updated 1/18/2005 3:09:53 PM ET 2005-01-18T20:09:53

Guest: Willie Brown, Peter King, Loretta Sanchez, Michael Medved, Ann Coulter, Jesse Jackson


SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  This is a disaster because it‘s a result of blunder after blunder after blunder, and it is George Bush‘s Vietnam. 


JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline:  Senator Kennedy says Iraq is the president‘s Vietnam, but is he right? 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required and only common sense allowed. 

Terrorists in Iraq behead Iraqi citizens in a public square.  How far will they go to undermine this month‘s free elections? 

And Jesse Jackson enters SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY talking about the state of civil rights 37 years after Martin Luther King‘s death.  We will also talk about President Bush‘s controversial new civil rights commissioner and ask the reverend what he thinks about a man who calls affirmative action a lie. 

Then Ann Coulter comes in and tells us whether President Bush will break the second-term curse. 

And movie critic Michael Medved enters SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to tell us how Hollywood is out of touch and hostile to your family‘s values. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome to the show.  Hope you had a great weekend. 

We are going to have a great show tonight.  And I need to give Michael Medved fair warning . I think the Golden Globes are out of touch.  But I think they are out of touch because they didn‘t give Eva Longoria a nomination.  And I didn‘t watch it because I was watching “Desperate Housewives” with my desperate housewife, Susan.  So that‘s going to be an interesting debate.  We‘ve got Jesse Jackson at the half-hour talking about the state of civil rights and talking about a controversial new civil rights leader who was saying that affirmative action is a lie.  Going to be a great debate.

But we start out talking about Senator Ted Kennedy, who said that our invasion of Afghanistan would result in a quagmire.  Well, he is beating a similar drum about Iraq.  Yesterday, he made some inflammatory comments on CBS‘s “Face the Nation.”


KENNEDY:  This happened even this past week, and this clearly is George Bush‘s Vietnam, Iraq is.  But look at what has happened this last week.  He, we find the administration effectively indicating to the American public and the world that there were no weapons of mass destruction, which was the principal reason that we went into Iraq.  This is a disaster, because it‘s the result of blunder after blunder after blunder.  And it is George Bush‘s Vietnam. 


SCARBOROUGH:  With me now, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, and Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of the Armed Services Committee of California.

Let‘s start with you, Congresswoman Sanchez. 

Do you agree with Ted Kennedy that Iraq is quickly becoming George Bush‘s Vietnam? 

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA:  Well, first of all, good evening, and how are you, Joe? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming along.  Thanks.


SANCHEZ:  Secondly, I think, although I was too young in Vietnam to really see it on a day-to-day basis on the newspapers, etcetera, I think that he has, that Senator Kennedy has a good comparison, a basic contention that Iraq is somewhat like Vietnam.  And the reason is, the question is the same here.  Can we defeat or at least contain a broad, indigenous insurgency and stand an army and a government that can take over before the American public loses faith in this war?  And certainly...

SCARBOROUGH:  Is this insurgency indigenous? 

SANCHEZ:  It is.  It‘s indigenous.  It‘s what the latest reports have told us. 

You know, about a year ago, General Abizaid said there were about 5,000 insurgents.  Now he has come out with numbers that there are—then he came out, 20,000.  Now we have come out with numbers probably closer to 60,000 real insurgents, with about 200,000 Iraqi families, people on the ground actually helping them.  So this is a lot broader than we thought. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Congresswoman, the leader, though, obviously comes from Jordan.  You have got people coming across the Iranian border every single day to help in this war.

And, listen, let‘s talk about some other numbers.  The southern part of Iraq is Shia, 60 percent.  They have been told by their leaders that it‘s their religious duty to vote in this election.  We are expecting large turnouts among that 60 percent of the population.  To the north, the Kurdish population, 20 percent, not only do they fight alongside our men and women in Iraq, in some cases, fought in front of them, they are going to be voting. 

You know, there is a chance that there will be a higher turnout among Iraqis in this election in January than we had in the United States.  How can we compare this to Vietnam? 

SANCHEZ:  But, you know, there are three different groups, basic groups in Iraq, and you need to have the Sunnis participate.  And, unfortunately, their leadership is saying don‘t participate.  They are the ones, a large majority of them, that are causing these problems.


