Guest: Christie Todd Whitman, Susan Milligan, Nile Gardiner, Vincent Morris, Antonio Ponvert, Richard Kibbey, Michael Gross
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, an apologist for the 9/11 terrorists is teaching kids on your dime.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
A Colorado professor thinks victims at the World Trade Center had it coming and compared them to Nazis. Now, last night, we talked to the victim‘s mother. And a lot of people are asking what is this radical going to do for an encore. Unfortunately, we are going to find out next week. But we are going to tell you what you can do to try to stop him.
And then, convicted killer Michael Ross is ready to die, but his father is fighting for his life. Today, the Supreme Court gave him 24 hours to make his case. Don‘t miss our exclusive interview with the man who has been hired to do just that.
And a Florida man is busted for using a stun gun on his child. Is it discipline or child abuse? Again, an exclusive with his attorney.
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.
You know, your child is at risk. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Today, reports surfaced out of the San Francisco area that another female teacher has been busted for having sex with a middle school boy. The 33-year-old teacher had the boy‘s baby and now faces five years in prison. Now, this is just the latest of a shocking string of arrests from across America where female teachers are preying on young boys and girls and turning them into their sex toys.
And the crises is far from an anecdotal. In 2004, the Department of Education released a study that suggests as many as 10 percent of students in public schools are being sexually used and abused by their teachers, 10 percent. And if this government study is correct, we‘re talking about a sex scandal that makes the Catholic sex scandal look insignificant.
The 2004 federal study‘s author noted that approximately 10,000 young people were sexually abused by priests over a 40-year time period from 1950 to 2000, actually, a 50-year time period. That compares with a total with a national survey suggesting that roughly 300,000 students experienced some sort of sexual abuse by public school employees in just 10 years, from 1990 to 2000. These numbers are frightening and the evidence overwhelming.
Our children are at risk every day we send them to school. And SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is going to contact your leaders Washington and across America and demand that action is taken. And you know what else? We‘re going to demand that union leaders admit there‘s a serious problem in their ranks, and that it‘s time they start worrying more about young children‘s well-being than protecting on environment that invites abuse at school.
It‘s time for action and we‘re ready to take it to Washington. And if you want your voice heard, e-mail me at Joe@MSNBC.com and I will make sure the politicians in D.C. listen. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, we‘re going to have more on that later in the show. But first up tonight, your response was overwhelming to our story last night about the University of Colorado professor who says that victims of September 11 were not innocent and then he compared them to the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. And, of course, he was the thug that carried out Hitler‘s orders to exterminate Jews.
With me now, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. And we also have attorney Michael Gross from the ACLU.
Let me begin with you, Patrick Buchanan.
We‘re in the middle of a war on terror. Professor Churchill says that these weren‘t terrorists, that they‘re legitimate fighters and that the people at 9/11 that were killed in America weren‘t civilians and weren‘t innocent. I mean, shouldn‘t this guy be fired from his college job immediately?
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, obviously he should.
Now, a college professor is a job of moral responsibility and moral accountability. And this professor has, in effect, compared innocent victims, many of whom had to jump 100 stories to their death to little Eichmanns, to Nazis. In other words, he is saying, these innocent Americans, 3,000 of them, had it coming.
Now, the First Amendment protects his right to make this kind of hate speech. But that kind of hate speech would cost anyone in journalism their job, Joe, and it should cost this professor his job. I‘m astonished that the University of Colorado at Boulder has not gotten rid of him by now.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, let me just read some of the things that this professor wrote. Churchill writes that: “The victims of the World Trade Center were part of America‘s global financial empire and guilty of fueling the mighty engine of profit and if there was a better, more effective or, in fact, any way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I would really be interested in hearing about it,” his comments.
Michael Gross, if that is not hate speech, I don‘t know what is. I think this guy should be fired. I certainly believe that most Americans agree with me. What about you?
MICHAEL GROSS, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: Well, we don‘t have to protect the speech that everybody agrees with.
What we‘re obliged to protect, what we must protect is anyone‘s right to say what their point of view is, not only the points of view we agree with. The classic case was when the ACLU went into Skokie to protect the Ku Klux Klan from its right to march when the Jews in the area didn‘t want them marching through there. We have got lots of professors at Columbia that have been arguing this question of the Middle East for years.
