Guest: Sam Seder, Janeane Garofalo, Terry Jeffrey, Robert Reich
PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST: Tonight, breaking away. New polls show President Bush moving into a clear lead over John Kerry. Has the Democratic ticket begun to fade in the homestretch?
Then, the politics of faith. Should a president have strong religious beliefs and should those beliefs guide his foreign policy? A new hot debate in this election.
I‘m Pat Buchanan, in for Joe Scarborough. And you just entered
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
I‘m joined by Frank Luntz and our host, Joe Scarborough.
Gentlemen, I want to give you some news nationally.
And I want to take the first question to you, Frank Luntz. ABC News now has the president up by six points, while Fox News has him up by seven.
FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: We have had this swing since the last debate towards the president that you can no longer dismiss as being within the margin of error or as being insignificant.
What is happening is that even while Americans were deciding that John Kerry—quote—“won the debate”—unquote—they were deciding that George Bush seems more presidential and is the kind of person that they want to run the country for the next four years. This is significant because we have never had a situation where they made one evaluation during the debates that was very strong and yet they appear to be making a different evaluation when it comes to the election.
One more thing, Pat. The national polls tend to run about three or four days ahead of the state polls. What this is saying is, within about the next 96 hours, you are going to see some of these swing states also shifting towards the president‘s direction.
BUCHANAN: All right, Frank, we are going to bring up those swing states in a minute.
But what I want to ask you now is a question, what would you do? Assume you are an adviser to John Kerry. What would you do now, when this appears to be looking like those last few days of that 1980 race, when the swing just went to Bush (sic) and it seemed that there was nothing Carter could do to stop it?
LUNTZ: The swing to Reagan.
What I would do is, I would advise the Kerry campaign for the last five days to go strictly positive. He made the case against the president, and the president‘s unfavorable ratings hover around 50 percent. That is enough in a general sense for John Kerry to win. But John Kerry never made the case for John Kerry. I would advise him to say, OK, for the last five days, I am not going to mention President Bush.
I am only going to tell you about my plans, about where I stand and what I would do. The problem is, if you look at the people around John Kerry, I don‘t think they have the guts to do that. It would be radical. It would be extreme. But imagine that, a positive campaign for the last four or five days.
BUCHANAN: OK, Joe, what is your take on these polls? You and I are about the only two guys in America that thought the president really won the second debate and won the third. The polls were against us. The media was against us. What is your take on these latest national polls, and what would you advise the Kerry camp to do right now?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Well, Pat, my take is that we were right.
SCARBOROUGH: You will remember, after the first debate, I absolutely skewered the president in Miami. I said he did a horrendous job. He was ill-prepared. If he couldn‘t make any better defense for being the president of the United States for the next four year, then he didn‘t deserve to win.
He came out. He did a better job the second time. I thought, in the third debate, though, the national press couldn‘t have been more wrong. George W. Bush was on fire. He really—he actually—he deserves an apology from me, because I have always said that the guy is an intelligent guy, a decent guy, but he can‘t communicate.
He actually—I think he did a great job communicating in the third debate. And look at these poll numbers. The fact that “The Washington Post”/ABC News tracking poll, which I think most everybody is looking at the closest, has jumped from three to six, the Fox News poll that came out, which is at plus seven, the Gallup, which is at plus eight, you look at the tide that‘s going his direction, I think it‘s going this direction for a main reason.
And let me tell you what it is. An NBC poll which came out a few days ago, which actually had the race dead even, the internals of that poll and every other poll that I have seen have shown that there is a significant shift. The American voters, about two, three, four weeks ago, were saying that the economy, health care, and the war on terror were all about equal in importance.
Over the past week and a half, those numbers have shifted dramatically. Americans have decided this election is about who can best protect them in the war on terror, and they have decided it‘s not even a close race.
BUCHANAN: OK, Joe and Frank, now I want to read you some of the battleground polls, the latest we‘ve got. And, frank, they seem to confirm what you were saying is coming in the next 48 to 96 hours.
Down in Florida, the recount state of 2000, our MSNBC Mason-Dixon poll has Bush leading Kerry 48-45. In the battleground state of Ohio, state hit by job losses, the president now leads by five, 49-44. In Pennsylvania, the challenger still leads, with Kerry ahead by a narrow margin, 47-46, one-point lead for Kerry. That‘s Rasmussen Reports.
