Guest: Anna Eshoo, Christopher Shays, Mark Brewer, Hilary Rosen, Stephen Hayes
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Tom Ridge resigns as the country‘s first homeland security secretary. Will Ridge be replaced by another White House loyalist? And bin Laden‘s top aide warns in a new videotape the United States must change policies toward Muslim countries or face continued conflict. Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. The man who was known for creating the color-coded terror threat system and for presiding over six orange alerts has announced today he is leaving his post as secretary of homeland security. Secretary Tom Ridge‘s resignation comes a day after a new videotape by bin Laden‘s deputy Zawahiri surfaced. Zawahiri warned the United States to alter its policies toward Muslim countries or face more attacks.
Roger Cressey is a member of the National Security Council. He is now an MSNBC counter-terrorism analyst. Roger, let‘s start with this—with Tom Ridge leaving. What‘s the significance and why now, right before Christmas?
ROGER CRESSEY, MSNBC COUNTER-TERRORISM ANALYST: I think he wanted to get his resignation out in time so that they can identify his successor and get that person confirmed right after the second inauguration. The president has worked very quickly in turning people over, finding their replacements, and moving quickly so I think that drove it in large part.
MATTHEWS: Was he ever given enough authority to do his job or is he kind of the goalie on the hockey team that looked sad if something went wrong but wasn‘t able to stop the goal from scoring?
CRESSEY: Well, as he has described it, it‘s like game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, one goal gets in and it‘s over. He was given as much authority as he could but with 22 agencies, 180,000 people, it was a mess to begin with.
MATTHEWS: Is Ashcroft trying to show him up and big foot him all the time. Every time there was something heavy-duty to announce, it seemed like Ashcroft would call a press conference and let Tom show up with him.
CRESSEY: I think there were plenty of cases where that was the case. Ashcroft clearly thought he had his own center of gravity and would do whatever he wanted to do. And a couple of times Ridge looked very awkward as a result.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, who do you think is going to get the job, this woman Fran Townsend who works in the White House?
CRESSEY: That will be my choice. She knows the intelligence community, she knows counter-terrorism portfolio, she has earned the trust of the president as well. She would be a great choice. But the president could go with a governor or he could go with another person who he trusts personally.
MATTHEWS: Is this a big enough job for Governor Pataki of New York?
MATTHEWS: It‘s big enough for him?
CRESSEY: Sure, it is. But what do you want to do afterwards is the problem? If you got this job and there is another 9/11 attack, guess who is left holding the bag? So anybody with political ambitions beyond is going to have to be careful about taking this job.
MATTHEWS: So this is a used to be guy, someone who has had a big job before but doesn‘t expect to get a bigger one than this one.
CRESSEY: Yes, I think so.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask about this Zawahiri thing. I‘ve heard read it, I‘ve read it closely, I‘ve tried to understand it, this latest videotape. It was apparently videotaped the same time as that other one by bin Laden. This is his deputy talking. He‘s raising Cain here again about our relationship with Israel. He says the day is passing upon and America is playing the election game in America, Afghanistan and Iraq. As for America‘s election, the candidates are competing to satisfy Israel which means they compete to continue the crime against Islamic nation of Palestine. He goes on to talk about the crimes against Muslim countries and the fact that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and I guess Jordan are all playing ball with us. Is this the historic complaint of the bin Laden crowd or are they just throwing in the Palestine thing for good noise?
CRESSEY: Bin Laden and al-Qaeda have talked about the Palestinian cause for several years now but it is the usual litany of transgressions. It was more of a strategic statement than anything else. I didn‘t see any specific targeted threats in there unlike we‘ve seen in...
MATTHEWS: What do you mean strategic threat?
CRESSEY: Well, he has talked about all the things that al-Qaeda has said that America is doing in terms of the war against Islam. Bin Laden makes a basic case. We‘re at war with Islam because we have invaded Afghanistan and invaded Iraq, turned a blind eye to the Palestinians. So when he and Zawahiri get out there and repeat that litany of problems, that reminds the base, the al-Qaeda jihadists that the fight has got to continue.
MATTHEWS: Why are they so off-base in terms of calendar. Why are they talking about us as if the elections are still going on. Why are they putting out an old bit of campaign noise themselves. I mean, the election is over. People aren‘t going to decide between Kerry and Bush, they decided Bush. So why are they putting this out now?
CRESSEY: Good question. I think what happened is there is a logistics issue, now trying to get these tapes smuggled out from the Waziristan area sometimes poses a problem. My guess is they wanted this out before November 2 and they ran into problems. That‘s one possibility.
MATTHEWS: People have pointed out that you have the same backdrop, I work on television so I know these things, that it looked like it was filmed in the same studio on the same sort of studio time in fact as the one by Osama bin Laden was even though that came out before the election.
CRESSEY: Right. And the remarks were very similar. Because there nothing in there about Falluja or anything in the past couple of weeks, good bet it was done at the same time as the September tape.
MATTHEWS: So this just leaked out?
I mean, it slipped out too late. Let me ask you this. Does it tell you as an expert on this, this is probably the most important question I can put to you, is this a leading indicator of trouble to come because it has been in the past, apparently seven times a Zawahari tape has led to an attack against the west.
CRESSEY: Within a month and then in the eighth instance it was six weeks after with the attempt on Musharaff. The number one question the intelligence community is going to ask. So what they are going to do is they‘re going to try and corroborate this. Any other specific credible information out there that would point to a threat coming up in the holiday season or any time around the inauguration, that‘s the $64,000 question.