It‘s not a matter of whether you agree with him or not. If we suppress this speech, next, we will suppress your speech.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, hold on a second, counselor, though. This is not about suppressing speech. Professor Churchill can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants to say it. But I don‘t want to pay for it. And people who believe that those people died at 9/11 were heroes and not victims don‘t want to pay for it either.
Are you telling us that, as taxpayers, we should have to pay for this guy‘s job, for his salary, so he can make these outrageous statements?
GROSS: Your first lesson in civics taught you, with that great speech, never, ever to suppress speech, to defend to the death the right of any person to speak, whether you agree with him or not. That‘s essential to our system.
BUCHANAN: Joe, let me get into this.
Look, I agree with our gentleman, Mr. Gross, from the ACLU that we cannot suppress the professor‘s speech.
GROSS: So do I.
BUCHANAN: He‘s got a right to say what he wants.
If the professor got up tomorrow on the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz and said, I don‘t think it happened and, anyhow, the Jewish folks out there at Auschwitz got what they deserved, that is hate speech. He can say that and it is protected. But he should lose his job, as you or I should lose our job. We have a First Amendment right to speak and write and say politically whatever we please. Mr. Gross is correct.
What we do not have is a right to be exempt from any responsibility for the content of what is said.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Pat Buchanan...
SCARBOROUGH: Hold it. Hey, Pat, you know there‘s no such thing as responsibility when it comes to tenured professors. They can give this sort of hate speech and get away with it, can‘t they?
GROSS: It‘s academic freedom.
BUCHANAN: If that tenured professor got up and used the N-word on African-Americans in his class and did it deliberately and did it with viciousness, that he used these terms, he would lose his job. And he ought to lose his job.
And if the people—if the Colorado legislature does not demand this, the head of the University of Colorado at Boulder ought to lose his job.
GROSS: So who will tell us what the curriculum...
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Gross, I want you to answer my question again.
SCARBOROUGH: We all agree. All three of us agree he has got a right to say this. But don‘t we as taxpayers have a right to say, OK, say it on your own; we‘re not paying for it?
GROSS: Look, this is an argument. He is in a world of ideas. If our argument is going to be sustained, it‘s not because we suppress those that disagree with us. He is making an argument.
SCARBOROUGH: What if he uses the N-word in class 10 times?
GROSS: Oh, come on, this political correctness, I can‘t believe it.
I think I‘m on a different network here.
BUCHANAN: He‘s got a right to say it. He doesn‘t have a right...
GROSS: Are you going to decide which words are correct for us to use now?
BUCHANAN: No, no. He‘s got a right to say what he wants. He doesn‘t have a right to be a University of Colorado professor.
GROSS: It‘s in a college classroom. It‘s in a place where young adults ought to be able to understand an argument and hear both sides and not be moved, except to make their own decision, hearing both sides.
BUCHANAN: And where professors ought to be held accountable for hate speech.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, that‘s all the time we have. I will tell you what, though. It sounds like an absolutist view of the First Amendment.
Let me tell you something. I learned in law school, there are limits to the First Amendment, time, place, manner limits. And also there‘s such a thing as tax-funded speech. Let this clown say what he wants to say. He can shout it from the side of the streets. I don‘t want to pay for it. You shouldn‘t either.
Now, we got so many e-mails last night. But let me read you what
Catherine wrote me. She said, actually—Catherine wrote in and said:
“Please send me the e-mail address of the University of Colorado president. You flashed it up on the screen in last night‘s show. And I ran to write it down, but I forgot it.”
This is what the e-mail address is, Catherine. It‘s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pat Buchanan and Michael Gross, thanks a lot for being with us tonight.
And we‘re going to stay on top of this story. And I want you to send me an e-mail to Joe@MSNBC.com ask. And we are going to take your e-mails to the governor of Colorado and ask him why taxpayers are funding hate speech.
We‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Don‘t have a belt handy? Use a stun gun. That‘s what one Florida dad decided to do when his teen got out of line. And he ended up in jail. That‘s next.
SCARBOROUGH: Last night, we told you about Douglas Dycus, a man in Florida who disciplined his 14-year-old son with a stun gun. We are going to be talking to his attorney in a minute.
But, first, let‘s get more on the story from Bryan Garner of our Florida affiliate WPTV.
BRYAN GARNER, WPTV REPORTER (voice-over): Forty-year-old Douglas Dycus works as an engineer. He lives in this affluent gated community in Palm City, along with his wife and four children. This week, deputies charged Dycus with felony child abuse. They say he tried to discipline his son with this.