Moving out West to Wisconsin, Bush now has a lead in this Gore state of 50-44, six points in Wisconsin. In Iowa, he is beating Kerry by two points, 47-45. On to Minnesota. It is a dead heat in Minnesota, 47 each. On to Michigan. Here, Kerry leads the president still 49-46. But it is still a battleground state in the real sense of that word.
In Missouri, Bush leads by five, with 49 percent of the vote. And in New Mexico, another Gore state in 2000, Bush now leads by three with 50 percent of the vote. Bush‘s largest battleground state lead is now in Nevada, 52-42, a 10-point lead, and a big lead in Colorado as well, 51-45. In New Hampshire, however—and here‘s one problem for the Bush folks. That‘s a Bush state in 2000. Kerry leads in the Granite State by two, 49-47.
But, in West Virginia, it‘s Bush 49, Kerry 44, five points there. Oregon, John Kerry leads Bush 53 to 45. It looks like it‘s almost out of reach, eight-point gap. And in New Jersey, Kerry leads, but it‘s only by 4, 49-45. Finally, in the state of Washington, the senator from Massachusetts leads by seven.
OK, Frank Luntz, what does this tell you, and should the president and Cheney start to write off the West Coast?
LUNTZ: Actually, yes, they should start to write off the West Coast.
I think the most significant of all the polling numbers you read me was Wisconsin, a six-point lead. And that‘s a very reputable survey. For Bush to win in Wisconsin, which was a narrow Gore state in 2000, that absolutely forces John Kerry to win either Florida, which is unlikely—
Jeb Bush is the most popular governor in America today. And I think that the president and his brother, the governor, will do quite well in that state. I do believe that will be a Bush state.
It forces John Kerry to win in Ohio. If I am George Bush, I get into Ohio. I got three states, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa. And, in Iowa, the president is doing better than expected, Wisconsin with that six-point lead. All you‘ve got to do in that case is win Ohio, and the West Coast doesn‘t matter, and any of these other swing states don‘t matter. John Kerry right now is really—he has got a challenge, but don‘t count him out in Ohio, because the economic numbers down there, even though they are improving, aren‘t improving fast enough for the citizens of the state.
BUCHANAN: All right, Joe, let me suggest another strategy I would take, if I were Bush. I might write off the West Coast, but I would make Kerry and Edwards go back to states like Michigan, go back to states where Bush is challenging, New Jersey, in order to keep them out of Ohio somewhat.
And, in other words, I would make Kerry play on the whole field where he is losing, rather than just the states you have got to have. What is your take?
SCARBOROUGH: You are exactly right. It‘s a brilliant strategy.
You know, the Kerry campaign, just last week, was in Nevada. They were saying this time last week that Nevada was one of those big states they were going to pick up. You look at the latest poll that comes out. They are getting trounced right now by 10 points. This time last week in this “Washington Post”/ABC poll, George Bush‘s favorability points, again, well below 50.
In the latest poll that came out just today, came out just a few hours ago, he is now getting a nine-point spread, a 54-45 favorable-to-unfavorable spread. That hasn‘t happened in a long time. You know what I would do? I do make him go to Michigan. I keep going into Pennsylvania. I keep going into Ohio. I think the president has Florida nailed down.
If he is up six points in Wisconsin right now, if he is tied in Minnesota right now, basically, the ball is in his court, and the best thing he can do is keep hammering the point home.
I want to get back again to the issue that I think—I mean, we can talk about where they travel, but I am telling you, the security mom issue is going to end up being the issue of the 2004 election. You know, I have been laid up on my back for the past couple weeks, because I have got an old bad back injury. But I have been watching TV and watching ad placements.
The George Bush-Dick Cheney campaign has been putting the same spot into women‘s TV, into “Oprah,” into “Ellen,” into all of these other things. And it‘s that same commercial of the young boy where they start up saying, do you want to fight this war over there or over here?
SCARBOROUGH: John Kerry was against Ronald Reagan. He is against George Bush. George Bush is right.
LUNTZ: I have got a question, Joe, very quickly.
BUCHANAN: Go ahead.
LUNTZ: What the heck are you doing watching “Ellen”?