MATTHEWS: Is this a message to guys doing us harm or is this a message to—a general moral booster for the winter season now?
CRESSEY: Well, both. And it‘s also a message to the American people.
MATTHEWS: You think it is an indicator to somebody it is time to go, the balloon is up, kind of thing?
CRESSEY: It could very well be. There is the general message to all the followers, the message to America which is we still have you in our crosshairs. Whether or not there‘s anything in there about a specific go signal, that‘s what the intelligence community is going to try and determine.
MATTHEWS: Why is there no religious references in this whole statement that went out? It is very secular document. It trashes the governments in the Mid East that have been somewhat favorable to the west in terms of oil dealings et cetera like Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the others. But it doesn‘t say anything about Allah, doesn‘t mention the Muslim religion in any kind of clear way. What is the change here? Isn‘t bin Ladenism and Zawahirism very much tied up with Islamism (ph)?
CRESSEY: Sure. But one of the central pillars of al Qaeda and al Zawahiri‘s complaints against the west is our support for what they consider to be the corrupt Arab regimes, the Saudis, the Egyptians and others. So they want to continue to remind their followers and us that by America supporting these regimes that‘s one of the reasons why al-Qaeda has declared war against us.
MATTHEWS: Did you see that they took a shot at Saddam Hussein again?
CRESSEY: Yes, I did.
MATTHEWS: That they said it was a machine that had already collapsed long before 2003. They had given into the west, they had failed in terms of their role as jihadist. It‘s funny how they admit it and the world admits it but we still get these two countries conflated. It‘s almost like the old days of the so-called Cino-Soviet bloc. But we kept acting like the Chinese and the Russians were buddies, they hated each other, they were competing in the third world for the support of the third world, and we kept thinking they were the same crowd. Why do we keep going back to believing, at the administration level, that somehow Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden had been working with Saddam Hussein.
CRESSEY: The administration was never able to prove active state sponsorship by Iraq with al Qaeda in the 21st century. All they could do was talk about hysterical context. And frankly, the American people didn‘t consider it to be a big deal. That was not a tipping point in the election as you know too well.
MATTHEWS: Does American policy as you know it, in the NSC, Stephen Hadley, for example is going to be the new head of the National Security Council replacing Condi Rice, does he believe that there is a working relationship between the jihadists, the people that attacked us in New York and in Washington and before, does he believe there is a working relationship with those bad guys and the people fighting us in Iraq in places like Fallujah?
CRESSEY: I think he would step back and say the issue is state sponsorship and the big picture. Iraq was a state sponsor at one time and therefore they had to be dealt with. They are going use the same argument to deal with Iran and Syria. You can‘t use the same tools that we used in Iraq for the obvious reasons. But they believe in the state sponsorship concept more than transnational groups.
MATTHEWS: Yesterday on the show an expert on the Middle East pointed out she still thinks there is a possibility that Sharon, the prime minister of Israeli might attack Iran to destroy or at least delay its nuclear program. What‘s your assessment about that? Because that could certainly shake world up?
CRESSEY: It could and I would assess that in single digits right now. The problem with Iran and their nuclear program is they learned the lesson of the Israeli attack in 1981 which is disburse your facilities, put them underground. There is no level of high confidence that we know of all the nuclear facilities that Iran has.
MATTHEWS: So all we do is make us more enemies over there and it wouldn‘t accomplish the goal.
CRESSEY: And you wouldn‘t necessarily stop the program.
MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, thank you. Always great to have you on the team, Roger Cressey. Coming up much more on Tom Ridge‘s resignation today as homeland security secretary and who might replace from two members of the House, Republicans. We‘re go to talk to Chris Shays and Democrat Anna Eshoo of California. You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President Bush now has one last opportunity to get Congress to pass intelligence reform that could create a national intelligence director. But is he doing all he can to exert pressure on Republican holdouts to get that bill signed? Republican Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut is a member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security, and Democratic Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California sits on House Intelligence.
Let me go to Anna Eshoo. Congresswoman, the American people want to see something done, it‘s fair to say, and the question is will what gets done do the job. Are you confident that creating the national intelligence director will do the job that wasn‘t done before 9/11, protecting this country?
REP. ANNA ESHOO (D), CALIFORNIA: I do, Chris. I think it‘s important to have one person that is responsible. We have 15 different agencies that make up our intelligence community. And because it is splintered, there is not the kind of accountability that we need.
So, I think that the 9/11 Commission did a superb job on a bipartisan basis with their recommendations, and I think that not only do the American people support this, the president does, the leaders of both parties do. And I think that the president needs to weigh in, weigh in heavily. He supports it. And make this happen.
We don‘t want to lose another six or eight months on this issue. This is something that needs to be done. Certainly the terrorists aren‘t going to wait six months or eight months to get this done. So I think that this has been primed at the pump, so to speak, and that the Congress should embrace it and pass it.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Congressman Shays, do you agree one person in charge at the top is going to solve the problem?
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS ®, CONNECTICUT: Absolutely—well, solve the problem, no. The problem will take years to solve, but it begins with having one person in charge, accountable, with authority over budgets and personnel.
MATTHEWS: What kind of person should that be? Should that be a person we recognize as a principal, or should it be a bureaucrat? Someone who is well known, someone who‘s a leader, a governor, for example, a Pataki, someone who comes from a big state and says, oh, I‘m confident now, this is a big person with strong executive skill, they‘re running the show, I know who to blame.
SHAYS: Someone with strong executive skills, but someone who knows where the bodies are buried and someone who is willing to be confrontational when he or she needs to be.