SGT. JANELL ATLAS, MARTIN COUNTY SHERIFF‘S OFFICE: A stun gun makes you stop what you‘re doing. It gets your attention immediately through a shock, through an electric shock to that part of the skin. It doesn‘t shock your heart or your brain, nothing like that. It shocks right there to the skin. It is painful. It hurts, and it will make you stop what you‘re doing.
GARNER: It was the day after Christmas. Dycus said his family was getting ready for a trip and his children were wrestling around and not listening. He told deputies he got mad, walked into his bedroom, opened the dresser drawer and picked up the stun gun. He walked back over to where the boys were wrestling and shocked the 14-year-old one time in the arm. The boy yelled and they got in the car.
ATLAS: Even after three weeks or a month, there was still a red mark there. There were two distinct red marks. One was on the arm and one was on the side, the side of his body, and then one was on his arm.
GARNER: Deputies say the boy waited to tell anyone what happened because he was afraid. He finally told an adult he trusted, who called the child abuse department at Department of Children and Families.
ATLAS: We find at the sheriff‘s office that this is very disturbing.
We did not like it at all and we did made a quick arrest on this.
GARNER: DCF told deputies about four other complaints on file against Dycus. The most recent, in 2003, claims he hit his son with a belt.
SCARBOROUGH: And with me now is Richard Kibbey. He‘s, of course, the attorney for Douglas Dycus.
Counselor, let me ask you, what is your defense for a client who admits to the police that he used a stun gun to discipline his own children?
RICHARD KIBBEY, ATTORNEY FOR DYCUS: Well, to begin with, the report is inaccurate. There was no stun gun used. What Mr. Dycus used was a handheld shock device.
The story and the police report are entirely wrong. And they give the impression that there‘s a gun and a projectile was shot. That‘s incorrect.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I‘m looking here at the affidavit. It says that there was a stun gun used against the child on the arm and also on the abdomen. And your own client—it‘s in quote marks in this affidavit right here—admitted that he used a stun gun.
Now, are we talking about semantics here? After all, I saw the device on the report. And it said, extreme danger, keep out of children‘s way.
KIBBEY: OK. Well, I can tell you this. When the evidence comes out, I think you‘re going to be corrected that there was no gun used here. It was a handheld shocking device that anyone in the public can buy anywhere, entirely legally to hold.
But the question you asked about what the defense is going to be, our defense is real clear, cut and simple. It‘s not crime in Florida for a parent to discipline a child and to restore some order in the household.
SCARBOROUGH: With an electrical shocking device?
KIBBEY: It depends on the child and it depends on the situation. Some parents can reprimand a child and get order. Some parents need to slap or spank a child to get the order. Some parents need to use a belt.
Police and court systems should not be second-guessing a parent unless it involves torture or for no valid reason whatsoever, which is not the case here.
SCARBOROUGH: So you‘re saying, then, you‘re saying, then, a parent should be able to take a belt and use that belt, hit them anywhere they want to hit them, across the face, as long as it‘s not torture? How far does a parent take it before the police step in?
KIBBEY: Well, every case is a case-by-case decision. I‘m not advocating that a parent should hit a child over the face with a belt. That‘s an extreme position. And, of course, very few people would ever agree that that is reasonable or responsible.
SCARBOROUGH: What about using a shocking device? Don‘t you think most people would think that is extreme, especially when there are marks on the child‘s body three weeks later?
KIBBEY: Well, we‘re not agreeing that there were marks on the child‘s body three weeks later. I think there‘s a double standard here in Florida, as well as across the nation.
We have all been seeing in the last few months the police are using Taser guns, not handheld, but Taser guns, and shooting darts into 6-year-old children, a 12-year-old girl in Florida in November who was truant. She was shot because she skipped class that day. The police were never prosecuted and the police say they‘re—quote—“reviewing their policy.”
Those officers were not being prosecuted, yet a parent, who knows his child better than anyone, who knows the history of this child, is now being prosecuted. Don‘t you think that‘s a double standard?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Richard Kibbey, we will talk about it more as this case goes forward. I think, like most of our viewers, I‘m extremely concerned about any parent using an electrical shocking device against their children for discipline.
But, again, as this case goes forward, we‘re going to ask you to come back on and talk about it. Thanks for being with us tonight.
