Guest: Govindini Murty, Michael Rectenwald, Tony Blankley, Peter Beinart, Jack Burkman, J.C. Joyce, Jennifer Giroux, Ole Anthony
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY SWAGGART, TELEVANGELIST: I have sinned against you, my lord.
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PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST: Are televangelists selling God to the poor and elderly? That‘s what controversial Christian crusader Ole Anthony says. He‘s dedicated his life to exposing what he calls the gospel of greed. But is he using ungodly tactics?
Then, Democrats are doing some serious soul-searching in the wake of their defeat. Should they embrace Hollywood or purge loudmouth, ultra-liberals like Michael Moore?
And the head of the Democratic Party had an interesting way of celebrating Pearl Harbor Day today, by attacking the GOP as unpatriotic. Is Terry McAuliffe exploiting an American tragedy?
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BUCHANAN: Pat Buchanan here, sitting in for Joe.
You invite them into your home through radio and television. But are
the evangelists of the airwaves helping to answer your prayers or just
making a luxurious living? And is there a new gospel of greed being spread
by prophets of profits?
Joining me now, Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation, which not only helps the neediest, but investigates televangelists. Also with us, J.C. Joyce, attorney whose client, Robert Tilton, was investigated by ABC News and the Trinity Foundation. We also have Jennifer Giroux of Women Influencing the Nation.
Ole Anthony, let me begin with you. You‘ve been called a scourge of televangelists and of the prosperity gospel. Who and what are you talking about?
OLE ANTHONY, TRINITY FOUNDATION: Well, unfortunately, most of the successful televangelists on the air today, the only way they can stay on the air is by promoting this gospel of greed, the so-called 100-fold blessing or heavenly lotteries, as I call it.
And it‘s doing more harm to the body of Christ than anything else that‘s happening today.
BUCHANAN: Well, there are millions of folks, as a matter of fact, over 140 million, I believe, listen once a month to televangelists. They clearly are getting something out of this in their relationship with God in hearing about the problems of their lives addressed. And they certainly get something out of it. I mean, why are 140 million people wrong and Ole right?
ANTHONY: Well, the 140 million is way inflated. There‘s about five million people in the country that normally support televangelists.
And of these five million, about 60 percent are elderly. About 30 percent are what we call the desperate pool. Their son our daughter has cancer. They‘re dying of AIDS. And the remaining percentage are fairly well off, upper middle-class. They want a spiritual justification for their greed. But the idea of 140 million listening, that sounds like one of the televangelists‘ P.R. guy.
BUCHANAN: All right.
All right, now, there‘s no doubt about it, Ole, that you investigated and exposed some corruption 15 years ago among one or two of these evangelists. But, at the same time, you have been called a garbologist. That‘s someone who digs in dumpsters to get documents to expose hypocrisy.
Now, aren‘t you using tactics which our lord himself would condemn?
ANTHONY: I doubt it very seriously. These men have isolated themselves to such a degree, living in gated communities, nothing made public. They have police forces around them to protect them, and they use the government and the First Amendment to protect and isolate themselves to justify their greed.
ANTHONY: There‘s no other way.
BUCHANAN: All right, Jennifer Giroux, what is your take on what you‘ve just heard?
JENNIFER GIROUX, DIRECTOR, WOMEN INFLUENCING THE NATION: Well, Pat, you know, we all remember what a terrible tragedy we had in the Catholic Church exposed about priests and homosexuality last year.
And Catholics like myself and others that were adhering to teachings of the church desperately hoped people would see that the human weaknesses and failings of these priests did not represent the Catholic Church. And the problem is, there are so many good, trusting Americans out there that are seeking the truth, that the unsuspecting, like the elderly that perhaps are even shut-ins that are watching this TV for some type of spiritual feedback and help with their spiritual life are being taken advantage of.
BUCHANAN: All right.
J.C. Joyce, let me ask you about what Ole Anthony had to say. There‘s no doubt—Jennifer Giroux said, look, in the Catholic Church, there‘s been horrendous scandals of numerous priests, a significant slice of the priests, involved with boys and children. At the same time, there‘s been scandals among televangelists, but they seem to be a time ago, 10 years ago. And how much of this is going on that Ole Anthony says that rightly should be condemned, and how much of it, do you believe, how much of the rest of it is really doing good?
J.C. JOYCE, ATTORNEY: First of all, I‘d like to correct one thing. I no longer represent Robert Tilton, but I did all during the time of Ole‘s involvement with him.
JOYCE: And the fact is what has gone on in the Catholic Church is an insignificant part of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is a fine institution, and there are people involved in the Catholic Church that did things wrong, and those things are being corrected.