SCARBOROUGH:  Congresswoman, why are they not participating?  Well, first of all, there was a poll out last week saying 85 percent of the Sunnis in the Sunni Triangle are supporting this.  You add that on top of the 60 percent of the Shia that are supporting it, 100 percent, actually, the 60 percent region of the Shia, 20 percent Kurds, you have got about 97 percent of the population supporting this, 3 percent opposing it. 

Of course the Sunnis are against this, because they have kept their boot on the throats of the Iraqi people since the country was founded 60, 70 years ago.  Why would a Baathist thug who got rich off the blood of Shia and Kurds support democracy in Iraq? 

SANCHEZ:  Hey, Joe, you can throw all those numbers at me, and they are probably all right, but the basic...

SCARBOROUGH:  They are right. 

SANCHEZ:  But the basic problem is this. 

I have almost 150,000 men and women in the Iraqi theater trained, equipped, ready to go.  And every day on average, two of my soldiers are killed.  So, we can say all the numbers we want, but we have to look at the reality of what‘s happening there. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, Peter.  Let me ask you a question first. 

The congresswoman says that one, two men or women die over in Iraq every day.  I would say you could make the same argument about World War II and about other wars.  But the bottom line is this, Congressman.  And this is what I don‘t understand about Ted Kennedy‘s statement.  In Vietnam, obviously, we had a country divided over there.  Here, you have got 90-95 percent of the Iraqi people supporting this election.  How do we compare that to Vietnam? 

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK:  There‘s absolutely no comparison. 

And Loretta is wrong, and Ted Kennedy is hopelessly wrong, which is really surprising, because it was his brother that got us into Vietnam.  And he should know a little bit of the facts.  First of all, there is no political force in Iraq, such as the NLF, which existed in Vietnam.  There‘s no military force similar to the Viet Cong.  There is no national leader such as Ho Chi Minh.  There is no outside force such as North Vietnam.  And there are no Soviets and Chinese supporting them. 

The fact is that, even by Loretta‘s own numbers, assuming 200,000 is accurate, that‘s 1 percent of the population of Iraq.  That means 99 percent of the population is not part of the insurgency.  And every American death is tragic.  But as Joe Lieberman has said, a good Democrat, he said, we should be eternally proud of what we have done in Iraq. 

And almost all of the Shiites support what we‘ve done.  All the Kurds support us, and the overwhelming majority of Sunnis.  Obviously, Americans are being killed. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  Now, Loretta, I gave you time.  We need to give the congressman time. 

Congressman, again, the overwhelming majority of Iraqis do support us, but let‘s look at the news of the day, because I know a lot of people out there are shaking their heads, saying, you know what?  What we hear about on the nightly news, what we hear about on ABC, CBS News, is usually bad.  Well, let‘s look at some news today.  The terrorists in Iraq obviously stepped up their bloody campaign against the election. 

Today, they beheaded two Shiite Iraqis on the street in Ramadi.  They kidnapped a Roman Catholic archbishop in Mosul.  And they murdered over 20 Iraqi police officers throughout the country.  Now, I support this war.  I think it‘s the right thing to do.  But there are a lot of people out there who agree with the congresswoman, saying, you know what?  Things are bad, and they are only getting worse.  What do you say to those people? 

KING:  First of all, they are not bad.  Obviously, every American death is tragic. 

But the fact is, Joe, just remember two years ago, when you had two snipers in D.C. who were able to tie down the people of Washington, Virginia, Maryland.  That was two snipers with no sophistication at all.  Obviously, if you turn rebels loose, they can create havoc.  But the fact is, you have to look at the big picture.  You can‘t panic and run.

And every death is tragic, but it‘s even more tragic if we pull out.  Now, what is Ted Kennedy suggesting, we pull out?  Is he suggesting we redeploy our troops?  No.  I think it‘s important for all Americans, Democrats and Republicans, to say, let‘s make this work.  We can talk about what‘s wrong.  But unless you have something positive to say about how to change it, then all you are doing is trying to use I think—every tragedy, you trying to use that to exploit it for political...


KING:  That‘s wrong. 


KING:  Unless Teddy Kennedy has something positive, he should keep quiet. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Congresswoman, let me ask you quickly, do you think—are you suggesting that we pull out of Iraq now?  Are you suggesting we pull out in three months?  What are you suggesting tonight? 

