Guests: Jeanne Wolf, Michael Medved, Katrina Szish, Wendy Murphy, Kate O‘Beirne, Joe Arpaio, Curtis Sliwa
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, prison cell phone alert. A new investigation reveals a crisis from our most dangerous prisons. Crime kingpins are doing business from behind bars. They‘re ordering hit jobs, they‘re dealing drugs, and they‘re doing it all by cell phones. So, who‘s giving the cell phones to the worst convicts in America? It‘s a story you‘re not going to believe tonight.
Plus, the judge from hell who ruled that 60 days is enough time for a beast that raped a 6-year-old girl until she was 10. Tonight, new information about the past on the bench and why we shouldn‘t be surprised by his latest ruling.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
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, thanks a lot for being with me tonight. We are going to be talking about those stories in just a minute.
Plus, Hillary Clinton‘s wild—was I—listen, this lady doesn‘t make mistakes. She really doesn‘t, not these days. She knows exactly what she‘s doing. So, when she compares her Republican enemies to slaveholders on Martin Luther King Day, a day that is about racial reconciliation, you have got to ask the question, what is the future presidential candidate up to? We are going to debate that.
And is Hollywood at it again? Are they using their award shows to push an agenda that most of us in Middle America don‘t want? That‘s tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown, and you are not going to want to miss that.
But, first, prison inmates have a dangerous new weapon, and they use it to plan murders, to plan drug deals and even escapes and possible riots, and it‘s cell phones. Last night, the state of California executed Clarence Ray Allen for ordering the murder of three people from inside prison.
Now, Allen managed that deadly feat back in 1980, so you can imagine what today‘s convicts are plotting with these new cell phones. So, how are the inmates getting the cell phones? I will tell you what, friends. The answer‘s going to disturb you.
Here‘s a shocking investigation from NBC station KCRA in Sacramento.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than 300,000 inmates are housed in prisons all across the state. Maximum security prisons, like New Folsom, handle some of the most violent offenders, locked away, removed from society and kept behind bars. Inmates are supposed to be isolated from the outside, but a KCRA-3 investigation has learned cell phones like these are being smuggled in.
FRED SCHROEDER, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Through packages, mail?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Through guards?
SCHROEDER: Certainly, we cannot rule that out, absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the last six months, more than 20 cell phones have been seized at New Folsom alone. Inmates have been disciplined. Now investigators are going after the people that are providing the phones. An internal investigation is under way, focusing on the guards, the staff, the people who are paid to protect the public and isolate the inmates from the outside.
SCHROEDER: What we have done here is, we have turned over the information we have and our Office of Internal Affairs is involved, and it‘s an ongoing investigation here at this prison.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not just at New Folsom, but all across the state. It‘s a booming black market that‘s allowing inmates to order hits, deal drugs, organize escapes, and they‘re willing to pay big bucks to whoever can get them a phone.
FRANK SIZER, MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: I‘m told that cell phones go for about $300.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An investigation by our sister station, WBAL in Baltimore, uncovered how guards were picking up cell phones at this hotel parking lot, then sneaking them inside.
SIZER: If I bring a cell phone into an inmate, he will give me approximately $300.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inmates are not just dialing out. They‘re talking to each other, sending text messages, calling other inmates, and taking pictures.
SCHROEDER: Planning a possible escape attempt would be the most serious matter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While investigators are scrambling to catch those who are sneaking the phones inside, prison officials are looking to arm themselves with new equipment, allowing them to jam a cell phone signal and eliminate the risks.
SCHROEDER: We are currently evaluating some technology that we might be able to do that.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what. As we started to investigate this issue, we found it‘s a national problem.
Now, take a look at some of the states that are experiencing this crisis with guards, guards, prison guards, who are smuggling cell phones in to inmates, from California to New York. You have got guards who have been charged with smuggling these cell phones and then doing it for cash. So, how do phones get to the inmates through the guards? Almost any way you can think of, including stuffing them inside mayonnaise jars, hiding them in compost piles, shoving them into the soles of shoes, slipping phones into hollowed-out blocks of cheese, and, of course, hiding them in body cavities.
Let‘s bring in our all-panel to talk about this troubling new crisis in prison systems.
With us tonight, we have Curtis Sliwa. He‘s the founder of the Guardian Angels, also, of course, a radio talk show host in New York.
And, from Phoenix, we have got Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Sheriff, let‘s start with you.
I know this ain‘t a problem with your prisons. Let me ask you, though, why is this a crisis across America? How in the world do we have these convicts who are actually getting phones from prison guards?
JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: Well, they‘re very innovative.