Ole Anthony hasn‘t corrected anything, to my knowledge. And the tactics that he has used in the past are abhorrent. The end never justifies the means. And what we have with Ole Anthony is a demagogue, a bigot. Always, always these preachers that he wants to attack are preying on the poor and the old. And you can‘t equate gullibility and stupidity with age and poverty. They just don‘t wash.
I‘m old. I‘m not stupid and I‘m not gullible. And I‘ve been poor and I wasn‘t stupid or gullible then. But when you have a demagogue, that‘s what they always say, and that‘s how they send their messages out, that these televangelists are appealing to the poor and the elderly. Well, do they control the television knob? I mean, just think about how ridiculous that position is.
BUCHANAN: All right, Ole Anthony, he says you‘re being contentious of these people who do receive something, believe they receive something from these televangelists on radio and TV. Why are you right and he wrong?
ANTHONY: Well, Billy Graham said on “Primetime Live” with a picture of Robert Tilton and Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker behind him, he said these men are doing great, great harm to the kingdom of God and to the cause of Christ. If you would meet the victims that come to us from our victims hot line and see the desperation...
BUCHANAN: All right, let me interrupt you right there. All three of these cases we know were scandalous events. But all three of them, to my recollection, are 10 or more years old. And, obviously, you‘ve got three individuals who, if you will, were rotten apples in the barrel at that time. But you yourself know there are scores and hundreds of televangelists out there. Are you saying all of them are guilty of the same sins as those gentlemen, those three you just mentioned?
ANTHONY: No, of course not.
Today, we have Trinity Broadcasting Network, a $4 billion operation controlled by Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch, and two of his relatives. We have Benny Hinn living in an $8.5 million home. They live like Middle Eastern potentates with actually no accountability whatsoever.
And all I want is accountability. That‘s all I‘ve ever asked for, verification of healings, making their financial records public. That‘s all I‘ve ever wanted.
BUCHANAN: Do you believe that—let me ask you, Ole, do you believe quickly, before we take a break here, that Benny Hinn is not an authentic healer?
ANTHONY: Well, we have monitored him since 1992. We have not found one verified, medically verified, healing among hundreds that have been investigated by us and by various media venues, and foreign and domestic. Most of the investigations we‘ve done for the last seven years have been for the foreign press, for the BBC, for Australia, for the Netherlands, for Japan, for Germany, for France, because these guys are now all on satellite.
BUCHANAN: All right, I‘m going to ask you all to stay right there.
We have much more of this debate ahead.
And, later, a lot of Democrats are feeling pretty down right now, and some say dumping Michael Moore would lighten the load. We‘ll debate that later. So don‘t go away.
BUCHANAN: Do televangelists bring viewers closer to God or just separate them from their money, as Ole Anthony alleges?
More on that debate straight ahead.
BUCHANAN: We‘re back with Ole Anthony, J.C. Joyce, Jennifer Giroux.
And we‘re joined by Republican strategist Jack Burkman.
Let me ask you, J.C. Joyce, I believe you heard Ole Anthony say that Benny Hinn, who I have seen on national television a couple of times, extraordinarily charismatic, speaking to gigantic stadiums of people—they bring them up and they appear to heal these people right there. Now, Ole says that there‘s not a single verifiable case of miraculous healing.
Do you know there to be one? What is your feeling about Benny Hinn and the faith healers?
JOYCE: I have no relationship with Benny Hinn. I personally believe that there are miraculous healings. I believe in miracles. I think that miracles happened in biblical times and I think miracles happen today. That‘s my personal belief.
BUCHANAN: Have you seen any miracles performed by evangelists or televangelists or faith healers yourself?
JOYCE: I have not seen a miracle performed by anyone. I believe that I have seen a miracle. I don‘t believe televangelists perform miracles. I believe God performs miracles, and I do believe I‘ve seen one.
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, Pat, a lot of this...
BUCHANAN: Jack Burkman.
BURKMAN: You have to understand, the reason—Ole Anthony, he is a good guy, but he does this kind of thing because he knows the establishment media will run with this. CNN, ABC, they‘re all going to put him on.
They love this. You‘re criticizing preachers. Ministers are like anybody else. You‘ve got 1 percent to 2 percent of them are bad; 1 percent to 2 percent of them are greedy. It‘s like athletes. The media tends to focus on the bad. With religion, they love that stuff. They eat it up because there‘s looking for an excuse to undermine religion.
Preachers are a convenient symbol. The thing we have to remember is, nobody minds in America if Michael Dell or Bill Gates or Peter Jennings runs around in a $3,000 suit. That‘s just fine. But if a preacher does it, it‘s bad. And the media is constantly hitting us. There‘s something different about it. There is this constant subtext that this is bad and wrong.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me take that.
