state, we just have this rent-seeking give-away state. Prove that you‘re American and things shower down upon you, Medicaid, benefits, and prescription drugs.
CARLSON: How about a scenario where you don‘t even have to prove you‘re American, just you‘re physically.
O‘ROURKE: Bonus, bonus. Talk about 80 percent of life being showing up.
O‘ROURKE: . California showing up.
CARLSON: Does it offend you that Governor Schwarzenegger, possibly the most liberal governor in the history of the world, since Jerry Brown in California.
CARLSON: ... that he‘s calling himself a Republican?
FENN: Listen, I think what he‘s got going there is going to work like gangbusters. He has got a health care plan in California, if it gets through, which will be like Massachusetts and some other states. It‘s going to work.
O‘ROURKE: Oh, no it‘s not.
FENN: Oh, I think it is going to work. Oh, absolutely. Look it, employees, employers that do not have health care for their employees have got to put money into a fund. That‘s a good thing.
O‘ROURKE: Those employers do—they go right across the border.
FENN: Look, 50, 60 million dollars, which is what they‘re talking about with this thing, that could buy a heck of a lot of health care in this country. I mean this fence is a joke.
CARLSON: Let me just ask you a philosophical question very quickly Peter. This health plan, as in the one passed by Governor Romney, or put forward by Governor Romney of Massachusetts, requires—
O‘ROURKE: The other liberal governor.
CARLSON: Exactly, the other liberal posing as a Republican. Has a requirement that citizens have health care insurance, have health insurance. Why should the state require me to have health insurance? It‘s me. I can have it if I want, just as I can wear my seat belt if I want, or smoke if I want. I mean, I have the right to take risks, do I not?
FENN: Yes, and when you drive a car, you have to have insurance on that car, in case you hit somebody else.
O‘ROURKE: But I‘m not going to give a heart attack to someone else.
FENN: But your kids should have health care, should they not? I mean, these kids, are they making a choice? Forget it.
CARLSON: A.B. Stoddard, I want to shift to a more --
STODDARD: I was going to do the water hose on your fire, but next question.
CARLSON: Well then I can‘t resist asking you this next question, as someone who follows the Congress.
O‘ROURKE: You can‘t be free in a fair society.
CARLSON: I agree with that and you know what—
O‘ROURKE: Darn it, we want a fair society, so we ain‘t free.
CARLSON: It is so good to have a libertarian on the panel. That‘s exactly right. A free society is an unfair society. Sweden, and I say that as someone who‘s last name is Carlson, is a fair society and it‘s a horrible, tyrannical place to live.
Anyway, John Kerry, closer to home, he is the leader of the Democratic party. He was the last presidential nominee. That puts him—he is sort of the head. Nobody wants to admit it. Hillary is not. Yet he is despised by Democrats. He is, according to the “Washington Post” planning, potentially, on running again. Do you think he will do it and how are Democrats going to respond?
STODDARD: I am really surprised to read in the last day and a half that he has made some significant new hires, that indicate that he would be moving ahead with this. I thought actually that he—he would be keeping a low profile. I thought maybe the Democrats had gotten him a room at Mark Foley‘s rehab.
By the way, he is still there, Mark Foley. He signed up for extra time. I thought they were doing their best to get rid of John Kerry. He had been really laying low. I was even told that Senator Kennedy was—he has offered his support if—he had to announce by a certain time.
CARLSON: As the newly elected Governor Deval Patrick.
STODDARD: I really—what you‘re saying is no Tucker Carlson overstatement.
CARLSON: Tucker Carlson overstatement?
STODDARD: John Kerry is liked by his peers and I will remind him that he wasn‘t even lighting a fire when he began the process in 2004 with those primary voters. I mean, he sort of dragged in at the end and won it.
CARLSON: To rescue them from Howard Dean.
FENN: I agree with you, but prediction, exactly, prediction, he will not run.
CARLSON: P.J., when you put your children to bed at night, and you say your prayers, do you throw in a rider at the end, let John Kerry run?
O‘ROURKE: Of course I do. I have a living to make. Those kids are praying hard for him too, because they want a pony. Yes.