SANCHEZ:  No, I have never suggested that we pull out.  I certainly suggested we don‘t go in, but we are in now.  So now we have to face what we have to do there. 

We have to stop this insurgency.  We have to train the Iraqi troops to take this over.  We have to put in a government that the people trust.  We have to do reconstruction.  But, you know, it all feeds on itself.

KING:  And we are doing all that, Loretta.  We are doing all that.

SANCHEZ:  We are not doing it well, Peter.  We are not doing it well. 


KING:  Under the circumstances, we are doing a great job. 

SANCHEZ:  And we are doing mistake after mistake after mistake. 


SANCHEZ:  No, our troops, our troops are doing a great job.


SCARBOROUGH:  One at a time. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, we can‘t hear if both of you are talking. 

Congresswoman, I want to read you, though, what President Bush said aboard Air Force One on Friday. 

He told “The Washington Post” this about the Iraq war: “We had an accountability moment.  That‘s called the 2004 elections.  The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq.  They looked at the two candidates, and chose me.”

How do you respond to that? 

SANCHEZ:  And, you know, President Johnson had a very big election, and then he...

SCARBOROUGH:  Nineteen-sixty-four. 

SANCHEZ:  And then he chose not to run again over the Vietnam problem. 

That is how bad it got. 

Here‘s the problem that I see.  You know, Johnson told the people that everything was going OK in Vietnam.  It was all positive.  And then the Tet Offensive happened, and it was just amazing to the American people how strong the insurgency was against us.  It brought down that whole facade of everything is going great.  And the credibility gap was what brought Johnson down. 

All I am saying is, I believe President Bush is getting to a point in his credibility gap. 


KING:  OK, Joe, I have to jump in here. 


SANCHEZ:  People already don‘t believe that we should be in Iraq.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Pete King.

KING:  Joe, this is so wrong and such an ignorance of history. 

The fact is, in the 1964 election, Lyndon Johnson said American troops would not stay in Vietnam and that we would never be engaged in ground combat, and meanwhile, he was planning it.  So, Lyndon Johnson lied to the American people.  George Bush, his record was on (AUDIO GAP) election.  Everyone knows what is going on in Iraq.  Everyone listened to him. 

Everyone listened to John Kerry. 

The media was against George Bush.  In spite of that, the solid majority of the American people voted to continue what George Bush is doing in Iraq. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

KING:  And when I listen to Loretta, it‘s almost like they don‘t want us to win.  They‘re gloating over the fact when things are going wrong. 

The fact is, we are doing a great job in Iraq.  We have done a great job.  We have a lot to be proud of.  And we would keep the fight going and not listen to the naysayers. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Congressman King, we are going to have to leave it there. 

Congresswoman Sanchez, thank you so much for being with us.  I know, obviously, both of us share a different view than you do, but we greatly appreciate you being here. 

The bottom line is, I keep talking to the troops, just like I know Congresswoman Sanchez and others do.  And when they e-mail me—I talked to one this morning.  And what they tell me is, we‘re doing good.  We are making progress.  And, yes, the Iraqi people that we interact with are very positive about what we are doing.  They want this election to succeed, nine out of 10 of them.  And because of that, because of that, it will succeed. 

Now, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, they all had bumpy second terms.  But they also had a lot higher approval ratings at their second inaugurals than George Bush.  Ann Coulter is up next.  We are going to ask her if the second Bush term is doomed. 

And then we‘re going to be talking with Jesse Jackson, ask him whether he agrees the president‘s civil rights commissioner, who called affirmative action a big lie.  We are going to be talking to him on Martin Luther King Day. 

We‘ll be right back in a second.


SCARBOROUGH:  When SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY continues, we are going to be talking to Ann Coulter about whether President Bush can shake the second-term curse.  The Red Sox did it.  Can he?


SCARBOROUGH:  FDR and Clinton, Reagan, Eisenhower, and, again, most famously, Richard Nixon.  Second terms spell disasters for returning presidents.  Can President Bush shake the second-term curse and create his vision for America that America will embrace? 

With me now, syndicated columnist Ann Coulter.  And, of course, she‘s also the author of “How to Speak to a Liberal (If You Must).”  And Willie Brown, who served two terms as mayor of San Francisco. 