Ole Anthony, let me ask you directly here.
BUCHANAN: Look, I think Jack has got a point here. There‘s no doubt. Look, you‘ve got Diane Sawyer. You‘re on national television. There‘s a big takeout in “The New Yorker” on you. You can‘t get any better than that. “The L.A. Times” has a big takeout. Another one of those news magazine shows on TV has done you as well. Aren‘t you getting an awful lot of press from secular people for going after what are basically a few bad apples in what is an otherwise valid, legitimate ministry?
ANTHONY: Well, first of all, let me say that I, too, believe in miracles. We have them in our community all the time. But we don‘t market them.
The whole idea of—all I want is accountability. J.C. Joyce‘s former client, Robert Tilton, his board of directors was Robert Tilton, his wife and his secretary. And he ran an $80-million-a-year operation. That‘s obscene. Where is the accountability?
BUCHANAN: Ole, but wait a minute.
BUCHANAN: Hold it a second. Let me just mention other Ole.
Ole, again, this is 15 or more years ago that problem was exposed. You had a role in it. It seems to me like your job is sort of done as of 10 years ago, and you‘re riding on your laurels.
BURKMAN: It‘s anecdotal, though.
BURKMAN: It‘s all anecdotal. We‘re looking at one case.
ANTHONY: No, no, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. No, no.
BUCHANAN: Go ahead, Ole.
ANTHONY: No, no, stop.
ANTHONY: You haven‘t seen what‘s about to happen. TBN, the largest television network in the world, their board of directors is Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch, Paul crouch Jr. and Paul Crouch‘s sister. It‘s a $4 billion operation with $583 million in liquid assets, and they‘re still begging for money.
BURKMAN: Well, does that make it bad?
Think about it, Ole. What are you saying? It‘s not an issue—you say it‘s an issue of accountability. It‘s an issue of perspective. You‘re presenting a distorted perspective. What are you arguing? Are you arguing that there are a few bad apples? Or are you arguing that most of the ministry in the United States is bad and extreme and corrupt and seeking money? What is your argument?
ANTHONY: Of course not.
I am a sold-out Christian. I‘ve taken a vow of poverty. I get $55 a week, plus room and board. And so do the people that work for Trinity. We take the homeless in, but we take them into our homes, not into a shelter. J.C. Joyce said that purpose—that they were not a charity. They were a church.
ANTHONY: Well, what happened to Jesus saying take care of the least of these, my brethren?
BUCHANAN: OK, let me ask you that, Jen Giroux.
What about the idea that there are many televangelists who live extraordinarily well, far beyond what any average American can hope to have in material goods? Is this the Gospel message?
GIROUX: Well, Jesus preaches poverty. He was born in a stable.
Obviously not. He said the rich man should give everything away.
With Ole, I want to say exposing these things from 10 years ago—I have to agree with Pat—was something that was a good thing. But being in the media, being reported in “The New York Times,” it‘s kind of seductive. Being a televangelist is seductive. And at some point, a person has to step back and realize, what is my intention here? Am I doing more good than bad?
What I think has happened and is a good thing, God always brings good
out of bad. There are great vocations that are rising up in the Catholic
Church from that tragedy. And we‘ve got some really good young evangelists
· many have been on this show—that are rebounding from that scandal 10, 15 years ago and really trying to reach out and help people.
BUCHANAN: Wait a minute.
J.C. Joyce, the individual, Robert Tilton, as you said, that is not now—he‘s not now your client. He was at one time. Was not Ole Anthony dead right in that case?
JOYCE: Not only was he not dead right. He was dead wrong. And Robert Tilton was framed. And we proved that he was framed. And Ole Anthony knows that he was framed. The only difference between Ole and I, we both know he was framed. Ole knows who framed him, and I don‘t.
BURKMAN: But, Pat, again, what‘s the social significance of any of this?
BUCHANAN: Let me get Ole Anthony.
Go ahead. Go ahead, Ole Anthony.
ANTHONY: That‘s obscene.
J.C. sued us so many times that—I‘ve been in depositions with him for many days. He sued me so many times, my depositions are now taller than I am, and I‘m 6‘4“. If there was any frame, it would have been proven. He lost every lawsuit, including the ones against ABC. That‘s ridiculous, that he was framed.
BUCHANAN: Jennifer, go ahead.
GIROUX: The tragedy here is that scandals like this, you know, two people going at each other over Christianity, gives some people that desperately need to hear the message of love of Jesus an exact reason to stay away from going to a church where they can find the truth. That is the tragedy that I‘m hearing here.
ANTHONY: I agree. I agree totally.
BURKMAN: What I would say is, what is the social significance of fighting over one anecdote, one preacher?
