updated 2/2/2005 2:52:35 PM ET 2005-02-02T19:52:35

Guest: Carl Bernstein, Rachel Maddow, Daniel Lapin, Richard Roeper, Dom Giordano, Chip Babcock, Christopher Preble

ANNOUNCER:  MSNBC REPORTS: the latest on the pope, in a Rome hospital tonight.  Plus, Clint Eastwood‘s “Million Dollar Baby” is a box office knockout, and it could go the distance on Oscar night.  But when the film takes a dark turn, some say it‘s sending a message advocating assisted suicide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - “MILLION DOLLAR BABY”)

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR/DIRECTOR:  Excuse me if I didn‘t want my fighter spending the second half of his life cleaning up other people‘s spit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  Tonight, Pat takes the gloves off.  Is this another case of Hollywood values hitting below the belt?  Then: He compared the victims of 9/11 to the Nazis.  Now this Colorado professor finds himself at the center of a heated controversy.  Is it a question of free speech, or did Ward Churchill cross the line?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s still defending these beliefs.  He‘s still being a cheerleader for terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  And as the president prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, the state of Iraq is front and center.  Tonight, why all conservatives still can‘t agree.

Now, live from Washington, Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN, HOST:  Good evening.  Pope John Paul II is in a Rome hospital tonight, suffering from complications of influenza.  The Holy Father was rushed to Rome‘s Gemelli Polyclinic early this evening after he had difficulty breathing.  A Vatican spokesman said the 84-year-old pontiff, who has Parkinson‘s disease, was admitted as a precaution and is not in intensive care.  The pope has been suffering from the flu since last Sunday, and he has canceled all engagements.

We‘re joined now by NBC News‘s Rome bureau chief, Stephen Weeke, with the latest.  Steve, what is up?

STEPHEN WEEKE, NBC NEWS ROME BUREAU CHIEF:  That‘s right, the pope is in the apartment that has been specially built for him many years ago on the 10th floor of Gemelli hospital, a hospital he knows very well because he began his stays there on May 13, 1981, when he was shot in St. Peter‘s Square.

Tonight, it seems to be a little more calm and tranquil than it was a couple of hours ago, when we first received news that he had been rushed to the hospital.  Normally, everything is handled for him at a pretty high level medically here at the Vatican, so news that he had been transferred with some urgency to the hospital was of great concern.  We know that at 10:30 PM local time, 4:30 in the afternoon Eastern time, he was brought to the ER.  After he was checked out, he was brought up to his apartment.  And they say it was the result of spasms in his larynx.

Now, we have observed, just watching him over the last few months, that along with all the other symptoms of Parkinson‘s that we‘re familiar with, that we‘ve been seeing him with for several years, most lately, he‘s had trouble breathing when he‘s made speeches.  Every two or three words, he seems to catch his breath.

BUCHANAN:  All right.

WEEKE:  And I think this is what may have caused concern, we‘re hearing, that they were worried it might get worse than what they could handle in the apartment—Pat.

BUCHANAN:  All right.  Steve, from what I‘m hearing from you, it appears it seemed a little more serious several hours ago.  We know he is not now you in intensive care.  The Holy Father is not in intensive care.  Are the correspondents still gathering there at Gemelli, or are they going home, basically, and waiting for the morning?

WEEKE:  No, I think that everybody is on standby and in motion because there has been so much prolonged concern over his health, over his frailty, over his age.  So the watch, let‘s say, of the media is in full swing, and people are beginning to camp out up there.

However, one signal that the Vatican did send out, which may imply that they‘re trying to say that things are at least OK, is that his personal doctor, Buzzonetti, who travels with him, and his No. 1 bodyguard, Camillo Cibin, the man who actually held him in his arms in the Jeep when he was shot in 1981 -- they left Gemelli hospital an hour ago to return to the Vatican.  So if anything, that might have been a signal that for now, things are OK.

And we‘re supposed to be getting the first medical bulletin on the state of his health at 9:00 AM Rome time.  So in about six hours, we should get official word on how he‘s doing—Pat.

BUCHANAN:  OK, Steve, thank you very much.  That was NBC‘s Rome bureau chief, Stephen Weeke.

Joining me now with more on the pope‘s condition is NBC‘s chief science correspondent, Robert Bazell.  He lives in Burbank.  Robert, thanks for joining us.  As you know, the president—excuse me—the pope is suffering from influenza, and he has that Parkinson‘s condition.  Is he probably receiving some assistance in breathing by now?

