updated 12/15/2004 3:53:04 PM ET 2004-12-15T20:53:04

Guests: Shmuley Boteach, Bill Donohue, Ellen Johnson, Howard Fineman, John Avalon, Elaine Donnelly, P.J. Crowley

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC HOST:  Is your religion determined by your DNA? One controversial geneticist claims he has found a gene that helps you believe in God.  Science or Christian baiting?

Then former Mayor Rudy Giuliani pushed his buddy, Bernie Kerik, for homeland security chief.  That nomination dissolved in nanny problems, extra marital affairs and vague allegations of mob ties.  Will the scandal hurt Giuliani‘s relationship with the president and his chance to be president?

And, the U.S. war on terror has stretched our armed forces thin.  Is it time for women to be used in combat zones, beside the male warriors? Some say the Army is already doing it.  Those stories and more tonight on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Pat Buchanan, in for Joe.  Is your belief in God determined by your DNA? Is there a God gene? One scientist says yes and he claims he has found it.  This incidentally comes from the same man who in 1993 claimed to have found the gay gene.  Dr. Dean Hammer, an American molecular geneticist, compared more than 2,000 DNA samples and concluded that a person‘s capacity to believe in God can be reduced to chemical reactions in the brain. 

Has he fatally undermined a fundamental tenant of faith, that spiritual enlightenment is achieved through divine grace, and not any hard-wiring of the brain? Joining me now Bill Donohue, who is president of the Catholic League, radio talk show host, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who is author of “Face Your Fears,” and the president of American Atheists, Ellen Johnson.  Rabbi Boteach, let me ask you first and read something that Dr.  Hammer says.  He is the geneticist.  He says quote, I am a believer that every thought we think and every feeling we feel is the result of activity in the brain.  I think we follow the basic law of nature, is that we are a bunch of chemical reactions running around in a bag.  And he says there‘s a gene that disposes us to believe in religion.  Your thoughts on that. 

RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, AUTHOR, FACE YOUR FEARS: You know, scientific reductionism of the variety that says that we are nothing but a collection of chemicals denies not only the existence of God Pat. It denies the existence of love. It says that love is nothing but a trick played on our genes in order to perpetuate the species.  It denies poetry. It denies philosophy. It would rob the world of all its magic.  Really, this stuff has been repudiated so long ago. It‘s amazing people still come up with this utter crap and nonsense. 

If reductionism behaviorism was correct, that God is nothing but a prediction of the brain, then we would be able to predict every human choice, because human beings would have no choice.  We know how chemicals behave.  We don‘t know how humans behave.  There is a divine gene by the way. It‘s called the human brain.  It‘s called the human intelligence.  This same guy said, the one that you‘re quoting, Hammer, he said that since God has been found in every culture throughout the world, it must, therefore, have a gene.  No, sir, it‘s when people look at the infinite expanse of space, the infinite complexity of the human mind, the light tissue of the human eye, they decided that something that complex had to have a maker.  If you walk into the studio... 

BUCHANAN: Right, right, right. You are getting into intelligent design, which is an issue I hope we can bring up later.  The question of the human eye and space and the planet and stars, but I want to go to Bill Donahue.  I mean this is almost determinism, predestination to the nth degree is it not?

BILL DONOHUE, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: That‘s right.  As a Catholic, I believe that everyone has the capacity to come to Jesus, to come to know Jesus and to be saved.  It‘s not the function of some kind of genetic code.  This same guy came up with this idea of the gay gene.  I remember when that conversation was going on.  Gays were all of a sudden worrying if people would start aborting kids when they found out the DNA suggested the kid might be gay or God forbid, we‘d run out of little gay kids, so all of a sudden, they became pro-life.  Now here we have a situation where some of the atheists, they may want to abort the kids if they thought, in fact, there was some type of religious inclined gene, God forbid, they might have a kid who believed in God. 

BUCHANAN: Let me get to Ellen Johnson. He seems to be saying, Ellen, that if there is a gene, if there‘s a God gene, just like he said there was a gay gene, that a time would come when presumably this could be moved from the genetic make-up of the individual, and I guess we would have no religious individuals and no gays.  What do you think of his theory?

ELLEN JOHNSON, AMERICAN ATHEIST:  Well, I am surprised that the theists are poo-pooing this whole thing and the atheists have been saying, especially the esteemed scientist Frank Zimmer (ph), who said this more than 20 years ago, that there was something before humans developed the capacity for language, there were certain traits that we had where we could communicate with each other and it helped us to survive.  But it‘s not something that is useful today because it‘s purely—it derived from Olympic system (ph).  It works on an emotional level, and it‘s no good for today.  I don‘t think this man‘s work—and it‘s seriously flawed work.  There aren‘t footnotes in the book or anything.  It‘s pretty bad.  He is not saying that we have a gene or something that shows that there is a God or to believe in a God.  He uses the term spiritual... 