MATTHEWS: When the president of the United States get restless and worries if he or she is doing the job of being president, and they read something or hear something in the wind, or they get a hunch that there is a problem somewhere in the world, do they call this person or do they call the CIA director, the FBI director or someone closer to the action?
SHAYS: Well, they call this person, but this person is involved in what now is T-tic (ph), they‘re involved with coordinating and interacting with lots of different people. So they are getting information, but the president is also going to call the secretary of defense and others as well.
MATTHEWS: But who (UNINTELLIGIBLE) responsible—who‘s that—you know, in a hockey game, you got the goalie, he is ultimately responsible for keeping the other side from scoring. Let‘s be blunt about it. Somebody is responsible for making sure I got all the intel, Congresswoman, I hear everything, I got a nose for trouble. I do the job, I know who to trust, who not to trust. I get the word, I warn the president. We take action. Or I warn the national security adviser, and we take action.
Is that person supposed to be the one with the smartest nose in the country, who really knows where the trouble is, and the president can fire two seconds after an attack and says you blew it?
ESHOO: Well, I think number one, that, yes, that person has to be a person of integrity, a person that has a background that relates to what the job is, with strong executive skills. But I think that it should not be a person that—that—where the president is the customer that constantly has to be serviced. They have to be above that. And I think that we have had part of that before, and that‘s why I think a national intelligence director is so important, as Chris said, with full budget authority. It you don‘t have budget authority, you don‘t have any power.
MATTHEWS: Is he or she the president‘s...
ESHOO: So that‘s a very important recommendation.
MATTHEWS: Congresswoman, is this national intelligence director, so that everybody watching knows who this person is, is this the person who should be briefing the president every morning instead of the CIA director, or should this person be just a chief sort of executive? Should they be kind of staffer to the president as well, or operate out there on their own, and let somebody else brief the president?
ESHOO: Well, if in fact the Congress passes the legislation as recommend by the 9/11 Commission, this person will have enormous power. And so of course the president is going to want to be briefed by this person, because they will have not only budget authority but know what is going on throughout the intelligence community. Where it‘s applicable, his national security adviser will weigh in. But make no mistake, this person will be accountable and hold a great deal of power, which is essential in terms of the authority across all of the agencies.
SHAYS: Anna, one of the things that surprised me, Anna, is that how much of this has been under the Department of Defense, Chris. It‘s really 80 percent Department of Defense, and CIA, a small portion. Yet we said that theoretically, the director of the CIA was in charge of everything, but had no budgetary authority, no personnel authority. And I think Anna has spoken very eloquently over the last few months that we need to draw some of that out of Defense into the auspices of...
MATTHEWS: Let me get to a couple of areas so we know who we‘re talking about here. Congresswoman, if—who is responsible for knowing where bin Laden is right now? Nobody knows, but who is blowing it? Let‘s (UNINTELLIGIBLE) jobs here of intelligence. Somebody is supposed to know as best they can where this guy who attacked us is, and nobody seems to know right now. Who is going to get the job of finding out where he is, to start with? That‘s a good job description, find bin Laden and kill him, or arrest him. Who‘s got that job now?
ESHOO: Well, right now it really rests with the CIA and our covert operations.
MATTHEWS: So they are not doing—they can‘t do that job. They have not been able to find him or Zawahiri, his No.2. They got enough—they can send out videos like K-Tel (ph) Records, but we can‘t catch them. OK.
Who should be able to catch this guy?
ESHOO: Well, it is the work of the intelligence community...
MATTHEWS: The CIA or the DIA? If the DIA gets 80 percent of the money, what do they do? Do they try to catch Zawahiri and they‘re trying to catch bin Laden and they‘re not—Congressman?
ESHOO: I think, Chris, what we have today is a splintered operation, and that‘s why the legislation is so important to pass and become law. Why? Because there will be a melding of these agencies, and that‘s what we have to have.
MATTHEWS: I‘m just trying to learn this all. We have a station chief in Islamabad. We probably have someone there with the title cultural affairs officer, who‘s in fact a spook. We finally have somebody there as a military attache. He‘s also a spook. We‘ve got CIA people all around the world. We‘re notorious for it. How come they are all missing bin Laden?
SHAYS: Well, partly because they were weak for so many years. We didn‘t allow the FBI to share information within itself, between intelligence and investigative. But we didn‘t empower the CIA. And another problem we have is if don‘t have an embassy in a country, we‘re basically having to depend on secondary sources.
MATTHEWS: Right. But we‘ve got embassies in Afghanistan and in Pakistan...
SHAYS: Well, now we do.
MATTHEWS: And that‘s where we think he is.
SHAYS: Yeah, but now we do. But we‘re playing catchup. I mean, that‘s our big challenge. But we‘re not—we weren‘t in Iraq, and we had bad intelligence. We‘re not in Iran, and we don‘t have great intelligence there as well.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you both for joining us today. Congressman Shays, it‘s always great to have you. Congressman Anna Eshoo as well.
ESHOO: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: When we come back, President Bush is met by protesters as he tried to mend fences today in Canada. You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
President Bush tonight is in Canada. It‘s first official visit and the first by any sitting president since 1995.
Canada is, of course, America‘s no. 1 trading partner, but our neighbors to the north have sharply criticized our war our Iraq and there has been tension for years.
HARDBALL correspondent David Shuster reports.
DAVID SHUSTER, HARDBALL CORRESPONDENT: In Ottawa it was all smiles today, as President Bush shook hands with Canada Prime Minister Paul Martin, and kicked off a two-day visit .