ROBERT BAZELL, NBC NEWS CHIEF SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT:  I suspect not, from what we‘ve heard, from what Stephen Weeke was reporting.  If he was receiving assistance in breathing, he would be in intensive care.  The statement that he‘s not in intensive care would indicate that he‘s not.

What he likely has is some spasms in his neck, which are a common complication of a bad case of influenza or other respiratory infections.  And these can be very frightening because what happens is the throat starts to spasm, and people have trouble just taking in a breath of fresh air, will cause them—windpipe to freeze up.  And as a result, it feels like you‘re suffocating, but in fact, you‘re not.  It‘s not a life-threatening condition, but it is a common complication of people of all ages.

And it could be made worse in his situation because he does have Parkinson‘s.  That also can—causes some paralysis in those areas.  So it‘s a combination that can be very frightening and is probably—from everything we‘ve heard, it doesn‘t sound like it‘s life-threatening.

BUCHANAN:  All right.

BAZELL:  So all indications are that this is a complication that‘s usually treated with steroids or some other kind of inhalant to enable the person to breathe, and that seems to be what is happening with him.  If he were on an ventilator, if he needed respiratory assistance, he would definitely be in intensive care—Pat.

BUCHANAN:  How—how much—how serious is the complication—is the Parkinson‘s disease?  It does appear that if—the Holy Father, of course, has round-the-clock attention, as you mentioned.  If he had difficulty breathing, he would be moved into intensive care.  That is not going on.  But tell us about how serious a sort of semi-advanced Parkinson‘s with this condition of influenza in the throat can be?

BAZELL:  Well, I—you know, Parkinson‘s disease is extremely variable from person to person.  Some people go downhill in a big hurry, and some people stay basically the same for a long time.  And as we know, the pope is taking medications for his Parkinson‘s disease.  So it‘s very hard to know what the confluence of the two things are.

But it‘s important to remember that influenza is a very serious disease, especially in older people.  In the United States every year, for example, 36,000 people die, on average, from complications of influenza.  And most of those are people in their 80s.  So it‘s not to be taken lightly when you have complications of the flu, of which there are many.  But these throat spasms do not appear to be something that is usually life-threatening.  And of course, as you pointed out, he gets excellent medical care—Pat.

BUCHANAN:  OK.  Thanks.  That‘s NBC‘s chief science correspondent, Robert Bazell.

We‘re joined now by Carl Bernstein.  He‘s the author of the book “His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time.”  Carl, thanks for coming on on short notice.

CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR, “HIS HOLINESS: JOHN PAUL II:  Good to be here.

BUCHANAN:  We are talking, clearly, about one of the great figures now of the 20th century.  Here was a—here was a young man in Poland who was in Krakow, which is down near Auschwitz, under the Nazis and under the communists both, bishop of Krakow, and became pope, has been pope something like 26 years now.  And he, I think, along with Ronald Reagan, can be credited in the West with being the decisive leaders at the fall of communism.

BERNSTEIN:  Well, he‘s a great figure of the last part of the 20th century, with Reagan and Gorbachev.  The three of them are the key figures in the denouement of communism.  He is regarded as the liberator of his homeland, of Poland.  The Soviets did not know how to handle the phenomenon of a Polish pope.  They struggled with it.  He supported the Solidarity movement, which was the first great crack in the Soviet empire at its end.

BUCHANAN:  You know, Carl, that is exactly right.  He was the inspiration for Solidarity.

BERNSTEIN:  And its protector.

BUCHANAN:  And its protector, even after it was crushed by Jaruzelski in 1981.  The pope was shot virtually at the same time that Ronald Reagan was shot back in 1981.

BERNSTEIN:  Within a week.

BUCHANAN:  Within a week.  And I believe the Holy Father was taken to that same Gemelli hospital.

BERNSTEIN:  He was.

BUCHANAN:  I want to ask you about that.  If you look back in those days, those dramatic days of 1981 -- did you explore in your book—I know there was talk then that the Bulgarians had put the Turk up to the assassination and that maybe the KGB was behind it.  Did you look into all those reports in your book?

BERNSTEIN:  At great length, came up with nothing definitive.  Ali Agca, the attempted assassin, said at one point that he was ordered to do it by the Bulgarian secret service.  Then he recanted it.  He told the pope, and the pope has never disclosed what Agca said to him.  But we don‘t know definitively.

