updated 11/5/2004 10:35:42 AM ET 2004-11-05T15:35:42

Guest: Mort Zuckerman, Steve McMahon, Terry Jeffrey


GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The campaign has ended, and the United States of America goes forward with confidence and faith.  I see a great day coming for our country, and I am eager for the work ahead.  God bless us, and may God bless America.


PAT BUCHANAN, HOST:  Moral clarity.  Voters shocked both pollsters and pundits on Tuesday when they put morality ahead of the Iraq war as the most important issue of this election.  Can Democrats adjust to the people’s priorities, or have Republicans cornered the market on the moral values issue?


BUSH:  I earned capital in the campaign, political capital.  And now I intend to spend it.


BUCHANAN:  But how will the president spend that political capital?  And did President Bush allude to a cabinet shakeup in his second term today?

I’m Pat Buchanan, and this is “Decision 2004” special edition.

With each passing day, there is time for reflection about what happened on Tuesday and speculation about what happens now.  Here to talk about the president’s remarkable victory and what it means for the nation are Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of “U.S. News & World Report,” Lawrence Kudlow of CNBC’s “KUDLOW & CRAMER,” Terry Jeffrey, editor of “Human Events,” and Steve McMahon, a Democratic strategist.

Lawrence Kudlow, let me start with you.  What do you make of the fact that a plurality, 22 percent of the voters, went into those polls and said moral issues is the critical issue in this election, when, really, the president—even the president and John Kerry rarely talked about issues like abortion and gay marriage and things like that?

LAWRENCE KUDLOW, CNBC’S “KUDLOW & CRAMER”:  Well, I don’t know that they overly emphasized it, but I think President Bush made it very clear during the debates his opinions on partial-birth abortion, his opinions on traditional marriage between a man and a woman.  He is, of course, a man of faith.  He has proposed faith-based initiatives.  I think, particularly, Pat, in the home stretch of the campaign, the last seven, eight, nine, ten days, he made it very clear.  He reminded people.  They brought out the faith-based vote.  They brought out the Catholic vote, which they won a majority.  That’s a big win.  And of course, brought out the evangelical vote.  Social conservatism among Democrats, as well as Republicans, played a key role in the Bush victory.

BUCHANAN:  OK.  Mort Zuckerman, did you anticipate that this—because I did not, to be honest—that people would say that was the No. 1 issue?  When we saw the polls during the campaign, it would say jobs and the economy, Iraq’s No. 1, or the president’s got terrorism No. 1.  I did not see that at the top of the issues list, did you?

MORT ZUCKERMAN, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT”:  Well, I’m embarrassed to tell you that I just mailed to you a two-page editorial that I wrote about four weeks ago, talking about this very issue.  And my take on it was really the following.  At that point, something around 18 percent of the vote was really focused on family values and moral issues, and Bush had over 70 percent of that vote and Kerry had 18 percent of that vote.  And that was really the critical difference and explained why the Democrats were not doing better.

And in that case—I mean, I look upon it not just in terms of what Bush was doing to appeal to this sector of the Republicans, but the failure of the Democrats to be able to speak to these people comes from a long tradition now, where they have lost...


ZUCKERMAN:  ... the position of being the sort of party of the average man, the party of the working man, the party of the middle class.  They have become perceived as an elitist party.  What is called the hip-hop-cracy, the elites of the academic world, of the financial world, of the entertainment world, even of the technology world.  And in fact if you look at the 261 wealthiest counties in America, over 50 percent of those people voted Democrat.  They’re no longer the party of the poor man.

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me—let me get to Terry Jeffrey.  I think Mort Zuckerman’s on to something.  Ever since George McGovern and the party of acid, amnesty and abortion, the part of the counterculture, the Democrats have drifted away from, if you will, the traditional values mainstream of America.  But if the president was so incredibly strong over Kerry on issues like gay marriage and issues like right to life, why, in heaven’s name, didn’t they hammer these issues?

TERRY JEFFREY, “HUMAN EVENTS”:  Well, Pat, I think the Republican Party is only slowly recognizing the importance of these issues in elections.  You recognized it a long time ago, in 1992, in Houston, when you gave that outstanding speech at the Republican convention.

And I did predict it, by the way.  If people want to go to the Hardblogger Web site here at MSNBC...


JEFFREY:  ... they can see the piece I put up there called “The Iraq War Versus the Culture War” on Friday night, one I wrote a couple of weeks ago asking whether the Catholic vote would defeat a Catholic candidate.  That’s part of what happened, Pat.  Not only did 52 percent of the Catholics vote against the Catholic candidate in this election, in Ohio...


JEFFREY:  ... 65 percent of the church-going Catholics came out.  They voted against John Kerry, and they voted for an amendment to ban same-sex marriage in that state.

BUCHANAN:  All right.  Steve McMahon, talk to this—the problem the Democrats have, if you see it as a problem.  And does this explain—I mean, it certainly explains to me why Kerry went to church not only on Sunday but on Monday for All Saints Day, which was a holy day of obligation.


BUCHANAN:  I’m an altar—he said he’s an altar boy more times than I’ve said it.