For every one you find like that, even if it is true, assuming it is true—it probably isn‘t, but assume it is—there are 1,000 others that we don‘t talk about who are. The other thing is, what‘s wrong with TBN gathering $4 billion? They use it for good purposes. Think of all the—think of how needed it is when you think about the movie studios and the poison they dump into this society. Think how badly this society needs something like...
BUCHANAN: All right, Ole, what about that point?
BUCHANAN: Excuse me, Ole.
They tend to give—they do family television. I mean, we‘ve done night after night, last night included, all this sleaze and garbage that‘s being dumped in our faces. You can‘t watch a football game without getting it dumped in your face. And whatever you say about TBN or the old Pat Robertson network, they do do family programming, do they not, that is good healthy programming?
ANTHONY: Well, that remains to be seen. But with regard to these scandals being 10 or 15 years old, keep your eyes tuned.
GIROUX: Well, I do think, Pat, that people are more educated now after the Swaggart and Bakker scandal. And they are looking with a discerning eye when they‘re watching and absorbing what these televangelists are telling them. That is what one good thing that has come out of this.
ANTHONY: No, that‘s not true.
GIROUX: I think some of them are.
That‘s not to say the unsuspecting and the trusting are not being taken in at times. But the problem is, Hollywood loves to exploit televangelists and portray them as adulterers and people that are cheating and all this other stuff. And those are the ones that are exploited, the ones that are given scandal like that.
The concentration is given to those that are truly reaching out, maybe performing a spiritual miracle by helping somebody turn away from drugs, turn away from immorality.
BUCHANAN: J.C. Joyce, do you know anything about—Ole seems to be hinting or suggesting or saying that something‘s going to explode under the TBN, right?
BUCHANAN: Do you know anything about that, heard anything about that?
JOYCE: No, not other than what I‘ve heard on television.
And we can expect just about anything from Ole.. But the fundamental problem here is the inability—and this is not just with reference to Ole Anthony. This is with reference to all religions, the Catholic Church, Islam, everything. And part of the world problem right now is the inability of religions to see the good in each religion, instead of focusing on what they disagree with. And that‘s what Ole‘s fault is.
BURKMAN: That‘s a broader debate. But the broader...
GIROUX: All religions are not equal in their truth, so we cannot all stand back and hold hands and say, hey, you‘re good. I‘m good. We‘re all good.
BURKMAN: You can plunge into a theological debate. But that‘s kind of a sideshow.
ANTHONY: Do I get a chance to answer?
BUCHANAN: Ole has got—we‘ve got to give him a chance to answer.
Go ahead, Ole.
ANTHONY: Evangelical Christianity, according to a Christian surveyor, out of 100 population groups in America, is third from the bottom, beat out only by prostitutes and drug dealers. Something is wrong with the portrayal of Christianity as seen on television.
And what is wrong is, we‘re not meeting the needs of the homeless.
We‘re not meeting the needs of the least of these, my brethren.
BUCHANAN: Let me ask you, Ole, is not some of the portrayal of evangelical Christians the result of Hollywood being the portrayer, and they are irredeemable hostile to Christianity, and you know it, as well as I know it?
ANTHONY: Well, that may be true, but also what‘s hostile to Christianity are the antics and the obscene antics of some of these men that are operating in the name of God. And that makes me very mad.
BURKMAN: Your point, Pat, you‘re right on the money, your point.
You‘re exactly right.
And more than that, they need to destroy it. If Christianity thrives
· part of the thing is, in a democracy, when you try to suppress it—it‘s having a great revival in the last 10 years.
Look at Mel Gibson. Ask Mel Gibson. When you try to suppress something in a free society, it explodes. That‘s what‘s happening now. Hollywood, the major media conglomerates, the establishment media, want to destroy Christianity. Why? Because, if they do that, then it‘s easier to push trash. They want the morals and the intellect of the society lowered, because if people are smart and they‘re moral, they‘re not going to watch “Desperate Housewives” and whatever other garbage and porn they want to put on.
BUCHANAN: OK, I guess we have got—we‘re going to have to take a break now. I‘m sure we‘re going to return to this debate some day.
Ole Anthony, thank you very much. J.C. Joyce, Jennifer Giroux, Jack Burkman, thanks for visiting SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Up next, Michael Moore thinks his film deserves an Oscar. He thinks Democrats should embrace Hollywood. If you think Moore is playing with less than a full deck, then you‘re in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
So stick around.
BUCHANAN: Should the Democratic Party keep its distance from “Fahrenheit 9/11”‘s Michael Moore? We‘ll be debating that ahead.
But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER/AUTHOR: And I especially encourage the Democratic Party to rediscover their backbone and come out fighting here, because you‘re fighting for the majority, the majority that never elected this man to office.