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? I am a uniter, not a divider, first of all.
But, secondly, I am serious. I am watching women‘s daytime television shows, like “Oprah,” which I never, ever watch, because I am looking at what the Bush strategy is. And this is what is so fascinating to me. You look at the Bush ad that is aimed at women, and it talks about protecting their children. You then look at the Kerry ads that are trying to duplicate the success. You know what they are talking about? Iraq.
Let me tell you something. A mom that is watching “Oprah” doesn‘t really care who is dying in Iraq. I know that sounds cold. They care about protecting their children at home. And, subliminally, they are buying into the Bush argument and the Tommy Franks argument: Would you rather fight the war on terror in America or in Iraq?
SCARBOROUGH: They choose Iraq. That‘s why they are picking George W.
BUCHANAN: OK, final question, Frank Luntz.
BUCHANAN: There‘s something of the politics of fear and loathing going on here, when Edwards says, you know, if Kerry wins, people like Christopher Reeve get out of their wheelchairs, Bush is taking away the flu vaccine from all the folks in the country, he is going to bring back the draft.
All these tactics, are they doing them any good for Kerry? You think that Kerry should go positive, but tell me state by state. You don‘t think he should go back to some of these states that are weak and are supposed to be blue states?
LUNTZ: I was shocked, for example, at Teresa Heinz Kerry‘s comment—and she has since apologized. I believe a few hours ago, she apologized—saying that Laura Bush had never held a job and did so in a very condescending way.
I think that kind of anger, the mentioning of Dick Cheney‘s daughter, that voters, these last remaining uncommitted voters are looking at the mean-spiritedness of Kerry, Edwards, their family, their campaign staff, saying that it‘s open season on anybody.
LUNTZ: The public looks at that and says, you know what? I don‘t want that. I don‘t want that for four years I don‘t even want that for two more weeks. And I think that is helping the Bush campaign succeed.
BUCHANAN: Go ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: I am absolutely stunned what Teresa Heinz Kerry said again about women that decide that they want to stay home and work with their families.
And I am equally stunned by Elizabeth Edwards. I think Elizabeth Edwards‘ statement, which, of course, Frank Rich of “The New York Times” thinks is just a gutsy thing to say, saying that the Cheneys are ashamed of their daughter, I think that is beneath contempt.
And I will tell you what. That may play well with Frank Rich and the Upper West Side, but people in middle America cringe at that.
LUNTZ: Joe is right.
SCARBOROUGH: And it‘s these little things that add up that end up costing people elections.
LUNTZ: Joe is absolutely right.
BUCHANAN: OK, Frank Luntz, Joe. Frank Luntz and Joe Scarborough, thanks very much, fellows.
Coming up, religion has been important to just about every president, so why is Bush being attacked by liberals for his strong faith? We will debate that with an all-star panel next.
BUCHANAN: Next on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, do religion and politics mix?
We will ask our all-star panel coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that God wants everybody to be free. That‘s what I believe.
And that‘s been part of my foreign policy. In Afghanistan, I believe that the freedom there is a gift from the Almighty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
President George W. Bush has come under fire for his religious faith, and there are new attacks daily. Today, Maureen Dowd of “The New York Times” weighed in—and I quote—“What does it tell you about a president that his grounds for war are so weak that the only way he can justify it is by believing God wants it, or that his only Iraq policy now, as our troops fight a vicious insurgency and the dream of a stable democracy falls apart, is a belief in miracles? Mr. Bush has shown all the evangelical voters who didn‘t like his daddy that he gets as Mr. Pat Robertson puts it, his direction from the lord.”
We will discuss Ms. Dowd‘s attack on the president‘s faith in a moment.
But, first, let me show you something John Kerry told voters of Ohio a few days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will bring my faith with me to the White House, and it will guide me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Joining me now, Robert Reich, former labor secretary and author of the book, “Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle For America,” and Terry Jeffrey, editor of “Human Events” magazine.
Robert Reich, why is the president being attacked for his devout Christian faith and his belief that—and his reliance, if you will, upon divine providence?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Well, Pat, to the extent that he is being attacked for religious beliefs, I think that‘s wrong. I think that‘s over the top.