We have had three instances in the past year, year-and-a-half, where we did fire two officers that brought the cell phones into the jail. And also we had another instance where a female informer in the jail exchanged the phone from an inmate for cigarettes, because she was taking pictures of all our officers.
But it‘s not a big problem, but I will tell one thing. They will smuggle anything into the jails. We just had a guy that smuggled 13 packs of cigarettes up his rectum. So, they‘re very—they think they‘re very clever. So, we have to crack down on the contraband smuggling, and we‘re doing that.
SCARBOROUGH: You say it‘s not a big deal, and it‘s not a big deal in your system. It is a big deal across the country. You said that the prison guards were fired, but shouldn‘t we pass tougher laws, so if there‘s a prison guard who is charged with the responsibility of keeping prisons safe and keeping us, by extension, safe, shouldn‘t they somehow be charged with a crime themselves, if they are smuggling cell phones to these convicts, who are ordering hits or trying to run their drug rings from behind bars?
ARPAIO: Well, sure, if you can put all the pieces together. It all depends why, what the reason was.
Of course it‘s very dangerous. We do have about a million phone calls made out of the jail, and we record every phone call. But when you use a cell, it‘s not recorded, so they‘re very cleaver. They get around that program that we have with the cell phones. So, it is a big problem. It‘s high tech. Even the prisoners are involved in high tech now.
SCARBOROUGH: Curtis Sliwa, let me bring you in here.
Our criminal justice system spends billions of dollars putting convicts behind bars. We think we‘re doing it, keeping our families safe, keeping our community safe, keeping our cities safe, and yet we‘re in just as much danger from some drug lord or from some guy. And you know about guys ordering hits. Heck, they‘re trying to order hits on you. How does it make you feel that they can order a hit on you or your family now from behind bars?
CURTIS SLIWA, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, in fact, it was John Gotti Sr., while waiting to be transported to Marion Federal Penitentiary to do triple life without parole, who ordered a hit on me in the summer of 1992, except it wasn‘t through a cell phone or through a landline. It was by conversation with his own son, John Gotti Jr., who was the messenger.
No, you are absolutely right. But you know something, Joe? We don‘t pay attention to the prisons. Once we take these enemies of society off the street, as far as we‘re concerned, as the taxpayers, out of sight, out of mind. As long as there‘s not a prison riot, as long as there‘s no escapes, we don‘t care what goes behind the walls, and nor do we care who the correctional officers are.
So, for instance, if you‘re a guy and you‘re in a dormitory, you know, you have a body alarm. There‘s 40 of the cretins with chromosome damage, and the job doesn‘t obviously necessarily get the pay grade that we ought to get it, based on the fact of who we‘re asking these jailers to be able to control, as if they were sort of the three-ring circus, trying to control the wild animals.
And then naturally they figure nobody‘s going to care. First, it‘s the provolone, the prosciutto. Then it‘s the Thunderbird, the Mad Dog 20-20, the drugs. Now we will give him a cell phone. It‘s sort of like a pacifier. As long as we keep the convicts cool, calm and collected, we will give them a home theater, big-screen TV, anything to pacify them, so they don‘t become a problem.
There should be integrity tests, because, look, in Congress—you served there. We had Abscam. We have Abramoff. Look how many congressmen and congresswomen on both sides of the aisle would go for corruptive practices if we didn‘t sometimes bag them and tag them.
ARPAIO: Well, hey, Curtis, don‘t speak for me.
SCARBOROUGH: And they need to go to jail. Obviously, your congressmen and senators need to go to jail if they‘re bought off.
And these prison guards, I don‘t care how much they‘re being paid. If they have decided to take that position, if they do something like this, we need to throw them in jail, and they can sit there with the inmates that they‘re serving right now.
SLIWA: Yes. But, Joe, they don‘t—we, as the public, don‘t necessarily care what goes on in the prison, as long as people aren‘t escaping, as long as there aren‘t prison riots.
I think we as the taxpayers need to know more about what is going on in prison. And I think, also, we need to sort of put prison guards on a pedestal, so that they when they do a good job, we give them recognition and attention. We give them benefits and a good pay grade. But we subject them to integrity tests, so that we are fair and square. We take the bad ones out and praise the good ones who stay.
ARPAIO: Excuse me.
Let‘s not blame all the officers. There‘s other ways to smuggle contraband into the jails, not just by officers. I did mention a couple. We just had a case last week with pigeons where we have intelligence they‘re smuggling contraband with dead pigeons thrown—I have a tent city, Curtis, with 2,000 people in the desert at 141 degrees.