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BUCHANAN: Mr. Democrat there.
Does “Fahrenheit 9/11” deserve an Oscar? Michael Moore thinks so. He also says he didn‘t hurt John Kerry‘s campaign and the Democrats should—quote—“embrace Hollywood.”
But, in April, Michael Moore wrote this—quote—“The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not insurgents or terrorists or the enemy. They are the revolution, the Minutemen. And their numbers will grow. And they will win.”
OK. Should the Democrats dump Michael Moore?
Joining me now, Peter Beinart, who wrote about this in “The New Republic,” Michael Rectenwald of Citizens For Legitimate Government, Govindini Murty of the Liberty Film Festival, and Tony Blankley from “The Washington Times.”
Let me start with you, Peter Beinart.
You suggested that it might be a good thing for the Democrats to dump Michael Moore. But isn‘t their problem a lot more serious than Michael Moore? I was at the—or I saw on television that Democratic Convention. The one that got the real thunderous applause, even for a mediocre speech, was Howard Dean. Isn‘t the heart and soul of the Democratic Party fiercely liberal, fiercely left, and fiercely anti-war?
PETER BEINART, EDITOR, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”: I think it‘s worth distinguishing Howard Dean from Michael Moore. Howard Dean supported the Gulf War. He supported interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. He believes in the war on terrorism. His argument against Iraq is, it hurt us in the war on terrorism.
The problem with Michael Moore is, he doesn‘t believe there is a war on terrorism. He doesn‘t believe that terrorism is a threat. He opposed the war in Afghanistan. He opposed the war in Kosovo. This is a guy who doesn‘t basically believe in American power or American national security. He‘s a problem.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me go to Tony Blankley.
Tony, I think Peter wants a Sister Souljah moment here, with Michael Moore in the role of Sister Souljah and Democrats dumping him, and, frankly, pushing Hollywood at some remove from them, the modern Hollywood. I‘m talking about Barbra Streisand. You were a child actor. You know all about Hollywood.
What is the likelihood the Democratic Party is going to do that? And what is the wisdom of it?
TONY BLANKLEY, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, “THE WASHINGTON TIMES”: Well, I think they would be wise.
I think there is a distinction. And I agree with Pete. I don‘t know that he would phrase it the way I will. I would say the difference between the unpatriotic left and the patriotic left. Howard Dean is a patriotic left and Moore doesn‘t relate to this country as a citizen. He‘s just geographically here.
And I think that kind of tone that he‘s put out is so deeply offensive to 95 percent of the country that the Democrats have to get rid of him. The question remains, should they, having got rid of that element, much as in Peter‘s article, getting rid of the communists after World War II in the Democratic Party...
BLANKLEY: Should they then try to nudge Hollywood generally, the Howard Deans, the left, respectable left wing of the Democratic Party, should they be put out as well?
I think they should be, but I think it‘s going to be very difficult to do it, because that is not a trace element. That‘s got to be 30, 40, 50, 60 percent of the party.
All right, Michael Rectenwald, what do you think of the idea that Michael Moore really is an albatross around the neck of the Democratic Party? He was up there with President Carter, sitting in that box with President Carter. I think Republicans all across the country were elated, because of the association of Michael, quite frankly, to “Fahrenheit 9/11” and all the abusive things he said about the president.
He simply is a problem for the Democratic Party, is he not?
MICHAEL RECTENWALD, CITIZENS FOR LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT: I don‘t think so.
I think to let “The New Republic” define the principles of the Democratic Party and our position, the position of the Democratic Party is basically to allow the right wing to define what the left wing or the liberal party holds. Michael Moore—Michael Moore‘s film was attended by more people than voted for John Kerry. Michael Moore‘s film was supported by millions of Americans across the country.
The problem here is not what Michael Moore said about Bush. The problem is about what Bush did to merit what Michael Moore said about Bush.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, let‘s hold it and take a look at Michael Moore. We said he sat in former President Jimmy Carter‘s box at the Democratic Convention. But he had a different reception at the Republican Convention. Let‘s take a look.
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SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: Our choice wasn‘t between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don‘t let anyone tell you otherwise, not our political opponents, not—and certainly not, and certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: OK, that is when Michael Moore himself—there he is right there at the Republican Convention, Republicans—and enjoying it. That‘s the representative of the Democratic Party at the Republican Convention.
Govindini Murty, what is your take on whether this fellow is an asset?
GOVINDINI MURTY, LIBERTY FILM FESTIVAL: Look, Michael Moore is the worst liar for the left since Walter Duranty and Jane Fonda.
Now, the remarkable thing is, is that the results of the election show that the American public has completely rejected him and his vision. In fact, I think he helped Bush. And I personally, as someone from Hollywood, would like to thank Michael for helping launch a whole conservative film movement that you may not be aware of, but that is growing slowly.