What we do know is that the Soviets were having a terrible time with this pope.  They did not know what to do about Poland.  Within eight weeks of the Solidarity demonstrations, Brezhnev opened up a meeting of the Soviet Politburo, as recounted in our book, and said, The pope—what do we do about the pope in Poland?  What do we do about Poland?  The Soviet Union lost half a million troops in World War II liberating Poland.  We cannot lose Poland.

The idea that the Soviets knew within eight weeks of those demonstrations that because of this pope, that could actually lose Poland under the Warsaw Pact, is astonishing.

BUCHANAN:  You know, one of the memorable moments of the Holy Father‘s papacy was he walked down and went into that cell and personally forgave...

BERNSTEIN:  Hugged him.

BUCHANAN:  ... the would-be assassin.

BERNSTEIN:  He did.

BUCHANAN:  I mean, that is an example—I mean, that is an example of practicing, I think, what you preach.  You know what is—as you know, Carl, in our own country, there‘ve been tremendous scandals up at the top, in the hierarchy of the Catholic church, the problems in Boston and all the rest of it.  But somehow, the taint has never touched the Holy Father himself, who remains one of the most charismatic, to young people, and admired leaders around the world today, even in Europe, which has pretty much turned its back on Pope John Paul II‘s brand of Catholicism.

BERNSTEIN:  Well, I think the latter point is important.  He sees his church as a third world church increasingly.  The churches are pretty empty in Western Europe.  He does have great appeal to young, enthused Catholics.  At the same time, you know, he has made sex and gender and the perennial theology dealing with sex and gender and the orthodoxy of those questions and his unbending stance on those questions a central premise of his papacy.  And it unquestionably has caused great rifts in the church itself.  And it‘s why he is so controversial and why he is not universally regarded just with great admiration and affection.

BUCHANAN:  OK.  Carl Bernstein, thank you very much for joining us.

Coming up: A University of Colorado professor is under fire after he compared victims of the 9/11 attacks to Nazis.  Should he keep his job?

And next, that Clint Eastwood‘s film, “Million Dollar Baby,” is being hailed as one of the year‘s best.  But opponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide are outraged at the film.  That‘s next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - “MILLION DOLLAR BABY”)

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR/DIRECTOR:  I‘ll show you a few things.  And then we‘ll get you a trainer.

HILARY SWANK, ACTRESS:  No.  Sorry.

EASTWOOD:  You‘re in a position to negotiate?

SWANK:  Yes, sir, because I know if you train me right, I‘m going to be a champ.  I see you looking at me.

EASTWOOD:  Yes, out of pity.

SWANK:  Don‘t you say that!  Don‘t you say that if it ain‘t true!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  And now to “Million Dollar Baby.”  That film about a woman boxer has taken in almost $22 million so far and is a front-runner in the Oscar race, with seven nominations, including Best Actor nods for Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood, who also directed.  But the movie is now on...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - “MILLION DOLLAR BABY”)

SWANK:  I did pretty good.  Thought you might be interested in training me.

EASTWOOD:  I don‘t train girls.

SWANK:  Maybe you should.  People seen me fight say I‘m pretty tough.

EASTWOOD:  Girly tough ain‘t enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  But the movie is now under fire because of a plot twist, with some critics saying the storyline, quote, “promotes assisted suicide.”  Joining me now is film critic Richard Roeper, author of the new book “Schlock Value: Hollywood at Its Worst.”  Also Rabbi Daniel Lapin, head of Toward Tradition, a group that promotes biblical values, and Rachel Maddow, the host of “Unfiltered” on Air America Radio.  That‘s her program there.  Welcome all.

Let me start with you, Rabbi Lapin.  What is wrong with “Million Dollar Baby”?  Here‘s a film, it‘s got Morgan Freeman, it‘s got Clint Eastwood and it‘s got Hilary Swank.  I think all three have been nominated not for Academy Awards—Morgan Freeman was nominated somewhere else—

Best Picture, Best Director, two actors nominated.  What is wrong with this movie?

RABBI DANIEL LAPIN, TOWARD TRADITION:  Sure.  Well, Pat, it‘s—it‘s that there‘s a message that is being popularized here.  And we all know how effective advertising is.  We all know how effective repeating a message is.  I mean, President Clinton brought the term “oral sex” to America‘s dinner tables just because it kept on being repeated.

Here we—the viewer is seduced by an apparent familiarity.  And familiarity is always very comforting.  You go into the theater, and for the first two thirds of the film, you actually think you‘re in a kind of a female “Rocky,” and it‘s so familiar—crusty old trainer, valiant young fighter.  Add a twist here.  It‘s a girl, and she‘s not just “girly tough,” she‘s really tough.  And you‘re rooting, and everything‘s great.  And then all of a sudden comes the zinger of the movie.  And it turns out to essentially be a popularization of death.  And it‘s the euthanasia movement and it‘s—it‘s a cultural phenomenon that‘s taking place which...