Americans are very deeply religious. Most people in the country not only believe in God, but most people in this country are regular churchgoers or they regularly attend synagogue. But there is a distinction between being a religious person—and, by the way, remember, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton also were very religious—being a religious person on the one side, and taking direction from God, rather than subjecting yourself to logic and reason.
Now, I am not saying that George Bush has tipped over the balance, but I am just saying that to the extent that there‘s a criticism, it may be that he is coming pretty close.
BUCHANAN: All right, Terry Jeffrey.
TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR, “HUMAN EVENTS”: Well, the truth is, Pat, there is no logic and reason without God.
The fact is that, because God made an orderly universe, there‘s logic and reason. And the fundamental creed of the United States of America is, in fact, laid out in the Declaration of Independence, which was written by a deist, not a Christian, Thomas Jefferson, who said, all men are endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which is the same as George Bush saying God wants all men to be free.
And I would submit to Robert Reich and other skeptics that in order for the United States to have a just society, in order for law to be just, it must comport with that principle Jefferson laid out and which George Bush quite clearly believes. And yet we see liberals all the time, including John Kerry, saying they can‘t embrace, that somehow they have to divorce their pursuit of justice and law through what we know justice is from how we know has God revealed it to us.
REICH: Let‘s be very clear about...
REICH: Yes. I‘m sorry, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Before you answer that, let me give you, cite you something.
Our founding fathers often invoked religion. You mentioned guidance. Now, speaking of guidance, here‘s a quote from George Washington addressing the Delaware Indian chiefs and giving them guidance—quote—President Washington said: “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.”
Now, there is basically a direct counsel to an Indian tribe to follow the faith of Jesus Christ from our first president. Now, if it‘s OK for the first president, why is what this current president has done wrong in any way?
REICH: First of all, I think we may be talking about apples and oranges here.
I completely agree that a president or any national leader should be guided by moral principles, and those moral principles very often are found in one‘s religious beliefs. I was labor secretary, and how did I tell what was good from what was bad? Well, I consulted my own religious beliefs very often and I tried to understand what the moral tenor of the country was.
But there‘s a distinction between doing that on the one hand and on the other hand—and I am not saying George Bush has done this—but on the other hand, actually substituting faith for logic or for facts.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me ask you this. We believe, I believe as a Catholic that true faith and true science and reason, there is no conflict among them, because they all have the same author. And do you agree with that?
REICH: Well, I do to some extent, but, again, there is this realm of reason and fact and discussion and argumentation having to do with basically the facts around us.
And if I am talking to somebody about a good public policy, for example, I will try to make an argument based upon the facts that I understand. But, obviously, in the background is going to be a moral judgment about what is good, but there still is going to be a factual argument about whether we should go into Iraq or whether we should do this or whether we should do that.
BUCHANAN: OK. Let me take up your point with Terry Jeffrey.
Terry, is it legitimate to use arguments based not necessarily just on simple reason, only on reason, fact, and logic, but on faith and Christian belief and biblical beliefs for the president in his policy toward the Middle East, let‘s say, toward Israel and Palestine and even toward Iraq, when he makes a decision as to whether the United States should go to war?
JEFFREY: I think it cannot be made without reference to God, Pat.
I think, first of all, God precedes religion, whether you are a Christian or a Jew, a Catholic, Protestant, whatever. If you do not believe there‘s a God, I don‘t believe you can believe there‘s a law. Robert Reich says that you have to use logic and reason and it eventually it goes back to some moral principle.
But if there isn‘t a God, who sets the moral principle? The Nietzschean model is that the superman sets his own moral principle. I think fundamentally Americans rejected that. We have through our history. If we were to say there is no God that we believe in from whom and in whom we ultimately root our law, then we are saying that the most powerful people in our society can determine what is right or wrong and then set the law according to what they want and what serves their interest.
BUCHANAN: Robert Reich, Go ahead.
REICH: Well, I don‘t really know that there‘s much agreement here. I am completely agreeing with Mr. Jeffrey that, in terms of moral basis for deciding what is ultimately good, we can consult our religious training, our kind of basic premises about God.
There are atheists—and I have met them—who also have a moral sense of duty and obligation that doesn‘t necessarily come from their religion, but there are some basic moral precepts here. But let me distinguish this again from say going into—and I am not saying George Bush did this, but supposing we had a president...