In fact, at Cannes, when he won the Palme d‘Or, Jean-Luc Godard, no friend of conservatism, he said Michael Moore does not know what he‘s doing. He‘s launching and he‘s going to instigate an underground conservative film movement, which is exactly what is happening right now. We had almost a dozen filmmakers at our recent Liberty Film Festival in Los Angeles who made films rebutting Michael Moore.
Conservatives by the droves are entering filmmaking who never would have entered filmmaking otherwise. I think it‘s fantastic. The Democrats should not Michael Moore. They‘re going to embrace him further. And I‘d like to thank him personally.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, let me start—let me go back to Tony Blankley.
Look, there was a time in the 1950s, look—and I use repeatedly the example, Gregory Peck was as liberal as they come. But he‘s a marvelous actor. And he‘s in those great shows. And he plays in—and when he spoke out for someone, when Hollywood in those days spoke out for someone, it was a great benefit. I remember, in ‘68, I was in New Hampshire and Gene McCarthy was—I was with Nixon.
Gene McCarthy was there, and Paul Newman came up. It was a tremendous success, and he was very popular. But now the Hollywood actors, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, Barbra Streisand and all those folks in Hollywood are so far out, it seems, they are really damaging and defining negatively the Democratic Party of today.
BLANKLEY: Well, I‘ll tell you what is funny is, I agree with that 100 percent, and yet, during the election season, I know a lot of us who were Bush supporters were not supremely confident that Bush wasn‘t being hurt by this constant attack.
It turned out, we think, that it was. But I think part of it was, Hollywood was I think tainted even more by Moore, who is just—he‘s just excessive. But normally—Hollywood is going to be part of the Democratic Party base.
BLANKLEY: There‘s going to get out there and raise money. That‘s not going to end. But there‘s going to be a real struggle. And it‘s a good start...
MURTY: Excuse me. I disagree. That is going to end. That is going to end.
Hollywood was founded by Republicans. Every major movie studio was founded by Republicans. Republicans ran Hollywood during World War II. And they supported the Democrat president.
BLANKLEY: I know the history, my dear. But that‘s not the...
MURTY: And it is going to change again.
BLANKLEY: Well, it may rain beer tomorrow. But right now, Hollywood is very liberal and it‘s going to stay liberal.
MURTY: I have a little more contact with Hollywood filmmakers than you do, and I assure you, there‘s a very large percentage of Hollywood people who are conservative.
BUCHANAN: Tony Blankley‘s career is...
BUCHANAN: ... completely over.
Peter Beinart, but, look, realistically—I saw what you were doing, you‘re trying to do, and get the Democratic Party as a centrist party, sort of a Truman, Jack Kennedy party during the cold war. Look, George McGovern is as seminal a figure in the Democratic Party as Barry Goldwater was in ours. He came in and he altered that party. And it was been since then what Tony suggests. At its heart and soul, it has been defiantly liberal. It has been left. It has been—it simply is not the old Democratic Party of LBJ, Kennedy and Harry Truman.
BEINART: I disagree.
A lot of what George McGovern did, Bill Clinton undid. Remember, Bill Clinton launched military intervention, moral intervention, in Kosovo and Bosnia, over Republican opposition. And he changed...
BEINART: Excuse me. I think you should let me finish.
And he changed the climate in the Democratic Party. If Al Gore had been the president in 2000, he would have brought us into Afghanistan and Democrats would have supported us. What‘s happened is that Bush has created this divisive environment and people like Michael Moore have exploited and has moved the Democratic Party away from where its roots are, which is the moral use of American power.
MURTY: You‘re living in a fantasy world. You‘re living in a fantasy world. Michael Moore is the base.
BUCHANAN: Let‘s let Michael Rectenwald get in here.
RECTENWALD: Yes, please. Thank you.
RECTENWALD: First of all, let me just say something.
Michael Moore did not hurt the Democratic Party. You had a segment about miracles in the last segment here. I‘d like to talk about some miracles that happened in Ohio, like 4,400 votes added to a precinct that had only 800 votes—voters in it, OK, that voted for Bush. Let‘s talk about the miracles of Diebold.
BUCHANAN: They did the recount. They did the recount, my friend.
RECTENWALD: They can‘t recount votes that were miraculously computer posited, Pat.
BUCHANAN: But you are going to have to wait four more years for this.
RECTENWALD: I know. Once Diebold controls the election—and it‘s a Republican-owned corporation that promised the election for Bush from the outset, are we supposed to believe these results? This is a faith-based political process, isn‘t it?
BUCHANAN: OK, Govindini, go ahead.
