updated 5/18/2007 12:13:55 PM ET 2007-05-18T16:13:55

Guests: Brian Bilbray, Trent Franks, Peter Beinart

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  At the top of the country‘s news agenda today is the changing face of the United States of America.  A Census Bureau report released this morning shows that more than 100 million Americans, that is about one out of three, are non-Caucasian.  The fastest and largest group of ethnic minorities in America is the Hispanic population, which is now in fact a majority in a number of states. 

So against that backdrop, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators today reached agreement with President Bush on a new immigration bill.  The “for dummies” version of this proposed law is that many of the illegal aliens already in the United States, and that‘s a group estimated at around 12 million to 20 million people, will have a much easier time gaining citizenship and that the U.S. will attempt to fortify America‘s borders against the ongoing stream of illegal immigrants coming into the country. 

Late this afternoon President Bush made a statement on the deal.  Here is part of what he said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The agreement reached today is one that will help enforce our borders, but equally importantly, it will treat people with respect.  This is a bill where people who live here in our country will be treated without amnesty but without animosity. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Joining me now to talk about the Senate‘s new immigration plan is the chairman of the House Immigration Caucus, Congressman Brian Bilbray of California. 

Congressman, welcome. 

REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R-CA), IMMIGRATION CAUCUS:  Thank you for being here. 

CARLSON:  This is not an amnesty plan, says the president.  Is that true? 

BILBRAY:  It is an amnesty plan.  They have announced that 12 million to 20 million the people that are illegally in the country will be rewarded with permanent residency and eventual citizenship because they broke the law. 

And it is a sad day that people can continue the illusion or the mistake of ‘86, which was the last amnesty, which looked just like this. 

CARLSON:  And the effect of that was what? 

BILBRAY:  The effect of that was the biggest bubble of illegal immigration that we have seen in the history of the republic.  And for somebody to think that they can build a wall tall enough while they are going to give 20 million illegals reward for being here illegally is just absurd. 

I mean, they have probably done more with this announcement to encourage illegal immigration than anything that has been done in a long time.  And sadly it is going to see—we are going to see the impact on the border, but more importantly, we are going to see it in our neighborhoods. 

CARLSON:  Your colleague, Tom Tancredo, of course, is running for president and says this: “President Bush is so desperate for a legacy and a domestic policy win, he is willing to sellout the American people and our national security in this legislation.” Do you think that is true? 

BILBRAY:  I think sadly the president is so misguided on this thing that he has totally lost his direction on it.  I mean, how can any father say that a child, let alone a country—or illegal immigrant should be rewarded for doing the wrong thing while those who wait patiently to immigrate legally are told, sorry, you should have broken our laws?

We are going to see another huge influx of illegal immigration, just when we started to see reduction because of workplace enforcement, advertisement, or basically the news media on it is slowing it down. 

Now you are going to see a big bubble in the next few months.  And sadly the misguided approach of these senators is that we can reward illegal immigration and stop it at the same time.  You just can‘t do it.  It is just—you know, it is counterintuitive. 

CARLSON:  The president said that this legislation—he said today, would require these newly-legalized immigrants to, quote, “learn English.” How exactly are we going to know if they have learned English?  Are there going to be English tests?

BILBRAY:  Look, the fact is, is that you have people—we have English on our ballot—I mean, foreign languages on our ballot.  We don‘t even vote in English now.  And to think you are going to hold this standard, the fact is, as I saw this in ‘86 when I was a county supervisor and mayor along the border, it is the same game that we saw in ‘86. 

And Mr. Kennedy announced in ‘86, and he promised the American people this would be the last time we did an amnesty.  We would never do this again.  And now, 20 years later, we are already hearing the old verse, oh, we will never do this again.  Don‘t worry about it. 

The people around the world, especially in the poverty areas, they know that this is a signal that from now on all you have to do is come to this country illegally and eventually the Senate will reward you with it. 

And to think you are going to control the border while you are doing -

while you are giving in-state tuition, you know, subsidizing illegal aliens‘ college educations, that just really is scary that somebody could think that is going to work. 

CARLSON:  It is obvious why Democrats are for this.  They believe that the children of these immigrants will become Democrats.  And I think they are right.  Why are Republicans for this? 

BILBRAY:  You know, it is astonishing.  And every voter should ask these senators, what is the obsession with rewarding people for being illegally here if they can‘t vote?  Unless your plan is to register them to vote for you. 

And I think that is really where both Democrats and Republicans should outrages that the leadership in the Senate looks like that they are pandering to people that are illegally here, who legally should not be able to vote and, really looking at banking them as some type of future election opportunity. 

And I think that is one that really crosses party lines.  You don‘t have to be a Republican to be outraged that your vote is going to be diluted by somebody who is illegally in the country. 

CARLSON:  Well, Congressman, give us the bottom line, will this become law? 

BILBRAY:  I hope to God that the American people will call their senators and their representatives—the House of Representatives.  I have been working with the blue dog Democrats—the moderate Democrats to put up a position that shows that both Democrats and Republicans don‘t want illegal immigration rewarded. 

So hopefully we will see those Democrats join with Republicans to stop this from becoming law.  And really this is a time that we are going to decide what—how our grandchildren are going to live.  If we want to live in a law-abiding country with a respect for law and order, we are going to vote this down. 