Let me begin with you, Ann Coulter. 

President Bush begins with the lowest approval rating of any recent president entering a second-term.  Only 50 percent of those polled approve of the president.  President Clinton had 59 percent at this point.  Ronald Reagan had 62 percent, Richard Nixon 59 percent, Johnson 71 percent, and Eisenhower the highest of all, 73 percent, in 1957. 

If the president‘s numbers are so low right now, is he doomed to govern over a divided America over the next four years? 


don‘t think so.  I don‘t think these historical comparisons are usually worth very much. 

I mean, it‘s like determining who is going to win the election on the basis of hem length.  It‘s a rule that will be true until it‘s not true anymore.  And, as I recall—I don‘t know which year it was—but in Reagan‘s first term, he had extremely low approval ratings at some point, and then, of course, bounced back. 

And, as for second terms, generally, I don‘t think these historians have gone through the last 200 years of presidents.  Really, what we are talking about is Clinton and Nixon.  They try to slip Reagan in there.  In Reagan‘s second term, he bombed Libya.  He gave the Berlin Wall speech.  He enacted major tax reform.  We had four years of prosperity.  He drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan, and, of course, brought down a 50-year evil empire, which I note that “The New York Times” summarizes as, he signed a peace treaty with the Soviet Union. 

Carter signed a lot of peace treaties, too, and somehow that did not end the evil empire. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  And he didn‘t sign a peace treaty with the Soviet Union.  He signed their death warrant. 

COULTER:  Yes, he did.  I would say that‘s a pretty good second term. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I would say that is a pretty good second term, also. 

COULTER:  I also think Reagan is the most legitimate historical analogy of various—of all the United States presidents for President Bush. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Willie Brown, let me bring you in here.  You know quite a bit obviously about politics.  You know a lot about getting reelected also to different offices. 

The thing that—I think Ann Coulter is making a good point.  Ronald Reagan was seen as reactionary in his first term, was seen as too strident, as a warmonger.  In his second term, he used that position of strength to help bring down the Soviet empire.  Isn‘t there a chance that George W.  Bush may also share a similarly successful second term as Ronald Reagan? 

WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO:  There‘s always a chance.  You must never wipe out that possibility. 

However, Reagan didn‘t start with a 50 percent rating, as is the case with George Bush.  Reagan didn‘t start with having won by a small margin in his reelection quest.  He absolutely wiped out his opponent, Walter Mondale, as you will recall.  Reagan didn‘t start with the burden of a war similar to the war in Iraq facing him.  Reagan didn‘t start with an economy which is at best just muttering along. 

Reagan had lots of other factors to provide support and assistance to him.  Plus, he was a real legitimate, acceptable figure by most Americans. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is George Bush—are you saying George Bush is not a legitimate, acceptable figure to most Americans? 

BROWN:  I don‘t think a majority, a huge majority of Americans embrace George Bush the way they did Ronald Reagan.  America is funny in terms of how it looks upon its leadership.  It really loves you or it doesn‘t love you.  And believe me, I don‘t think there‘s a great amount of love across the universe by those who disagree with Mr. Bush, as was the case with Mr.  Reagan. 

People who even disagreed with Mr. Reagan still found a warm, fuzzy spot for him somewhere in the delivery system.  That does not appear to be the case with George Bush. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ann Coulter, is George Bush not warm and fuzzy? 

COULTER:  Well, I think—I mean, some of the points are very good.  Reagan did win an enormous election for his second term, and this last election was obviously a lot closer, though I don‘t remember the liberal warmth for Reagan the way Mayor Brown does. 

And one thing that I do think is not true about what he says is the foreign policy challenges they were up against.  They‘re very different.  But when Reagan came in his second term, he was opposed heavily by the liberal elite, by the colleges, by foreign policy experts, saying that he was going to basically get the world blown up, that it was a dangerous confrontation with the Soviet Union.

And, in fact, I was going to mention this relative to your last segments on Teddy Kennedy‘s prediction on Vietnam—I was sitting here reading this excellent book “Treason” by a prolific author.


COULTER:  And Teddy Kennedy said in 1982 that Reagan‘s policies on our nuclear buildup would lead to nuclear confrontation that could well mean the annihilation of the human race.