And now we move on to Connecticut, where legal filings continue, as the clock ticks toward s the execution of confessed serial killer Michael Ross. Now, Connecticut‘s attorney general is asking the United States Supreme Court to lift an order protecting Ross. That would clear the way for New England‘s first execution in 45 years. And that execution would take place early Sunday.
Ross is on death row for the murder of four Connecticut women in the 1980s, but he has confessed to killing eight others. And last year, Ross decided to drop all appeals. But his father and public defenders have continued to fight to save his life and, earlier this week, won a delay in Ross‘ execution.
With me now is Antonio Ponvert and Jim Nugent. They are attorneys for Michael Ross‘ father, Dan.
Antonio, let me ask you, why are you doing this? This guy says, I have killed eight people and eight other people. I killed four in Connecticut. I want to die. Let me die.
If he wants to die, if the state wants him to die, why are you stepping in?
ANTONIO PONVERT, ATTORNEY FOR DAN ROSS: Because there is very profound and meaningful evidence that he is incompetent to make that decision about life and death, that, as a result of his undisputed mental illness and as a result of many years in solitary confinement in a 7-by-12 foot cell with virtually no interaction with other human beings and with almost total sensory depravation, that he has been rendered incompetent to make that decision and has been driven to suicidal despair.
So, he is not able to make the choice. Even though he appears to be rational, there‘s a very significant doubt about whether or not he can make that choice. And all we‘re asking for is, before the state kills this man, let‘s have a due-process hearing that will take a few days or weeks and determine if this is a legal execution.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, let‘s listen to him right now in his own words. He says he wants to die. Let‘s play a tape for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL ROSS, CONVICTED MURDERER: I‘m not a real fanatic. And God is not speaking to me at night. And I don‘t have: Michael, do you hear me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Of course, he is saying—he went on to say: I have decided I want to die. That is my business. Everybody else should just leave me alone.
Now, what mental illness are you saying this man has?
PONVERT: Well, he has been diagnosed to have major depressive disorders, sexual sadism, and a number of other things that I‘m not exactly sure what the psychiatric term is.
But everybody, including the lawyers for the state, the people at the Department of Correction, the mental health workers and psychiatrists who have examined him and cared for him over the last few years, admit that he has got very serious mental problems. There‘s no dispute about that. There‘s no dispute that he has been on a multitude of psychotropic medications.
And the question, why do we do this, why does his does his father care, that‘s a question I think has an obvious answer. His father cares because his father loves his son and wants to do everything he can to save his life. But why are the lawyers involved in trying to save Michael‘s life or in trying to make sure that this is a legal execution? Everybody in this nation has an interest in due process.
Everybody in this nation has an interest in making sure that, even in a case of somebody like Michael Ross, that the Constitution is followed and that we legally treat him as he must be treated under our laws. And if they don‘t apply to Michael, they don‘t apply to you.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Michael is saying also that he doesn‘t want to put the families of the murder victims through another trial, through another hearing. Do you think you should respect his opinion there or do you think he is too incompetent to make that decision on his own?
PONVERT: Well, I think Michael‘s own writings answer your question. He has written—and those documents are in the court record and, again, are undisputed—that, even though he has publicly stated, I have a noble cause to spare the families of my victims further pain, that in fact that is his ploy, because he knows that he has to say that in order to have the state execute him, when, in fact, he says in his own words, the reason I want to be executed is because I‘m in such pain and anguish.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, thanks a lot to both of you for being with me. And we are going to obviously follow this story over the next several days.
And now turning from the very serious to the sublime, it‘s time for “Flyover Country,” those stories that the elite media miss as they fly from Manhattan to the West Coast.
The first stop, Lincoln, Nebraska, where the P.C. police have local officials acting D-U-M-B. It seems the school district‘s leaders have decided that spelling bee contests that declare winners and losers can hurt kids‘ images of themselves and therefore, violate the No Child Left Behind Act. Hey, Lincoln, the W. is for whatever.
And in Greer, South Carolina, they don‘t have at the Public Works Department after one employee went to the ACLU to complain about an annual calendar that is given out to workers. It seems the offending calendar actually contains a Bible verse. Needless to say, the ACLU rose to the occasion and are now investigating the good folks of Greer.