BUCHANAN: ... to religious belief. 

JOHNSON: But today, that is not where it comes from.  We are taught to be religious.  You are taught to be Christian if you were brought up in a Christian home, you are taught to be Jewish, and so on. 

BUCHANAN: Here‘s - let‘s tell you, here‘s some people who were not brought up to be Buddhists or Mohammad or Christians, but they were.  Let me quote Dr. Hammer and he says, Buddha, Mohammad and Jesus all share the series of mystical experiences or alterations in consciousness and thus probably carry the gene. This means that the tendency to be spiritual is part of genetic make up.  This is not a thing that is strictly handed down from parents to children. It could skip a generation. It‘s like intelligence. 

JOHNSON: No. 

BUCHANAN: Let me go back to the rabbi, if I might on that.  Rabbi, what are your thoughts on that? It‘s like intelligence. He is saying intelligence is partly inherited and it may skip a generation and come up in the next generation.  In other words, he is talking about a predisposition toward religion.  

BOTEACH: Well, you know, Pat, the reason why this stuff is so offensive is, it seeks to address a simple question.  Why are scientists even looking for a God gene, because they are amazed that anyone still believes in God.  How could anyone be so delusional, hence, let‘s look for something in the genetic make-up.  I think that Ellen has actually an atheist gene. Why don‘t we look for that.  I mean how could any person look at...

BUCHANAN: ... religious gene.

BOTEACH: I‘m sorry.

BUCHANAN: Maybe she just doesn‘t have the religious gene. 

BOTEACH: No, I think that they consciously deny the patently obvious.  I need a religious gene to lead me to conclude that the infinite complexity of life did not arrive spontaneously or accidentally?

BUCHANAN: OK. You think they are projecting something into science because they don‘t understand faith.  What do you think of that, Bill Donohue?

DONOHUE: I agree with the rabbi on that.  In fact, I will take it a step further.  There‘s this book by the Jewish couple, the Olanders (ph) called “The Altruistic Personality” and they studied those people who went out of their ways to help Jews during the Nazi holocaust and risked their own lives.  They were people who took their religion very, very seriously, be they Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, whatever they were.  In other words, there is something called an altruistic personality. That‘s based on virtue.  It‘s not gene driven.  As a matter of fact, that statement you read about this guy, sounds to me he must have hung out with Timothy Leary and drunk some of that LSD moonshine when he was at Harvard University. 

JOHNSON: Human beings are altruistic because it‘s good for human beings to be altruistic.  It has nothing to do with some supernatural entity. 

DONOHUE: Yes, it does. 

BOTEACH: ... Attitude, that‘s terrible. 

BUCHANAN:  Ellen, Ellen. 

JOHNSON: Yeah. 

BUCHANAN: Don‘t you think—clearly, altruism means a disposition to help the other.  Is it not true that in countless religious faiths, this is taught, you know, you are your neighbor‘s keeper. It‘s a very early admonition in many religions. 

JOHNSON: Yes, and we atheists teach that to our children and atheist express that all the time. 

BUCHANAN: Why do you tell them they ought to do that?

JOHNSON: Because it‘s good for you, if you help another person, it‘s good for society.  Who would want to live...

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: let me finish what I am saying.  Who would want to live in a world where people were mean to each other all the time? But the other thing that religion teaches is that their religion is better than the other religion.  My Buddha is better than your Jesus and Allah is better than yours.  My God is bigger and better than your God. 

BUCHANAN: Rabbi, let me take that to Rabbi Shmuley, but Rabbi Shmuley, we disagreed the other night and certainly disagree about probably faith and truth and whether Christ was a messiah and who exactly is God and whether the Jewish faith has truth or the Christian faith, Catholics believe they have the truth and that Jesus was the son of God.  Others don‘t.  So there is this difference. Is it not logical, given the differences, for you to prefer your own faith above the others, if you believe it is the truth?

BOTEACH: No, because we all agree Islam, Christianity, and Judaism all agree that God is the truth.  That man is not self-made, that man must live by a moral code.  We all agree on the 10 commandments.  God may have spoken to these different faith communities in different languages, but the essentials we all agree on.  But to hear Ellen‘s philosophy of life is so sad and so mediocre, that there‘s no capacity within the human consciousness to think above ourselves, to really, to self negation, abrogation of self.  Ellen, how could you teach your kids that they are everything, that there‘s nothing that they - no obligations they have to society, that they should help others because it‘s good for them.  You teach your kids selfishness?   You really think...

JOHNSON: Rabbi. 

BUCHANAN: We‘re getting off the point.  I have got to get to Bill Donohue.  Bill, as Catholics, however, we believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God and those who don‘t believe it are not only mistaken but their religion is not true, in the sense that ours has truth.  And if ours is true, and then it is and Jesus was the son of God, then it is a superior religion, is it not?