So I would say that Senator Kennedy has not exactly been Nostradamus on his foreign policy predictions, nor were any liberals.  That was a pretty major confrontation.  And Reagan brought down a 50-year empire. 


BROWN:  But Reagan also had—Reagan also had an incredible collection of great persons working around him. 

Just think in terms of George Shultz.  I mean, you had the ultimate in a person that could have very easily been a president in every respect.  George Shultz was the secretary of state.  The kinds of things that he helped Mr. Reagan put together to run that administration is still admired, and even admired by liberals. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is Colin Powell not admired the same way?  He holds the same position. 

BROWN:  Well, Mr. Powell is admired by liberals more than I think Mr.  Bush admires Mr. Powell.  Mr. Powell was not listened to.  Had Mr. Powell been listened to, you would not have now the challenges you have with what‘s going on in Iraq. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How do you know that?  I mean, how do you know that? 

BROWN:  Well, that just appears to be what—which is what causes Mr.

Powell to have to leave. 

When Mr. Powell went before the U.N. and made his presentation and obviously almost the entire content of that proved not to be totally accurate, all of the kinds of things that he said that the Bush administration didn‘t listen to, that was not the case with Mr. Reagan.  If George Shultz said something, he was listened to by Ronald Reagan. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ann Coulter, the president does have quite a few challenges in front of him, obviously.

COULTER:  Yes, he does. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Another author attacked the president for not vetoing a single bill.  That author would be me. 

Also, “The New York Post” wrote this last week about the president, said this: “The president didn‘t veto a single-spending related bill in his first term.  Indeed, he only threatened a veto once.  On the contrary, he encouraged such expensive policy measures as the Medicare prescription drug bill.”

You know, Ann, we have got the largest deficit ever, the largest debt ever.  We‘ve got the Social Security crisis coming upon us.  Demographics is destiny.  This president hasn‘t exactly stared down runaway spending in Washington, the way a lot of conservatives would have wanted him to.  Does that present great challenges for him in the second term? 

COULTER:  Yes.  I think he should remember that—he should want his historical predecessor to be Ronald Reagan.  And Ronald Reagan came into a second term reminding Americans once again that the government is not the solution.  It‘s the problem. 

As for vetoing spending bills, I think there‘s never enough of that.  But, on the other hand, I got a little more nervous about a Republican president not vetoing spending bills when he has a Democrat Congress, which this president does not have.  But he has already cut taxes.  I hope he will cut taxes some more.  Ronald Reagan did in his second term.  And, also, Social Security reform, that was something even Ronald Reagan, who was admittedly jammed bringing down a 50-year tyranny, never even got around to.

So, reforming Social Security would be a major accomplishment. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mayor, I want to ask you, final question.  Throughout the campaign, I would make a lot of my Republican friends angry, but I would give advice to John Kerry, tell him what he needed to do to get around the swift vet ads.  I know we talked a lot about it on the panel, and we agreed on a lot of these same points, that he had to be tougher. 

I want you now to put on your political consulting hat, look over to the other side of the aisle and give advice to George W. Bush.  How does he avoid the second-term curse? 

BROWN:  Well, I am not sure that I would have any real definitive advice to give Mr. Bush, except to say that Mr. Bush, in and of himself, is an unusual human being.  He is highly, clearly underestimated by those who deal with him. 

I would tell him, use your natural instinct.  Listen, get all the information you can, but make every decision the decision of George W.  Bush.  Let that be the legacy.  And I would guess that that is the best opportunity he is going to have to avoid the second-term curse. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Willie Brown, thank you so much.  We appreciate it, Mr. Mayor.

And, Ann Coulter, as always, great to have you here. 

And just—it‘s very interesting that the mayor talks about the president being underestimated.  I watched “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, one of their better editions in quite some time.  And, of course, there‘s the president, at the top of the show, being underestimated.  And it used to be, I would think, man, that has got to make him angry.  Now I think the president, Karl Rove, and the rest of the White House is laughing at it, because, again, like the mayor said, he is always underestimated, and it always plays to the president‘s advantage. 