BUCHANAN:  And my guess is I was an altar boy longer than John Kerry.  But does this explain it?  And what—and tell us about the Democrats’ problem and how they overcome it.

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, first of all, I should say I feel a little surrounded here between Kudlow and you and Terry and...

BUCHANAN:  You do all right, Steve.  You’ll be fine.

MCMAHON:  Listen, I think it’s a challenge, but I don’t think it’s a problem.  And I think, if you look at these exit polls, what you see is what the Republicans have been talking about for some time now, which is the remarkable power of the field operation that Karl Rove and everybody put together and turned out.  I mean, an exit poll, as you know, is only as good as the—I shouldn’t say only as good—it reflects the answers of the people who were polled.

And in this instance, there’s no question that Christian conservatives turned out in record numbers for this election.  We can have a debate about why that occurred, but they clearly turned out, and it’s no surprise to me that they would answer this question that way.

BUCHANAN:  OK, now, let’s go to that “New York Times” because they published, and they always do, a very interesting analysis of some of the exit polls in which the pollsters asked the voters not only who they voted for but what issues mattered most.  Now, let’s take a look.  As we’ve been talking, 22 percent of voters said they cared most about moral values; 80 percent of those voted for George Bush.  Almost as many cared about terrorism, and 86 percent of those picked Bush.  But 20 percent said jobs and the economy was the most important issue, and only 15 percent said Iraq.  But those 35 percent of the voters overwhelmingly chose John Kerry.

Let me go back to you, Steve, on that.  I mean, that really tells you what the two candidates should have been emphasizing.

MCMAHON:  It tells you one of two things.  It either tells you that these are the people who showed up that day, which is my position, or it tells you that these are the issues that matter the most to most Americans.  Now, either one is possible, but they’re both equally possible.  And I kind of find it a little ironic that, given the performance of the exit polls yesterday, that we’re sitting here on this show having this debate about this question, which, after all, is an exit poll question.

BUCHANAN:  OK.  Lawrence Kudlow, I noticed an interesting thing I want to sidelight here, big on jobs and the economy.  The folks that considered jobs and the economy the No. 1 issue, 75 percent went for John Kerry, although folks who—a plurality—or a majority of those who considered taxes most important, went for Bush.  But that was smaller than jobs and the economy.  It sounds like that people do not have that high a judgment on the president’s handling of the jobs issue.

KUDLOW:  Well, I think the president did a relatively mediocre defending the economy, which I maintain is actually stronger than people give it.  And in fact, there’s a huge, huge stock market rally going on on Wall Street right now, as some of the uncertainty about taxes and regulations has been cleared up.

But putting all that aside, Bush chose to make a stand on lower taxes, and he did score heavily on that and he did win a majority.  But Kerry hammered away on non-farm payroll jobs.  Bush did not respond.  There’s another survey that’s a better number.  He didn’t use it.  Bush didn’t talk about the rise in gross domestic product very much.  So I think Kerry was very effective on that.

BUCHANAN:  Right.  OK.  Much more with our panel when “Decision 2004” special edition returns.  Be right back.


BUCHANAN:  Welcome back to “Decision 2004” special edition.  I’m Pat Buchanan.  We’re back with all our all-star political panel—Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of “U.S. News & World Report,” Lawrence Kudlow of CNBC’s “KUDLOW & CRAMER,” Terry Jeffrey, the editor of “Human Events,” and Steve McMahon, a Democratic strategist.

Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican from Pennsylvania expected to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee next year, sharply warned the president yesterday against nominating Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe vs. Wade or who are too conservative to win confirmation.

Specter, who just won a fifth term in the Senate said, quote, “When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe vs. Wade, I think that is unlikely.  This president is well aware of what happened when a bunch of his nominees were sent up with a filibuster.”  That’s what Specter said, adding he’s referring to Senate Democratic success over the past four years in blocking the confirmation of several of  Mr. Bush’s conservative judicial picks.  And this is again Specter—“He would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations which I am mentioning.”

Today, Specter issued a statement denying he had warned the president and said he is very respectful of the president’s constitutional authority to appoint federal judges.

Terry Jeffrey, this—let’s put it right on the line.  This is the last chance this country will have to overturn Roe v Wade.  This is the last chance for a constitutional Supreme Court molded on Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas.  And here is the incoming chairman of Senate Judiciary—he takes over from Orrin Hatch—in effect, throwing down a warning to the president of the United States not to name conservative Justices or send them up to his committee.

Why would the Senate, a Republican Senate, 55 senators, permit Specter to be chairman, if that’s what he intends to do?

JEFFREY:  He shouldn’t be.  Senate majority leader Bill Frist just ought to bounce him right out of there.  The Republican conference ought to toss him.  We had a conservative movement nationwide, Pat, that almost unseated this guy in the Republican primary with Pat Toomey.  The other Republican senator from Pennsylvania campaigned hard to keep Specter in power.  President Bush went up there to keep him in power.

The least he owes this party, which just won a national majority and a national mandate based on moral values, in a week when everybody knew that Chief Justice William Rehnquist will probably be leaving the Court, is to help us get through the type of Supreme Court Justices that will defend the Constitution as it was written.