So, don‘t talk about how people run the jails. I run the toughest jail probably in America, with 13-cent meals, tent city. I can—chain gangs. I can go on and on. We do run a tough jail system, because I believe jails...
SCARBOROUGH: But if you look what‘s happening in Sacramento, if you look what‘s happening in Baltimore, if you look at what‘s happening across America, obviously, we have got problems with prison guards who are on the take and who are, in effect, working for the convicts that they‘re supposed to be guarding.
ARPAIO: Well, that‘s—I‘m sure that‘s not all over the place. That may be isolated incidents, when you have thousands and thousands of dedicated correction and detention officers.
We are—we are picking out just a few. We don‘t want to degrade all the officers because of a couple bad apples. We have bad apples in government, too, don‘t we? We have bad apples in a lot of other occupations.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, Sheriff, and the thing we do, when we find out we have bad apples in those occupations, we face down the problems that we have and we fix them.
And this is a problem that needs to be fixed. Maybe Curtis—maybe he is right. Maybe we‘re not paying our prison guards enough. Maybe we need to pay them more. But it is a growing problem. And it‘s going to keep getting bigger and bigger, until our government officials step up and make sure, again, that our prisons are safe, and when we throw somebody behind bars, we don‘t have to worry about them ordering hits or running drug rings in our neighborhoods, or doing other things, again, that puts our communities at risk.
Curtis, thanks for being with us.
SCARBOROUGH: Sheriff, greatly appreciate you being here.
ARPAIO: Thank you, Joe.
SLIWA: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: When we come back, we are going to talk about the Vermont judge who sentenced a child rapist to 60 days in jail for raping a little girl for four years. It turns out this guy, he‘s been in very controversial situations before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation. And you know what I‘m talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, I know what you‘re talking about; you‘re talking about race-baiting on Martin Luther King Day. She‘s back. Hillary Clinton‘s hoping for a White House run, but will playing the race card get her there? We will talk about it tonight and talk about a woman that I just don‘t think does anything by accident and try to figure out why she engaged in that type of race-baiting.
We will be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Is Hollywood out of touch with America? Yes. Are they pushing a political and social agenda with their awards show? Yes. Is there anything we can do about it? Well, we will tell you when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, everywhere I go, people are talking about that Vermont judge.
And there are new questions tonight in the case of the Vermont judge who sentenced a convicted child rapist to just 60 days in jail. The way I calculate it, that‘s 15 days for every year he raped the little girl when she was 6, 7, 8, and 9.
But, tonight, some are saying this is not Judge Edward Cashman‘s first out-of-bounds decision. “The Burlington Free Press” is reporting that he made a rape victim cry, was barred from divorce cases for two years because of an alleged bias against women, and had to recuse himself from a case when his objectivity was questioned for visiting protesters in jail.
With me now to talk about this—I think the guy‘s crazy—this crazy judge, we have got former prosecutor Wendy Murphy.
Wendy Murphy, this judge has had issues in the past. Tell me about...
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Had issues. Is that how you‘re calling it? Had issues.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Yes. Tell me about this guy.
MURPHY: That‘s probably the understatement of the night.
Look, Joe, the thing is, I think you may be right that he‘s crazy, but I almost don‘t care anymore, because I don‘t care if he‘s had a mental breakdown or had some kind of personal epiphany, because it‘s not just the sentence. It‘s that when he gave this crazy sentence, he said I no longer believe in punishment. It doesn‘t serve any legitimate purpose.
This is why he‘s nuts, and I don‘t care if he‘s nuts or not. He has got to step down. This is why he can‘t be a judge anymore. Not only is punishment a valid purpose and it is legitimate. It is the primary purpose of criminal prosecution. It‘s what we do to people when they commit horrible offenses against others.
He has got to step down, because he‘s either nuts or he‘s had some kind of personal epiphany, which suits him nicely for a job in a flower shop, but he‘s got to take off the robe.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, talk about his past. This guy‘s also had issues. I don‘t know if it has to do with women or if it just has to with the fact that he‘s been on the bench too long. But it seems that a lot of times you do get judges that have been around too long and they just start to waiver, and it makes you question, is there anything we can do to get these type of guys off the bench when they do get out of control?
MURPHY: Yes. And not only that; how did he ever get this job? Why don‘t we screen judges for not only mental stability, but for gender bias?
If he brought an agenda to the bench such that he was going to always rule that rape victims don‘t deserve justice, or he‘s going to yell at them, or if he is going to always rule against women in divorce cases, how did he ever get through the screening process? The system needs to do a better job screening judges before they give them this unbelievable power, because it really is unchecked power, Joe.