BUCHANAN: Well, let me ask you. Has he done anything, crossed any line at all, in your judgment, because certainly in Maureen Dowd‘s judgment, he has trampled all over the line?
REICH: Well, that‘s an interesting question, Pat. I read not only Maureen Dowd, but there was an interesting article in “The New York Times” magazine last Sunday by Ron Suskind about...
REICH: ... the extent to which George Bush actually is not really assessing the facts and subjecting policy to the kind of hard analysis that we expect of presidents, but is actually sitting back and consulting with whatever, his moral precepts or God.
And if you go over that line, I think it makes people nervous, even people who are very, very religious and very, very God-centered, because they understand that, although God is the source perhaps for them and for most of us of moral judgments, God, she or he, may not be the source of facts and analysis. And we need to base our foreign policies and our economic policies and our domestic policies on some sense of the reality around us that may be measurable.
And that‘s the issue here. And I think we ought to be very clear about that.
BUCHANAN: All right, very briefly, Terry.
JEFFREY: Well, I think what‘s really at work here is that the left in America today wants to do things that everybody who is reasonable know God knows we should not do. Therefore, they need to get God out of the way, because the traditional understanding of right and wrong, which comes from our religious faith, from revelation, from 2,000 years of Western tradition, is at odds with things the left wants to do in our law and society. Therefore, they have got to get God out of the way.
REICH: Pat, I don‘t know how to make any sense of what Terry just said. The left—we are just calling each other names here. This is ridiculous.
JEFFREY: Let me be specific.
If you believe, as Thomas Jefferson said, that our rights come from the creator, you say, for example, as the Supreme Court has said, that same-sex sodomy is a right, then if you apply Thomas Jefferson to that, you would have to say, that right comes from the creator.
If, as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court says, same-sex marriages are right, then, if you take Thomas Jefferson and apply it there, you have to say that the right to same-sex marriage comes from the creator. I think all reasonable people, including you and Maureen Dowd, do not believe that God has given us a right to these things. Therefore, if you want to say they are rights, you have to remove God from the equation of rights and create this Nietzschean society that the left really wants.
BUCHANAN: All right, we are going to give you a chance to respond when we come back.
More of how John Kerry is starting to use his own faith on the campaign trail.
We‘ll continue the debate when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With God‘s help, and for the sake of our nation, it is time for us to join hands in America.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I intend to seize those opportunities and meet those challenges with all the energy and ability and strength God has given me. That is simply all I can do.
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is in the midst of a spiritual awakening and a moral renewal. And with your biblical keynote, I say today, yes, let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Coming up on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, a new poll says most Americans believe a leader needs strong religious beliefs. So why is President Bush facing criticism for his faith? We will debate that.
But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: I, like you and like millions of Americans, am guided my faith. I was raised—I went to a church school when I was a kid, chapel every day, twice on Sundays. I was an altar boy when I was a young man. I wore my rosary into battle in Vietnam, got carried through that with faith.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Bush has regularly been under attack for his faith, but in the past two weeks, John Kerry has ramped up his religion message. Where is the outrage over that?
We are back with Robert Reich and Terry Jeffrey. And let‘s bring in Janeane Garofalo, host of “Majority Report” on Air America, with her co-host, Sam Seder.
Janeane, let me ask you, do you have a problem with the president‘s expression of faith or with John Kerry‘s expression of faith or with their using religious beliefs to guide them in public policy?
JANEANE GAROFALO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, I do have a problem when people use religion in a pandering way. I think that there is a good reason for the separation of church and state, and that‘s because people‘s faith isn‘t usually subject to debate. It‘s very sacred to them. They are very absolutist about it, and you can‘t have good government without debate.
And I want to go back to something Mr. Jeffrey said about the Nietzschean society and the concept of the Nietzschean superman. It‘s interesting that he brought it up, because I think what has happened I, the neocons and a lot of right-wing people in the Republican Party, who claim to have a moral compass guided by religion, are really taking the Nietzschean superman and the Nietzschean concept of everything is permitted and using that, because the Nietzschean superman creates his own universe.
And I believe that a lot of the neocons and a lot of the flawed architects at places like the American Enterprise Institute create their own universe and they use God as a shield.
JEFFREY: Well, I am not a neocon.