BUCHANAN:  In other words...

LAPIN:  ... surely is not healthy.

BUCHANAN:  In other words, it promotes assisted suicide as the way out for someone who‘s been paralyzed like Steve (sic) Reeve by a spinal cord injury.

LAPIN:  And Pat, I wouldn‘t say that it promotes it.  I don‘t think it necessarily promotes it.  But what it does is make the whole mood in the culture more acceptable.  People can now hear the argument of death.  And right now, we‘re talking about quadriplegics.  What‘ll we talk about tomorrow, people who are only handicapped with their legs, people who have the loss of an arm?  How about an artist who loses an eye?  Should we make it feasible there, as well?  And pretty soon, we‘re getting where the euthanasia movement wanted us to be...

BUCHANAN:  All right...

LAPIN:  ... which is widespread acceptance.

BUCHANAN:  All right.  Robert Roeper—excuse me, Richard Roeper—

I‘ve been mixing the names up here tonight.  It was Christopher Reeve also.  Richard Roeper, I want to read you what Michael Medved said in a pretty dramatic piece, I think, in “USA Today.”  He talked about—made a couple of statements.  First he says,  “In 2005, top nominations went to films that went out of their way to insult the sensibilities of most believers, traditional Catholics and Jews and Christians.  Both ‘Million Dollar Baby,‘ which was nominated for seven awards, and ‘The Sea Inside,‘ nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, portrayed assisted suicide as an explicitly and unequivocally heroic choice.”

Is Hollywood advancing Hollywood values on these questions of enormous controversy in America and using the power of film to do it?

RICHARD ROEPER, FILM CRITIC, “CHICAGO SUN-TIMES”:  Well, first of all, I don‘t think Hollywood is this giant conspiracy that gets together.  You know, Pat, they don‘t care about blue state or red state.  They care about green in Hollywood.  They care about making profitable movies.  And all due respect to the rabbi, I don‘t think viewers—I think viewers are smart enough not to be seduced by something.  “Million Dollar Baby” is not a commercial or a promotion or an advertisement for assisted suicide, it‘s one dramatic story about one woman‘s choice.  And the Clint Eastwood character who is asked to assist her, there are very dire consequences for him.  His priest gives him a stern talking-to and says, If you think you‘re lost now, you‘ll be lost forever if you do you this.  It examines both sides of the issue.  “The Sea Inside” happens to be based on the true story of a man...

BUCHANAN:  All right...

ROEPER:  ... who fought for 30 years to end his own life.

BUCHANAN:  All right, but both—all right, these—both these films, though, come down on the side of assisted suicide, which is a tremendously crucial moral question, enormously divisive in this country, where there‘s a traditional Christian orthodox, Jewish viewpoint on one side and secularism on the other.

Let me go to Rachel Maddow and read you something else that Michael Medved wrote in that same article.  He said, “Meanwhile, ‘Vera Drake,‘ nominated for Best Actress, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, portrays abortion in a positive, almost sacramental light, while ‘Kinsey,‘ nominated for Best Supporting Actress, ridicules the religious orthodoxy of the main character‘s father and portrays all conventional inhibitions about sexuality as outmoded, ignorant and destructive.”  In addition, there is, of course, “The Motorcycle Diaries,” where the Castroite killer, Che Guevara, is portrayed as a romantic hero.

Again, on each of these blazing issues and controversy—right to life, abortion, you know, is Che a hero, et cetera, and assisted suicide—

Hollywood seems to come down all on one side.  Is that not true?

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, “UNFILTERED”:  Pat, I think that by saying that, it‘s coming down on the side of one of these issues, is a little bit hysterical.  I think that what‘s happening, particularly in “Million Dollar Baby,” is that the issue of assisted suicide is depicted.  I agree with Mr.  Roeper in that there‘s nothing about the way that it‘s depicted in “Million Dollar Baby” that makes you root for assisted suicide.  There‘s no song and dance number that goes along with it.  I feel like it‘s a real political correctness, knee-jerk response on the right to say, We don‘t want anything that we disapprove of or think is morally questionable...

BUCHANAN:  All right, I want to go to...

MADDOW:  ... to be depicted.

BUCHANAN:  All right, Richard Roeper, I mean, I‘m sure you‘re old enough to go and see “Dirty Harry,” as did.