Judges have almost no accountability. One of the reasons he‘s probably doing this is because he knows there‘s very little chance anyone can do anything about him. He thinks he‘s a king, which suggests he did take leave of his senses. But when a judge starts to act like that, I think we have to start talking about a different form of judicial accountability.
The legislature isn‘t doing their job. The governor is speaking up a little bit, but here is what really needs to be done. The people have to rise up. They‘re the only hope that this guy will step down and stop doing further harm to innocent kids and innocent victims. If the people don‘t rise up, he will not step down, because there will be no political will for it to happen.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Wendy, what I don‘t understand is that it‘s not—if it were just this Vermont case, people wouldn‘t be so outraged in Florida, in Boston, in California, in Middle America.
But we hear stories like this all the time. And, in this case, you have got a judge, again, who is sentencing this guy to 15 days in jail for every year that he raped a little girl. That‘s one of the worst sentences I have ever heard.
MURPHY: Let me tell you something.
First of all, this does happen too frequently. It often flies under the radar screen, for exactly the reason I just suggested. There is no judicial accountability. There needs to be. In a democracy, no branch of government should have such unchecked power.
But you said 15 days for each year. This guy raped this child so many times, that, when he was asked how often it was, he said: I‘m not sure. I don‘t know for sure how many times I raped her. And you know what the latest news is? He brought a buddy along.
According to reports, another man, a friend of his, was also involved.
Reportedly, they raped her together. In my book, I call that gang rape. Again, so many times, he couldn‘t even remember how many times he violated this child. And you know why there is no public outrage?
Because what he did—and I have read the reports—what he did to this little girl is so grotesque, so hideous, we can‘t talk about it. And if we could, maybe then, finally, the parents in Vermont would step up to the plate, get outside, get to the courthouse with those protest signs and cause this guy to step down. It is unconscionable, the silence in Vermont, especially from the parents, because their kids are going to be at risk if they don‘t get the job done.
The silence is deafening.
SCARBOROUGH: It is.
MURPHY: It will be unconscionable if he keeps his robe.
SCARBOROUGH: It is absolutely disgusting.
And it‘s not only disgusting. And you have mentioned this before yourself. It‘s not only disgusting that the parents are being silent. I wonder where all those Hollywood stars are that were out fighting for the rights of Tookie. Why don‘t ever hear—or if there‘s a cop killer out of Philadelphia, they will rush to defend cop killers, but they won‘t come out and fight for the right—again, think about this.
We‘re talking about a 6-year-old girl, Wendy, that was raped not just by this beast, but by this beast‘s friend, was raped over and over and over again, and the people of Vermont are silent.
MURPHY: It boils my blood.
SCARBOROUGH: Parents across America are silent. Politicians in Washington, D.C., are silent.
These Hollywood actors and actresses that care so much about cop killers‘ rights, they are silent. Wendy, you talk about rising up. What can we do tonight to hold this guy accountable?
MURPHY: I will tell you what I would do.
If I lived in Vermont, I would be in charge. I would be out there. I would not go home until that guy stepped down. And I want to call on the parents. I have got five little kids. That‘s one of the reasons I would be there.
Also, I‘m an activist in this field, and I know how important it is for the public to rise up. It is absolutely crucial that the people of Vermont, because they pay his check—it‘s their tax dollars that are paying that man to do this kind of cruel injustice to this child. I want the parents to rise up, because, if they don‘t, their children will be subjected to a very high risk of further sexual violence by this guy and all the other guys that this judge has a chance to give a hug and kiss to, instead of putting them behind bars, where they belong.
Joe, the other group that‘s silent and embarrassingly so, because I do stand up for women‘s rights, is the National Organization for Women. Where are they? Two weeks ago, they were screaming and yelling and pounding the table about Joe Paterno, the football coach in Pennsylvania, because he didn‘t describe an apparent sexual assault by one of his players with the right language.
He was sending the wrong message about how serious sexual violence is. Yes, well, whose message is more powerful, some schmuck coach from Pennsylvania, or a judge, who‘s supposed to give justice to the people? Where is the National Organization for Women? Where are women‘s rights groups? Where are any organized groups who claim to care about kids?
Kids don‘t vote. They don‘t have any money. When bad things happen to them, adults have to stand up.
MURPHY: Adults have to take a position. Adults have to fight for them. Where are they?
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Wendy, great questions. Wendy Murphy, thank you so much.
And Wendy is exactly right. NOW is upset about Joe Paterno. They‘re upset about Samuel Alito. Where are they when this little 6-year-old girl needs them? They need to step up to the plate and stand for something.