GAROFALO: I am not saying you are a neocon.
BUCHANAN: Does she not have a point? The neocons, quite frankly, believe that we ought to use this moment of supreme power to reshape the world, and especially the Middle East, using force and violence if necessary, in the image of the United States, because their concept of the good justifies it.
JEFFREY: Well, I think there is an irony here, Pat, in that I think good morality preaches prudence in foreign policy, that the duty of statesmen is to maximize the interests of their country, protect the security and liberty of their people without doing excessive harm.
BUCHANAN: All right, do you see prudence in the president‘s foreign policy when you hear Pat Robertson and others say, you know, we are not going to have any casualties, I have got all the confidence in it, instinct, and the lord has told me what I am doing is right?
JEFFREY: Yes, I don‘t know whether I want to accept Pat Robertson‘s characterization of the president‘s justification of his foreign policy.
But I will say this. While I like Bush much better than Kerry on national security and I think he‘s going to do a better job protecting this country than Kerry, I do disagree with the Wilsonian rationale he has given for his policy going forward. I do not think that it‘s in keeping with U.S. interests or our tradition. And I do not, by the way, believe it will be sustained by American democracy. I do not think Congress will authorize foreign military activity designed to push democracy around the globe.
And I do think that the moral tradition of the West is in keeping with a more restrained foreign policy.
BUCHANAN: All right, Robert Reich, Woodrow Wilson very much sort of had a providential view of history, that he was this great instrument of history, and he was going to go to Versailles and they‘re going to remake the world, very utopian, almost as much certainly as you see in President Bush. Isn‘t that true?
REICH: Well, certainly, Pat.
Woodrow Wilson had a very idealistic view of what American foreign policy could be. But that‘s really not what we are talking about, I don‘t think. I mean, Maureen Dowd‘s charge, Pat Robertson‘s charge, Ron Suskind‘s charge, a lot of charges leveled against the president recently have been not so much that he has an idealistic view or not. It‘s that he is not listening to the facts. He is saying he is going into Iraq not because he understands clearly why it‘s linked to American interests, but perhaps because he has sort of a divine view that we should be there for some interest.
BUCHANAN: All right.
REICH: Now, again, let‘s be clear. We want to know more about whether George W. Bush is making decisions based upon facts that somehow come to him out of the ether or whether he‘s making decisions based on reality.
BUCHANAN: Let read from a quote titled “Bush is God.” And it‘s in a magazine called “The American Prospect.” And its author is one Robert Reich.
And, Janeane, I want you to listen to this, and Terry and Sam, because I am going to want to ask you about this. Let me quote from it:
“The underlying battle of the 21st century,” says Robert Reich, “will be between modern civilization and anti-modernist fanatics, between those believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe blind allegiance to a higher authority, between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is no more than preparation for an existence beyond life, between those who believe that truth is believed solely through scripture and religious dogma and those who rely primarily on science, reason and logic.”
And earlier in that piece, Mr. Reich referred to anti-abortion Catholics and basically orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians.
REICH: Now, give me a chance to defend myself.
BUCHANAN: All right, you‘re going to defend it after Janeane Garofalo responds.
GAROFALO: Well, I think Robert Reich doesn‘t have to defend himself at all. He is absolutely right. He‘s a very smart man. And right on. I couldn‘t agree more.
There is a pre-modern movement. It feels very anti-intellectual to me. There is a real sort of absolutist notion of religion that doesn‘t seem very genuine to me at all.
BUCHANAN: Sam, do you second that?
SAM SEDER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, I will second that.
I think the issue is fundamentalism. The world has a problem now with Muslim fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, and, frankly, Jewish fundamentalists. And I think what we‘re seeing is, when you have someone like Elliott Abrams, who is in the Bush administration, selling the policy of support of Sharon‘s plan to pull out of Gaza because Gaza is not important to the biblical revelation of Apocalypse, that‘s a problem.
And I don‘t think most Americans want to believe that our foreign policy is being dictated by what the New Testament says.
BUCHANAN: Terry Jeffrey.
JEFFREY: Pat, I read an excellent book last Christmas called “George Washington‘s Christmas Farewell.” It talked about how he surrendered his commission, the Continental Army, left Wall Street and Fraunces Tavern, and went to Annapolis, where he met Continental Congress and he gave up his sword.