If we want to see a national policy of cultural corruption, we will have 20 million people being rewarded in front of the entire world.  But most important, in front of our children just because we were too lazy or to cowardice (ph) to do the right thing.  And that is crack down on illegal immigration and the employers who are profiteering from it. 

CARLSON:  Amen.  I hope your argument carries the day.  Congressman Brian Bilbray of San Diego, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it. 

BILBRAY:  Thank you very much.  It‘s an honor.

CARLSON:  President Bush has no plans to pull troops from Iraq any time soon, even though Democrats and now some Republicans are calling for a troop withdrawal.  But what if Iraq‘s parliament calls for the U.S. to leave?  Should we listen to a government that barely exists?  We may.  More on that in a minute. 

Plus, John Edwards claims he worked at a hedge fund, quote, “primarily to learn.” We know just how much he did learn while he was there.  Put it this way, it‘s no wonder he didn‘t audit the class.  This is MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Many Republicans are still standing firm with President Bush about U.S. troops staying in Iraq, at least for now.  But what if Iraq‘s parliament asks our troops to leave?  We‘ll ask one of the president‘s supporters about that, we‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The United States has been at war in Iraq since March of 2003.  Is it time for the U.S. to get out?  It is the central political debate of the moment.  And it is not going on only in Washington, but also in Baghdad where the otherwise ineffectual Iraqi parliament is considering the matter. 

If the democratically-elected Iraqi government we installed votes to have the U.S. military leave the country, should we accept their suggestion or is it our right and our responsibility to stay until the job is done as the president says we must?  Joining us now, Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona. 

Congressman, thanks for coming on. 

REP. TRENT FRANKS (R-AZ), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE:  Well, thank you, Tucker, for having me, sir. 

CARLSON:  So what is the answer.  Does—it is not unlikely that the Iraqi parliament—at this point it doesn‘t look unlikely that they will ultimately vote to have the United States leave.  Should we obey? 

FRANKS:  Well, Tucker, I—it is my opinion that they will not vote that way because they understand the implications if America leaves Iraq before the terrorist insurgency there has at least been stabilized. 

I think that they understand how desperately dangerous that would be for their country.  In terms of the impact on us, this could lead to the richest terrorist base on the face of the Earth, which would be a profound danger to all of humanity. 

With that said, the fact that there is a democratically-elected government in Iraq, it should tell them something that they can even deal with issues like this.  And even with the Sadr faction doing most of the leading of this effort, at least while they are involved in the parliamentary process, they are not as busy out blowing people up. 

CARLSON:  But—OK.  Here is—it may or may not happen.  We don‘t know, of course.  But according to the Associated Press at this moment 144 out of 275 members of the Iraqi parliament say they back a bill that would demand the United States exit Iraq immediately.  That says a lot right there, doesn‘t it?  Should we pay attention to the wishes of half of the Iraqi parliament or more? 

FRANKS:  Well, I do think we have to pay attention to something like that.  The critical question that would remain, of course, is what is best for the national security of the United States.  And that question will still be on the table. 

And of course, we would have to answer it in the context of this vote.  And if Iraq votes to do that, I think they make a terrible error for themselves and for the entire world.  At the same time, even if they do, I think America still has the prerogative to make sure that we do what is necessary to stabilize our own national security interest.  And as to how far that would go in Iraq, I don‘t know. 

CARLSON:  I think that is a completely fair point that in the end our national security is the question here.  Then why have we wasted all of this time and money creating this pretend government and playing along and pretending that our ultimate interest is in making sure the Iraqis govern themselves, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera?  I mean, it is all fantasy, why have we played along for so long?

FRANKS:  Well, you know, Tucker, I would have to take issue with that.  If it were all fantasy, if the government weren‘t real, this segment would not be happening. 

CARLSON:  No, but you just said in the end you are willing to ignore their desire to have us leave.  So why.

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKS:  No, I don‘t think that is what I said.  I said that I think that obviously them telling us to leave, given that they are now a democratically-elected government, has a profound impact on the entire equation. 

By then that the only thing left for us, the only that would keep us there at that point would be to do what is best in the national security of the United States.  But I do think that it would be a terrible mistake and will have a profound impact on this entire process here. 

CARLSON:  But that means that they have a sovereign government.  I mean, in other words, if you think it is even an option to ignore the vote if it goes against our wishes, then that means that they are not really running their own country, we are, right?

FRANKS:  Well, you know, you make a good point.  But, Tucker, in the final analysis, what I‘m saying, when we invaded Iraq, they had a government in place.  Now it wasn‘t a democratically-elected government, but we did so on the basis that we were going to try to protect our own homeland, we were going to try to protect nations in the region.  We were going to try to see that this fomentation of jihadist terrorism across the world, that threatens the entire human family, was suppressed. 

And that still remains the equation.  But with Iraq and now a democratically-elected sovereign government, I do believe that that is a much bigger part of the equation than it was before. 

And I think that ultimately—I will just say this, I think if—ultimately if Iraq votes for America to leave, that that probably will occur and yet they might be voting a year down the world to beg us to come back when the situation is much more serious that it is even now. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona, thanks a lot, Congressman, I appreciate it. 

FRANKS:  Thank you, sir.

CARLSON:  Mitt Romney was the top fundraiser among the Republicans in the first quarter of the year, but he also tops the list with his personal assets.  Romney is worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars.  But he is not the only rich guy running for president.  Who else is?  We‘ll tell you in a minute. 