Coming up next, was Hillary Clinton‘s race card comment a slip of the tongue? Well, wait until you see what she had to say tonight. And I‘m wondering, is there a double standard when it comes to playing race in politics?
Stay with us.
SCARBOROUGH: Conservatives are all broke up about the Golden Globes and “Brokeback Mountain,” a movie about gay cowboys, riding to victory last night‘s Golden Globe Awards. Is Hollywood pushing a subversive agenda? Well, we will tell you that and what they‘re up to when we return.
But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day, a national day for unity, but, apparently, somebody forgot to tell Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. They chose to use the day for political potshots and, some would say, divisiveness.
Here are some of the highlights of a day that we‘re calling a Democratic wipeout.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation. And you know what I‘m talking about. I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country.
RAY NAGIN (D), MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: It‘s time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. This city will be a majority African-American city. It‘s the way God wants it to be.
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For the last several years of his life, Dr. King was illegally wiretapped. The executive branch has been secretly spying on large numbers of Americans for the last four years. The president of the United States has been breaking the law, repeatedly and insistently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: With me now, MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist Flavia Colgan, and also Kate O‘Beirne from “The National Review.” She‘s the author of the book “Women Who Make the World Worse.”
We will get to who some of those women are in a second.
But, Flavia, let me start with you—not a banner day for Democrats yesterday, Hillary Clinton using the race card, comparing Republicans to slave owners. You have got Al Gore comparing terror suspects to Martin Luther King. And then of course you have Ray Nagin talking about chocolate New Orleans. What‘s wrong with your party?
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Ray Nagin, I‘m not even going to address. I can‘t imagine how he came up with that one.
Hillary Clinton, I didn‘t approve when Newt Gingrich used that analogy last year in “The Washington Post.” And I certainly don‘t approve of Hillary Clinton doing it. It‘s either that she‘s caught foot-in-mouth disease from the rest of the Democrats, or it‘s a very calculated attempt on her part to throw some red meat, to gin up some campaign cash, since she doesn‘t have a Senate candidate, you know, running against her.
But, listen, the reason that I think it‘s so terrible that Hillary Clinton used what I think is over the top and causes us to be sitting here on this program talking about how she goofed up, instead of some very legitimate things that she brought up, which is the culture of corruption that‘s going on in D.C. right now.
Joe, I think you will agree with me that I don‘t think that Washington will ever be the same. And though Democrats may want to call Bush a liar, or say that he‘s a moron, I don‘t believe he‘s any of those things. I believe he‘s a good man and I believe he cares about this country.
But the fact is that I do agree with what Hillary Clinton said today, which is, on a number of issues that are important to this nation and to the world, he‘s handled them in an incompetent fashion. And I‘m sitting, as you can see, in the city of Philadelphia. Today is Benjamin Franklin‘s 300th birthday.
And I think a lot of these people, Republicans and Democrats, should take cues from a guy, who, like you, and I would hope like myself, care more about being Americans than being Republicans or Democrats, and stop with all this ridiculous rhetoric...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, it‘s unbelievable.
COLGAN: ... and try to get together at a very serious time in our nation‘s history and solve some of these issues.
SCARBOROUGH: It is very serious.
Kate, though, what bothers me, Kate, is the fact that Hillary Clinton, at this point, is not making mistakes. She‘s extraordinarily calculated, and she and her advisers had to figure out that if compare Republicans to slaveholders on a day that‘s supposed to be about racial reconciliation, that that will actually help her in the Democratic primary. What does it mean?
KATE O‘BEIRNE, “THE NATIONAL REVIEW”: Joe, I‘m not so sure about Hillary Clinton not being mistake-prone.
Look, Republicans win elections. That has handed them the majority in both houses. That, of course, does not put them in the same category as slave masters. But I think it‘s very revealing about Hillary Clinton‘s state of mind. Given her belief in the general superiority of herself and her fellow Democrats, only a great historic injustice could be denying Democrats their rightful place as the majority party, when in fact your taped introduction to our discussion does more to explain why the Democrats find themselves in the minority than trying to come up with some parallel historic injustice.
SCARBOROUGH: Kate, what was always interesting when I was on the Hill
I had a lot of Democratic friends. I had more Democratic friends than Republican friends.
And I would sit there and I would ask them, do you really believe all the things you say about us? Do you really believe we are evil? And I was always shocked by the response. They would said, yes. It wasn‘t about differences of opinion, where I would say, hey, you believe in one approach to government. I believe in another approach.
SCARBOROUGH: They really believed that conservatives were evil, Kate.
O‘BEIRNE: Well, Joe, I think that‘s true on the part of many of them.