And finally, in South Florida, surveillance cameras caught this purse snatching in progress. The only problem for the snatcher is, the snatchee fought back. The woman you see here was headed for the ATM. But she fought back in true SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY fashion. The criminal was overmatched, ran away. And police are still searching for the frightened subject. What a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY hero.
We‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: An environmental group hijacks a kids‘ poster contest and uses a 7-year-old to protest against a Manhattan business. That radical story coming up.
But, first, here‘s the latest news your family needs to know.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: President Bush‘s Iraq policy is not, as he said during last fall‘s campaign, a catastrophic success. It‘s a catastrophic failure.
The men and women of our armed services are serving honorably and with great courage under extreme conditions. But their indefinite presence is fanning the flames of conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Some conservatives have accused Senator Kennedy of treason. Is he guilty of treason or just practicing the same free speech rights we‘re trying to guarantee Iraqi citizens?
With me now, Lawrence Kudlow of CNBC‘s “Kudlow & Cramer,” Susan Milligan, of “The Boston Globe,” Vince Morris of “The New York Post” and Dr. Nile Gardiner, a foreign policy fellow from the Heritage Foundation.
Let me begin with you, Lawrence Kudlow. What do you make of Senator Kennedy‘s remarks on the eve of this election that U.S. troops fan the flames of hatred over there?
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, CO-HOST, “KUDLOW & CRAMER”: I just think it‘s the goofiest, dumbest, stupidest, most factually incorrect thing I have ever heard.
It‘s Zarqawi and his terrorist ban who are killing Iraqis primarily and, unfortunately, U.S. men and women in the military also. To blame America, after all we have learned after the last 25 years, but in particular in the post-9/11 period, to blame America first, as we‘re going to have a smashing turnout in this election, by the way, which is going to reverberate through the entire Muslim world and the Middle East, is just plain dumb.
And it shows why the Democratic Party is going nowhere.
SCARBOROUGH: Larry Kudlow, I will guarantee you, if a Republican had said something like this during a Clinton war or if a Republican had compared our troops to Saddam Hussein‘s troops, as Ted Kennedy did during the Abu Ghraib scandal, that Republican would be run out of town on a rail.
And yet nobody, Republican or Democrat, has stood up to Ted Kennedy.
Why is that?
KUDLOW: You know, I just—this is the weirdest, darned thing. I‘m sitting around. I had to write a column today about it. I‘m sitting around reading people like my friend Peggy Noonan and others, are wasting their time attacking Bush‘s excellent inaugural speech about freedom and democracy, when you can see, you can see Zarqawi hates us. You can see that Iraqis are taking their life in their hands to vote.
We‘re probably going to have a 75 to 80 percent turnout. You can see already Abdullah of Jordan is now going to call elections along the same lines that Iraq is calling them. You can see it‘s the death knell for terrorism and Baathism in Iraq. And I have got conservatives who are actually attacking Bush, rather than attacking the real enemy.
Susan Milligan,you‘re in Boston. You report for “The Boston Globe.” What is the take in Ted Kennedy‘s backyard about him saying that it‘s the U.S. troops that are fanning the flames of the insurgency?
SUSAN MILLIGAN, “THE BOSTON GLOBE”: Well, I‘m not in Boston, actually. I‘m in Washington. But...
SCARBOROUGH: I see that. But you write for “The Boston Globe.”
MILLIGAN: Yes, I do.
The thing is, the president in an interview that was published this morning said something that was not all that dissimilar. He said that he would be willing to pull the troops out and in fact would in fact pull the troops out if the new government asked him to do so. I think there‘s a recognition by those who were in favor of the invasion and those who were against it that the presence of the American troops there is, at the very least, provocative.
I mean, some people think that that is—that it was a worthwhile thing to do. And I‘m not going to debate that one way or the other. But certainly they have become targets. And nobody wants to wake up every morning and read in the paper about another couple of soldiers who have been killed and more who have been injured.
The problem, of course, is what happens if you do pull them out, what happens to Iraq, what sort of commitment has the United States made there. You know, if they left quickly, you know, what kind of situation would be there? It could become very unstable. So that‘s really the question. But a lot of people...
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, very unstable. Yes, very unstable very quickly.
SCARBOROUGH: With Shiites probably killing Sunnis. That‘s the irony of this whole thing. If the U.S. pulls out, it‘s the Sunnis who are going to get slaughtered in about a week.