Now, coming up next, it‘s been 37 years since Martin Luther King was assassinated.  Did his dream die with him or is it finally coming true for African-Americans?  Reverend Jesse Jackson joins us for that debate when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, my interview with Jesse Jackson.  Later, Michael Medved tells us why the Golden Globes are as out of touch as a desperate housewife.

But, first, let‘s get the latest news.


ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to the show. 

Martin Luther King would have been 76 years old this month were it not for assassin‘s bullet in 1968.  So, what is the state of civil rights in America today? 

Here to talk it is, the Reverend Jesse Jackson.  He of course is a civil rights activist, a former presidential candidate, and the founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. 

Reverend Jackson, thank you so much for being with us tonight. 

And I want to start with an open question.  What is the state of civil rights in America in 2005?  What is the state of African-Americans living in America in 2005? 

REV. JESSE JACKSON, FOUNDER, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION:  Well, let me start with Dr. King‘s last birth date. 

I was with him, along with staff members, January 15, 1968.  And there, we had just finished the drive for the right to vote and public accommodations.  But there, he convenes the whites from Appalachia, some blacks from Deep South Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi, Native Americans, some Hispanics, some Jewish allies, Al Lowenstein from New York, focusing on a massive action to Washington demanding a job on income, health care and education for all Americans, a floor beneath which no American would fall. 

He wanted to address the basic issue of poverty, illiteracy, and disease, and an enormous focus on how to end the war in Vietnam.  He felt that the war was unwinnable, had no moral foundation and maybe that should be spent on the war on poverty was being spent on the war in Iraq.  That‘s how he spent own last birthday.  

So, where are we today?  Well, 45 million Americans have no health insurance.  And you can‘t just focus on blacks.  Most poor people are not black.  They are white.  They are female.  They are young.  A coal miner dies every six hours from black lung disease in Appalachia tonight.  And so our present government policies is giving tax cuts to the top 10 percent and job cuts and benefit cuts to working poor people. 

In some sense, that‘s the state of civil rights in a broader sense. 

SCARBOROUGH:  In the great March on Washington in 1963, Martin Luther King made a passionate plea to end racism.  Take a listen. 


MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER:  I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character. 

I have a dream today. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Judged by the color of their—not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. 

There are a lot of people that say that should apply to the debate in affirmative action.  You shouldn‘t judge people by whether they are black or white or whether they are Asian, but by the content of their character.  Is there any inconsistency between Dr. King‘s words and the issue of affirmative action, the policies...


JACKSON:  No, as a matter of fact, as a matter of fact, Joe, our country had a policy of legal race supremacy for 335 years, from 1619 to 1954 on, 243 years of legal slavery. 

And so, for all of those years, one group of basically white males had real advantages over women and people of color.  And to change public accommodation laws and even right to vote does not address the inequities in access.  And so affirmative action is for women and people of color, which makes it a majority, not a minority issue.

So if now women and people of color can get access, we have expanded the marketplace, so we all can be more productive.  But it‘s a mistake to see affirmative action just as a black issue, even though slavery was a black issue and segregation was a black issue.  And there‘s still something called racial profiling.  But these programs, really led by Lyndon Baines Johnson, to open up for all of us should be in fact seen as net growth for all of America. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Gerald Reynolds, the new civil rights commissioner appointed by President Bush, has made several comments about affirmative action, including this one. 

He said: “It‘s a big lie, a corrupt system of preferences that discriminate in favor of certain groups, at the expense of others.”

So he makes that statement.  And I understand what you are saying about 300, 400 years of whites enslaving African-Americans.  But, at the same time, what do you say to an Asian student, high school student from, let‘s say, South Boston, who lives across the street from an African-American student, high school student, in South Boston?  The Asian makes better grades, does better on the SAT score, but doesn‘t get admitted to Harvard, but the African-American does because of affirmative action.  How do you explain 300 years of history to this teenager that just feels like he has been treated unfairly? 

I am not sure that one has to, but the fact of the matter is, 243 years of legal slavery matters.  We fought the Civil War over this; 89 years of Jim Crow really matters.  I was arrested and jailed July 17, 1960, for trying to use a public library.  I was arrested trying to use a public theater or a public—when we marched that day in Washington, August 20, 1963, from Texas, over farther—up to Maryland, we couldn‘t use a single public toilet.  More than being denied, we were denied access to capital. 