DONOHUE: Well, look, what the Catholic Church teaches a little bit different what some Protestant fundamentalists teach.  We believe that everyone has the capacity to come to know Jesus and we also believe that there‘s a special covenant that Christians have with Jews.  I don‘t know if it‘s quite that simple.  But I do want to say this, to have a mechanistic understanding of spirituality is really an abomination.  The rabbi and I are on the same side on this one. 

BUCHANAN: All right.  Well let me go back to...

JOHNSON: It‘s a miracle.   No, no. 

BUCHANAN: Rabbi, I‘ve got to take issue with you because if Jesus is the son of God, then the Catholics and the Christians, they have the true faith.  If he is not and as I gather you believe he is not, then your faith is true and ours is wrong.  So yours would be superior, would it not?

BOTEACH: Not at all, to the contrary.  I believe that Jesus was the Christian messiah.  Prior to Jesus, the non-Jewish peoples of the world, the pagan peoples of the world. 

BUCHANAN: Do you think he was God?

BOTEACH: No, I do not.  Of course I don‘t believe he was God. 

BOTEACH: I don‘t believe he himself thought he was God but that‘s not the point. 

BUCHANAN: OK, but either your statement is true in which case you are right or your statement is false, in which case we are right, and Catholicism, Christianity is a superior faith if Jesus is God?

BOTEACH: What really matters --  some Christians argue for that exclusivism.  I think they are making a terrible mistake. They are creating divisions within the faith community and allowing people like Ellen to point out that we‘re sitting cantankerous among each other. How could we even argue with her if we can‘t agree what truth is. What is the truth? If you call him Jesus, if you call him Mohammad, if you call him God the father. 

BUCHANAN: Ellen.  Ellen. Ellen, you believe, do you not that the position you have taken, which is either there is no God or we cannot know if there‘s a God, you believe that is true, do you not, and if you are right and we are wrong, then your position is more correct than ours, it is the truth, right?

JOHNSON: Yes, yes.  I do not think that there is a God, Pat.  However, atheists are not going to kill you because you disagree with us. 

BOTEACH: Wait, wait, atheists won‘t kill you if you don‘t agree with them.  The biggest murderers in the history of the history of the world Ellen... 

BUCHANAN: Tell it to Joe Stalin. 

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: What is this, a pissing contest?

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: We will settle this thing once and for all, you three. 

BOTEACH: Atheists have killed more people than all the people of the world put together. 

JOHNSON: Oh, that‘s poppycock and you know it. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: Ellen, look. 

JOHNSON: The thing about—

BUCHANAN: Ellen, hold it will you? We are going to talk to that very point.  In the 20th century, the greatest mass murderers are Hitler, Stalin, Mau, Pol Pot.  Those I think were four of the greatest mass murders. 

JOHNSON: I know where you are going. 

BUCHANAN: You know where we are at.  Not a single one of them was a believer but let‘s take a quick break right now. 

JOHNSON: Hitler was a Roman Catholic.  None of those things were done in the name of atheism and you all know it. 

BUCHANAN: We need to take a quick break here, but I am going to ask my panel to stick around because coming up, another story of Christian baiting.  In New York, this peaceful scene is banned from schools.  But guess what other religious symbols are not? Stick around to find out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN: We told you about department stores targeting Christian symbols and displays.  Now grade schools are getting into the anti-Christian act.  That story when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN: Welcome back.  We have told you how Target stores gave the Salvation Army the boot and Macy‘s ended all use of the term Merry Christmas.  But in New York City, the department of education permits and encourages the display of the Jewish Menorah during Hanukkah and the Islamic star and crescent during Ramadan, in the city‘s 1,200 public schools, but New York City prohibits all displays of the Christian nativity scene during Christmas. 

Senior U.S. district court Judge Charles Sifton (ph) ruled that the city‘s discrimination policy is permissible because it is an accommodation of multiculturalism, an attempt to diversify the season and provide non-Christian holidays with parity.  Are we witnessing hate crimes against Christianity? The manifestations, the symptoms of a sickness of the soul, a disease one Vatican diplomat calls Christian phobia, the fear and loathing of all things Christian. 

I am back with Bill Donohue, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Ellen Johnson.  Let me start with you this time, Bill Donohue.  I‘ll be - I must say I was astonished at that Judge Sifton‘s ruling.  I could not believe it to the point where I asked the staff to double check, that I could not believe the nativity scene goes out, but other religious symbols are in.  What is going on?