Rudy Giuliani is one of them.  But for right now he doesn‘t need to spend that money in Ohio, especially on evangelical voters, they love him, everything about him.  What is going on with the religious right?  This is MSNBC, the place for politics. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  To quote the movie “Wall Street,” how much is too much?  How many yachts can you water ski behind?  Those questions may find their way into the next presidential debate after most of the 2008 candidates release their personal financial information. 

No fewer than 10 of them are millionaires.  In the case of Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards, they are tens of millionaires.  Is it possible that that is too much money?  Is it possible to be that rich and still be in touch with the common man?  Joining me now with answers, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and editor-at-large at The New Republic, Peter Beinart; and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan. 

Welcome to you both.  Peter, fascinating, John Edwards, these numbers.  He earned about a half a million dollars from this Fortress Fund, this hedge fund.  This in the wake of two admissions by him.  One, he only joined the hedge fund, Peter, for the education so he could learn how financial markets work. 

In his time there, he explained to the rest of us, he never really figured out yet he was paid a half million dollars.  How do you get a job like that, A.  And B, can he credibly run a campaign as a populist after this? 

PETER BEINART, SENIOR FELLOW, CFR:  Yes.  On the second, sure he can.  I mean, Franklin Roosevelt had tons of money.  John F. Kennedy had tons of money.  Robert Kennedy had tons of money.  There is really not really, if you look at it historically, much of a correlation between how concerned you are about the poor and how much money you have. 

CARLSON:  But how about how you make it?  Making it from a hedge fund, it seems to me, is a little bit different than inheriting it, because you can make the case you inherit money.  You had no role in that, it was given to you and whatever.  You didn‘t do anything wrong or right in order to get it. 

But working for a hedge fund, the purpose of which is to exploit inefficiencies in public markets—basically hedge funds are open only to the rich, you can‘t buy into the Fortress Fund, or maybe you can, if you are making more money than I think.  But unless you are, you can‘t. 

The average person can‘t.  It is an inside deal.  Everybody knows that.  And moreover, he admitted he doesn‘t understand how the thing works and he made a half a million dollars.  If that is not an inside job, what is?

BEINART:  It is not really that much different from Giuliani making all this money by putting his name on law firms that he doesn‘t really do anything... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Giuliani is not running as a friend of the poor. 

BEINART:  Well, you should ask him whether he thinks.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  No, but hold on, wait, no, let‘s be real here.  I have watched John Edwards a lot.  So have you.  He gets up there and he says, I have organized workers.  My father was a—you know, a slave laborer or whatever he is claiming his father was.  Worked in a factory. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  No, seriously.  He is like—you know what I mean, he is a son of the working man and yet he is working for a hedge fund doing nothing and getting a half million dollars.  It is like a total outrage.  Nobody is mad about it?  Are you mad, Pat? 

(CROSSTALK)

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  What did he say, he had to learn how the hedge fund helped him to understand the different between the poor and the rich.  The Mother Teresa hedge fund. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  I mean, look, the guy starts his campaign in the backyard in New Orleans shoveling something out of it.  You find out he has got a 28,000-foot home that needs a nuclear power plant to light and heat the thing, and then the guy is getting $400 haircuts at a beauty shop. 

BEINART:  I thought conservatives liked nuclear power.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  How do you—I mean, he doesn‘t pass the laugh factor.  Who was it—Huckabee said, you know, the $400 haircut brought the whole house down.

CARLSON:  In the beauty parlor. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Here is the point.  I actually think that there ought to be a distinction between a candidate‘s public case for office and his private life.  And we all are hypocrites, I hope we are hypocrites.  If you are not a hypocrite, your standards are too low, right? 

If you are living up to your own standards, you are not trying hard enough.  So look, I‘m all for hypocrisy.  But this guy‘s campaign to some great extent is based on his personal biography, on himself, on his story.  And his story just doesn‘t make sense, does it?  I mean, is he really a candidate anymore? 

BEINART:  Yes.  Look, I mean, I would rather someone be hypocritical than someone taking the view, well, gosh, because I am so rich, I really should only care about the rich.  I mean, is that the alternative here? 

The test for Edwards is whether he is really credible on these policy questions, whether he can really speak, whether he can match Hillary Clinton, who was a really good wonk kind of in domestic policy, being able to speak really articulately and lay out a vision for what he wants to do with the country domestically. 

This stuff is—really doesn‘t matter. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, look.

CARLSON:  God, it matters to me.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  . the question is, is he a phony?  Is he a phony?  Is he a guy who.

BEINART:  Is he a lightweight?  That is the important question.

BUCHANAN:  Well, there are sets of double—second question.  But look, if, let‘s suppose, he doesn‘t win the nomination, do you see him spending the rest of his life, like—you know, whatever you say about Jimmy Carter down there banging those nails into the wood and doing all the rest of the stuff, Habitat for Humanity.

Do you see him doing that? 

BEINART:  Well, now that he has made all of this money, he probably would.

(LAUGHTER)

BEINART:  Look, let‘s be real.  We have a political.

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART:  We have a political system in which people hold office and then in between holding office, they go and find a way very quickly to make a lot of money.  That is what happens.  Rudy Giuliani did it by law firms and speeches.  He did it with a hedge fund.  It is the way things happen.