I don‘t think it was true on the part of Hillary Clinton‘s husband. I think Bill Clinton is a much more deft politician than Hillary Clinton is. She says things so shrill, so outrageous that he would never say. So, I‘m not at all sure that she is as mistake-prone—or as disciplined as you seem to think she is.
SCARBOROUGH: Flavia, talk about the Democratic Party. Talk about Al Gore and talk about—we could talk about Howard Dean and his comments on the military, Dick Durbin, his comments about comparing our troops to Nazis, Soviets, etcetera, etcetera.
Are—are they guilty of making a lot of the same mistakes Republicans made in the 1990s, where they hated the president so much, that they just kept shooting themselves in the foot with basically what amounts to hate speech?
COLGAN: Yes. There‘s no question.
Democrats are making tons of mistakes. The question is, are they going to do what the Republicans did and come together out of all of that and have a winning strategy?
And what concerns me about the Democratic Party right now is a number of things. Number one, here, you have Hillary Clinton throwing out this red meat. But, again, she hasn‘t been able to take a clear stance on Iraq. You have Nancy Pelosi saying that the Democratic Party doesn‘t even need to have a position on what I believe is possibly the most important issue that has faced this nation in years.
You have a bunch of people sometimes saying eloquent things, but it‘s like background noise. It‘s a cacophony. They can‘t sing all from one hymnal. They don‘t have a leader.
And I was just at the Alito hearings. I saw you right up there in front, Joe. And it was outrageous. At the beginning, they weren‘t prepared. Then they start attacking people. Then they‘re whispering to people like me, their Senate staffers, that this thing is over. How better to dampen the grassroots and the great people all across this country that, you know, some of whom didn‘t approve of Alito, some of whom did, than to say, this is over?
The Republicans have so many problems right now. And it‘s like one of the protesters told me outside of Justice Sunday. He looked at me and he said, Flavia, Democrats have tons of ammo. Why do they refuse to lock and load?
COLGAN: And the only answer I can possibly come up with is, is, they have no backbone. They keep putting their finger up to the air, trying to see what the polls say.
Let me tell them, if any of them are listening. The American people want vision. The American people want leadership. The American people want to know what you stand for. And the Democratic Party has got to start saying what they stand for. And saying they don‘t like Bush is not enough.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
O‘BEIRNE: You‘re certainly right there.
It‘s not that Republicans, by any means, are gaffe-proof, but time and time again, they‘re saved by the Democrats. One problem, of course, in the Alito hearings is, they didn‘t have plenty of ammunition. They were firing blanks. One problem the national party faces is, its most enthusiastic, most active members of its base, are pulling them in a direction that is widely at odds with American opinion on national security, on economic issues, on cultural issues, on the fitness of Judge Alito to serve on the Supreme Court.
It‘s very difficult for them to keep their left-wing base happy and have an appealing message for the broader population, the broader number of voters.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it.
And, boy, I‘ll tell you what, Kate. When Hillary Clinton says what she says yesterday and these other people say what they said, maybe they play to their base, but they offend 90 percent of America.
Flavia, Kate, thank you so much for being with us. We greatly appreciate it.
I‘m now joined by a man who unites 90 percent of America, a man who is known around MSNBC world headquarters as a uniter, not a divider. He is, my friends, Tucker Carlson, a man you would never...
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: Thank you, Joe.
CARLSON: ... confuse with a slaveholder.
CARLSON: Oh, thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Tucker, what is the situation tonight?
CARLSON: Flavia looks a little different on your show than she does on ours, I have to say.
SCARBOROUGH: She does. What is with that? She‘s kind of, sort of, I won‘t say matronly, but she looked more mature tonight. I don‘t know what that is about.
CARLSON: She‘s adaptable.
SCARBOROUGH: There you go.
CARLSON: We are going to have the latest tonight on the saga of Jill Carroll. She‘s the “Christian Science Monitor” reporter who was kidnapped in Baghdad 10 days ago. There‘s an ultimatum tonight on her life. We will bring you up to date on that.
Then, for the first and possibly only time—we are going to make history tonight on “THE SITUATION”—I am going to agree with Teddy Kennedy. It‘s not going to happen again.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, good lord.
CARLSON: This is your only chance to catch it. So, tune in.
SCARBOROUGH: Does it have anything to do with bow ties?
CARLSON: It has nothing to do with bow ties.
It has to do with his membership in an all-male organization, which he has been forced to resign. He is an appalling hypocrite and a blowhard, but he shouldn‘t have to resign from that group. There‘s nothing wrong with being part of an all-male group.
CARLSON: And I‘m going to make that point in even louder terms tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Well, OK. Well, you know what? A uniter, not a divider.