DONOHUE: Well, as a matter of fact, it‘s worse than that.  I am the one who arranged for this case, going back a couple of years ago, when we found out that New York City public schools said that you couldn‘t have a nativity scene in the classroom but you could have a Menorah.  One week from today, on public property in New York City, in central park, the Catholic League will put up a life-sized nativity scene.  The Jews right now have the world‘s largest Menorah in the same spot, right by the Plaza Hotel.  That‘s the way it should be.  The question is this, why is it OK to put the Menorah both in central park and the Nativity scene, but you can‘t put the nativity scene in the same school district of the exact same city? We‘ve got a plaintiff (INAUDIBLE) on this. Last December, Judge Sifton, what you didn‘t mention, he said we shouldn‘t make the law change because of some hypersensitive Catholic kid.  That‘s in the decision.  Last Monday, just yesterday, they had oral arguments about this.  The ADL came in on the side of keeping the Menorah in and the nativity scene out.  That‘s outrageous. 

BUCHANAN: All right.  Let me go to Rabbi Boteach. Rabbi Boteach, that would appear, I think, to most Catholics and Christians, to be real discrimination against Christianity.  Now, I go by the east ellipse, down by the White House and in December, there‘s a giant Menorah there when you go by, and it‘s there, I guess, for the festival of lights Hanukkah, but there‘s no nativity scene.  No let me ask, do you think this is a fair decision in the New York public schools?

BOTEACH: Let me just say, I was just in Washington.  There is a nativity scene.  Of course it‘s not a fair decision.  You can‘t discriminate against religion, even if it‘s the religion of the majority.  The majority can be offended as well. I think we have to distinguish between...

JOHNSON: Yes, you can. 

BOTEACH: I think we have to distinguish between active religious displays and passive. The passive ones should be allowed, menorahs, nativity scenes, the crescent of Islam, but active things in public schools, getting all the kids to sing “Silent Night, Holy Night,” which was also banned in the school, I think it should be banned, because Jewish kids should not have to sing “Silent Night Holy Night.”  But passive things should be allowed absolutely. 

BUCHANAN:  Rabbi, let me follow up. 

JOHNSON: Can I get in there?

BUCHANAN: Yes, I can, but I want to take this to you.  My view is no Jewish kid should be required to sing “Silent Night.”  But if at Christmas season the band or something wants to play Christmas carols, they ought to be allowed to do it, but no child should be forced to listen to it or participate in it who doesn‘t want to.  It seems to me that is freedom.  Ellen, what is your view of that view of freedom?

JOHNSON: Well, atheist kids in the public schools are told that they have to sing hymns of praise to Jesus and that‘s a problem.  No one ever says that they don‘t have to.  They have to do it if they want to sing in the chorus.  The other thing Bill Donohue is you did not tell us what the court ruled.  What did the judge say? Why did he say that you couldn‘t have the croce (ph), but you could have the Menorah?

DONOHUE: He said because Menorah was secular and he is simply an ignorant man.  Ask the rabbi. Every rabbi knows the Menorah is a religious symbol. 

JOHNSON: Let me ask you, this whole cry about discrimination is, you know who is doing the so-called discrimination, religious people, so please stop with this discrimination.   People who are making these decisions are already religious.  I have the solution.  Keep your religious displays out of the public schools, public property.  This is the winter solstice season, it‘s beginning of winter.  Why don‘t we all just celebrate the beginning of winter. 

BUCHANAN: We heard that the other night, the winter solstice.  Bill Donohue, the Catholic League, I understand, has reports of vandalism around the country, of nativity scenes. 

DONOHUE: All over the place.  I have never seen anything like it.  It‘s unprecedented.  We have been tracking this now for 12 years.  It‘s really gotten quite ugly.  As a matter of fact, it‘s not even just that. You have got these cultural fascists, these diversity fascists, who are saying that you can‘t call the Christmas tree, you would be one of them, honey, you would know all about it wouldn‘t you? 

JOHNSON: It‘s a solstice tree. 

BOTEACH: By the way Ellen, they do have a place for you in the public schools.  There‘s a lot of blank walls, which is what you believe in, absolutely nothing.  Bill, but the problem, one of the problems we face is that religion is always against things and that‘s why it doesn‘t make more of an impact on the rest of the society.  Bill, my good friend Bill Donohue, if you are so offended by these attempts to remove Merry Christmas, and you should be offended and they should not be removed, but why don‘t you talk about more substantive issues?  How the heck did Christmas become so pagan? It‘s about Santa Claus and elves, for God‘s sake.  It‘s about (INAUDIBLE) spending money. 

BUCHANAN: Rabbi.  Let me give you a question.  Look, each Christmas, Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus. they are going out. They‘re buying gifts, and they‘re going to church and the families are getting together.  It‘s a time of joy.  All of a sudden, these national pests come along. They‘re knock over a croche here, going to court, attacking it.  It seems to me the motivation for this. They say well we just want to make sure church and state are separate or you don‘t establish religion.  Nobody is trying to establish a religion.  It seems to me these are hate crimes.  They may be misdemeanors, but there is a hostility to Christianity out there in these constant attacks. 