Let me bring you in, Vince Morris of “The New York Post.” This past week, former Secretary of state Madeleine Albright seemed to underplay the importance of these elections. We had Wes Clark on our show undermine the importance of these elections. What is going on in Washington?
VINCENT MORRIS, “THE NEW YORK POST”: Well, Joe, we won‘t really know how effective these elections are for a couple of weeks.
I disagree with Lawrence. I don‘t think they‘re going to be great elections. There‘s a lot of questions about the legitimacy of them. All the election observers are out of Iraq. They‘re in Jordan. None of the ballots actually have any candidates‘ names on them. They just have slates of parties. So I think it‘s fair to question the election results. And until we know how they go forward, I think it‘s reasonable for people who have opposed the war since the beginning, like Senator Kennedy, to raise questions about the process that we‘re following.
KUDLOW: I just want to say that the notion that Ms. Mulligan, I believe, from “The Boston Globe.”
KUDLOW: Milligan. I beg your pardon. I don‘t mean to be disrespectful, but I want to disagree.
MILLIGAN: That‘s not disrespectful.
KUDLOW: As forcefully as I can.
The idea that George Bush saying, if the newly, duly elected government requests the U.S. to leave, we will leave, putting that on a level playing field with Ted Kennedy, who was actually blaming the U.S. military for terrorism, misses the point entirely.
Bush is establishing a political process, which, I‘m sorry, Vince Morris, if you look at the blog sites, if you look at the polls, you are going to see a smashing turnout, that political process spells the end of theocracy, extreme mullah clericalism and Baathism. And Bush is merely saying, the United States will play by the rules.
Kennedy is actually blaming America first, with no consideration for the democratic principles being put in place. It just baffles me. It and blows me away.
SCARBOROUGH: Nile, let me read you a recent poll by the Washington-based International Republican Institute. They found that an astonishing 80 percent of Iraqis intend to vote in this election. Compare that, of course, to our own 60 percent turnout last November. And that was America‘s highest since 1968.
If it approaches anyway near 60 percent, with terrorists telling people, if they go out and vote, they are going to have their heads cut off and their children are going to be slaughtered, would that not be a smashing success?
NILE GARDINER, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Absolutely.
And I think this is a legitimate election. We are likely to have a major turnout, probably bigger than expected. I much say that Ted Kennedy‘s comments were extraordinarily silly. They demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the situation on the ground in Iraq.
GARDINER: They also sent completely the wrong message to the barbaric terrorists that we are currently fighting.
SCARBOROUGH: Vince, what is so funny about that? Vince, what is so funny?
MORRIS: Well, I just—I think that it‘s consistent for Senator Kennedy to raise questions about the way in which we have led up to these elections.
Right now, our troops, the reason that helicopter went down the other day with 31 Marines aboard is because they were bringing the ballot boxes and they‘re trying to train police officers to run the country. It‘s not exactly a great environment with which to hold an election. And I think the idea that it is going to be a smashing success when you don‘t even have a hint of stability in Iraq is just crazy. That‘s just my take on it.
GARDINER: Those troops died bravely, actually. We should remember that. And they sacrificed their lives for the sake of freedom and democracy in Iraq. And we should honor their sacrifice.
MORRIS: Except that I think Senator Kennedy...
GARDINER: ... as well.
KUDLOW: That is really the key point.
These are people who are literally putting their lives in danger. You know, all the polls on the ground in Iraq have shown you‘re going to get a 90 percent participation rate out of the Kurds up north. You are going to get a 90 percent-plus participation right out of the Shias down south. You may have a surprising participation rate even among the central Baghdad Sunnis. That may be well over a third, up to a half.
But the point is, as they did in El Salvador and Algeria and Afghanistan in the last 10 or 15 years, Afghanistan just a couple of months ago, people are responding to the call of freedom by putting their lives in danger. And the most incredible thing to me—and I say this to some of my friends in the Republican Party—is, George Bush‘s call for freedom and his clear statement at the inaugural that he will stand with the pro-democracy forces in the Middle East is what is helping to bring people out.
So Bush is not the enemy. The U.S. military is not the enemy. A regrettable tragedy for a helicopter is not the enemy. The enemy is Zarqawi and Osama. And these free elections will defeat that enemy.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, some of the most fascinating blogs actually do come out of the Middle East. I saw a link that Andrew Sullivan had on his that came out of Iran. There are a lot of people in the Middle East very excited about this election.