CARLSON:  No, but here is the difference.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Here is the difference, if I make millions giving speeches, I have to get up and perform.  I‘m selling my talent—I‘m serious.  If you are—see I think the key to this is the hedge fund.  It is not that he is rich.  Every liberal is rich.  They are all rich.  They are all—

I‘m serious, they are all a bunch of limousine private jet people. 

You know what I mean?  They all are. 

(LAUGHTER)

BEINART:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  The point is not—a lot them are, as you know, that‘s not the point, the point is this hedge fund idea.  This—it really is the smallest, most elite, most restricted part of the financial world.  It is not open to you and me. 

And when Brian Williams asked, how do they make America better, hedge funds?  He couldn‘t answer.  Can you answer?

BEINART:  Well, that is a good question to ask Edwards, actually.  And I think he should have to answer that question given the fact that he worked at a hedge fund.  If he can‘t answer that, that is a problem. 

But there are lots of—look, it wouldn‘t be—there are lots of people who could give an argument from a left-of-center point of view about the fact that hedge funds are—and capital markets in general are useful in America. 

BUCHANAN:  But when he said it helps us understand the rich and the poor, do you agree with that?  Do you think that is why he was in that hedge fund? 

(LAUGHTER)

BEINART:  Oh certainly, it helped him understand the rich. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  That was the part that he didn‘t understand before. 

BEINART:  But it seems to me, the evidence that he was not corrupted by this hedge is exactly there in the fact that he wants to raise taxes on the rich and give it to the poor.  So he clearly was not corrupted by this experience.

CARLSON:  So he wants to spend other people‘s money, therefore he is not corrupt? 

BEINART:  He wants to spend it.

CARLSON:  I want to take your money, therefore I‘m pure?  How does that work exactly?

BEINART:  He wants to take the money of himself in the form of actually working for a hedge fund. 

CARLSON:  No, no.  He could certainly stop—he could stop construction on his indoor squash court in his house.  He could sell off 99 of his 100 acres and give that money to the poor.  Thereby he would be pure.  But to say, I am going you‘re your money and your money and everybody else‘s money and give it to somebody else, that doesn‘t make you pure. 

BEINART:  Well, it is his money too because he is now in an upper income bracket. 

BUCHANAN:  It is the liberals‘ idea of virtue.  You know, I am virtuous therefore will take money from B and give it to C and it helps my image. 

BEINART:  Theodore Roosevelt had this idea, yes, I thought it was a pretty good one, progressive taxation. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  I think it was.

BUCHANAN:  So did—it was—I think it was Marx in 1848. 

BEINART:  No, no, I think it was Roosevelt trying to prevent Marx from taking power.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  . progressive income tax, Communist Manifesto, Peter. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  People always beat up on the evangelicals...

BEINART:  No, no, no, no, it is Theodore Roosevelt—it is the middle of the American progressivism. 

CARLSON:  But Jerry Falwell, everyone said, oh, he was a self-righteous character.  I don‘t he has half as self-righteous as Laurie David or John Edwards or these people running around.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  He lived according to his convictions and beliefs 100 percent. 

CARLSON:  Who?

BUCHANAN:  Whatever you say about Falwell.  Right according to—I mean, his whole life was a mirror image of his beliefs and convictions.  Here is a guy that is the Mother Teresa of the Democratic Party.  He has got this gigantic.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  It would be like finding out that Jerry Falwell had like a shrine to Satan in his living room.

BEINART:  But this is why I don‘t care about all of these televangelists turn out to be doing things on the side.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, at least you‘re consistent then.

BEINART:  Because I agree with you.  Everybody is a hypocrite.  What we are concerned about is our public view. 

CARLSON:  Well, that is—I think that is a fair—I mean, look, you are making consistent, if misguided argument, I think. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Up next, a bipartisan group of senators reach a deal with the White House on so-called immigration reform.  Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle concede it is not perfect.  Will the new deal make economic and national security problems created by illegal immigration any better? 

Plus, the World Bank is still deliberating the fate of its president for the moment, Paul Wolfowitz.  Even the White House doesn‘t think he is going to survive.  Will Wolfowitz resign under his own terms?  Or will he be forced to step down in well-deserved disgrace?   You are watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Today‘s immigration deal went down concurrent with two other immigration items of note.  First, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today that for the first time more than 100 million Americans are from minority, ethnic and racial groups.  The largest and fastest-growing portion of the minority population is Hispanic America.  The second noteworthy side bar to the immigration study came from the arrest of the so called Fort Dix Six in New Jersey. 

“Newsweek” reports that three of the arrested terror suspects have lived illegally in the U.S. for 20 years after their family‘s case was lost in the vast U.S. immigration bureaucracy.  Illegal immigration is not only a question of jobs and public services, of course, but also of national security.  So what effect will today‘s immigration deal between the Senate and the White House have on all parts of issue? 

Back to discuss it, we welcome, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and editor at large of the “New Republic, Peter Beinart, and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.  Peter, Mickey Kaus has a really interesting piece on this in “Slate” today.  He describes this immigration deal as the Bush administration‘s domestic version of Iraq, a big risky gamble based on wishful thinking and non-existent administrative competence, that will end in disaster.  He makes a bunch of obvious, worth making, points.  One, that it is going to lower wages for unskilled workers in America just to start.  Do you agree with that? 

BEINART:  Seems to me that wages are lowered just by the fact that we have these people in the country.  What their legal status is doesn‘t really matter. 