BOTEACH: The reason for that is that people look, look of course there‘s secular extremists, but we dare not become extremists ourselves by nit picking every last little thing like Macy‘s can‘t say Merry Christmas.  Who cares? What is Macy‘s a department store? 

DONOHUE: Well, they say happy Hanukkah.  If they said Merry Christmas, not happy Hanukkah how would you feel?

BOTEACH: Bill.  Why don‘t you start telling Christians to not celebrate Christmas by spending money, go to church and pray.  Rediscover the redemptive power of Jesus‘ love. 

DONOHUE:  ... at Christmas time. 

BOTEACH: Your problem is the malls don‘t say Merry Christmas.  People should go to church. 

DONOHUE: They do go to church. 

BUCHANAN: Ellen, what are you going to be doing for Christmas?

JOHNSON: I‘ll be celebrating the winter solstice on December 21, something that all cultures celebrate. 

BUCHANAN: What is that? It‘s the beginning of winter. 

JOHNSON: Mythological Jesus.  There was no Jesus.  I invite you all to celebrate first day of winter. 

BUCHANAN: He is an historic figure Ellen. He is an historic figure as well as  

JOHNSON: No.  Jesus was not historical figure. 

BOTEACH: Ellen, so I guess you believe in the mythical power of evolution, which is the belief that genetic mistakes that a whole bunch of bad code. 

JOHNSON: Evolution is a fact. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: I think we got to go here.  I would like you all to come back because I think this issue of intelligent design, which has come up today, is a really good one to discuss.  I don‘t think that‘s a matter of faith. I think it‘s a matter of science and logic.  And it‘s something that kids ought to learn, but anyhow, we can‘t take it up tonight.  We appreciate you all coming.  Bill Donohue, Rabbi Boteach, Ellen Johnson, thanks for being here.  Merry Christmas to you all. 

Tonight coming up, former New York police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, now finds himself out of a job.  Will that hurt Rudy Giuliani‘s shot at the job he wants, that of president? We‘ll debate that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC HOST:  Rudy Giuliani pushed Bernie Kerik for homeland security chief.  So, will Rudy be the one who carries the permanent scars from the debacle?  That‘s next, first, the latest headlines from the MSNBC news desk.

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC HOST:  President Bush today bestowed the nation‘s highest civilian honor on three leading figures of the Iraq war, former CIA director Gorge Tenet, retired army General Tommy Franks and former Coalition Provisional Authority Bremer all received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in ceremony at the White House.  Internet search giant Google says it plans to make millions of books available online.  The California company announced it has teamed up with five of the world‘s major libraries.  Google won‘t say how much the project will cost or how long it will take.

French President Chirac inaugurated the world‘s tallest bridge.  The bridge rises 891 feet above the Tarn River Valley and Millau Bridge opens a new link between Paris and French Riviera.  The bridge cost about $523 million, scheduled to open to the public on Thursday.  Those are your headlines at this hour.  Now back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

BUCHANAN:  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I‘m Pat Buchanan, sitting in for Joe tonight.  The explosion over the withdrawn nomination of Bernard Kerik for head of homeland security continues to be an embarrassment not only for Kerik but his old boss, Rudy Giuliani, who many see as a front runner for the republican nomination in 2008.  How much has the Kerik mess hurt Rudy‘s chances?  Joining me, Howard Fineman of “Newsweek,” and John Avalon of the “New York Sun.”  Let me start with you, Howard.  How badly has this hurt Rudy in terms of his relationship with the president and chances for republican nomination, and do you think the attack on Kerik by many in the New York press was part of payback to Rudy Giuliani?

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK:  Let me take the second question, pat, and that has to do with Rudy‘s prospects for the Republican nomination.  Here in Kentucky, working on a story for “Newsweek”, and talked to many Republicans here interested in Rudy Giuliani, but in a place like Kentucky, among Republicans here, he has some problems.  He is pro-choice.  He is pro-gay rights.  He comes from New York City.  He is moderate on many social and economic issues.  He is a tough sell among primary voters in a Republican primary in a state like this, and anything that slows him down, anything that raises questions about his tenure as mayor or his practices since he has left that job and opened a consulting firm yeah, that could slow him down a little bit, but ruddy was going to get close scrutiny regardless.  He didn‘t need Bernard Kerik‘s problems to focus the lens on him.  He‘s going to be in the lens very much as you pointed out, by the New York media among others.

John Avalon, what is your take up there in New York?  Is it thought that Rudy is definitely going to run, and is it felt he has been hurt by what happened to his buddy and friend and police commissioner?