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me—let me just be blunt.  One of the principal reasons why I endorsed the president of the United States is the fact we didn’t want John Kerry naming Supreme Court Justices.  Now, if Mr. Specter or the liberal Republicans are going to exercise a veto over conservative Justices in the Judiciary Committee, this coalition you’re talking about, the moral values coalition, will sunder and split apart within weeks.

JEFFREY:  It’s gone.  It’s gone, Pat.  Now, there’s a diplomatic way out.  Senator Charles Grassley, who’s chairman of the Finance Committee, has seniority over Specter.  He could take the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee without the Republicans throwing out the Senate’s tradition of seniority.  Grassley doesn’t want to do that.  The Finance Committee is tremendously powerful.


JEFFREY:  It controls taxes.  If he won’t do that, if they can’t get that through, this election’s going to be followed by a massive battle inside the Republican Party between those who want Specter out and those who are willing to defend him.

BUCHANAN:  All right.  Mort Zuckerman?

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, I’ll tell you, if the president does try to nominate a judge who will overturn Roe v Wade, you will create a firestorm in this country, not just in the country, but especially in the Republican Party because there’ll be a huge piece of the Republican Party who will fight the overturning of Roe v Wade.  It’ll be a political disaster.  In my judgment, also a moral disaster for this country.  The Supreme Court has affirmed and reaffirmed that judgment, and I hope they continue to do that.  So I’m just telling you where I’m coming from on that.  But I think, politically, it would be a disaster for the Republicans if they nominate somebody who will overturn Roe v Wade.

BUCHANAN:  But Lawrence...

KUDLOW:  Pat?  Pat?

BUCHANAN:  ... Kudlow...

KUDLOW:  Can I weigh in on this?

BUCHANAN:  I want you to weigh in on this, Lawrence Kudlow.  Look, there’s two judges—federal appellate court judge J. Harvey Wilkinson (ph) is down, chairman of the—I mean, he’s the lead judge on the 4th circuit.  Mike Ludick (ph), who’s a 10-year veteran down there.  These folks have got one of the most conservative courts in the country.  They’re constitutional scholars.  And what I hear my friend Mort Zuckerman saying is if one or both of those gentlemen is appointed, we’re going to have a firestorm inside the Republican Party to resist them!

KUDLOW:  I don’t know that—I don’t agree with Mort, if that’s what he was saying with respect to those two excellent judges.  But I want to make a couple of political points.  No. 1, Terry Jeffrey is right.  Arlen Specter owes his election to George Bush with respect to the Pat Toomey challenge.  I regret that because I think Toomey was a superior candidate.

No. 2, I do not believe Specter should be given the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee.  His statement is arrogant and self-serving, and I think he’s the wrong guy to do it.

However, having said that, George Bush has never said he wished to overturn Roe v Wade.  The battle is going to be joined with respect to his social majority, his conservative social majority, over partial-birth, maintaining that and not overturning it, and secondly, the Defense of Marriage Act.  And then you go off into a whole bunch of regulatory issues.

But on the social issues, it has never been to overturn Roe v Wade.  That has never been Bush’s position.  Partial-birth and defense of traditional marriage act...

BUCHANAN:  All right...

KUDLOW:  Those are the two areas...

BUCHANAN:  OK.  Let me tell you something...

KUDLOW:  And Bush is going to go for...

BUCHANAN:  All right...

KUDLOW:  ... constitutional scholars, not judicial activists.  And he’s going to get his way on this because of Tom Daschle’s defeat...

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me tell you...

KUDLOW:  ... in South Dakota!

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you, Lawrence—let me tell you, I think the Supreme Court will overturn partial-birth because it doesn’t provide the exception for the life or the health of the mother.  And so I think federal courts have done that, so we are down to a battle that’s going to be two things, Supreme Court nominees or restricting the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, which is another issue.

KUDLOW:  Well, that—that’s when the battle’s going to be joined.  That’s the point I’m making.  The battle’s going to be joined over partial-birth, if it’s joined at all.  It will not be joined over Roe v Wade.

BUCHANAN:  OK, hold it...

KUDLOW:  And don’t forget the Defense of Marriage Act.  That is absolutely essential to Bush’s victory in this last election.

BUCHANAN:  OK.  Stick around because we’re going to tell you about the winners and losers of this long, long election season when “Decision 2004” special edition continues.


BUCHANAN:  Welcome back.  We’re talking about the rather astonishing warning Senator Arlen Specter, incoming chairman of Senate Judiciary, issued to President Bush yesterday, warning him not to send up judges who are too conservative for the Supreme Court or who would dare to overturn Roe v wade.

Our guests are Steve McMahon, Democratic strategist, Terry Jeffrey of “Human Events,” Mort Zuckerman of “U.S. News & World Report,” and Lawrence Kudlow of CNBC’s “KUDLOW & CRAMER.”

Steve McMahon, your take on this.  This is a family fight among Republicans, is it not?  I know all Democrats—well, let me ask you quickly, do you think all Democrats would unite against a Supreme Court, say a Justice Ludick or Wilkinson, the way they did against some of these appellate court judges?