CARLSON:  Of course.  I think the implication, and I‘m not giving him full credit for what he said, that amnesty encourages further illegal immigration.  That‘s his point. 

BEINART:  I guess my view is that the reason people come to the United States is that they can make more money.  So the amnesty part doesn‘t really change that.  If you believe you can stop them from coming in, OK.  But I don‘t think they are coming in because of the prospect of being made citizens.  That may be marginal.  They are mostly just coming in because they can make 20 times more money. 

CARLSON:  Of course.  But if they think—If people in Honduras and El Salvador and the rest of the world think they can come here without being punished, and if people who have come here illegally have been rewarded, or at least not thrown out, that is not a disincentive to coming.  Is it?

BEINART:  It‘s not a disincentive, but I they are coming already.  It is not quite fair to say.  They have to pay more than 5,000 dollars, which is for a lot of these people a lot of money.  They have to take all of these classes.  And they have to wait a long time and then go back to their home country, and then wait ten or 15 years.  I think most of us would say that is pretty significant. 

CARLSON:  Is this actually going to happen, Pat?  I mean, before we get all worked up about it.

BUCHANAN:  I really can‘t believe it‘s going to go through the House.  I think it will have trouble in the Senate.  I think Tancredo and Duncan Hunter and the others are going to be all over this thing in the primaries, in the debates, and things like that.  But look, what you‘ve got, this is a bill for the illegal aliens and for the business community.  There is nothing in here that secures the border. 

You mention they come here because their wages are low.  That‘s right.  Five billion people on this Earth make less than they make in Mexico, and half of the Mexicans say they want to come here.  You are talking about scores of millions of people coming and there is nothing in this bill that stops them.  This is the beginning of the end, in my judgment, of the United States as a community and a country and a nation.  We are just a polyglot boarding house for the world. 

CARLSON:  Here is an interesting set of numbers, Peter.  I‘m sure you saw this today.  “Polyglot boarding house for the world.”

BUCHANAN:  Teddy Roosevelt, that was.

CARLSON:  Interesting.  Here, the U.S. Census Bureau tells us what we already know, which is this is becoming, at a pretty rapid clip, not a white country anymore.  I am not saying that is good.  I‘m not saying that‘s bad.  It‘s just reality.  A lot of states, five of them, including the District of Columbia, you have minorities, in fact, in the majority in those states; California, Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico and the district. 

In those states, what exactly is the justification for affirmative action.  Why do we still have to dislike white people when they are the minority in those states, in other words?  Why should the majority get preference over the minority?  How does that work? 

BEINART:  I never thought there was any justification for affirmative action for Hispanics or Asians.  I think there are two potential kind of affirmative action arguments you can make.  One is for African Americans, particularly the decedents of people who were slaves in the United States, because that is our great original sin in this country, maybe Native Americans too. 

The second would be just a class-based thing, which said that some people face such great odds, you should give them a little break on their SATs, because just to get a lower SAT score, they had to work so much harder.  They might have greater potential.  Either of those, I would agree with you, should not include recent immigrants to the United States.

CARLSON:  But our conversation about minority status and black and white, and what it means to be oppressed, and all that, really is framed in terms that were applicable more in 1956 than they are now, black versus white.  That is going to become irrelevant pretty darn quick according to these numbers, right? 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think it is going to be irrelevant.  The problem is we‘re not—look, when I grew up in D.C., black Americans and white Americans, 400,000 each in D.C., we spoke the same language.  We had the same faith, studied the same history, listened to the same music.  OK, in D.C. there was one big problem.  It was segregation. 

No we‘re into identity politics.  Every group has its own list of demands.  The whole sense of community in the country has cracked down.  White folks are moving out of California, inland.  People are moving into their own enclaves.  We are becoming a group of nations inside a nation.  And you‘re going to have 100 million Hispanics, predominantly in the southwest, many of them believing it belongs to Mexico.  How do you assimilate them when the elites don‘t even believe in the melting pot anymore. 

CARLSON:  I hope that the vision Pat just outlined is completely wrong and doesn‘t come to pass.  But I think there is some evidence that it might.  And what—

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  -- having Quebec in the Southwest?  I mean, why wouldn‘t we?

BEINART:  The statistics I have seen show Hispanics by second generation intermarry at very high rates.  The Asians intermarry at very high rates.  The group that is still not intermarrying in America the most is actually African Americans.  You compare our immigrants today to the immigrants 100 years ago, my ancestors, Pat‘s ancestors, radical communists and anarchists from Easter Europe, Catholics and Jews to a Protestant country. 

The immigrants we have today, Asians and Catholic Hispanics in the United States, are much easier to assimilate into American society. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  I‘m not sure there‘s ever been as high a proportion of the population of the United States—

BEINART:  I think we are getting back to where we were about 100 years ago. 

BUCHANAN:  We‘re about 13, 14 percent.  You‘re getting up toward that.  But the numbers are enormous.  You were talking about 10 million.  You have got 36, 37 million immigrants, 12 million here illegally.  That is more illegals than all the English, Irish and Jews who ever came as legal immigrants.   

BEINART:  But to a much, much more smaller population than that. 

That‘s why I gave a percentage.

BUCHANAN:  But the point is you see countries breaking apart that are multicultural, multi-ethnic, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Britain right now. 