JOHN AVALON, “NEW YORK SUN”:  I don‘t think so.  American people are smart.  They are going to look beyond the Beltway blinders on this one.  The election is four years away.  A week is a long time in politics.  A week ago, Bernie Kerik was being regarded and praised bipartisanly as great choice for homeland security chief.  Things are different today.  But I think four years from now, the American people are going to look at the big picture and remember the hero from 9/11 and see what the future holds, but i don‘t think this is a disqualifier, even though some folks may like it to be.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think this is, but I do think, Howard, you are touching on something.  Rudy is wrong—he is pro-choice all the way.  He has got the Kerry position on abortion.  He is not only wrong on gay rights, he has marched repeatedly as mayor in gay pride parade, and I am sure there are films for that, his primary opponents would use.  e is wrong in illegal aliens.  New York is a sanctuary city for illegal aliens, and this Kerik investigation opens up the possibility, because they went after his girlfriends, it opens up the possibility that Rudy‘s personal life will be made an issue by a hard-nosed press.  How do you—You know Iowa and New Hampshire.  You have been up there as I have.

FINEMAN:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  And South Carolina primaries.  How do you get through them?  What does he run on, what are his issues?

FINEMAN:  What he runs on is his standing as America‘s mayor after 9/11, when he both in image and substance was a take-charge guy and a guy who stood with George Bush on the rubble there and helped put the city back together, and his leadership as mayor is important.  But part of it was choosing Bernard Kerik, not only his chauffeur a decade ago, but corrections commissioner, then police commissioner.  And I think people will look at the big picture of Rudy Giuliani‘s leadership in New York, and one of the things in that picture now, for better or worse, the story of Bernard Kerik.  I don‘t think that helps Rudy at all.  Disqualifying?  Of course not.  Of course a week is a lifetime in politics.  But he has got to run a perfect game Pat, if he is somehow going to get the republican nomination.  He has to play mistake free ball for years at a time.  This doesn‘t help him at this moment.

BUCHANAN:  John Avalon,.let me ask you this.  Now Rudy is known—New York knows about all Rudy‘s problems.  The country doesn‘t.  To the country, he is known for two things.  One, he is a tough customer mayor, probably the best mayor New York had, who cut crime in half, who had the police getting control of the streets from the bad guys for the first time in memory.  That‘s outstanding.  Secondly, he is a hero of 9/11, “Time” magazine man of the year.  Those are tremendous cards to play, but one you start out in a primary season, what does Rudy say besides the fact that i was a good mayor and i did a good job on 9/11, to get Republicans in Iowa to vote for him?

AVALON:  Polls already show among republican primary voters Rudy Giuliani is far and away their first choice for a hypothetical nominee in 2008.  American people and primary voter get the big picture.  They like what they have seen, Rudy campaigning with the president, steadfastly throughout this campaign.  They like that he is a straight shooter, and he stands up for the country, and strong advocate in the war on terror.  Republican primary voters are going to see the true test of the man, and they are not going to be distracted by any of these other issues.  Let me say something about Bernard Kerik, because you need to judge the full career of a man.  Here is an individual who saved a partner‘s life in the line of duty, he was a fantastic police commissioner, before that, corrections commissioner.  Then the country saw him September 11.  You need to judge the full measure of the man.

BUCHANAN:  I agree with you, everybody in town, almost all of us, felt he would be terrific choice, a street cop who came up in the battle lines, not academic, and not politician type, and he is a real soldier in the war on terror.  They are disappointed by it, and i don‘t think the Kerik thing is that much of a problem.  Let me ask you this.  Howard Fineman, you and i saw a time when John Glenn had twice the support as Ronald Reagan, around 1983, and he got out there, and John Glenn was clean as a hound‘s tooth, and that support went down when they went after him and he didn‘t have a particular message.  And I agree with you, that Rudy can start at 30 percent, but I will tell you, he is going to go nowhere but down in my judgment in the republican primary.

FINEMAN:  There‘s a big difference, Pat.  John Glenn was a hero, but he had zero charisma in person.  He couldn‘t get out there and make the sale in person.  All he had was space flight, but Rudy Giuliani has made it with the New York press.  He is charismatic.  He is a great speaker; he has a lot to say.  I think he would be a formidable candidate.  All I am saying is he has got enough trouble with parts of the grass rots of the party without having to have the whole Kerik story, something he has to carry around, and also with having George Bush friendly with him, but not necessarily pleased with the situation the last week.

BUCHANAN:  OK.  Howard Fineman, John Avalon.  Thanks to you both for joining us.

Up next, females on the front line.  Will America sacrifice its mothers to avoid the draft?  Topic of debate at the Pentagon these days and it‘s a SCARBOROGH COUNTRY showdown you won‘t want to miss.