But, again, it seems that this election is dividing Americans almost as much as it‘s dividing people in the Middle East.
Sarah, let me go—Susan, let me go back to you. We have now butchered both of your names.
SCARBOROUGH: Susan, give me a prediction, if you will. Obviously, a lot of division here. What do you think is going to happen on Sunday? What should we expect?
MILLIGAN: I don‘t know. I mean, the security situation there is very, very bad. And I‘m in awe of the people who are committed to come out and vote, given—you know, given that environment.
But, I mean, I think that the president is—there‘s a lot on the line here for President Bush. You know, there‘s now an average of two Americans a day being killed and more than 700 a month being injured. And he has really put a lot on these elections. And, unfortunately, for the president, I think, at this point, it‘s pretty much out of his hands. We just have to wait and see what happens and hope that there‘s not a lot of violence and hope that a lot of people come out and vote.
SCARBOROUGH: Vince Morris, give us your prediction.
MORRIS: I agree with Susan, although I will just point out again that simply having the election is not necessarily an indicator of peace and tranquillity.
There were elections in Afghanistan, but I think anyone would tell you that Afghanistan is still a fairly lawless place. As even President Bush and all his advisers have admitted, Osama bin Laden is still probably hanging around someplace in Afghanistan. So the fact that there are elections there doesn‘t really prove anything.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
MORRIS: There‘s rampant drug abuse and opium production. There are Taliban...
SCARBOROUGH: Larry Kudlow, we got 10 seconds.
KUDLOW: I just want to say that simply having elections in Iraq is huge. It is a turning point, just as it was in Afghanistan. These are not parts of the world known for freedom and democracy and free elections. And if you can‘t see that beyond the end of your nose, I am sorry. This is a historical moment.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Larry Kudlow fired up, baby.
Thanks for sticking around with us. We will be right back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in just a second.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back. I‘m Joe Scarborough. And, as you know, I have got issues.
It seems that the P.C. police have issues and are on attack against Valentine‘s Day. The Vermont Teddy Bear Company‘s Crazy For You Valentine‘s Day bear has raised the ire of culturally sensitive critics. Why? Well, because the $70 bear comes dressed in a straitjacket and carries commitment papers. Critics demanded that the company stop making the bear, as they claim it is offensive.
Hey friends, it‘s a joke. Get over it.
And I have got another issue. I have issues, of course, with the FCC. After Janet Jackson‘s wardrobe malfunction last year, Super Bowl programmers are doing everything they can to avoid FCC fines and violations for this year‘s event. For one day only, Tom Arnold‘s “Best Damn Sports Show Period” will be best known as “The Best Darn Super Bowl Road Show Period,” so as to avoid FCC fines.
But while the FCC is hard at work regulating possible offenses, commercial breaks during the family-friendly Super Bowl will again feature ads for the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis. This year‘s ad will promote the drug‘s ability to last up to 36 hours, while showing elderly couples in their 60s cuddling. Talk about offensive? Hey, keep up the good work, FCC.
And, finally, I have got issues with political activists at the Rainforest Action Network. Have these people fallen out of their trees? You know, the group actually took a busload of second graders from a Connecticut suburb, told them they were going on a poster-making contest in Manhattan, and then posted the kids in front of the J.P. Morgan building in Manhattan as part of their protest operations.
These kids were 7 years old. Now, you know, I‘m all for letting environmentalists express their views, but not when they misuse little kids to score cheap political points.
Now, while on the subject of environmentalism, we welcome the former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who, to the best of my knowledge, at least, never commandeered a busload of 7-year-old kids to take to a press conference.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks so much for being with us, Governor.
CHRISTIE TODD WHITMAN ®, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: It‘s a pleasure.
SCARBOROUGH: You have got a fascinating book out. You‘re talking about the Republican Party. It‘s called “It‘s My Party, Too: The Battle For the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.”
Talk about the book and why you wrote it.
WHITMAN: Well, I wrote it, Joe, because I‘m concerned that I have seen an element within our party start to develop a kind of litmus test as to what makes a good Republican and start to narrow our base further and further.
I grew up in a party that accommodated moderates, conservatives, liberals, that we all had a core set of values we shared that were Republican values. And then there were a host of different interpretations around that. And I see us getting to a point now where we‘re starting to exclude people. And, as Ronald Reagan said, you don‘t build the majority party looking for organizations and people with whom you won‘t work. And that‘s my concern and that‘s why I wanted to write the book.