CARLSON: Al Sharpton says he may run again for president. I am, as his friend and as a member of the press, I am, of course, rooting for him. And also as an observer. He is the physical embodiment of the values of the Democratic party. He is the kind of err Democrat. Are you excited for him to run again?
O‘ROURKE: Listen, I love having Al Sharpton out there. I think he is great on these talk shows for you guys. He‘s great for the press. He is a fun candidate. I don‘t think I‘ll support him though.
CARLSON: You know you‘re not going to support him?
O‘ROURKE: I don‘t think he will be my first choice. I have a funny feeling he might not be able to win a general election. Now why do I think that?
STODDARD: You know, he is the author of one of my—or his speech writer is the author of one of my favorite lines in politics, it‘s the problem with the Christian right is that they haven‘t met the right Christian.
CARLSON: You probably didn‘t read it this morning, A.B., since you‘re a decent, sensible person, with a lot to do.
CARLSON: Almost as good, an Ellen Goodman column, in which she says Nancy Pelosi, it‘s this sort of long, trickly (sic), nausea-inducing column, in which she lauds Nancy Pelosi as a hero for being a mom.
Apparently she is the only mom in America, and a grandmother, and a,
quote, chocoholic. I‘m wondering if you think we‘re going to see this kind of butt kissing from feminists in the press for the entirety of Mrs. Pelosi‘s term as speaker?
STODDARD: The answer is yes. I think that Nancy Pelosi, when she did
another great line, from the kitchen to the Congress, in her speech last week, really was very well written, but we all know that she is married to a wealthy man, and could afford to be very active in Democratic party circles, and throw fund raisers and still take care of her kids, and on and on and on.
But it‘s very impressive that she got back into her political career -
entered a political career so late in life, and became, obviously, the first woman speaker, and I think it‘s extremely impressive. But I saw, last week, on her first day, a very disciplined speech that really stuck to the script.
I think her advisors served her well. And then at the end, when she had her unscripted moment, and she called all the kids to the gavel to let them touch it, she was free lancing there, and it was actually rather sweet, the moment of gathering everyone around.
CARLSON: You know what? You know that children are our future.
STODDARD: But then there was that moment where she said, on behalf of all of the children in America, I‘m going to gavel the House to order. And I was with some colleagues watching this moment, and there was such an audible gasp, especially from the men in the room. And it was just that—it was a cringey moment.
CARLSON: It‘s like when your uncle gets drunk at Thanksgiving and won‘t stop with the toast.
O‘ROURKE: Before we go, it is also—it is a hallmark of liberals to get all mushy about anything that can‘t vote, because it can‘t oppose them, you know, animals, children --
O‘ROURKE: ... the atmosphere, anything that can‘t vote. Anything that can‘t vote.
CARLSON: Normally we keep this a pretty g-rated program, but I want to put something on the screen. I want to warn you now, this might arouse you. Men and women alike, this is a photograph from “People Magazine.” There it is. That is the senator from Illinois on the beach in Hawaii over Christmas vacation. That is a cheese cake photograph of Senator Barack Obama, the, I believe, presumed presidential front runner on the Democratic side. P.J. O‘Rourke, does that turn you on, A? And B, is this guy for real?
O‘ROURKE: I‘ve got to say I find that a neutral image. I can‘t say it turns me on. It doesn‘t turn me off. I am glad to see that Barack Obama, so completely perfect in every other respect, does need to do a few crunches.
STODDARD: I was too.
STODDARD: It will actually help him.
CARLSON: I have lower personal standards.
STODDARD: Like everything else with Barack Obama, the fact that he isn‘t totally cut is actually going to help him.
O‘ROURKE: He can do no wrong.
FENN: The assignment for you guys is to get that picture of John F. Kennedy coming out of the surf in 1960 at the Democratic convention, looking like a million bucks. And I‘ll tell you if you look at those, you put them side by side, I think you‘re talking about presidents there.
CARLSON: Yes, no, I have actually got it in my half-naked Democrats calendar.
CARLSON: All right, we‘re out of time. P.J. O‘Rourke, Peter Fenn, A.B. Stoddard, thank you very much.