MURTY: This is the problem. You guys are living in a fantasy land.
RECTENWALD: Oh, really? You‘re living in fantasy land. You think you got more votes than we did?
MURTY: You‘re living in a fantasy land.
Look, after “Fahrenheit 9/11” came out, Bush‘s poll numbers on Iraq rose 10 points.
RECTENWALD: Oh, right.
MURTY: I mean, Michael Moore did nothing but help. Frankly, he turned off America so much, he and the rest of Hollywood...
RECTENWALD: First of all, they shifted the attention away from the real problem. That is what Bush did, the lies.
RECTENWALD: First of all, did you know that George Bush Sr. was sitting in a room with bin Laden‘s brother on the day that 9/11 happened?
RECTENWALD: That‘s true.
BUCHANAN: Bin Laden‘s brother. OK.
MURTY: All I can say is...
BUCHANAN: Hold it. Hold it.
RECTENWALD: Do you find anything wrong with that, or is that—are we supposed to accept that on faith, too?
BUCHANAN: We‘re going to have to hit the microphones here in a second, because we‘re coming back to Washington.
Let me ask both of you gentlemen the likelihood that the Democratic Party is going to do as you suggest. And if it does, Peter, it seems to me there‘s a tremendous vacuum, quite frankly, in this country. Howard Dean had energetic, fiery supporters. He had a tremendous movement, until he was demonized. I think the heart and soul and the strength of the Democratic Party, frankly, is on the anti-war left.
And if I had to bet on a nominee for 2008, and if I were a Democrat running in there, I think someone who came out of there with a McGovern-type position on Iraq would be a lot stronger than anyone with a Joe Lieberman position.
BEINART: Look, it‘s true most Democrats oppose the war in Iraq; 50 percent of Americans oppose the war in Iraq at this point.
But there are a lot of people in the Democratic Party who believe—whose indictment of the Bush administration is that it is failing in the war on terrorism. It is not funding homeland security. It is not being tough on the Saudis. It is not going after loose nukes. There is an indictment of the Republican Party from the right on the war on terrorism, and I believe Hillary Clinton, amongst others, will make it.
BUCHANAN: OK, hold on. We need a quick break.
Tony will be first to respond when we come back. I‘m going to ask all of you to stick around.
Upcoming, today marks the 63rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. And the chairman of the Democratic National Committee used this occasion to attack Republicans for lack of patriotism. You won‘t want to miss our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We‘re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico. We‘re going to California and Texas and New York. And we‘re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan! And then we‘re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House. Yes!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: You are look being at one of the leading candidates for the Democratic Party chairmanship now held by Terry McAuliffe, who, Tony Blankley, said today, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, in a specific Pearl Harbor statement, basically charged Republicans with a lack of patriotism for not uniting behind the intelligence bill. Have they got the message yet?
BLANKLEY: Well, look, as a Republican, I‘m just delighted to have the other party‘s chairman taking advantage of Pearl Harbor Day with this.
I mean, before the election, in the heat of battle, those kind of stupid statements, we were all kind of out there. But we‘re after the election. The president hasn‘t even been sworn in again. And to have him making those sort of statements just hurts the Democratic Party a little bit more.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, tell—I just want you to answer the question I addressed to Peter. I don‘t think the Democratic Party—I think, as it is currently constituted, I just don‘t believe it can, at its top, move in that direction. You described the hellish problem that John Kerry had straddling, you know, the hawk side of the party, the Lieberman party and the Dean party.
It was a very tough thing to do. Frankly, he did it fairly well. He almost won the election.
BEINART: But I would make one—I would make one point about the Democratic Party and about liberals. Liberals believe in nation building and they believe in foreign aid and they believe in the fight for liberalism in the Muslim world, I think, in a way, more than conservatives do, who tend to be more relativist about the—there is a strain in liberalism that wants to spread freedom in the Muslim world.
BUCHANAN: Hold it.
Tony, go ahead.
BLANKLEY: Look, I think that at least half of the Democratic Party would be open to Peter‘s argument.
The trouble is, the activist base of the party is to the left. It‘s sort of like where Goldwater was. The conservative base activists in ‘64 were on the right, even though, probably at that time, we were outnumbered by moderates.
BUCHANAN: All right.
BLANKLEY: So the challenge is, beyond doing articles, you‘re going to be in a brawl, an organizational brawl.
BUCHANAN: Michael, hold on. Hold on, Michael.
BUCHANAN: I want to play a clip here. People are already talking about Hillary Clinton running in ‘08, but is she too far left of center for America? Here she is in Iowa last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: That, of all the criticisms we can level against this president, the most damaging is that he has no vision for a future that will make America safer and stronger and smarter and richer and better and fairer. I am absolutely sure we will have the next president of the United States be a Democrat when January 2005 comes around!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: OK, Michael Rectenwald.