And they gave a speech, the Congress did, to George Washington. And it was written by Thomas Jefferson. And in it, what they wished for Washington was everlasting salvation. That‘s what Thomas Jefferson wished for George Washington. That‘s what the people who founded this country believed in.
BUCHANAN: Robert Reich, who has got to get a chance to defend himself.
REICH: If I could just say one thing.
Look, certainly, if you read my piece in context, I was not in any way indicting religious people in general. I was talking about a minority.
BUCHANAN: I want you to name them. I know you mean Islamic fundamentalists. I know you mean Islamic terrorists.
REICH: If I can just finish my thought, please.
REICH: You know, you have to have some—part of religiosity in terms of the Judeo-Christian tradition is tolerance and listening. And I just want you to listen to what I have to say for just a moment.
And all I‘m saying is that there is a minority of religious people in the Islamic world, in the American religious world, in the European religious world, a minority of religious people who are very, very far out in terms of not listening to facts, not listening to analysis, not listening to logic. They are letting their religion dictate to them.
BUCHANAN: You cannot get off that easily, because you mentioned in that piece anti-abortion Catholics. You mentioned evangelicals or fundamentalists and Orthodox Jewish folks who are very supportive of Israel.
Who do you have in mind in the United States? What group? Can you name some names of people who you would put—who you could call fanatics?
REICH: Look, I am not talking about anybody being fanatics.
But I have come across, Pat, people who believe very passionately, and I respect them, but they believe very passionately that evolution, scientific evolution is just not truth, that Adam and Eve literally, literally, were put on the Earth as the first man and woman, and we should not in our schools teach evolution. We should teach creationism.
Now, I happen to—I don‘t agree with that. I think that that simply puts facts and analysis and logic aside. They don‘t want to think about science. They don‘t want to even have a discussion about science. And to me, that is dangerous. That‘s dangerous for our democracy. Jefferson would not have approved of that. Washington would not have approved. Our founding fathers believed in the enlightenment notion of deliberation and logic and facts and analysis.
BUCHANAN: Well, I think that there‘s—no one objects to the teaching of evolution as a theory and, quite frankly, Darwin and all the rest of it as historical figures and enormous impact of it.
But I think people do object, Robert Reich, to it being taught as something like religious truth, when they don‘t believe it to be that.
But, right now, stick around for more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, folks.
We‘ll be right back.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
We are here with our all-star panel, Janeane Garofalo, Sam Seder, Robert Reich, and Terry Jeffrey.
Sam, I want to go back to something you brought up. There is no doubt about it that there is in the United States and certainly in Israel—we see it in the problems in Gaza, the withdrawals, I mean, the threats of assassination of Prime Minister Sharon for withdrawing from Gaza.
BUCHANAN: But there is in the American Protestant and evangelical community and fundamentalist community a sense that Israel is a providential nation. Its coming back after 2,000 years in 1948 is part of God‘s plan, and God gave the Israeli people the lands from the Nile to the Euphrates, and they should not give up any of that land.
And Americans believe that, and many Israelis do.
BUCHANAN: Do you think there‘s a problem with that if the president believes it?
SEDER: Pat, it‘s not simply that.
The problem is, is that they believe Israel needs to be completely complete in a biblical sense for the Apocalypse to come.
SEDER: In which case, that scenario calls for Jews to move back there and all convert to Christianity.
Now, that‘s the part of the story that I find problematic. And I think, frankly, that‘s what problematic in the world. That belief, that absolute belief, that they have a corner on truth I think is very dangerous. And I think we see it in its most purest form in the Muslim fundamentalism.
BUCHANAN: All right, Janeane, quickly.
GAROFALO: I would say yes.
And I think it‘s absurd we are even discussing this. We might as well call the new right wing the Flat Earth Society. I think it is absurd in the year 2004 that we are talking about the end times. We are talking about a president who said the jury is still out on evolution.
BUCHANAN: All right.
GAROFALO: It‘s really very absurd.
BUCHANAN: All right, now, let me tell you. I spoke with Ronald Reagan. And while he was unsure about it, he believed in the idea and wondered whether it was not coming, these end times.
Robert Reich, what are your thoughts on the administration‘s Middle East policy? Do you think it‘s overly guided by religious fundamental beliefs?