MCMAHON:  I think it’s likely, depending upon how conservative they are.  I mean, you mentioned a family feud.  I might characterize it as a civil war.  And the very polling data that we were talking about earlier, the 22 percent who said that moral values are the most important issue in this election become actually more of a problem for the Republicans now than perhaps for our party because President Bush now clearly owes his election to the Christian conservatives who showed up and voted for him two days ago.  And they expect him to send up judge whose are going to overturn Roe v Wade.  And this is not something that moderate Republican senators and members of Congress want to fall down on their swords on.

BUCHANAN:  Is he not dead right?

JEFFREY:  No, Pat.  I think this is...

BUCHANAN:  Is he not dead right on the disagreement inside the party...


JEFFREY:  Well, it’s not only inside the party.  A lot of culturally conservative Democrats came across party lines, particularly in the Midwest, to vote for President Bush on precisely these issues.  It’s more than just the things that Larry Kudlow was mentioning, Pat.  The Supreme Court decided 5 to 4 that the state of New Jersey cannot (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the Boy Scouts to have gay Scout masters.  That was a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right way.  William Rehnquist wrote the decision.  Last—this year, the Court decided not to decide the merits of the California case of whether children could say “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

If Rehnquist is not replaced with an Antonin Scalia or a Clarence Thomas-type Justice, this Court will say we cannot say “under God” in the school.  It will say the Scouts have to have gay Scout masters.

BUCHANAN:  All right.  Let’s take a look at how seriously folks view these cultural, social issues.  On the issue of same-sex marriage, 11 states voted on the question yesterday and 11 voted to ban it.  I think the numbers ranged—I believe—well, Mort Zuckerman, they ranged, I think, from about 60 percent up to something like 88 percent in Mississippi.

ZUCKERMAN:  Right.  Now, that is an issue on which I think there is a huge majority in this country against.  But on the issue of abortion and Roe v Wade, it’s not just that there’ll be a civil war within the Republican Party, I think the politics of the Republican Party would erode dramatically.  If there’s one issue that will get a huge number of women in this country...

BUCHANAN:  All right...

ZUCKERMAN:  ... going absolutely to the very end to defend, it’s Roe v Wade.

KUDLOW:  But I agree with Terry...

BUCHANAN:  Lawrence Kudlow...

KUDLOW:  I agree with...

BUCHANAN:  ... are you—but let me ask you this.  If the president sends up a Supreme Court nominee who goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee and says, I believe Roe v Wade was correctly decided, what do you think’s going to happen to the president’s coalition, Lawrence?

KUDLOW:  I don’t think that’s going to happen.  That’s not the way the process works.  The Justices, or the nominees, do not have to go into that kind of detail.

BUCHANAN:  Well...

KUDLOW:  It’s never been the case.

BUCHANAN:  Look, wait a minute...

KUDLOW:  And you know it as well as I do.

BUCHANAN:  Excuse me.  Clarence Thomas was nailed to the wall and asked, When you were in law school and you had discussions and Roe v Wade came down and the abortion laws were overturned and you were in those discussions, what was your viewpoint?

KUDLOW:  I understand.  I agree with you, but Clarence was nominated.  I also, just for the record, want to accept Terry’s amendments with respect to the Pledge of Allegiance “under God” and with respect to the Scouts.  I fully agree with him on that point.  You’ve got some outstanding judges—you know, I made a list.  What about Edith Jones (ph)?  What about Edith...

BUCHANAN:  She’s terrific.

KUDLOW:  ... Rath Clement (ph)?  I mean, these are great judges.

BUCHANAN:  They’re great, but I’ll tell you, they’re going to get asked that question, Lawrence.

KUDLOW:  Perhaps they will, perhaps they won’t.  But you know what?  I just love hearing Steve McMahon on this subject, on the Republicans, because the reason...

BUCHANAN:  This is the first time Steve has smiled in 48 hours!


KUDLOW:  The reason the Democrats can score in this cultural arena is precisely because they do not understand the importance of these issues.  And you know what occurs to me?  Let’s use some litmus tests and barometers.  Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman walk away from their own party on issues like this.  This is why Mr. Kerry lost.  He was never even in the game on these issues.

BUCHANAN:  OK, we need to take...

KUDLOW:  And the Republicans...

BUCHANAN:  ... a quick break, Lawrence.

KUDLOW:  The Republicans are dominating this whole discussion, and I think...

BUCHANAN:  All right, we got to go...

MCMAHON:  Not on abortion, they’re not.  Not on the right to choose, they’re not.

BUCHANAN:  All right, we got to go, but don’t go away because coming up: Will there be a real shake-up in the Bush cabinet?  Who stays and who leaves?  We’re going to be talking about that next.


BUCHANAN:  You are watching a “DECISION 2004” special edition.  We have much more post-election analysis coming up. 

But, first, let’s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk. 



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:                  The campaign has ended, and the United States of America goes forward with confidence and faith. 

I see a great day coming for our country and I am eager for the work ahead. 

God bless you and may God bless America. 


BUSH:  Well, in the Cabinet, there will be some changes.  I don’t know who they will be.  It is inevitable there will be changes.  It happens in every administration. 