ANNOUNCER:  Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY Challenge.  Women make up what percent of the US military?  A:  5 percent, B 15 percent or C: 25 percent.  The answer coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY Challenge we asked what percentage do women makeup of the U.S. memorial?  The answer is B.  According to womensmemorial.org, of the nearly 1.5 million members of the military, 14.8 percent are women.  Now back to Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Welcome back.  With no end in sight in Iraq, is it time for the Pentagon to change the rules, and permit women in combat zones along side men?  Here to discuss this volatile subject are Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness, and P.J. Crowley, Center for American Progress.  Let me start with you, Elaine.  Is the military breaking rules now and moving women into combat situations?

ELAINE DONNELLY, CENTER FOR MILITARY READINESS::  Combat units.  I am talking about the tip of the spear units, the infantry and armor.  Ever since 9/11, 2001, the army knew they would need more land combat soldiers, but they held on to these recruiting quotas to keep the numbers of women much higher than they needed to be, now all of a sudden, they need more soldiers, they say they don‘t have enough, so they are going to force female soldiers into places currently all male.  This is something new.

BUCHANAN:  Isn‘t that violation of law?

DONNELLY:  It is.

BUCHANAN:  And a violation of military rules?

DONNELLY:  It is because there are regulations against women being in units that co-locate with the infantry and armor.  The combat units that haven‘t deployed yet, because they are brand-new, are going to have a support company that is co-located 100 percent of the time, under current rules, it should stay all male, but very quietly, the army has started training women to go into those units.  They told congress they are going to change—they told them they were not going to change the rules, but their intent really is to do so, in violation of a law requiring prior notice to Congress.

BUCHANAN:  Let me go to P.J. Crowley.  Is this mission to move women into combat areas, and into actual combat, which the American people do not want?

P.J. CROWLEY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Well, let‘s start with the reality.  Every man and woman in Iraq today is for all intents and purposes in combat.  We have women who are driving humvees, women who are flying helicopters, women who are flying cargo aircraft.  They are vulnerable to IEDs;.

BUCHANAN:  They are vulnerable to IEDs.  They are vulnerable, to mortar attacks, even in the green zone.  27 women have died in combat, and about 1,300 men have died in combat, so i guess percentage, something like 2 percent, but you don‘t favor putting them, for example—women going into Fallujah with the marines, do you?

CROWLEY:  We have a scheme today, women are in combat support, service support positions.  They are close to the front lines.  In fact, in Iraq, there are no front lines.  So the issue is, reflecting reality, should women be serving in the capacities they are currently serving in, which is supporting combat operations, doing the job the army needs to be done, that‘s the real battlefield.  If we want to put decisions on paper, that‘s fine, but the reality is, women are playing an essential role in helping the United States fight in combat today.

BUCHANAN:  Elaine.

DONNELLY:  I don‘t think anyone‘s life should be lost because we are putting soldiers into a combat situation where upper body strength matters.  Women are at a disadvantage.  They don‘t have the same upper body strength as men or endurance to march a long way carrying a heavy burden.  In Fallujah, land combat wasn‘t that different.  People say the battlefield has changed.  They used to say, the next war will be a push button war.  Tell that to the soldiers and marines in Fallujah.  It‘s not fair to make their job more difficult and dangerous just to meet a social goal or make up for shortages that these bureaucrats in the Pentagon should have anticipated.

BUCHANAN:  All right, that‘s exactly the point i want to get to.  Is the fact that women are in support units right up beside combat units and far more at risk than the American people want to see women in combat zones, is that a result of the failure to send enough ground troops into Iraq recollect the failure to build an army of men and soldiers and fighters that can carry out the Nush doctrine, instead of our 10 division army right now?

CROWLEY:  No.  It is the reality of how combat is today.  The combat situation has changed.  The battlefield that Elaine is describing no longer exists.  The army that Elaine is describing no longer exists.

DONNELLY:  Fallujah does not exist?  Bologna.  Fallujah exists.

CROWLEY:  The fact is you are going to go to war, with combat units, supported right next to them with combat support units.

FALLUJAH:  Why not have men in the combat support units that go in behind the Marines, Fallujah, rather than putting women at risk, as Elaine says, do not have upper body strength, they are not geared for combat, Americans don‘t want them there.  Why not put the soldiers there.

CROWLEY:  First of all, I disagree.  They are doing a great job, doing what we need to do, they are succeeding in combat.

DONNELLY:  Let‘s define combat.  Can we define combat?

CROWLEY:  One more thing.

DONNELLY:  No.  It‘s important to define.

BUCHANAN:  He will in a second.

CROWLEY:  If we want to go to where Elaine is going, we are going to have to go back to a draft.  No American wants that.

BUCHANAN:  You would prefer to use women in combat rather than go to a draft?

CROWLEY:  I prefer to use women in critical positions where they have shown where they can perform.

BUCHANAN:  Where they can get killed.

CROWLEY:  Absolutely.