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘m proud to be standing with the prime minister. He‘s a strong leader. He‘s a statesman who‘s helping to build a better world. But beneath the surface, this trip has been described as awkward. There are trade disputes over beef and lumber and the U.S. and Canadian have been sharply at odds over the war this Iraq. During this presidential visits tens of thousands of Canadian demonstrators are expected on the streets. They were urged there by one Canadian party leader who is supposed to meet President Bush during a dinner. And recently a member of parliament, Carolyn Parrish stomped on a Bush doll on a comedy show. She said it was a joke. But her party expelled her anyway. The sensitivity on both sides go back a few years.
Canada has long been America‘s closest ally. A gentle and peaceful neighbor that sacrificed with the U.S. during both world wars. But two years ago, as the U.S. was preparing for war in Iraq, a spokesperson for Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, described President Bush as a moron. The off the record remark was at talk of the NATO summit. And in case anybody missed it, Chretien repeated the slur, even as he said it wasn‘t true.
JEAN CHRETIEN, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: He‘s a friend of mine and he‘s not a moron at all.
SHUSTER: Several Bush administration officials thought Chretien comment was deliberate. His government had complained loudly about America‘s post-9/11 border security rules. Those complaints prompted this reaction from MSNBC‘s own Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANCHOR: The Canadians, Bill, have been defended by the United States. They pay nothing for defense. That place is complete haven for international terrorist. Even their own retired security guys say it‘s a complete haven. We don‘t—we need lectures maybe from some people but not from Soviet Canuckustan (ph).
SHUSTER: And if that swipe wasn‘t bad enough, American movies were also in the fray.
(SINGING “BLAME CANADA”)
SHUSTER: To avoid reopening any old wounds, President Bush will not be addressing the Canadian Parliament. Members there have a tradition of heckling speakers as they did with Ronald Reagan in 1987.
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In Nicaragua, we see such a campaign on our own shores, threatening—is there an echo in here?
SHUSTER: On this trip, President Bush will conduct a series of private meetings and try to build a relationship with Prime Minister Martin that was impossible with his unpredictable predecessor, Chretien. Furthermore, the Bush administration hopes to strengthen American access to Canada‘s low price prescription drugs and capitalize on this post-election opportunity for the President to reengage with our allies.
(on camera): If this approach does work in Canada, administration officials believe it will be the model when President Bush tours Europe early next year.
I‘m David Shuster for HARDBALL in Washington.
MATTHEWS: What a great country, Canada. Any ways, I mean it.
Anyway, thank you David Shuster.
President Bush‘s election victory has sparked a fight over the leadership of the Democratic Party. When we return, we‘re going to look at who might win that fight, it might be Howard Dean.
You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: This half-hour on HARDBALL, President Bush heads to Canada to mend fences. Plus, the Democratic Party needs a new leader.
But, first, let‘s check in with the MSNBC News Desk.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Next February, the Democratic National Committee will convene to select a new chairman of the party. In advance of that gathering Democratic state party chairmen will hold their own meeting next week in Orlando and have invited several potential chairman candidates to address the conference.
For more on the new direction of Democratic Party, we‘re joined by the chairman of the Michigan party and leader of the Association of Democratic State Chairs, Mark Brewer.
Mark, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Just to get the dates straight, is it this weekend or the next weekend you are meeting in Orlando?
MARK BREWER, CHAIRMAN, MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Saturday December 11.
MATTHEWS: OK, next weekend.
Let me ask you this. Do you have a favorite in the race to be the new DNC chairs yourself?
BREWER: No, I don‘t. And we‘ve asked all the state party chairs and vice chairs to hold off making a commitment until we get a chance to talk to these candidates and size up their vision and their plan.
MATTHEWS: Are you looking for a fund raiser or a spokesperson primarily?
BREWER: I think you need both of those, plus somebody who is going to work with the state parties in all the states and do some serious party building at all levels over the next three and a half years.
MATTHEWS: Do you think in any way the Republicans stole this past election? Is there any evidence you have it wasn‘t a clean and fair result? In other words, I‘m talking about Ohio. I‘m talking about the rest. Are you confident that George W. Bush was reelected fair and square.
BREWER: So far, I have not see any evidence that there was fraud.
But we‘re watching what is going on. I know Congressman Conyers has asked for an investigation. There is an ongoing review of what‘s going on in Ohio and Florida. We‘re keeping an eye on it, but, so far, Chris, I have seen nothing to indicate fraud.
MATTHEWS: Why did the Democratic Party get slam-banged by more than 3.5 million votes? What happened?
BREWER: I think what happened was, we have really targeted ourselves into a corner. We really need to do almost a royal straight in order to win...
MATTHEWS: I know what you mean.
MATTHEWS: You have got to fill the inside straight. And the problem is that you needed every state you were going for.
BREWER: Right. We need to expand the battleground over the next four years, and we can do that. Look at all these red states. They‘ve got Democratic governors. They‘ve got Democratic legislatures.
MATTHEWS: OK, how can you compete? Let me give you some examples.
How can you win in West Virginia again, a tried and true Democratic state. You can‘t win there anymore. You can‘t win in Missouri anymore. What happened?
MATTHEWS: Give me those two examples. Why can‘t you win in those states? Why can‘t you win in Ohio?
BREWER: I think we can win there. Those states have had Democratic governors.
West Virginia still has a Democratic governor. You look at the West.