BUCHANAN:  That’s President Bush just this afternoon talking about changes in his second term in his Cabinet. 

Welcome back to this special edition of “DECISION 2004.” 

The president today called speculation about Cabinet changes the great Washington sport.  So let’s play it. 

Mort Zuckerman, Lawrence Kudlow, Terry Jeffrey, and Steve McMahon are our guests. 

Let’s get Mort Zuckerman.

You go first, Mort.  Let’s start right at the top of the Cabinet.  Do you see Colin Powell leaving? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Absolutely. 

BUCHANAN:  Do you buy this argument that Colin Powell will leave 24 hours after Rumsfeld goes? 

ZUCKERMAN:  I think Colin Powell will leave as soon as he gracefully can.  I think he is absolutely alien to this administration, alien to their policies.  And I think he will leave as gracefully and quickly as he can.

And I think in fact he should because I think you have in many ways a dysfunctional national security team because of the difference between his views and the views of the rest of the administration.  I think there will be other departures.  I think, in particular, they really have to think seriously about getting somebody in the Treasury Department who really will enjoy the confidence of the financial markets, because the United States is going to face a tremendous amount of pressure from the global financial markets, because it has to borrow $2 billion a day to meet its deficits.

BUCHANAN:  All right, let’s go to Lawrence Kudlow. 

Lawrence, do you see changes in... 

KUDLOW:  I just want to say that here’s Mort raising—he’s going to rail on about the deficit and the next minute he’s going to be raising all our taxes.  The big test of the deficit is interest rates. 

BUCHANAN:  He can’t raise taxes.  That guy lost.


KUDLOW:  Listen, last night, he raised taxes three or four times in the space of six minutes. 

The fact of the matter is U.S. interest rates on long-term bonds, which is the ultimate test of the deficit, are at 45-year lows.  So let’s just put that aside.  John Snow may or may not leave.  I have not spoken to him.  But he is a very able, very bright guy, who, by the way, knows a lot about tax reform.  He was a senior guy on the Kemp commission.  And Bush said several times in his news conference today that tax reform is going to be the issue.

And let me just add on national security.  Mr. Rumsfeld is not leaving, by all accounts.  And Mort is a lot more confident that Colin Powell is going to leave than I am.  I haven’t seen any evidence that Mr.  Powell is running out the door. 


BUCHANAN:  Lawrence Kudlow is stay the course. 

Terry Jeffrey, what do you hear?  Well, we do hear—and maybe somebody’s leaking stuff negatively that John Ashcroft may very well be gone.  You hear that he may not—I wouldn’t say may not have the president’s confidence, but there’s just sort of a collision of personality or something between them. 


I think it would be very unfortunate, Pat, if John Ashcroft left as attorney general.  I think, actually, he’s been the single best member of the Bush Cabinet.  I think, given the various political constraints he’s worked under, he’s done an outstanding job fighting the war on terrorism here at home.

I think part of the reason we haven’t had another terrorist attack is because his Justice Department has actually tracked down, arrested and convicted al Qaeda and terrorists.


BUCHANAN:  ... and the FBI have done a great job.  We haven’t had a single attack on American soil since 9/11 and not one of us would have believed that would be possible after 9/11. 

Steve McMahon, what do you hear or do—why don’t you just speculate and throw something out there?


MCMAHON:  Well, I hear Kudlow for treasury secretary. 


BUCHANAN:  You heard that, huh? 

MCMAHON:  Oh, yes, I heard that today. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, maybe that is why the dollar collapsed today on the markets.


JEFFREY:  I am for it.


KUDLOW:  The stock market is roaring, Pat Buchanan.  I know you’re...

BUCHANAN:  The dollars aren’t worth as much as they use to be.

KUDLOW:  You are a perpetual bull.  You are a perpetual pessimistic bear.


BUCHANAN:  I’m into gold, Larry.  I’m into gold.

KUDLOW:  Because of George Bush’s tax reform and pledge not to raise taxes, the stock market is roaring. 


BUCHANAN:  I think it’s a good thing.  I am a tax-cutting hawk, but I am a deficit hawk. 

Go ahead, Steve. 

MCMAHON:  I think the president should hope that John Ashcroft leaves, because he’s become a lightning rod.  I think there are the personality issues.  And I think that he should hope that Colin Powell stays.


MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you why.  Why?  If I were president—let me say this—and I had a lightning rod, I wouldn’t mind it, because when lightning is striking this fellow over there, it doesn’t hit the White House. 

MCMAHON:  Well, that may be true, but there’s going to be a lot of lightning. 

And if the conservatives get their wish and if Kudlow gets his, we’re going to have the judges and the Supreme Court nominees that are going to cause the firestorm.  And having your John Ashcroft over there stoking it or perhaps inflaming it in other ways by taking away additional civil liberties...

BUCHANAN:  How about John Ashcroft for chief justice? 

JEFFREY:  There you go.


ZUCKERMAN:  How about Marc Racicot for attorney general?  Marc Racicot is a very good attorney general prospect. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I hear Larry Thompson.  That’s a name I hear, Mort.