DONNELLY:  Reality, are women serving well, yes, 27 killed in Iraq, three more Afghanistan.  We don‘t want anybody to have a dangerous job made more dangerous because of flawed policies being made in the pentagon.  If you introduce soldiers into a close combat situation, who don‘t have an equal opportunity to survive, or to have fellow soldiers survive, just imagine if it‘s your son fallen on the battlefield who needs to be evacuated.  A male soldier can pick him up and take him off the battlefield in close combat.  A female soldier could not do that.  So both are at greater risk.  That makes no sense.

BUCHANAN:  You mean you do not believe in the policy of the government of the united states that women should be kept away from combat, you favor putting them right where you say they are now, into support units, right beside the men who have gone in there, doing the shooting and the killing, and the dying?  I don‘t understand why, if there has to be fighting and killing and dying, and there does, you would want to put any woman into that situation when you have male soldiers, even the Germans at the end of world war ii, when they sent 14-year-old boys to fight the Americans, did not send their women to fight.

CROWLEY:  Pat, tell me where the battle line is.  If you are transportation specialist, driving a truck today, resupplying our combat forces, you are vulnerable to be hit.

BUCHANAN:  Jessica Lynch, i know that.  There‘s that situation, but in a guerrilla war, you can accept that.  Saigon, if they went into the embassy, women work in the embassy, they can be killed.  Only eight women died in Vietnam.

DONNELLY:  I would like to get back again.

CROWLEY:  Pat, my turn, Elaine.  The issue is what we are seeing in Iraq, that is the battlefield of today, and that is the battlefield of tomorrow.  We have ...

DONNELLY:  Excuse me.

BUCHANAN:  Hold it, Elaine.

DONNELLY:  Excuse me.  There is a difference.

BUCHANAN:  Hold it, Elaine.

CROWLEY:  The army is comprised of combat units, which are all men and combat support, service support, which are men and women.

DONNELLY:  Mr. Crowley.

CROWLEY:  They (INAUDIBLE) train as a team.

BUCHANAN:  Elaine.  Let me ask you this.

CROWLEY:  And pulling the women back is not the way the army can function.

BUCHANAN:  What about this point, Elaine we are in guerrilla war, the battlefield in Iraq which was the highway of death up to Baghdad is now all over Iraq, in Mosul, hospital, U.N. Headquarters, mortars dropping into the green zone.

DONNELLY:  Yes.  I already said everybody in Iraq is in danger, but close combat units engage the enemy.  This is deliberate offensive action.  It‘s what happened in Fallujah.  It‘s going door to door.  It‘s killing face to face.  This is a different kind of thing than driving a truck in Kuwait.  There is a difference.

BUCHANAN:  Let me follow up.

DONNELLY:  Or even in Baghdad.  These soldiers have a difficult job.  And their job—Please let me finish.  Their job should not be made more difficult in these new unit of action combat brigades.  It‘s a new concept.  It‘s supposed to be modular, self-contained.  And yet the army is saying, well we are going to sacrifice the advantages of having these modular units by having part of them gender integrated, knowing that that‘s going to complicate the jobs of the infantry soldiers.

BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you a question.

DONNELLY:  That‘s not fair to the

BUCHANAN:  Now this is what I want to follow up.  Let‘s get the difference down cold.  I think no one has said here that they believe women should go in with the marines in combat and dig the insurgents out of their houses and caves.

DONNELLY:  That‘s exactly what this change would do.

BUCHANAN:  Hold it.  Hold it, Elaine.

DONNELLY:  That is what this would do.

BUCHANAN:  Here‘s the difference, as I see it.  Mr. Crowley believes the support units that go along with the troops that are gender integrated, and they should stay with the troops, and it‘s inevitable, and you think these support units, as I understand it, should not have women in them, if they are going right up into a combat zone, is that correct, Elaine?

CONNELLY:  That is the rule as it is, and it ought to be enforced in a consistent manner, strengthened and not weakened, and, oh, by the way, we ought to remember there are other things beside physical strength.  When you introduce the element of sexuality into combat units, i mean, we know it‘s complicated in support units.  We know pregnancies occur.  We know misconduct occurs.  We know accusations of misconduct can tear a unit apart.  Yet we are going to introduce all of this conflict into close combat units?  There‘s no need to do this.

BUCHANAN:  Last word, briefly.

CROWLEY:  Elaine is talking about the situation as it existed in 1993.  Since then, the military has advanced.  Women have advanced.  We still have a lot of work to do, as scandal has proved, but women are in combat, they are performing brilliantly.  We need them where they are, and that‘s the reality of the battlefield today.

BUCHANAN:  Thanks for joining us.  Don‘t go away.  There‘s more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Thanks for visiting SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.  Don‘t miss IMUS tomorrow morning.  He will be talking to Carol and Mary Higgins Clark.  HARDBALL with Chris Matthews is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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