A number of those red states, they have got Democratic governors. Democrats can win in those states. And we have got to talk to those elected officials, talk to those state parties and learn those lessons, so we can compete in those states on a national basis.
MATTHEWS: Do you need a Southern Baptist to win the presidency anymore?
MATTHEWS: I‘m looking at the men who have won, Carter, Johnson, Clinton. Don‘t you—and Al Gore, almost. Don‘t you need a person of that religious background from those border states and Southern states to win those states?
BREWER: No, I don‘t think so at all.
I do think you need somebody who can talk to and relate to all of the American people, not only in the South, out in the West, in our traditional base in the East and the Midwest. But it doesn‘t have to be somebody of that background.
MATTHEWS: Give me a handful of men or women in the Democratic Party today in the last 10 years or so who could talk to the country effectively, just five people, not that they ever would run for president, but people who could—you would put on national television if you had 15 minutes to speak for the party. Who would they be, just five people?
BREWER: I think we have got current people, our own governor here in Michigan, Governor Granholm, the governor of Virginia, Mark Warner, some of these governors I mentioned out West, Janet Napolitano, the governors—the governor in Montana.
MATTHEWS: From Arizona.
BREWER: I think we have got those people right now who can talk to the country, the entire country.
MATTHEWS: Why do governors pose a better candidature? Why are they better able to win the presidency than U.S. senators? The Democrats keep playing around with senators, but why do governors usually win, whether they be Republican or Democrat?
BREWER: I think they have got some advantages, coming from an executive position. They also have run state-wide campaigns, where they have had to deal with the various constituencies on a state-by-state basis.
So they‘ve got some strengths that are innate in running and winning as a governor.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the Democrats—and we have talked about this before. And maybe it‘s just my view, but I‘d be happy if the Democrats stopped talking about abortion and Republicans stopped talking about gay marriage and we talked about issues that people can agree on eventually. You don‘t think that‘s possible.
BREWER: No. I think...
MATTHEWS: Because the country is never going to agree on gay marriage. It‘s probably never going to agree on abortion. So why do the two parties keep pushing those two issues as fund-raising issues, when they know they are going to end up clashing with the other party no matter what happens in any election?
BREWER: Look, I think we can reach some kind of consensus on some of those issues.
MATTHEWS: On social issues?
BREWER: And we need to be tolerant of those issues.
I‘ll give you an example. Here in Michigan, in our party, we have a positive-life caucus in the Michigan Democratic Party. We don‘t run pro-life Democrats out of the Michigan Democratic Party.
BREWER: And we shouldn‘t do that on a national basis either.
MATTHEWS: So Bob Casey, the former governor of Pennsylvania, should have been allowed to speak to the Democratic Convention in ‘92 and not get blackballed like he was for being pro-life?
BREWER: I don‘t know about that specific example, but, again...
MATTHEWS: Well, do you think that kind of thing should happen? Do you think a person should be told they can‘t speak at a convention because they‘re pro-life if they are a Democrat?
BREWER: No. I don‘t think so. That should not be the sole criteria.
And we need to be and I think we are a tolerant party. We have been stereotyped by the Republican Party. And we need to show that people who disagree with our views on those issues are welcome in the Democratic Party.
MATTHEWS: Do you think people of two—of the same gender could get married? Is it conceptual to you or is it an oxymoron? Is same-sex marriage an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, or is it something that you think the country consider?
BREWER: I personally don‘t believe in same-sex marriage. I do believe we need to do something along the line of civil unions. I think that‘s a reasonable consensus view that we can reach in this country on that issue.
BREWER: But I think, again, our party is big enough. I don‘t think this election was about morals and values.
MATTHEWS: What was it about?
BREWER: You know, I think it was about frankly a better turnout job by the Republicans. I give credit to Karl Rove in every state but Michigan for the job that he did in terms of getting Republican voters out.
BREWER: We know how to win. And we need to spend the next three and a half years getting back into this thing and we can win in ‘08.
MATTHEWS: I was trying to think of who—before I prepared for this interview today, I was trying to think who would be the kind of paradigm, the kind of Democratic leader—they don‘t have to be a presidential candidate, but somebody you would put on TV, whether it‘s putting them on television on one of the entertainment shows late at night, say this is a person who is a Democrat, and we would like to have this person represent the party.
Who in the past 20 or 30 years do you think met that standard, the kind of person you would say, I would like to have this person represent our party?
BREWER: You know, I got to tell you, Chris, I disagree.
MATTHEWS: Would it be Hubert Humphrey? Would it be Hubert Humphrey?
Would it be Jack Kennedy? Would it be? Who would it be?
MATTHEWS: Bill Clinton?
BREWER: Well, certainly, Bill Clinton I think fit that category, a number of others.
But I don‘t think, for the chair of the party, that the only criteria is, can you talk on TV?
BREWER: Here in Michigan, for example, good looks don‘t necessarily guarantee that you‘re going to be an effective politician. John Engler here in Michigan is proof of that, very effective politician in Michigan.
MATTHEWS: Well, that was a nice personal shot.
BREWER: No, but looks aren‘t everything.
MATTHEWS: No, I‘m looking—I didn‘t mean that either. I meant, like, you‘ve got guys like Rudy Giuliani, who the Republican Party loved to put out as their pinup boy, even though they don‘t agree with him, because they know that he goes on a show like “Jay Leno” and people walk away thinking, the Republican Party is OK. They‘ve got guys like Rudy Giuliani in it, or Arnold or—your party had—you mentioned your governor.
I‘m just thinking of people that would sell the party better than people like John Kerry perhaps or John Edwards.