SCARBOROUGH: Agreeing with Ted Kennedy, while calling him a hypocrite and a blowhard.
SCARBOROUGH: Tucker, sounds like a heck of a show.
CARLSON: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Make sure you tune in to “THE SITUATION,” coming up next at 11:00.
And coming up here, Hollywood‘s secret agenda, or maybe not so secret. We will talk about that. Plus, we will talk about the poor reporter who, again, is being held tonight in Iraq.
That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Tonight, American journalist Jill Carroll is being held hostage in Iraq. And today the terrorists holding her released this videotape and gave a three-day ultimatum for the release of all Iraqi female Iraqi prisoners, or they claim they will kill Jill Carroll.
With me now is MSNBC terror analyst Evan Kohlmann.
Evan, what‘s going on in Iraq? Are they targeting, are the terrorists purposefully targeting women now?
EVAN KOHLMANN, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, obviously, this is not the first incidence of such a woman being taken captive.
I think a lot of us will remember Margaret Hassan, over a year ago, who was taken captive, and eventually brutally murdered. I think the one thing that we have to say here right now is that this reporter, this “Christian Science Monitor” reporter, was not apparently taken captive by any known insurgent group in Iraq.
The group that took her, the Revenge Brigade, it‘s a very generic name. It is a very generic name. It doesn‘t have any known connection to al Qaeda or Ansar Al-Sunna or the Islamic Army of Iraq. These are the groups that have really become known for executing hostages on video, not to say that it couldn‘t happen. But at least there is a shred of hope here that this group could have a motive other than political motive. Perhaps they really are just looking for money. And, if that‘s the case, perhaps something can be worked out.
SCARBOROUGH: So, you think it may be possible that they‘re not just trying to make a point, that they may actually be trying to make a deal?
Look, I mean, whether they‘re trying to negotiate for money or not, it pays for these folks to have a political motive. Nobody will take them seriously if they don‘t. The 72-hour deadline, it could mean something, perhaps not. It‘s a very short period of time. Sometimes, these deadlines pass and nothing happens with the hostage.
Here, one would hope that this is a symbolic capture, that these folks are looking for money, that they‘re looking to make a statement. Again, it‘s not a known group that has beheaded others. That doesn‘t mean that they will not kill this hostage. But at least there‘s a shred of hope that these people have at least a sense of human decency about them.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Evan, even if they don‘t sense of human decency, they have to be smart enough and—on some level, to realize that if they keep going around killing young women, if they keep going around killing Arabs, killing Muslims, they are going to be hurting their cause, right?
KOHLMANN: Well, and it‘s true.
And we have at least incidence just within the past month or so where Susanne Osthoff, a German who was taken captive, a woman, was released. And, according to her, one of the big factors in that was the fact that she was a Muslim convert, the she had helped Iraqis out, that she was not a hand of the occupation, and by killing her, they didn‘t see any purposeful objective.
Unfortunately, there are still those in Iraq, like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—however, that‘s not exclusively limited to him—who will kill people, men, women, and children, Iraqi, non-Iraqi, just to make a point. And, these days, it takes a lot to—to shock people in Iraq.
The land is—is quite violent there.
KOHLMANN: If you really want to make a statement, if you want to throw fear into people‘s hearts, you need to do something shocking like this, like taking an innocent young woman hostage like this and parading her in front of a camera.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much, Evan.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s hope and pray that there will be a happy ending to this story.
KOHLMANN: Yes. Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: We will be right back in a second with more SCARBOROUGH
SCARBOROUGH: There was a time when a movie was just a movie, and for the price of admission, you could settle into your seat and just enjoy the big screen.
With the current crop of films, “Brokeback Mountain,” “Transamerica” and “Paradise Now,” winning Golden Globe awards, some in Middle America say you might want to save your 10 bucks and buy a book.
Here with Hollywood‘s reaction, we have Los Angeles columnist for Movies.com Jeanne Wolf. We also have “Us Weekly” editor Katrina Szish and radio talk show host and film critic Michael Medved.
Katrina, you were there last night. You saw the awards show. Talk to us dupes in Middle America. Is Hollywood trying to push a radical agenda on us?
KATRINA SZISH, STYLE EDITOR, “US WEEKLY”: No.
I think Hollywood is really just presenting us with a lot of reality that may be hard for mainstream America to accept at this point, but I think...
SCARBOROUGH: Gay cowboys?
SZISH: ... they‘re giving us a hefty dose of reality.
SCARBOROUGH: Gay cowboys?
SZISH: A gay love relationship. The cowboy part, it can be anywhere. It can be cowboys. It can be doctors. It can be dentists. It can be artists.