SCARBOROUGH:  But what do you say to that kid, though, that, again, says, I got great grades, I got a better SAT, and the African-American kid that lives across the street from me is getting into the school that I want to get into, but I can‘t because I was born Asian, instead of African-American?  What do you say to that Asian kid? 


JACKSON:  You know, first of all, grades have never been the sole basis for admission into schools. 

President Bush got into Yale in part on negative points, which he even admits.  So, access for a given school may be legacy points, because your parents went there.  It may be because of grades.  It may be because you are an athlete or a musician.  Grades are a factor among others.  It‘s not the only factor in school admission.

So, we found diversity of gender and race and ethnicity are all in the mix of admission to schools and to jobs and to contracts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Reverend Jackson, final thoughts.  We have got about a minute.  Final thoughts, 37 years after the passing of Martin Luther King, obviously coming up in April.  Do you think he would look at the state of America and say that we have made great progress, or would he say we have still got far too long to go? 

JACKSON:  Well, there‘s been some social progress made.

But, on the other hand, today, we have gone from a $1.5 trillion surplus to this huge budget deficit.  The rich have gotten much richer through government subsidy, offshore to avoid paying taxes, and no-bid contracts, a net loss of jobs in every state.  The poor have been expanding without health insurance. 

The working poor cannot get even a raise in their minimum wage.  That would depress him very much.  On the other hand, the war in Iraq, here we are in Iraq, a war of choice.  We left bin Laden, a war that we should have been fighting.  Now we are losing lives and money and honor—like $1 billion a week.  He would protest as vigorously against the war in Iraq, as he did the war in Vietnam, only because it‘s an unwinnable war without a legal and moral legitimacy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Reverend Jackson, of course, we disagree on that point, but I greatly appreciate you taking your time tonight to be with us on Martin Luther King Day in 2005. 

JACKSON:  I am willing to discuss—I am willing to discuss it with you time and time again. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Love to have you on again.  Thanks for being with us. 

Now, coming up next, our next guest says Hollywood has lost touch with America and that Hollywood punishes those who point it out.  Movie critic Michael Medved on why he took a sharp turn right and what he thought about the Golden Globes last night.  That‘s coming up next. 

ANNOUNCER:  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge:  Who won the 1989 Golden Globe for best actress?  Was it, A, Jodie Foster, B, Shirley MacLaine, or C, Sigourney Weaver?

The answer coming up. 



ANNOUNCER:  In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked:  Who won the 1989 Golden Globe for best actress?  The answer is all three, the only three-way tie in the history of the Golden Globes. 

Now back to Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You got to love the Golden Globes.  I was guessing Pia Zadora.  Oh, wait, they stopped selling the award by 1989. 

All right, so let‘s talk about Hollywood.  My next guest was called everything from reactionary to a Nazi when he wrote a book calling Hollywood out of touch with America.  Michael Medved is a radio host, a film critic, an author, not a Nazi, not a reactionary, not a fascist, but he does have a new book out called “Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life.” 

Michael, thanks for being with us. 

Now, based on what you saw last night on the Golden Globes, is Hollywood still out of touch? 

MICHAEL MEDVED, FILM CRITIC:  Well, of course, they are. 

Take a look at the movies that won the major awards.  None of them are substantial box office hits.  And the one movie that was most discussed and most enthusiastically received in the country, “The Passion of the Christ,” they say it was ineligible because it was in Aramaic.  But Jim Caviezel could have been treated for best actor.  He certainly was more deserving than Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Aviator.”

And it seems to me that part of what you see with all of these awards is the social agenda of Hollywood, because what they were honoring, by and large, was movies that are properly edgy, in Hollywood terms, not movies that connect with the general public.  And one of the things that disillusioned me, frankly, about the entertainment industry was seeing that time and time again, particularly when it comes to hostility to religious faith and religious values. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, also, obviously, we could talk about political values.  And here‘s about as political as the Golden Globes got last night, a message from former President Bill Clinton. 


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This week, I joined with UNICEF to create a water and sanitation fund to prevent the spread of deadly diseases, especially to children.  To find out more about this and other relief efforts, you can go to ClintonFoundation.org or to USAFreedomCorps.gov. 

The tsunami reminds us of the frailty of life, but our response to it reaffirms the strength of the human spirit.  Thank you again for doing your part. 


SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, the crowd, Michael, went absolutely crazy.  It was like Beatle-mania, circa 1964.  I thought the moment revealed something very interesting, and that is that Hollywood is in mourning over the loss of George—or the victory of George W. Bush, and that they just don‘t like the man.  They still don‘t like Republicans. 

MEDVED:  Well, no, of course, they don‘t.

But there‘s something else that was revealed last night.  Joe, I don‘t know if you realize, but the big winner last night in many respects was the movie “Million Dollar Baby.”  Clint Eastwood won for best director.  Hilary Swank won for best actress in a drama.  And “Million Dollar Baby” is being dishonestly marketed.  It‘s being marketed as a movie all about the triumph of a plucky female boxer.  It‘s not that. 

It‘s a right-to-die movie.  And it‘s one of several right-to-die movies or pro-abortion movies.  “Vera Drake” is nakedly pro-abortion.  “The Sea Inside,” which was also nominated for major awards, is pro-right to die.  And the point is that they can‘t sell this thing honestly, because people deep in their heart of hearts in the entertainment industry know that they are not in touch with the general public, know that they are disconnected from America at large.

And they don‘t mind being disconnected when it comes to things that they consider to be religious values and consider to be a threat to the sort of ongoing party they are enjoying in Holly-weird. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Let me—let me show you a clip. 

Well, I‘ll tell you what.  We will do it when we come back.  I am going to show you a clip of somebody from “Desperate Housewives.”  Talk about a show that actually is sweeping the nation.  And we get a clip from “Desperate Housewives” and a victory they enjoyed last night when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.  And we‘ll get your final thoughts in just a second.


SCARBOROUGH:  When SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns, Michael Medved talks about “Desperate Housewives,” the Golden Globes, about whether he can talk me out of actually watching the show with my wife every Sunday night. 

That‘s in a minute.



TERI HATCHER, ACTRESS:  I work with the most amazing group of powerful strong, over-40, almost everybody, women, except for the cute young one who eats a lot. 


HATCHER:  And the most amazing cast and crew, who just get through such long days with such smiles on their faces, and a network who gave me a second chance at a career when I couldn‘t have been a bigger has-been. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Medved, are you concerned about the success of “Desperate Housewives,” not only the Golden Globes, but also in the Nielsen ratings every Sunday night? 

MEDVED:  Well, sure. 

Look, it‘s one of those things where the problem with Americans and TV is, we watch too much of it.  But one of the things that “Desperate Housewives” show, with its success on the Golden Globes, is, in the entertainment industry, people love shock value.  They love something that is on the edge.  They love something that is different. 

And I tell this story in “Right Turns.”  My altitude toward all that changed when I became a parent in the middle of my work as a movie critic, because, all of a sudden, when you‘re a parent, you are concerned about what your children eat and how that nourishes their bodies.  And you also ought to be concerned about the way that what they imbibe in terms of entertainment nourishes their imaginations and their very souls. 

And I think there are lots of Americans who are concerned about what all of the media saturation is doing to our kids.  And what amazes me is, you will talk to people in Hollywood who will be concerned about that for their own kids, but they seem to have almost no consideration at all for the kids of everybody else.  And I think that we need to do better as far as that is concerned. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But you look at some of the biggest movies, and they are family movies. 

MEDVED:  Absolutely consistently. 

And it is something that I have been arguing about for years.  And what it shows to me, Joe, is that people in Hollywood are not just interested in making money.  Of course, everybody likes to make money . But when you are A-list celebrity—and this is a point that I argue for in the book.  When you are A-list celebrity, you don‘t need to worry about where your next meal is coming from or where your next Mercedes is coming from. 

What you want is that bold gold statuette.  You want an Oscar.  You want a Golden Globe.  You want the respect of your peers.  And, unfortunately, they give out respect to peers based upon shock value, based upon edgy material, R-rated material.  But when it comes to connecting with the public, you can do that much more better—much more effectively by offering more wholesome entertainment.  And that has been shown time and again, and certainly at the box office this year. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

All right, Michael Medved, the book is “Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life.”  Thank you so much for being with us tonight.

And thank all of you for being with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Make sure to check out our Web site, Joe.MSNBC.com. 

We‘ll see you tomorrow night.



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