BREWER: We‘ve got lots of great spokespeople. We haven‘t even talked, Chris, about United States senators and our United States representatives. There are lots of locally elected Democrats. We‘ve got some great attorney generals and some great governors across the state. I don‘t think we have a lack of effective communicators and people that can carry our message.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me give you advice. Get regular people to run for president, like Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, people you might recognize around your dinner table or your breakfast table or on your street. Get regular people to run.
BREWER: Well, we‘re going to rebuild the party over the next three and a half years and then we‘ll worry about who our candidate is going to be.
MATTHEWS: OK, you better start thinking early, because candidates run early and the guy you are stuck with is the guy you are stuck with, because he‘s already running. Anyway—and she‘s already running.
Anyway, Mark Brewer, it‘s great to have—congratulations. I think it‘s be noble for the country to have an active two-party system. And sometimes I wonder if we still have one.
When we come back, we will have more on the future of the Democratic Party and who might replace Terry McAuliffe as national chairman. Plus, the latest on President Bush‘s fence-mending trip to Canada. Oh, Canada.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, President Bush tries to repair America‘s relationship with Canada, plus, much more on the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge—when HARDBALL returns.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Joining me right now is Hilary Rosen, CNBC analyst, Democratic Party advocate and former chairman, chairwoman, I think, or chair, of the Recording Industry Association, and Stephen Hayes, staff writer for “The Weekly Standard,” which is, I‘m told here, a conservative political magazine.
So you are a liberal. He is a conservative.
Let me talk to you about this fight on Capitol Hill, because I know the Democrats are out of power everywhere, the House, the Senate, the White House. So the fight is in the Republican Party. You can talk to the Republicans first, even though you are not officially here...
STEPHEN HAYES, “THE WEEKLY STANDARD”: I don‘t speak for the party.
MATTHEWS: You don‘t speak for the party.
What‘s going on between the big over—the No. 1 issue of the campaign, I believe, wasn‘t cultural. It was security. Something like 50 percent of the country said they believe that George W. Bush alone could protect the country. The other guy couldn‘t, Kerry. So the party won on that issue. Now the question is, can they do the job?
Getting one person, man or woman to be national intelligence director, is that an important goal?
HAYES: I think it was a goal that the president articulated during the campaign. If you‘re asking me if it‘s an important goal, I don‘t think it is an important goal. It‘s an important goal for people who want to be able to point fingers at some point in the future if something goes wrong.
MATTHEWS: Why are the Democrats pushing so hard to have one person accountable for protecting this country at a time of attack?
HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, the 9/11 Commission said they made a set of recommendations. They did more study of this than any member of Congress and anybody else.
They want through this and they made a set of recommendations about how the intelligence community should be reformed. George Bush has said those were good reforms. He supported them. Why should a member of Congress who doesn‘t know nearly as much as those classified documents told those members of the 9/11 Commission, why should they be worrying about protecting old turf, figuring out who is going to be in charge of what on what on Capitol Hill? A lot of this...
MATTHEWS: Why are the Democrats in love with the idea of this one person being in charge of everything in terms of intelligence and protecting the country? Why is it so important to Democrats?
I hear the leaders of the Democratic Party—you are speaking here in that capacity—why is everybody in the Democratic Party all of a sudden, they—on a bill which was basically drafted by people on the Hill, Republicans?
ROSEN: Well, I think two things.
The first, obviously, is that this is what people who are experts are saying ought to be done. And the second is, it‘ s just one more instance where the Republicans are getting away with not doing what they said they‘re going to do. They‘re not doing what they say is important because they‘re protecting their own...
MATTHEWS: My old question, can it happen again?
I like to go back to that, because everything else gets complicated. They attacked us 9/11. They hit us in New York and Washington, a concerted attack which was even more concerted than was realized in the end because they didn‘t pull it off completely. Pennsylvania, of course, that happened there, that—American heroism stopped that.
We knew later that morning, the CIA director, George Tenet, was having breakfast with David Boren, the head of the University of Oklahoma. he said, I hope it isn‘t that guy who was going for flying lessons. So there was perfect knowledge between the CIA director and what just happened. He knew that was the problem. Moussaoui was one of those guys. Perhaps he was the 20th hijacker who should have been on that mission, but he was picked up.
The president didn‘t know. The FBI director didn‘t know. And Condi Rice certainly didn‘t know. And nobody did nothing about it. Meanwhile, we have all evidence of the fact that the president was himself warned a month before, bin Laden to attack within the United States. No action taken. Will a director, a single person, prevent that from happening again? And, if not, why waste the argument?
HAYES: No, I think a director—I don‘t think a director, in and of itself, will prevent that from happening.
MATTHEWS: What will?
HAYES: I don‘t know that we...
MATTHEWS: How do we prevent ourselves from being punched again in the eyes?
HAYES: No, that‘s a part of the problem with this whole debate about this intelligence reform package, is, people want a single solution. I‘m not sure there is a single solution.
MATTHEWS: Is there a bureaucratic solution?
It‘s nice to talk about a single solution. It‘s nice to point to something and say, if we just do this, everybody will be safe from this point forward. It doesn‘t work that way. There are going to be—you want competitive analysis. You want people looking at the same intelligence, coming to different conclusions.
MATTHEWS: Who do they take it to?
HAYES: The concern is—the concern here is, you are not going to get that if you have a single hierarchy with one person in charge.