Coming up, he never broke a rule, he wasn‘t proven to have taking steroids, but the most famous home run hitter of the last three decades will not, it turns out, be elected to the baseball hall of fame. Is the revisionist history of Mark McGwire fair or unfair? We‘ll tell you. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: It‘s that time again, ladies and gentlemen. Call in the children, turn up the volume. We have got your daily serving of beltway gossip. Here to deliver it is Roxanne Roberts. She is the woman behind the “Reliable Source.” That‘s the “Washington Post‘s” universally read gossip page.
ROXANNE ROBERTS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Universally, I like that. On Mars?
CARLSON: It‘s page six for smart people. Yes, it‘s the best.
ROBERTS: I like that.
CARLSON: It‘s the first thing everyone reads. So what‘s on it?
What‘s going on?
ROBERTS: Well, first of all, don‘t you love it when stereotypes come to life?
CARLSON: As they usually do, yes.
ROBERTS: The Redskins‘ starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, is dating, what else, a beauty queen. Life is not fair. He was at the mayor‘s inaugural ball this weekend with 2007 Miss D.C.-U.S.A. So all that gene pool, if they get married, just too much. I can‘t stand all that good looks and talent in one place.
CARLSON: Well the quarterback always gets the girl. It‘s kind of a universal truth, unfair as it may be.
ROBERTS: I know, that‘s why. I want a geek to get the girl sometimes. I think that is a reality series.
CARLSON: Bill gates got married. Billions of dollars helped.
ROBERTS: He‘s smart though, he‘s funny. So speaking of stereotypes, there was a real-life prince in Washington, and we totally missed the fact that he was here, even though he looks like Orlando Bloom. Swedish Prince Carl Phillip was here this Fall.
He is a graphics designer and aspiring photographer, and he hooked up with “National Geographic.” And he went on an expedition to Borneo where he spent time with a famed nature photographer, came back here, was actually in Washington here editing and hanging out and being gorgeous, but kept such a low profile that we didn‘t know he was here.
Now he‘s off doing more filming of documentaries around the world being fabulous.
CARLSON: Well, what is he—if you don‘t mind my asking, what is he a prince of?
ROBERTS: He is the Swedish—He is second in line of succession for the Swedish throne. Now, he would have been heir to the throne, except in 1980 -- he‘s 27 years-old—when he was about seven months old, the Swedish parliament changed the rules to make everything fair, so his older sister, Victoria, is now going to be queen, and he gets just to be the cute rich guy who is the younger brother of the queen.
CARLSON: Do you know the Swedish government, and I believe Swedish royalty as well, get Volvo limousines.
ROBERTS: You know, it‘s very interesting because they have sort of a whole ethos, which is that they are not supposed to be flashy. They are supposed to be very low key and very sort of normal, and none of this, you know, super hyped stuff. No big money and jewels. I mean, they have it, but they are never supposed to—they are supposed to pretend like it doesn‘t matter.
CARLSON: Good for them. I like a little understatement of my eurotrash, that‘s great.
ROBERTS: He is not Euro trash, though. I think you have to have hotter temperatures to be Euro trash. Besides, he has dated the same girl for nine years, and he is probably going to marry her the second his sister gets married.
CARLSON: Good man. So what else is going on?
ROBERTS: Well, then we have this sort of—going from the sublime to the ridiculous, we have this ongoing lawsuit. Now, do you remember Washingtonian? Washingtonian was the hill staffer who wrote a very indiscrete blog about her liaisons with various boyfriends. One of these boyfriends got upset and sued her, saying that he was sharing—she was sharing all these intimate details about what they did and how they did it, more than we really needed to know.
And now Anna Marie Cox, the original Wonkette, is being dragged into this lawsuit, because she was the one that basically took what was supposed to be, quote, a little blog, and turned it into a sensation in Washington. Anna Marie is ducking the serving of papers, so we‘re not sure when it is going to catch up with her, and we‘re watching that with bated breath.
CARLSON: But he is suing? You know, I have to say, I know a lot of people involved in this, I don‘t wish any of them harm. But on the other hand, you shouldn‘t write about people you sleep with in detail. So, you know what, I don‘t know who this guy is and I hope he wins.
ROBERTS: I‘m old-fashioned. It basically says you‘re not supposed to kiss and blog, all right?