ZUCKERMAN:  Or Larry Thompson, right. 

BUCHANAN:  I believe he’s the—isn’t he the African-American fellow? 

JEFFREY:  He’s deputy attorney general.


BUCHANAN:  And, apparently, he flies around with the president and he’s very close to the president. 

MCMAHON:  That would be smart.  That would be a really smart thing for the president to do.


KUDLOW:  I heard a rumor today that Joe Lieberman may be in line for that position. 


BUCHANAN:  Joe Lieberman in line for attorney general? 

KUDLOW:  Yes.  That’s a very—he’s a strong supporter of the Patriot Act.  He’s a strong supporter of homeland security.


BUCHANAN:  Didn’t he vote for partial-birth abortion? 

KUDLOW:  I beg your pardon?

BUCHANAN:  Didn’t he vote for partial-birth abortion? 

KUDLOW:  So far as I know, he voted against partial-birth abortion. 


BUCHANAN:  Maybe I’m wrong. 


JEFFREY:  There’s absolutely no way the president’s core constituency...


BUCHANAN:  You can’t do that, Lawrence.  For heaven’s sake, your core constituency, what would they say about a fellow’s who got to—I mean, he’s a good guy and he’s good with the president on war and things like that.  But his voting record...


KUDLOW:  I am just telling you, I was in Washington most of today and that’s what I heard. 

But I do feel that President Bush will be thinking hard about putting a Democrat or two in the Cabinet, because one person is probably going to move on.  The only Democrat, Norman Mineta, in the Transportation Department.  Elaine Chao is probably going to replace him. 


JEFFREY:  Well, Zell Miller is available.

BUCHANAN:  What about Zell Miller?


ZUCKERMAN:  Tom Ridge is going to be leaving.  Tom Ridge is going to be leaving.  I think he doesn’t want to stay. 


BUCHANAN:  I have heard that, too, that Tom Ridge is going to be going. 

All right, how about Rudy Giuliani for Tom Ridge’s job? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, Rudy Giuliani would be terrific at that job.  He would also be terrific...

BUCHANAN:  At Justice? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, I don’t know about Justice, because his role as a U.S. attorney was quite controversial. 

But I think as head of homeland security, given his record and given his experience, he would be outstanding. 

MCMAHON:  He would be a great attorney general.  The problem is, he’s pro-choice.  He’s pro-gay rights and he’s in favor of just about everything Terry...


JEFFREY:  A little bit to the left of John Kerry. 


BUCHANAN:  I think you are exactly right. 

He’s a little bit to the left of John Kerry.  And there are some jobs

·         like Colin Powell, who is very liberal on social issues, but as secretary of state, I thought he was a good man and a good choice, the man for the post.  But I think the homeland security, I think Rudy Giuliani, no conservative would object to that at all. 

JEFFREY:  Probably not, Pat.

I think it would be a good position for him, with one caveat.  You would have to ask Giuliani where he stands on securing the border and controlling illegal immigration, because the key to that job is controlling illegal immigration.  Tom Ridge has not done it.  The president so far has not shown a will to do it.  It needs to be done.  The person in that position needs to do it.


BUCHANAN:  Did you see Proposition 200 in Arizona? 

JEFFREY:  Excellent...


BUCHANAN:  The entire establishment out there, including the Republicans, McCain and all of them, against it.  It came in with 56 percent of the vote.  That is a blazing issue.  Frankly, if the Democrats could pick up on it, they would have done very well. 


JEFFREY:  And if Bush had pushed it, he would have got a much bigger majority and would have expanded his base in the states he didn’t win this time. 

BUCHANAN:  OK, hold on, everyone.  The winners and losers of this election, we said that.  When we return, we have talked about them.  We will talk a little more. 


BUCHANAN:  I’m Pat Buchanan and you are watching “DECISION 2004,” a special edition, live on MSNBC.  Be right back. 


BUCHANAN:  President Bush wins his second bid for the White House.  Democrats strategist Robert Shrum loses his eighth in a row.  So who are the campaign’s other winners and losers? 

We are back with our panel. 

Let’s start with you, Terry.  We will go right down there.  What is—who do you think is a really big, big loser in this election?

JEFFREY:  CBS and Dan Rather, Pat.  They tried to take the president down with forged documents.


BUCHANAN:  You stole mine.  You stole mine. 


JEFFREY:  It’s a good one. 

BUCHANAN:  I’ll say.  They not only tried to take him down, but Jeff Fager tried to, you know, torpedo Bush 30 hours before the Election Day by dropping the 380-ton story on “60 Minutes,” on a Sunday night before a Tuesday election.  Even Steve wouldn’t condone that kind of activity. 

OK, Steve, who are the winners, the loser...

MCMAHON:  Well, first, I have to just say a word of defense for my mentor and friend Bob Shrum, who is one of the most talented and gifted writers and strategists in our party. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

MCMAHON:  And I can assure that the performance of John Kerry in the debates, which was probably the best thing he did in the whole campaign, was what Bob was responsible for. 

And I am sure that there were other things that he was involved in, but he bears no more responsibility than anybody else in that campaign.