The president of the United States, as hard as he might work, doesn‘t have an inbox that says bad news to worry about in the world. Please put it in this box. Who has that box, bad things to worry about? Is it a national intelligence director or is it Condi Rice‘s replacement, Stephen Hadley at the national security desk? Who has got that box that says call me with bad things to worry about; I‘ll take it to bed with me tonight and think about it? Who is going to do that?
ROSEN: The national security adviser should have that information.
In theory, they are the one in daily contact with the president.
MATTHEWS: And with all those agencies.
ROSEN: And with all those agencies.
But if those agencies have an incentive not to coordinate, then they will not get the right information going forward. But this—the Greeks used to say, a fish will rot from the head. Unless this administration and this president creates an environment of accountability, it won‘t matter what structure is set up. And there‘s too many things.
MATTHEWS: Environment of accountability.
ROSEN: There‘s too many things from day one that nobody gets—nobody is accountable.
MATTHEWS: In other words, somebody is going to get blamed.
ROSEN: Was Donald Rumsfeld accountable for Abu Ghraib? Who is accountable the mistakes on the intelligence in...
HAYES: Everybody like accountability. The problem with the metaphor that you set up with the inbox...
ROSEN: Accountability actually creates better performance.
HAYES: The problem with the inbox is that you are going to have different people constantly disagreeing with what goes into that inbox.
MATTHEWS: So who breaks it apart?
HAYES: And I want to have different people coming to different conclusions.
MATTHEWS: And who is going to decide it and says, Mr. President, we have got a serious one here?
HAYES: I think ultimately the CIA director has been and should be going forward.
HAYES: He‘s the person who briefs the president every day and says, look, these are the things we need to be most concerned about.
But I also want the national security adviser to weigh in. I also want the secretary of defense to weigh in. I want the people at the other agencies to weigh in. I want everybody giving this kind of input on these issues.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you this. Does it really come down to purely having a brilliant top bureaucrat? We have had great bureaucrats, Joe Califano, J. Edgar Hoover in the early days. I‘ll think of a few others, who really were—Bobby Kennedy—who really had their agencies under their control and that knew how to run their government. It‘s a rare quality.
In 1941, when we were hit by the Japanese navy, the entire Japanese navy practically moved across the Pacific Ocean and moved undetected to the Hawaiian Islands and blew the hell out of them. Who was saying, wait a minute; I don‘t know where the Japanese navy is, but I know we don‘t know where it is and that‘s a sign we‘re in trouble?
Because the entire navy, the second biggest navy in the world is missing—or third biggest. Where are they? Bring it up to today. It‘s 2004. If something like that happens and all the sudden, Zawahri or something—we hear some things, movement of people in Pakistan or there is some suspicious activity at some airport, who says, I smell something? This is a problem. This is the first time we have had this confluence of something. Who is that person?
If I were the president of United States, I would want to have that person and I want to have that phone number.
ROSEN: It‘s not the...
MATTHEWS: Who is that person to call?
ROSEN: The CIA director right now doesn‘t have the resources to do that.
MATTHEWS: What about the meeting in Malaysia a couple years ago, that big meeting and everything came out of? Wouldn‘t you like to know there has been a meeting of the mob basically coming out to get us, we ought other know they‘re coming? J. Edgar Hoover would know that.
HAYES: We knew about the meeting in Malaysia. The problem was that people didn‘t act upon it. And then, even after that meeting broke up in January of 2000, you had a top CIA official briefing that he was keeping track of the meeting. The meeting had broken up four days earlier.
ROSEN: The meeting in Malaysia, the participants were not connected with what the FBI knew about people in the flight schools. It was not connected with what other people...
MATTHEWS: Maybe we ought to get Putin in Najaf. Bring him over here, give whatever money he‘s making right now, put him in Washington. We want a real spook. We want a real a KGB type here who loves intelligence, who lives—who gets up in the morning and reads every single piece of paper, who is sniffing the wind all the time.
And all this bureaucratic argument. You say the bureaucracy, if you change it, will be better. Maybe it won‘t. It still comes down to, do you have a really smart person who is able to really do their job?
ROSEN: But if the structure works against them, they don‘t have a shot.
ROSEN: It clearly will come down to getting a good person in that job.
MATTHEWS: OK. If you were president of the United States tonight and you were having trouble going to sleep tonight and you were thinking, God, I‘m worrying about what I read in that article somewhere about this meeting over there in Malaysia, who would you call? Would you call the national director intelligence or would you call the CIA director?
ROSEN: The first thing I would do is call Dennis Hastert and say, get your Republicans together.
ROSEN: No, no.
ROSEN: Get your Republicans together and stop worrying about whether
· how many Republicans we have vs. Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Who would you call?
MATTHEWS: ... president of the United States if you to know what‘s going on? Because that‘s the question.
ROSEN: Stephen Hadley and my guys needs to have the information.
HAYES: I would call Porter Goss.
MATTHEWS: Porter Goss?
MATTHEWS: Porter, what do you hear?
HAYES: Call Porter Goss today. What are you hearing?
MATTHEWS: So you wouldn‘t go to some national intelligence director?
HAYES: Right now, I would call Porter Goss.
ROSEN: He wouldn‘t get it if he called Porter Goss. That‘s what the 9/11 Commission...
MATTHEWS: Why wouldn‘t Porter Goss know what is going on?
ROSEN: Because he doesn‘t have all the information. And he doesn‘t have the authority to get all the information.
HAYES: Think about the debate. Think about the debate.
The 9/11 commission and all of the other commissions that have looked into intelligence failures have said that the central failure here is group think. So what are we doing? What does this bill do, in large measure? Bring it together. Consolidate it.