BEINART:  Because they didn‘t have a Democratic process and an ideal that could assimilate them.  We have an incredible record of being able to assimilate every part of the world. 

BUCHANAN:  We were assimilating far fewer and they all came from one continent.  Now they‘re coming from the whole world.

BEINART:  But we didn‘t see at that point as them all being similar. 

We saw these radical different groups.

BUCHANAN:  Why are you taking this risk? 

BEINART:  Because the potential for America to become a stronger country is absolutely enormous.  First of all, we have—

BUCHANAN:  Are we stronger when we—

BEINART:  We are!

BUCHANAN:  -- watching television every night, people yelling at each other over race.  Nine days over Don Imus, the Duke rape case?  All of these things convulse the society.  Unity makes you strong not diversity. 

BEINART:  No, the Don Imus thing is a sign that you can‘t simply be racist in this society. 

BUCHANAN:  I‘m talking about spending nine days talking about nappy headed hoes. 

BEINART:  How many times did you talk about the show?

BUCHANAN:  I‘m sure we talked about it.  Our cable TV was convulsed with it.

BEINART:  I would say probably 23 out of 24 hours per day.  I know I did.  Speaking of race, here is one of the more interesting—you know what, mea culpa.  We did that too.  We didn‘t do it, but others did it. 

Here is one of the more interesting numbers I have seen in a long time.  This is a Quinnepiac poll from last week.  It says among white born again evangelicals in Ohio, a group that is overwhelmingly Republican, care about abortion a great deal, gays, care about it, guns, a lot.  Giuliani is leading McCain 23 to 19.  Third place is Fred Thompson at nine, Romney at seven. 

But Giuliani is leading among white born again evangelicals in Ohio. 

What the hell is that, Pat? 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t know.  But I‘m going to the—

CARLSON:  No, I‘m serious.  That‘s an amazing—I am not passing judgment on it.  I think it‘s amazing.

BUCHANAN:  If he wins this, Tucker, I am going to the country Alec Baldwin went to in 2000. 

(CROSS TALK)

BUCHANAN:  You know what it means?  They don‘t know Rudy.  They know Rudy Giuliani from “Time Magazine,” man of the year, the guy standing up at 9/11, the image on TV, the great speech at the convention.  Let me tell you something, they know him better in Iowa, better in New Hampshire, better in South Carolina.  I don‘t think he makes it through to Super Tuesday as a serious candidate. 

CARLSON:  You know what, if they know that little, I think it is wrong of them even to answer the pollster‘s question.  They say, you know what, I have no clue.  I heard of the guy before, but I don‘t know squat about him.  I take a pass on that question, rather than screw up our polls and give us answers that don‘t make question. 

BEINART:  I basically agree with Pat.  But I am starting to get shaky on this view.  I feel like I have been saying this for a few months now.  If this is still true in the fall, we are going have to revise some of our conventional wisdom, and we‘re going to have to come to the view that 9/11 and this war on terror thing, much to your guys chagrin, has reshaped the conservative movement and the Republican party and made these cultural issues less important. 

BUCHANAN:  If Rudy is nominated, it is a different Republican party. 

CARLSON:  Totally.  Totally.  And then Pat and I go off and I follow Pat to some new party.  Very quickly, speaking—

BUCHANAN:  Me and Ron Paul.

CARLSON:  I‘m there.  I‘m totally there.  You give me the address to headquarters, I‘m moving.  Very quickly, in the minute we have left, Chuck Hagel really does sound like he is running as a third party candidate, which is remarkable to me.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think he can get on the ballot.  It‘s too tough for him.  If he is with Bloomberg—Bloomberg‘s got a billion dollars.  He can get on the ballot.  I don‘t think Chuck can get on himself at this relatively late date, frankly, get all these ballot positions.  I think you need a million signatures in California, 90,000 to get yourself in North Carolina, unless it has changed.  You need a real organization to do that.  Texas is huge.  I don‘t see how he does it.

CARLSON:  If he does do it with Bloomberg, and I wouldn‘t count Bloomberg out.  I would imagine he‘s capable of anything.  He‘s certainly an energetic rich guy.  That has to hurt the Democrats. 

BEINART:  Absolutely.  If I were the Republicans, I would be pumping money into Hagel.  Hagel is a conservative, but his profile now is totally anti-war.  Bloomberg is a Democrat.  They can only take—I think the Republicans best chance of winning this would be in a three-way race, ala 1992. 

CARLSON:  I totally disagree.  I think it is their only chance. 

(CROSS TALK)

BEINART:  Drawing anti-war votes away.  He is more like a John Anderson. 

CARLSON:  Maybe the truth is that—

BUCHANAN:  He will get all of the votes of guys that don‘t want you to smoke in bars.  And they‘re all liberals.

CARLSON:  He‘s not getting my vote.  He‘s like a partisan kamikaze.  He‘s probably doing this for his party, Chuck Hagel, in the end.  You never know.  Thank you very much Peter, Pat.  I appreciate it. 

Coming up, it is America‘s greatest fear, nuclear weapons in the unsteady hands of Iran and North Korea.  But those countries aren‘t the only ones we should be worried about.  You will hear a stunning report about the wide open market for loose nukes. 