MCMAHON:  The winners and losers.

The winners are the Christian conservatives, to whom George Bush so clearly owes his election to.  The losers are the moderate Republicans who are going to have to deal with them.  And I say that because—do you remember when Bill Clinton was president and it was one of those situations where be careful what you wish for, I wish I had control of the Congress and the liberals took over? 

Well, the same thing is going to happen to the president now and it is going to be like runaway train. 

BUCHANAN:  Mort Zuckerman, winners and losers? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, I would say, just to get to losers, I think the labor movement and their role in the Democratic Party, I think they took another big hit.  They really were not able to deliver.  And, frankly, neither was Bill Clinton, who went around speaking in various places, including Arkansas, and was not unable to carry Arkansas for the Democrats. 

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

ZUCKERMAN:  And I think one person who came out a winner in the Democratic Party, strangely enough, was Al Gore.  I think, in the end, he really rehabilitated himself to a degree within in the Democratic Party. 

BUCHANAN:  You know, I think you are right.  I think you are right. 

And I certainly think Hillary Clinton is a winner out of this.  OK.



All right.  How about—Lawrence Kudlow, where is John Edwards?  How did he do? 

KUDLOW:  Although John Edwards is a huge loser, although I regret that his wife has discovered breast cancer.  That is too bad.  But he’s a huge loser. 

I just want to say a personal word about Bob Shrum, who is a good guy, even though I disagree with his political judgment.  A huge loser, Pat, is those Democrats left in the Senate and the House.  There is disarray.  There is nothing going on there.  It is absolutely a disaster. 

And the winners, the winners are people that go to church and synagogue on the weekend and those who invest in the long-term stock market for the U.S. economy.  Those are the winners. 


BUCHANAN:  OK, how about pollster John Zogby?  Was he a winner, Terry? 

JEFFREY:  I think he was a loser.  His polls were too erratic.  He had polls in Colorado the last week of the campaign that no one believed. 

No, I think pollsters in general were losers in perception, even though, if you look at them over the long run in this campaign, most of them were right most of the time. 


ZUCKERMAN:  The media was a loser. 

BUCHANAN:  I’ll tell you this.  The big media were losers. 


BUCHANAN:  A lot of the punditocracy were losers, exit poll people. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Yes.  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  Who are some other losers, Mort? 


ZUCKERMAN:  Well, there are a lot of losers, but if you want to take a big loser, Tom Daschle.  And Karl Rove was a big winner.

KUDLOW:  Right.  Absolutely Right. .

ZUCKERMAN:  Karl Rove has emerged as some golden boy of American politics with a feel that everybody now admires and respects.  He’s just the man with the magic wand. 

KUDLOW:  And add Ken Mehlman to that list, Mort.


ZUCKERMAN:  I agree. 


KUDLOW:  Because he ran a tremendous Election Day operation.

ZUCKERMAN:  I agree.

BUCHANAN:  George Soros.  Was he a winner, Steve? 

MCMAHON:  He’s always a winner in my book. 


BUCHANAN:  Anybody with $5 billion is not a loser. 


KUDLOW:  Hollywood.

BUCHANAN:  Hollywood was a loser.


KUDLOW:  Hollywood is a huge loser. 


JEFFREY:  His colleague, Osama bin Laden.

BUCHANAN:  Michael Moore.


KUDLOW:  Michael Moore is a big loser.  Hollywood is a big loser.  The labor movement is a big loser.

BUCHANAN:  Barbra Streisand.  Throw them all out, you guys. 


KUDLOW:  Barbra Streisand.


JEFFREY:  We have discovered that Michael Moore’s biggest fan is Osama bin Laden, who based his videotape on “Fahrenheit 9/11.”


BUCHANAN:  He even mentioned the “My Pet Goat” story out of “Fahrenheit 9/11,”  Osama bin Laden.  I think Osama bin Laden might be a loser here.


MCMAHON:  So far he hasn’t been as a result of anything the Bush administration. 

But I will say this.  Lawrence and Mort are absolutely right about Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman.  They ran a remarkable campaign.  They did what they said they were going to do.  If you look at Bush’s numbers and the fact that he was reelected with those numbers, it really is quite remarkable.  So hats off to them.


BUCHANAN:  I agree.  You have to give Rove—Rove has gotten a hard time. 

KUDLOW:  And besides President Bush, for heaven’s sake, Vice President Cheney.

BUCHANAN:  Cheney.

KUDLOW:  Who whooped Edwards in the debate and stopped the hemorrhaging of the Bush campaign, and Cheney was such a powerful, steady performer.  Give him his due. 


BUCHANAN:  I agree with that. 

As I said last night, I thought the president is one hell of a campaigner, frankly.  And the vice president of the United States, he put on the goal line stand after Bush had that erratic performance, let’s say, down there in Miami. 


JEFFREY:  Another winner, Pat, is John O’Neill and his Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. 

BUCHANAN:  John O’Neill and the Swift Boat Vets For Truth. 

JEFFREY:  That guy was a courageous spokesman for what he knew to be the truth.  He took unbelievable hits from the establishment media, never backed down. 

BUCHANAN:  John O’Neill? 