BUCHANAN: Go ahead, Michael.
RECTENWALD: Egalitarianism, fairness, justice, wealth, these are values, yes, that we espouse. And if that‘s too far left, then the whole country might as well fall off into the Andreas Fault.
MURTY: Hillary Clinton does not stand for any of that.
And let‘s get this clear. If she runs in ‘08, she will lose, because she has—she and her ilk have repeatedly spat upon the core values of America and on our faith, our patriotism.
And claiming that conservatives are morally relativistic is unbelievable.
MURTY: Since this is Pearl Harbor Day—no, I‘d like to say something.
Since this is Pearl Harbor Day, let‘s remember, it was a Republican-led Hollywood that supported a Democrat president in the war effort and, right after Pearl Harbor, went to make movies about it. Hollywood has completely morally abdicated their role by ignoring September 11 and by undermining...
BUCHANAN: Let Michael respond.
RECTENWALD: And it was the Project For a New American Century that said we needed a new Pearl Harbor in order to mobilize their international agenda of a war in the Middle East. Let‘s not forget that. Project For a New American Century, they told us that, did they not?
MURTY: The Democrats need to look above their own personal political interests and unite to protect the country.
BUCHANAN: OK, thank you. Thank you, Govindini.
OK, let me come back to Washington to our crew here, our patient crew.
Which way do you think the Democratic Party is going?
Let me go with you, Tony.
In 2008, it seems to me that Hillary Clinton is in an extraordinarily strong position, but I would not be surprised to see Kerry run or Al Gore run.
BLANKLEY: Well, Hillary Clinton is clearly moving to the center.
Her work on the Armed Services Committee in the Senate, she‘s making a lot of effort not to have—to have distance between her and the Howard Dean wing of the party. I think she‘s still going to be remembered as a liberal.
BLANKLEY: But she‘s certainly making a lot of effort there.
I don‘t underestimate the value of the strength of a particular candidate. A good liberal or a good moderate candidate might well trump the trend of the party. I believe in horses, not just determinism.
BUCHANAN: Jack Kennedy type, right.
BEINART: The interesting thing about Hillary Clinton is, because she has so much popularity with the left, she has actually more slack to move to the right than any other Democratic candidate. I think Tony is right. I think she‘s going to—I think you‘re going to see a race...
BUCHANAN: She‘s certainly got a lot of running room. You‘re right about that.
BEINART: Well, she‘s been—she‘s been very hawkish, very tough on Iraq and on the war on terrorism since she came to the Senate.
I think you‘re going to see a number of Democratic candidates running to the right of Bush on the war on terrorism. And there is room there.
Final thoughts from our panel in just a minute.
BUCHANAN: You‘ve seen enough sports and movie stars behaving badly lately, but, tomorrow night, we‘ll talk to one woman who is using her celebrity to do good during this Christmas season. Country music sensation LeAnn Rimes tells us how she is bringing holiday cheer to needy kids across America.
Don‘t miss it.
BUCHANAN: Will the Democratic Party in the year 2006 run as an anti-war party if we are still in Iraq and still fighting? That‘s the question for each of our panelists.
Michael Rectenwald, why don‘t you go first?
BUCHANAN: Quick 20 seconds, sir.
RECTENWALD: I think the Democratic Party in 2006, 2008, is going to have to run as a party that‘s going to get us out of the mess that George Bush has made in Iraq. The whole reason why Kerry‘s campaign was defined by this is because it was the mess that George made and it was the mess that the Democrats had to fix. Unfortunately...
BUCHANAN: OK, Govindini, go ahead.
MURTY: You know, this is ridiculous. They will run as an anti-war party, because they can‘t learn. I it‘s going to destroy them.
I, for one, as a filmmaker and as a creative party, plan on working within Hollywood with this new group of conservative filmmakers who are coming in to make films about Iraq and Afghanistan and the whole effort that we‘re facing in the war on terror, because somebody needs to address the reality of the world we‘re living in. And we‘re doing our part.
BUCHANAN: Peter Beinart.
BEINART: What the Democrats will do will be a moot point, because the Bush organization will be already well under way of withdrawing troops in 2006, I only think—I only hope withdrawing troops from an Iraq that is stable.
BUCHANAN: I think he may be right.
BLANKLEY: I think, in the off-year election, 2006, the Democrats may run on domestic issues, perhaps taking on Republicans on Social Security. The president won‘t be running; 2008, it‘s too soon to tell.
BUCHANAN: OK, thanks to all of you for joining me tonight.
Remember to catch Joe Biden on “Imus” tomorrow.
And “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” is next.
See you tomorrow.
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