MATTHEWS: You know why the congressmen don‘t want to bring this together? Because every senator of the United States who is any good—and they‘re all pretty good or they wouldn‘t be there—they are all thinking, when I call home to my state and I want to know what‘s going on, I don‘t call one person.
I call a bunch of people to find out what is going on. I want to know intel about my state, my way of doing it is calling 10 people I‘ve got in business, labor, whatever, women‘s groups. I say, what do you hear, what do you hear, what do you hear? Because that‘s how you do your job and that‘s what president has to do, doesn‘t he, in the end? The president has to do that.
ROSEN: I think you are giving them too much credit on that.
ROSEN: No, you‘re giving members of Congress who are opposed to this too much credit.
MATTHEWS: Well, the ones that get reelected every time tend to have their hands...
ROSEN: That that‘s the reason they are opposing this. That‘s not the reason they are opposing this.
MATTHEWS: We‘re coming back with Hilary.
Let‘s talk about politics and the Democratic Party with Hilary Rosen and Stephen Hayes.
And don‘t forget to check out Hardblogger, our political blog Web site. Just go to HARDBALL.MSNBC.com. It‘s always the same.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back with Democratic advocate Hilary Rosen and “The Weekly Standard”‘s Stephen Hayes.
Who do you think is going to be the Democratic nominee for president next time?
HAYES: Boy, I don‘t know. Evan Bayh would be a good pick, but he would have trouble in the primaries.
MATTHEWS: Pretty conservative. Do you think Hillary Clinton could win the presidency?
HAYES: I think she could win the Democratic nomination. I think she would have a hard time winning the presidency.
MATTHEWS: Why, because she couldn‘t win those states like West Virginia and Ohio?
HAYES: Yes. I think that‘s exactly why.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but times change.
What do you think?
MATTHEWS: Do you think times might change enough in terms of the economy and world affairs that Hillary could actually pull a 270 in the Electoral College?
ROSEN: She has got a ton of advantages a lot of Democrats don‘t have. She does have that sort of basic Midwestern, Methodist values system. She talks kind of like a mom when she talks about children.
She is much more conservative, I believe, than people give her credit for.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Will she say that? Will she say that?
ROSEN: And she knows what she believes.
She actually—you don‘t look at her and wonder which way she goes. She is pretty straightforward that way. So, I think people are kind of hungry for that in a Democrat. People are hungry for a way to avoid sort of the Republican-light or the really liberal, Howard Dean type.
ROSEN: So I think that, you know, the persona...
MATTHEWS: In a secret ballot, will men vote for her, when they get in that booth?
ROSEN: I actually think that‘s more of an issue than anything else.
I‘m not sure men will vote for a woman.
MATTHEWS: In the booth once they get in there.
ROSEN: In the booth. I don‘t think it‘s necessarily her.
HAYES: I don‘t think that people in the Midwest think of Hillary Clinton and think Midwestern values, think of her first and foremost as a mother, think of her as...
MATTHEWS: Well, one problem is, she has to run for reelection as senator from New York, which enunciates that big East thing again.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about Canada, out closest neighbor. We have a great relationship with Canada, very different public culture than here, much more pro-government, much more comfortable about social programs at the federal level, much more of a united country than we are. We‘re a federal country...
MATTHEWS: ... unitarian government.
Why do we have to make peace with them? What is the president‘s trip about, Stephen?
HAYES: Well, I mean, they‘re a huge trading partner, first and foremost.
MATTHEWS: What‘s the problem, just that they are more European in their views towards the Middle East?
HAYES: I think so.
I think over—certainly, during the first term, they were, I think, gracious and good friends after September 11. They didn‘t agree with going to war in Iraq. They said so quite publicly and in some cases I think in a rather distasteful way.
And this is about mending fences. It‘s interesting that the president went to Canada, didn‘t invite Martin to the United States. He seems to be reaching out.
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s the old tradition, if you go back. Presidents tend to make the first public visit with Canada and then they go to Europe. And he is following that old-time tradition this year, isn‘t he, the president?
ROSEN: And I think, though you will never hear him say it, I think what it means is, he‘s acknowledging some mistakes in foreign policy, in relationships with foreign leaders in that first term.
MATTHEWS: You mean he wants more teamwork?
ROSEN: He needs more teamwork. He is desperate for it. And this is the only way he can do it.
MATTHEWS: Well, I don‘t know about these demonstrators up there today. We‘re all going to see it on the news all tonight and it‘s just part of the show. But do these demonstrators mean anything to you? Is it just something...
HAYES: ... people oppose his policies. I think it‘s totally natural that they would be demonstrating. We saw it when he went to Europe. We saw it when he went to Canada. Nothing new.
ROSEN: And it bothers some people, though. It bothers Americans when
· this president has been protested by foreign nationals more than any other president in history.
MATTHEWS: Well, get ready for Europe.
ROSEN: And it‘s going to be—it happened in Colombia a couple weeks ago. It‘s happening in Canada.
HAYES: But it didn‘t bother people enough to not—to vote him out on November 2.
MATTHEWS: Well, I root for him. And I tell you, we all have got to worry about his safety, because every time there is a mob, there is a problem. And everybody knows that. It‘s very hard to protect a person in a mob.
Anyway, thank you, Hilary Rosen. I like your optimism. Bush is getting—more of a team player. He‘s not going to take those shots. No more gun. He‘s going to pass the ball this time.
Anyway, Stephen Hayes, once again.
Join us again tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL.
Right now, it‘s time for the “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.
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