JEFFREY:  John O’Neill. 

BUCHANAN:  John O’Neill is a winner and John O’Neill’s a good guy.  And I want to say, I apologize for not cutting off a friend of mine who was calling him some names on this show a couple of weeks ago. 

But, right now, let’s take a quick break and we will be back with more.


BUCHANAN:  We’re back now with just enough time for some final thoughts. 

Mort Zuckerman, let me go to you.

Do you agree with me that Hillary Rodham Clinton was a winner from this campaign by simple virtue of the fact that her competition for 2008 has been swept aside?  And I think she did pretty well during the campaign.  And I think her husband helped some.  And he came back.  What’s your take? 

ZUCKERMAN:  I think she is the odds-on favorite to be the nominee for the Democratic Party in 2008, but she’s going to have to have four very good years in order to have a credible chance to win that election, as compared to winning the nomination. 

I think without question she is head and shoulders ahead of everybody else in the Democratic Party.  And it’s hard to see now anybody can emerge over the next four years to challenge her. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, how about—let me to go you, Lawrence Kudlow.

Do you think Edwards is finished, or do you think Edwards could prove a challenger for Hillary Clinton in 2008? 

KUDLOW:  I tend to agree with Mort, although four years is a long time.  I think Edwards was a terrible candidate.  He was a lightweight.  Cheney took him to the cleaners. 

No one really took him seriously.  Plus, he got clobbered in his home state of North Carolina.  And Erskine Bowles lost in the Senate race there, the whole thing.  This was not a good year for Mr. John Edwards. 

I just want to say, one thing we haven’t talked about, Pat, tonight is foreign policy.  And I think the biggest news out there is the battle of Fallujah, which is—the U.S. military is gearing up to pave the way for elections in Iraq, and they are going to go all out in Fallujah.  This is so darn important. 


BUCHANAN:  Yes.  We may be talking about that soon. 

All right, Steve, tell us—obviously, Hillary Rodham Clinton has got sort of a clean shot at the nomination.  Who are the other potential that you could see just looking out over the horizon Democrats who might challenge?  Would Al Gore get back into this? 

MCMAHON:  Well, I think you can’t discount Al Gore.  Richard Cohen had a great piece in “The Washington Post” about him.  He was against the war.  He’s from the South.  He has got a lot going for him. 

John Edwards, obviously, you can’t count him out.  I think Evan Bayh would like to run for president. 

BUCHANAN:  He hasn’t made much impact.  He’s a very attractive guy, but, I mean, I haven’t seen much impact here.  Have you, however long he’s been...


MCMAHON:  And I’m not sure, by the way, that all this navel-gazing that seems to be going on in our party is going to result in us saying let’s move to the middle. 

It may result in us saying, let’s stand and fight. 


BUCHANAN:  That is what tends to happen after like Nixon-Kennedy.


BUCHANAN:  ... Goldwater.


MCMAHON:  And we could end up with a guy like Pat Buchanan on the left.

BUCHANAN:  Well, there you go.  Then you would do well.

MCMAHON:  Maybe a Howard Dean or somebody like that. 



JEFFREY:  I hate to tell him this, Pat, but the Democrats actually need a guy like Bill Clinton was in 1992. 

They don’t want a Washington insider.  They don’t want somebody from one of the coastal blue states who is already pegged as a liberal, like John Kerry was.  They need someone that can break into the Republican lock on the South.  And what I see as emerging, the new Republican coalition, I call it the heartland majority.  I think the Republicans have a chance to win Minnesota and Wisconsin next time and maybe break into some other places, Pennsylvania, for example, that they didn’t win this time, basically hitting the same themes, adding illegal immigration. 

The Democrats have to find a way...


BUCHANAN:  Here’s the thing.  I agree with you on the immigration issue.



BUCHANAN:  But Bush is an amnesty guy, let’s face it. 

JEFFREY:  Right.  Bush took it just so far. 

I think Rove was brilliant on this, by the way.  But I think they took it just so far.  He could have taken it further had he been a little bit more vocal on the social issues and had he been tough on illegal immigration.  That’s the way the Republicans are going to go.  The Democrats have got to stop that with a Southerner or a Midwesterner, preferably a governor who is not pegged as a Northeastern or California liberal.


KUDLOW:  You know, Terry, I’m in your camp on this, but I just want to add one thing.

Bush did awfully well with Hispanic voters.  And I think ownership and moral values are very important themes.  That’s the right way to go after that group. 

BUCHANAN:  I must confess, I was surprised; 44 percent of Hispanics, I thought it was very, very high.


MCMAHON:  I forgot to mention—I forgot to mention, Governor Bill Richardson, who would be an extremely strong candidate. 

And I apologize, Governor, for doing that.  I just got carried away with Pat here.

BUCHANAN:  All right.  All right.  Well, is there anybody else you’d like to apologize to for dropping them out of... 



BUCHANAN:  All right, Lawrence, Terry, Mort, Steve, thank you all for joining me tonight.  It’s been delightful. 

Stay tuned.  There’s another hour of “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” hosted by Joe Scarborough himself straight ahead.  So, don’t go away. 



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