ROEPER:  Sure.

BUCHANAN:  That was a right-wing film.  It was against the liberalism, softness on crime film, Miranda, and all those decisions.  And it clearly was sending a message at that time—Hollywood was.  Why is it unfair to say Hollywood is sending messages now but wasn‘t sending them then?

ROEPER:  Well, these particular cases that you‘re citing here, Pat—

“Dirty Harry,” the whole character was about vigilante behavior.  “Million Dollar Baby” has a dramatic arc, where one character goes through this thing toward the end of the film.  It‘s not promoting it.  “The Sea Inside” you could at least make the argument, yes, the whole movie‘s about that.

And I just have to say one other thing here.  Michael Medved—for him to say that “Vera Drake” portrays abortion as a sacrament is insanely unfair to that film.  That is not at all what it does.  It‘s a very serious examination of the issue that gives both sides their say.

BUCHANAN:  All right, let‘s get the rabbi back in here.  Let‘s see what—Clint Eastwood had a statement—a brief statement on the—on this- on the film (UNINTELLIGIBLE) This is what he told “The Chicago Sun-Times” about the decision on the movie on the assisted suicide.  “What kind of movies would there be if everyone in them had to do what we thought they should do?  You don‘t have to like incest to watch ‘Hamlet,‘ but it‘s in the story.”

Now, let me ask you, Rabbi, is it not a good thing to have movies which are serious movies and address serious moral questions?

LAPIN:  No, without question.  But obviously, the difference between

“Vera Drake” and “Hamlet” or between “Million Dollar Baby” or “The Sea

Inside” and “Hamlet” is that, obviously, the incest doesn‘t work out too

well in “Hamlet,” whereas there‘s an implicit approval of the message

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) And again, with respect to Richard Roeper—and

Hollywood‘s primary concern is not money, certainly not when it‘s talking -

·         you‘re talking about a very successful person like Clint Eastwood.  It‘s the approval of the peer group.  It‘s cultural approval.  And right now, death is a hot topic.

And the interesting thing is that “Vera Drake” and “Million Dollar Baby” are really just opposite sides of the same coin.  One is an obsession with death at the beginning of life, and the other is an obsession with death at the end of life.  And so yes, I don‘t think it‘s promoting it.  I don‘t think it‘s an evil, destructive film.  But I think it‘s certainly a very interesting mirror to the culture that there is an unhealthy preoccupation with death, and it‘s become very chic and hip.

BUCHANAN:  Do you think, yes or no, that Hollywood‘s taking sides in the culture war?

LAPIN:  Oh, obviously.  There‘s no question about that.

BUCHANAN:  OK, Richard Roeper, Rabbi Lapin, Rachel Maddow, thanks for your time.

Coming up next, a professor in Colorado is taking heat for comparing 9/11 victims to Nazis, and American fighter—calling American fighter pilots cowards.  Should he lose his job at a state school for his opinions?  Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Human rights, as are actually articulated in black letter federal law...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  Welcome back. 

A Colorado University professor is under fire tonight for comparing victims of the 9/11 attacks to Nazis.  Professor Ward Churchill was to speak at Hamilton College in Upstate New York on Thursday night.  Hamilton College‘s president was prepared to stand by what she called Churchill‘s right to speak freely.  But she canceled the engagement late today after reportedly receiving threats of violence at the event. 

On Monday, Churchill resigned as chairman of his department at the University of Colorado.  But he retains his tenured professorship.  Here‘s what he said in the essay about that attack on the World Trade Center, which started it all—quote—“If there were a better, more effective or, in fact, any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the Twin Towers, I‘d really be interested in hearing about it.”

That‘s Professor Churchill on the attack on the Twin Towers, referring to the people on the towers as little Eichmanns. 

Joining us now, Philadelphia radio talk show host Dom Giordano and Chip Babcock, a Texas media attorney. 

Chip, let me start with you. 

What‘s your take on today‘s events, or yesterday‘s events, with the professor, I guess, resigning his chairmanship in the ethics department out there at the University of Colorado and tonight the cancellation of a speech, for which he was to get a $3,500 fee up at Hamilton College? 

CHIP BABCOCK, MEDIA ATTORNEY:  Well, I guess the cancellation, if there were serious concerns about safety, is understandable. 

It‘s too bad.  The fact that the man has controversial ideas and says things that are unpopular, it seems to me, challenged people to think about things.  When we speak unpopular things, people tend to think about it.  And that‘s typically what college campuses are for, to provoke thought and discussion. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me ask you this.  Obviously, the professor has got a First Amendment right to say exactly what he thinks.  No one denies that.  No one wants the government to silence him. 