Plus an “American Idol” shocker.  Why was the most talented singer on the show sent home with a bronze medal?  Willie Geist warned us yesterday that would happen.  He joins us in a moment vindicated.  You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  A nuclear bomb is the equalizer that can turn a poor unstable country into a player on the international stage overnight.  Nuclear information and materials are all but available on eBay.  So how close are some of the world‘s most volatile nation to getting their hand on nukes and how exactly are they doing it.  Back to tell us about the problem of nuclear availability and what on Earth we can do to stop it, Peter Beinart and Pat Buchanan. 

Peter, this is one of those trues that everyone is sort of dimly aware of, that proliferation is real and accelerating.  But nobody in America seems concerned about it.  And those who are are derided as wackos.  Why is that exactly? 

BEINART:  I don‘t totally agree with you.  It was actually a big part of Obama‘s foreign policy speech that he gave a couple—that‘s been one of his issues with Lugar, you know, trying to basically strengthen these places in the former Soviet Union.  That was a big part of his foreign policy speech, that we need to make that a real priority. 

CARLSON:  But the idea that—and this is in no way a defense of the war, which I obviously oppose strongly, but the idea that Iraq could be on its way to getting a nuclear weapon is derided out of hand as ridiculous and totally unlikely.  In fact, it‘s—it turned out not to be true.  But the idea is not ridiculous, actually. 

BEINART:  No.  I think one of the biggest fears about an Iranian nuke is that you would have then a Saudi nuke and an Egyptian nuke.  And in east Asia, you would have Japan going nuclear and South Korea going nuclear.  It is very frightening.  I think you have to look at the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.  That whole international regime was actually pretty successful for several decades, and may now break apart.  I think it can be restored, but it is actually going to require us to do what we promised to do at the beginning of this, which is actually start nuclear disarmament inside the United States.  That is the only way we can make a deal. 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think the Muslims are going to be impressed if we start giving up our nukes. 

CARLSON:  You don‘t think that will them over?  You know what, that is a gesture of good will.  You‘ve done your part, this whole Jihad thing.  We give it up.

BEINART:  We‘re not talking about Jihadis here. 

BUCHANAN:  The big problem I see is frankly Pakistan, because they are one bullet away from being an Islamic Republican with nuclear weapons.  That nuclear weapon could travel. 

CARLSON:  How did we let them get nukes, exactly?

BUCHANAN:  They did it privately.  They did it right after the Indians did it.  They blew off five in a row and Paks blew off five in a row.  And A. Q. Khan had a big hand in that.  And he stole some of that stuff.  But that, to me, is a greater danger than Iran, because Iran has to realize that if it gets a nuke and one goes off anywhere in the world, whether it is from them or not, it is all over for them. 

Frankly, the Israelis have nukes.  In the last analysis, I think they will use them. 

CARLSON:  There‘s absolutely no question about it.  What if—The question of Iran getting a nuclear weapon kind of unfolds in slow motion.  We know it is happening.  We know that, all things being equal, in 10 years they will have one.  So will North Korea.  But we aren‘t really doing anything about it. 

BEINART:  No, we are.  The Bush administration is trying to basically raise the costs for them of this nuke, so they say, you know what, let‘s stop.  Let‘s make a deal.  We can always go back and try to build one later on.  But let‘s make a deal in which we stop short of building a nuclear weapon.  They have had some success in that, the Bush Administration. 

BUCHANAN:  Iran and North Korea too, they‘ve got to look.  Now North Korea, if they go ahead with this thing, they are going to get South Korea to build one.  They‘re going to get Japan to build one.  They‘re going to be no more secure. 

Iran is going to have the Arabs across the straits will build one, the Egyptians, the Turks, the Saudis and then they‘ve got the Israelis looking at them and they‘ve got the Americans putting a hair trigger on ours.  Are they safer?  So I think there are rational people in Iran and some of these other places, that realize, look, what is the benefit if we do it and the Japanese say, you know, North Korea, they get about 100 of them. 

BEINART:  Particularly because what Iran wants is to be a great power in the region.  They can have that without being a nuclear weapon.  They are going to be the dominant power in Iraq, probably.  If their economy flourishes, they will have a huge amount of influence.  They may not need the nukes to really have the influence they want.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think the nuke makes them more secure. 

CARLSON:  You don‘t think the nuke makes them more secure?  Why wouldn‘t it make them more secure.

BUCHANAN:  We are not going to attack them right now.  But they have themselves a nuclear weapon, who are they going to intimidate? 

CARLSON:  But look at North Korea.  All of a sudden, the second we believed they actually had a nuclear weapon, they seemed more secure to me. 

BUCHANAN:  What it secures you from—No country has been attacked directly, except for Israel with a couple of scuds, that is a nuclear power.  It is an insurance policy against regime change.  That‘s about it.  But it didn‘t save the Russian regime. 

CARLSON:  No, that is a good point.  But that is because implosion is hard to stop.  Thank you both very much.

When you are running for president you take all of the admirers you can get.  Hillary Clinton has one in porn star Jenna Jameson.  MSNBC obscenity analyst Willie Geist tells us what Jenna sees in Hillary when we come back.  You‘re watching MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  It‘s time for the most sensual part of this show, a not otherwise sensual show, to be honest.  But his part is.  This is the time for Willie Geist.  Willie?

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Sensual?  If this is your idea of sensual, Tucker, I feel sorry for you. 

CARLSON:  We were teasing some porn segment.  So I figured I‘d run with it. 