SCARBOROUGH: We got a quote out of your book where you‘re talking about Ronald Reagan.
And you say: “The future of Republicanism is too important to allow those who seek the purge the party of anyone who is ideologically impure to take over. This is, as Ronald Reagan once said, a time for choosing.”
I know there are a lot of conservatives out there that say, hey, we looked at the Republican Convention in New York this past year. You had moderates like John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Rudolph Giuliani front and center. That seems like a fairly open, fairly moderate party.
WHITMAN: Absolutely. That showed a face of the party that is important.
But what you don‘t see and the kind of thing that worries me is when you have people in the party who mount primary challenges to Republicans because they‘re not pure enough, when you have people who are opposing—for instance, the president has said that the most important issue he wants to deal with, or one of the most important issues, is Social Security reform.
He has now members of his own party who are telling him that they won‘t even begin to discuss that issue, which is very, very important to the public in this country, until he meets their test for being strong enough in promoting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Those are two important issues, but they‘re separate issues.
And to see one held hostage to the other, the social issues holding hostage something as important as Social Security, at least the discussion, to me is the wrong way to go. And when you see challenges to good Republicans in their primaries because they‘re not in lockstep with the party is also not good for our health.
SCARBOROUGH: So, you‘re talking primarily about social issues. And you talk about how many in the huge center of the American electorate are put off by the more extreme positions of the far right groups.
What far right groups are you talking about? Let‘s name names. What political leaders in Congress are you most concerned about in the Republican Party? And who are these far right groups that cause you great concern?
WHITMAN: Well, they are the people who did mount the challenge against Arlen Specter and who said they were doing it not just to defeat him, but also to send a message to Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and other moderates they better get with the program or they weren‘t going to be part of the Republican Party.
It‘s the people who will tell you that they would rather focus on SpongeBob SquarePants holding hands with a starfish than they would about Social Security. They‘re the people who say you can‘t be a good Republican if you believe that you should even have a discussion about embryonic stem cell or if you‘re pro-choice or if you believe there‘s a role for government in protecting the environment.
Again, it‘s not about individuals. It‘s about where the party is moving. It‘s about a movement here. And that‘s why I try to define the term as social fundamentalist. It‘s not about conservatives. It‘s about people who take the extreme and say there‘s only one way to be a good Republican.
SCARBOROUGH: Final question. What is your thinking about Democrats actually finally moving to the center on abortion, Hillary Clinton stepping forward, other Democrats stepping forward and say, you know what, we need to accept pro-life people in our party, just like we need to accept pro-choice people in our party? That‘s fairly radical for the Democratic Party. You‘re saying the Republicans need to do the same thing?
WHITMAN: I think Republicans had better be very careful, if they don‘t do the same things, that they are going to lose some of those moderate Republicans who helped give them the majority in Congress right now and help ensure that we do control a lot of the statehouses, not all of them, not as many as we used to when I was governor, but we still hold the majority.
But that could vanish very, very quickly if we keep excluding people from the party. And that‘s why we have the Web site, www.MyPartyToo.com, to try to help people find a place to go, moderates, to be heard, to reinforce one another and to help build a grassroots movement to bring the party back to the center.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much. We greatly appreciate you being here.
Again, the book is called “It‘s My Party, Too.” And the Web site is www.ItsMyPartyToo.com. Is that correct, Governor?
WHITMAN: MyPartyToo.com, not “It‘s.” It‘s www.MyPartyToo.com.
SCARBOROUGH: There you go. OK. Very good. Thanks so much for being with us, Governor. We greatly appreciate it.
WHITMAN: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: And we‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: To get the very latest on what is happening in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and in your hometown, go to Joe.MSNBC.com, sign up for the newsletter. And you can also get my blog of the day.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, a reminder. Be with us Saturday night at 11:00 p.m. Eastern time for our specialized coverage of the elections in Iraq. “Iraq Votes” will feature reports from various cities in Iraq and a VIP panel of special guests on this most historic occasion. And it is historic, first time since the 1500s, when the Ottomans put them in power, that the Sunnis are going to have to give power to the majority in Iraq.
Now, for that and also to read my newsletter, log on to Joe.MSNBC.com.
Good night. And we will see you right here tomorrow night in
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.