BABCOCK:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  But he compared the victims of an atrocity, innocent victims an atrocity, to Nazis, criminal Nazis.  Now, when someone says that, shouldn‘t he pay a price for it, whether he is someone on television, like Bill Maher, or whether he‘s a professor?  Or do professors in the academy have a right to job security that those of us in journalism do not? 

As you know, people—Jimmy the Greek made foolish statements at a lunch about how African-Americans became great athletes and he was out of a job.  Why should this professor hold his job after a statement far more malicious? 

BABCOCK:  Well, I think, first of all, the professor would say he didn‘t actually say what he‘s been characterized.

But, more importantly, he‘s working for a state university.  And I think that makes it different than the Jimmy the Greek situation.  The state university is acting for the state.  And the First Amendment I think comes into play here.  And I think that when the state starts dismissing people solely because of what they say and what they believe, there are First Amendment implications.  And that‘s a tricky deal. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  All right, Dom Giordano, I have a good friend—or I had a good friend named Earl Butz, who exercised his First Amendment right.

DOM GIORDANO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  And told a joke in the privacy of a first-class section of an airliner 30 years ago at the Republican Convention.  It was about African-Americans.  It was a crude joke.  And he lost his job.  Now, why should not the professor lose his job? 

GIORDANO:  The secretary of agriculture.

BUCHANAN:  Exactly, Earl Butz.

GIORDANO:  Well, Pat, I would tell you, first of all, two things.  One, I, like some on—a lot on the left, do respect freedom of speech and First Amendment rights. 

But to hear Chip Babcock go off as if any idea that you say out there, with no underpinnings, no facts, no logic related to it is acceptable in a college professor, that‘s where I come down.  So, Pat, it‘s not just the hurtfulness of this comment, which is outrageous.  It‘s also, as a professor, you have a duty to provide some factual and logical underpinning.  You can‘t just say anything that you want and run and hide behind the First Amendment. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Chip Babcock, here is what else he said.  In addition to calling them little Eichmanns, he referred to—quote—“the gallant sacrifices”—unquote—of the combat teams that did the World Trade Center.  That means Mohamed Atta. 

Why shouldn‘t a man who says that—and he‘s free to say it—be fired? 

BABCOCK:  Well, his logic is a little fuzzy to me. 

BUCHANAN:  Is that all?  Is that all? 

(LAUGHTER)

BABCOCK:  But, in our country, Pat, it‘s often been said that the ideas we like the least we have to protect the most. 

And certainly Hamilton College can cancel a private function if they want to.  And that‘s fine.  But for the state to fire someone because of his rather lengthy and complicated theory is not true. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  You seem to be—look, we all agree with the First Amendment.  We all agree he has got a right to say anything he wants, to print that essay. 

BABCOCK:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  But the question is, why should a state employee in Colorado be exempt from the same sanctions that are applied to Chip Babcock and Dom Giordano?  If Dom Giordano said that on the air, his job would be gone.  He‘s got a moral responsibility. 

GIORDANO:  Absolutely. 

BUCHANAN:  Go ahead, Dom. 

GIORDANO:  And, Pat, I would say that these cliches that we throw around that there are not consequences to the thing, I feel for Chip trying to stretch the First Amendment in some sort of governmental protection. 

What about the students that are in this guy‘s class?  I would say he‘s probably espousing this in a classroom unchallenged.  There‘s no logic.  There‘s no fact pattern here.  It‘s not just maliciousness, Chip.  I‘m a college professor.  And you have to back up. 

I‘ve had a run-in with a guy here at Temple University who printed a study that says pedophile doesn‘t cause damage in children.  And I don‘t believe he was able to back it up scientifically.  That‘s what the test is here. 

BABCOCK:  Well, they had a trial against a guy by the name of Scopes that they said he couldn‘t back up it either. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Chip, he was convicted. 

BABCOCK:  Yes, he was. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Chip Babcock, listen, I‘m sorry we have got to cut you off. 

BABCOCK:  OK.

BUCHANAN:  It‘s a great argument.  Thanks for your time. 

BABCOCK:  You bet.

Dom Giordano is going to stay with us a couple of minutes.

At 10:00 Eastern time, the governor of the state of Colorado, Governor Bill Owens, joins Joe Scarborough on “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” and explains why he thinks Ward Churchill should leave his job.  That‘s “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” tonight at 10:00 Eastern. 