REICH: Well, let just say this, Pat, that to the extent we can, Arabs and Jews and Christians and Muslims, to the extent that we can sit down and talk on the basis of what we know to be true not from our religious faith solely, but from facts, from analysis, from what we want for ourselves and our children, that discussion, that deliberation has the possibility of peace in it.
If we just stick to our religious beliefs, absolutists, and we don‘t actually listen to one another—this is true of the United States, too. This is true of Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives. If we don‘t engage in rational discussion, we are in very, very clear and present danger.
JEFFREY: Pat, remember that President Bush has said he would support the creation of a Palestinian state, which would checkmate the vision of Israel.
BUCHANAN: But there clearly are—but you know as well as I do, there are religious fundamentalists, good friends of ours, we have known them and worked with them for years, who believe that would be a complete sellout of biblical principle and they would turn against the president if he did.
JEFFREY: Well, but this is the stated policy of the president of the United States.
And I believe if Yasser Arafat had not blown it when Barak offered him the best deal I think they are ever going to get, that President Bush would have followed through on President Clinton in negotiating to fruition the creation of a Palestinian state.
BUCHANAN: All right, Robert Reich, Janeane Garofalo, Sam Seder, thanks for being with us.
Terry, stick around.
We‘ll be right back.
BUCHANAN: Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the swift vets are moving their attack ads against Kerry into the swing states. Is this political overkill? We‘ll debate that.
BUCHANAN: We are back with Terry Jeffrey.
Now, today, in effort to show he is a regular guy and a gun owner, John Kerry went goose hunting early this morning.
And when the vice president heard about it, he took his best shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Senator who gets a grade of F from the National Rifle Association went hunting this morning.
CHENEY: I understand—I understand he bought a new camouflage jacket for the occasion.
CHENEY: Which did make me wonder how regularly he does go goose hunting.
CHENEY: My personal opinion is that his new camo jacket is an October disguise, an effort he‘s making to hide the fact that he votes against gun-owner rights at every turn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: OK. That‘s the vice president of the United States.
Did you see the picture with Kerry coming out? A big huge goose died so he could carry it out.
JEFFREY: You know what, Pat? He didn‘t even carry his own goose. I think the former congressman...
BUCHANAN: OK. There‘s—they‘re all hauling those poor geese.
JEFFREY: Except for the most liberal senator from Massachusetts.
But I think the former congressman from Wyoming, when it comes to shotguns and fly-fishing rods, has it all over this guy, Pat.
JEFFREY: But do you know what‘s going on here? Kerry is desperate to hold onto those northern Midwest states, to hold on to Ohio. He‘s losing in Pennsylvania the kind of guys who...
BUCHANAN: But does this help? Look at that. That‘s a huge—that goose—of course the PETA people and all these folks and the environmental people who don‘t like hunting, there‘s a tremendous number of them out there.
JEFFREY: That‘s right. They are not going to decide the election.
They are all in the blue states, Pat. He needs Iowa. He needs Wisconsin.
And he needs Ohio.
JEFFREY: No. It wasn‘t as bad as Dukakis on the tank, but I don‘t think it‘s believable.
BUCHANAN: I think it comes too late. And the idea that he is seriously out there hunting 10 days before the tightest election in American history does not pass the credibility test.
JEFFREY: It opens him up to some good one-liners from Dick Cheney.
BUCHANAN: That‘s a nice looking outfit, though. I wonder how much that cost him.
JEFFREY: Abercrombie & Fitch.
BUCHANAN: Abercrombie & Fitch probably sold him that thing.
JEFFREY: Does Brooks Brothers tailor these things? Maybe in Boston, maybe in...
JEFFREY: Maybe in Cambridge.
BUCHANAN: It goes along with that $5,000 bicycle.
JEFFREY: It‘s a Skull & Bones shooting jacket there.
BUCHANAN: There‘s our man. There‘s our man, coming back from the goose hunting wars.
OK, Terry Jeffrey, thanks for joining us.
JEFFREY: Thank you, Pat.
BUCHANAN: I‘m Pat Buchanan, in for Joe Scarborough on the day of the hunt.
Tune in tomorrow night, when we debate the real impact of those swift vet ads.
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