CARLSON: Exactly. That‘s why I like you, Roxanne. You‘re a good gossip columnist and a good person. Thank you, I appreciate it. Roxanne Roberts of the “Washington Post,” thanks.
Rosie O‘Donnell picks yet another fight, this time in her own back yard. Wait until you hear the profanity-laced details of her private shouting match with Barbara Walters. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: I want to bring a special message to our female viewers under the age of 15, the time has come. Willie Geist is here.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I don‘t know what to make of that warning. It sounds almost criminal, actually. I don‘t know what to say.
CARLSON: You‘re huge in the tiger beat set, Willie.
GEIST: Thanks, despite what you just said to me, Tucker, I want to give you a little credit. As you know, the University of Florida shocked the world last night, destroying number one Ohio State to win college football‘s national championship. Before the game you could count on one hand the number of people who picked Florida to win. One of those people, noted football expert Tucker Carlson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You know what, Willie, I will take Florida in the upset.
That‘s my prediction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: What did you see, Tucker? Is there something you saw in the lead up to the game? Is it the two quarterback system, the overall team speed, the long layoff for Ohio State? How did you call this one, when no one else in the world did?
CARLSON: Actually, Bill Wolf, our producer, whispered in my ear, in the commercial break, yes, that he had bet a couple of his cars on this game and he was picking Florida. He wanted me to endorse it, so I did.
GEIST: That‘s a nice 1986 Caddie he has got too, so that was a big deal for him.
CARLSON: I actually watched this game in a bar last night with James Carville, in the state of Florida, with a room full of, for some reason, Ohio fans. It was grim for them. We picked the only bar in Florida with Ohio fans.
GEIST: I hope there was heavy drinking at the Ohio State bar. I‘m sure there was. Well, I was going to give you credit and take you more seriously in sports, but no more.
Other sports news Tucker, because I know how you crave that kind of stuff, this year‘s class for the Baseball Hall of Fame announced today. And, as expected, Mark McGwire was not among those selected, not by a long shot actually. Despite putting up huge statistics over his career, McGwire appeared on only 23 percent of the Hall of Fame ballots. McGwire is widely believed to have used steroids during his career, although it‘s never been proven, he has never admitted to it, and many voters said they would not vote for him because of that.
Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were two of the guys voted in today. Tucker, the big debate is, should a guy who is charged with cheating, even though we don‘t know that for a fact, but it appears his body changed dramatically in just a couple of years, should he be allowed into the hallowed Hall of Fame. And if you ask one of the guys who was let in today, Tony Gwynn, he says, yes, you should let him into the Hall of Fame.
This has actually big repercussions for a guy like Barry Bonds, who is also perceived to have used steroids. Maybe the greatest baseball player who ever lived, maybe he won‘t get into the Hall of Fame either. So, it‘s kind of a big deal.
CARLSON: All I know is my son is very disappointed in the guys who used steroids, so I‘m all for keeping them out.
GEIST: The problem also, Tucker, nobody said a word when all these home runs were being hit in 1998. The game loved it. Now all of a sudden they are turning their back on them.
Any way, on other thing for your, it seems, Tucker, Rosie O‘Donnell not happy unless she is fighting with someone. Just as soon as the Donald Trump feud seems to have cooled, Rosie hauled off and picked a fight with her boss, Barbara Walters. The “New York Post” reports Rosie and Barbara got into a shouting match backstage at “The View” yesterday when Rosie accused Walters of not defending her against Trump.
Trump had said publicly that Walters told him she regretted hiring Rosie. A source told the “Post” that Rosie screamed at Walters for not denying Trump‘s claim, saying, quote, are you looking me in the face and denying you didn‘t tell him, you didn‘t say this? You‘re a blanking liar.
Wow, that is hot stuff in the make up room at “The View,” Tucker. I don‘t know, I think Rosie becomes less appealing by the day. I think chewing out Barbara Walters, your boss, is probably not the best way to go.
CARLSON: No, of course, she was never appealing in the first place. It‘s one thing to pick a fight with Donald Trump. You pick a fight with Barbara Walters? She will eat you. She is over.
GEIST: Who‘s next? Oprah? Stop it.
CARLSON: Exactly. Willie Geist from headquarters, thanks Willie. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We‘ll be back tomorrow. Tune in. Have a great night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.