Up next, president delivers his State of the Union address tomorrow night.  A look at how this president has used that address next. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Americans are rising to the tasks of history, and they expect the same from us.  In their efforts, their enterprise and their character, the American people are showing that the state of our union is confident and strong. 

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  The president‘s inaugural address caught many on both sides off guard.  So, what can we expect from Wednesday‘s State of the Union?  That‘s next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.  By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  That was President Bush in his State of the Union address in 2002.  And it paved the way to war in Iraq. 

Three years later, on the eve of another State of the Union, Iraq is still at the top of America‘s agenda.  But, in the wake of Sunday‘s elections and the continuing violence in the country, there are rumbles of discontent, even on the right. 

So what should the president say tomorrow night to calm a growing storm of discontent?  Two conservatives are here to debate the question.  Still with us is Dom Giordano, a radio talk show host on 1210 AM in Philadelphia.  And joining me now is Christopher Preble, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. 

Chris, let me start with you. 

Given the tremendously heartening turnout, millions, maybe seven, maybe six, maybe eight million Iraqis, don‘t these people deserve a chance to build and defend a democracy?  And shouldn‘t the American armed forces fight this insurgency until they can take on that task? 

CHRISTOPHER PREBLE, CATO INSTITUTE:  Well, the Iraqi people do deserve the chance to have their country back, take their country back. 

And I think one of the hopeful signs from the election is it reveals the extent to which the Iraqis really do want to take their country back.  But, at some level, they cannot do that, they will not do that if the American military is there preventing them from doing so.  There‘s a real catch-22 here between them doing more for their own security and our doing it for them. 

BUCHANAN:  All right.  There‘s a catch-22 when you say preventing them from doing so.  If the Americans pulled out tomorrow, the insurgents would win the war. 

PREBLE:  Right, which is why virtually no one is calling for withdrawal tomorrow.  Even in strictly logistical terms, it would take four or five months. 

BUCHANAN:  How soon?  How soon should we pull them out?

PREBLE:  I think, realistically, if we communicate with the new Iraqi government, that a withdrawal can be conducted in about a year, by the end of 2005.

But that allows for a plan, a plan for the new Iraqi government to stand up forces while we‘re drawing them down. 

BUCHANAN:  Dom Giordano, is a withdrawal at the end of 2005, would that have us getting up on the top of the embassy and taking off in the helicopters like we did in Saigon?

GIORDANO:  No, I don‘t think so, Pat.  I don‘t have rose-colored glasses on this.  And I don‘t think the president tomorrow night should equate what happened in that election as this huge, historic moment beyond what it is.  And I think a year would be a timely amount of time to put this all into play and to get out. 

But I do think we did crash through a psychological barrier, not just for the Iraqis, but with Americans.  And tomorrow night, Americans are going to listen to the president maybe with a different ear given what happened on Sunday. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me ask you, Dom, if, looking down there at the end of 2005, let‘s say by Christmas of this year. 

GIORDANO:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  The Americans pull out, would you be willing to risk an insurgent takeover of Iraq? 

GIORDANO:  I would, Pat.  And I don‘t know about the administration.  They‘ve haven‘t given any signal on that.  But, yes, I think that certainly could happen.  Again, the election is only a small step forward, but we are seeing positive signs. 

I would take the side, Pat, that says, the next time around, the Iraqis will be more emboldened to stand up to the insurgency.  There‘s momentum based upon this election, based upon the purple finger, people holding that up.  I think it‘s going to have legs. 

BUCHANAN:  But, you know, look, there‘s no doubt these people showed the courage to vote for democracy. 

GIORDANO:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  But they‘ve not yet shown, Chris Preble, the willingness to fight and die to the same degree the insurgents have done. 

PREBLE:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  You go out by 2005 and I‘ll tell you, it would be my guess we‘d lose Iraq.  You would either have a civil war.  The Sunnis would take over most of Baghdad.  Probably have a civil war, because the Shias aren‘t going to still for that.

PREBLE:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  And you could have this whole thing roll right down the Persian Gulf.  You could have a strategic disaster far greater than Vietnam. 

PREBLE:  Well, I think what we‘ve seen is the real power of the Shia.  The Shia turnout in Iraq on Sunday was really, truly remarkable.  It was expected.  And the Kurds, of course, will continue to have an enormous amount of autonomy in their region. 

So, I think that the likelihood of a civil war has been somewhat overstated.  And I think the Sunnis are demonstrating over time, particularly the radicals and the insurgents are demonstrating that they really don‘t possess the power in Iraq. 