GEIST:  We‘ll get there in a minute.  We‘ll get there.  But I want to start by patting myself on the back.  You know, not for nothing, but do you remember anyone warning you about this time yesterday that the American voting public would go for style over substance and kick Melinda Doolittle, clearly the best singer on “American Idol,” off the show.  Let‘s see how things shook out last night? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN SEACREST, “AMERICAN IDOL”:  Those votes came in.  America has decided that this is the end of the road for you tonight on “American Idol.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  Interesting.  There were gasps across the country from the kind of people who gasp at reality TV shows when Melinda was given her walking papers.  Her untimely departure sets up a showdown now between 17-year-old Jordan Sparks and the beat boxing Blake Lewis.  Tucker, obviously I wasn‘t surprised, were you? 

CARLSON:  I was shocked, Willie.  Actually, I learned this news about 15 seconds ago and literally I had to push my jaw up before I came back on camera. 

GEIST:  Did it interrupt your birthday dinner plans when you heard the news, when your chief of staff reached over and whispered in your ear. 

CARLSON:  One of the servants came rushing in from the servants‘ quarters.   

GEIST:  What about “American Idol” and what about the American people would lead people to think that they would vote for the most talented person?  It‘s teenagers and 20 somethings.  They don‘t care.  They like Britney Spears.  So, obviously, poor Melinda was going to get voted of. 

CARLSON:  It doesn‘t bode well for the coming election. 

GEIST:  No, no, but she‘ll be fine.  She‘ll have a career.  She‘s a good singer.  Well, a lot of people seem to be complaining, Tucker, of Paris Hilton fatigue these days.  They‘re just plain sick and tired of hearing about her.  Me, I‘m actually fueled by each new story about her. 

So here‘s another one.  Paris dropped the appeal of her jail sentence today after her term was cut nearly in half.  The L.A. County Sheriff‘s Office announced that she‘ll serve an estimated 23 days behind bars instead of the 45 days to which she was originally sentenced.  The new sentence is a result of her anticipated good behavior.  That actually makes no sense. 

But anyway, Paris will do her time in a 12-cell special needs housing unit that accommodates high profile inmates who need special protection.  Tucker, special needs, we get it.  She‘s not smart.  You‘re putting her in jail.  You have to insult her too?  You put her in special needs.  OK, enough, right?

CARLSON:  For dyslexic prisoners. 

GEIST:  Exactly, kicking a woman while she‘s down.  That‘s just not

cool.  That is not cool

CARLSON:  I‘m totally out of sympathy.  I had a tiny bit of sympathy for her on day one, and now I feel like she should have a life sentence just for being annoying. 

GEIST:  Also, have you ever heard of anticipated good time?  It‘s like you get a life sentence.  You look like a good guy.  We‘ll give you 20 years instead.  What does that mean?  And why would you anticipate that she will have good behavior? 

CARLSON:  It‘s California. 

GEIST:  I‘m just glad to see my lobbying on her behalf finally paid off.  Well, Tucker, last year it was Borat on the beach in a skimpy bathing suit.  The year the big stunt at the Cannes Film Festival was Jerry Seinfeld jumping off the roof of a hotel.  Look at him there.  It‘s a long way to go to promote a movie. 

Luckily, Seinfeld wore a giant bee costume to protect himself on the way down.  Oh, and he was connected to a zip line too.  So it wasn‘t that daring actually.  Seinfeld has a animated movie about the life of bees coming out in November.  He said, quote, one thing I hate is any kind of movie promotion that smacks of desperation, right before he leapt from the eight story hotel in a giant bee costume.  Look at him go there.

Tucker, we actually got a sneak preview—He‘s going to do this little mini shows for NBC, like one minute, two minute things during commercials about the production of this movie.  It actually looks very funny.  Chris Rock is in it too. 

I kind of think if Jerry Seinfeld is doing a project after a couple of years, you‘re sort of obligated to see it.  It‘s going to be good.

CARLSON:  Yes, I think so.  The bee stunt looked kind of dangerous. 

Imagine, Jerry Seinfeld killed in bee stunt. 

GEIST:  Exactly.  You know, Michael Moore is in Cannes too.  Maybe he should get drunk and try that tonight to. 

CARLSON:  There is not a line that could hold him.  

GEIST:  No, that‘s right.  Finally, Tucker, Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign got a nice shot in the arm today, but the senator might want herself tested after this particular shot.  International porn star Jenna Jameson said in an interview that Hillary is her favorite candidate.  Jameson said, I love Hillary.  I would love to have a woman in office. 

Porn‘s leading lady went on to say that the Bill Clinton were a boon to the adult entertainment industry.  She said, quote, I look forward to another Democrat being in office.  It just makes the climate so much better for us.  Now you can laugh Tucker, but do you have any idea how big the Jenna Jameson constituency is?  I mean, there are men, many of whom are sitting in our control room, who would follow her to the end of the Earth.  So, this isn‘t the worst thing that ever happened to Hillary. Let‘s put it that way.

CARLSON:  No, I think the whole pornography community is pro Hillary. 

Jenna Jameson just said it.

GEIST:  And now the world waits to hear who Ron Jeremy will endorse. 

CARLSON:  Like so much of it, you literally couldn‘t make it up.  It‘s too amazing, just too perfect.  Willie Geist from headquarters.  Thanks a lot Willie. 

That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  We‘ll be back tomorrow.  See you then.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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