BUCHANAN:  OK.

When we come back, I‘m going to ask both my guests what they think the president should tell the American people tomorrow night and what they think he will tell the American people tomorrow night. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. 

Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. 

Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  That was President Bush in some famous words there, talking about Iraq in his State of the Union 2003. 

Back with my guests, Dom Giordano, a radio talk show host of 1210 AM in Philadelphia, and Christopher Preble, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. 

What do you think the president of the United States, Chris, briefly, should say to the country about the victory in—the victory for his policy...

PREBLE:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  ... in these elections and where we are going from here? 

PREBLE:  Well, I think he has to level with the American people about what he expects the costs are likely to be in the near term and give some indication for how long he expects forces to remain in Iraq. 

This is the great open question.  As long as necessary is not sufficiently detailed, not just for the Americans, but for the Iraqis, too. 

BUCHANAN:  Dom, does he have to give the American people a timeline?  My feeling would be, if I were the president, would be to get up there and say, our objective is to turn this country over to a free Iraqi government and its own Iraqi army and to withdraw all American forces.

But I would not give a timeline. 

GIORDANO:  I think that‘s exactly right.  When you give a timeline, Pat, there‘s real trouble, both in the political sense and also with our enemies.

So, I think that would be a smart thing for the president to do.  And I think he is going to talk about that tomorrow night.  And there is more of a sense now of sooner rather than later that we‘ll be out of there, coming off the election. 

The other thing that I hope to hear tomorrow night is, American public, we are going to give 10,000 Border Patrol agents over five years to this country to shut down our borders. 

(LAUGHTER)

GIORDANO:  But what we‘re going to hear is, guest worker program tomorrow night.

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

GIORDANO:  Here we go, and all the spins around that. 

BUCHANAN:  You want other hear...

(CROSSTALK)

GIORDANO:  And that‘s when I am taking a drink and stepping out of the room tomorrow night, when the president says that. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Well, what you want to hear is, they are coming home and they‘re going to Arizona, is that right? 

(LAUGHTER)

GIORDANO:  Exactly.  You capsulate it, yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Go ahead, Chris. 

PREBLE:  Let me point out, the great—the big wild card here is if the new Iraqi government asks for the Americans to leave. 

BUCHANAN:  It ain‘t going to do that. 

PREBLE:  Well, that‘s the assumption.

But remember that the polling data suggests that as many as 80 percent of the Iraqis want us to leave quickly, either immediately or soon after a new government is seated.

BUCHANAN:  Now, here‘s why—to both of you very briefly—here‘s why I think the president ought to say, we are leaving.  Part of this insurgency is just bitter and enraged.  It‘s a Sunni insurgency at the Americans.  We invaded.  We knocked over Saddam.  We took down their government, disbanded their army, killed a lot of their people. 

So, they are fighting us.  And I don‘t know that they—they don‘t want Zarqawi.

PREBLE:  No.

BUCHANAN:  But they are fighting us. 

PREBLE:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  And if you tell them, we are going home and that‘s our objective, I think you take the steam out of part of the Sunni insurgency, because the Sunni insurgency doesn‘t have a program. 

PREBLE:  Right. 

And you have to convince those sitting in the middle, the other Iraqis who truly are not allied with Zarqawi, that cooperating with us, the United States, contributes to their true liberation, whereas opposing us delays our withdrawal. 

BUCHANAN:  Dom?

OK.

GIORDANO:  I would agree with that.  And I think the president has a window right now, Pat, due to the election. 

BUCHANAN:  I think so, too. 

Dom, thanks very much. 

GIORDANO:  Thanks, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Chris Preble, thanks for your time tonight. 

OK.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  Tomorrow night, the president will give his State of the Union address to Congress and the nation.  And MSNBC is bringing you live coverage. 

At 7:00 Eastern, tune in to Chris Matthews and “HARDBALL.”  At 8:00, Keith Olbermann counts down the things you need to know about the address.  We will bring you the president‘s speech live at 9:00 Eastern.  And, at midnight, join Joe Scarborough and Ron Reagan for a special edition of “AFTER HOURS.”

As we reported earlier, Pope John Paul II is in a Rome hospital tonight, suffering from complications of influenza.  We will continue to bring you any new developments all night long.  So, stay with MSNBC for the latest on the condition of Pope John Paul II. 

That‘s it for tonight.  I‘m Pat Buchanan. 

Coming up next, Joe Scarborough and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”  Good night.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

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.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,