SZISH: But gay love stories do exist in real life. And it‘s time for Americans to get it.
SCARBOROUGH: I thought gay cowboys was bad. Gay dentists? Come on.
SCARBOROUGH: Here‘s my problem with “Brokeback Mountain,” OK? A movie, a beautiful movie about gay cowboys, this sounds like a punchline from “South Park,” where they‘re making fun of how out of touch Hollywood is with the rest of us.
MICHAEL MEDVED, FILM CRITIC: And it‘s not just, by the way, Brokeback Mountain.”
Up and down the level, there—where there were left-wing messages and very radical messages being sent by the Golden Globe Awards, because, for instance, for the best actor for a dramatic motion picture, they—they gave the award to Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing Truman Capote, who is not, I‘m sorry, a mainstream figure for most Americans, and is of course very flamboyantly and openly gay.
And, then, of course the best actress who went to Felicity Huffman, who was playing a man who‘s a pre-operative transsexual in a movie called “Transamerica” that they had to subpoena people to go to see, that it‘s been seen by dozens of Americans.
SCARBOROUGH: And, then on top of that—wait. Supporting actor and actress, they chose Rachel Weisz for “Constant Gardener,” another big flop. And they also chose George Clooney for “Syriana.” “Syriana” is an indictment of American imperialism and big bad oil companies. And “Constant Gardener” is an indictment of American imperialism and big bad drug companies, message movies that don‘t connect with the public.
JEANNE WOLF, COLUMNIST, MOVIES.COM: Now, Michael, Michael—Joe, let‘s start thinking outside of the bias here.
SZISH: Thank you.
WOLF: If there really was a strong and powerful liberal community, don‘t you think they would go for something more important in social change than movie prizes.
I think that movies are reflecting social issues. And at a time when the answers are confusing, the problems are complex, we turn to the arts, as we always have, to kind of ponder these questions, for audiences to think over these problems. They‘re not just simple yes-or-no answers. They‘re not yes-or-no answers for choices for yourself. They‘re not yes-or-no answers for choices for people in your family and people around you.
MEDVED: Let me give you a yes-or-no issue. Suicide bombing. There are no two sides on suicide bombing. It is evil. It is corrupt. It is disgusting. The film that won for best foreign language film...
WOLF: But it‘s important to understand that there are people who think there are two sides.
MEDVED: Of course they do it.
WOLF: It‘s important to get behind the minds...
MEDVED: ... the people who give themselves over to evil.
And the problem with “Paradise Now,” which won the award for best foreign language film, the problem with “Paradise Now” is, it gives you all sides of suicide bombing. I‘m sorry. There are no two sides of suicide bombing. It is a profound evil.
WOLF: The problem with American thinking in foreign policy has always been that we don‘t try to understand the mentality of other people. Even if we don‘t agree with it, even if it‘s everything that hate, we need to understand...
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring Katrina into this for a second.
SZISH: Thanks, Joe.
SZISH: Michael, let me bring Katrina in here.
SCARBOROUGH: I started talking about “Brokeback Mountain.”
SCARBOROUGH: And talking about some of these other movies.
I have got to be honest with you. In that area, I‘m a bit of a libertarian. I—and if they want to make movies about it, that‘s fine.
But it seems to me, Michael does have a good point. Where you really lose Middle America is when you have things like “Paradise Now,” that present these issues and makes it look like there‘s a moral relativity between suicide bombers and the people they blow up.
SZISH: I think you can‘t limit Hollywood topics.
WOLF: Michael‘s also trying to make a connection between box office...
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead, Katrina.
SZISH: No, that‘s OK.
WOLF: Michael‘s also trying to make a connection between box office and the meaning of movies.
People don‘t go to that many documentaries. But, in any case, it‘s important for us to see all sides of an issue.
And, Katrina, I didn‘t mean to interrupt you.
SZISH: No, that‘s quite all right. That‘s quite all right.
I just do believe that a lot of these topics are not necessarily things that people are ready to accept, but they‘re going to have to accept them, because, again, they are real. Now, I‘m talking specifically about “Brokeback Mountain” here.
This is a short story that was written by a woman who has several children. It was published in “The New Yorker.” And this is not a small group who is trying to push an agenda.
This is just a beautiful, well-written love story, a story of loss, that really made a great movie. And it just so happened to be about a particular topic that mainstream America may not be ready to accept. But it doesn‘t mean it‘s not a great performance.
MEDVED: They are great performances.
And, by the way, it‘s a very well-made movie. There‘s no question about it. But it‘s no accident when six of the major awards last night are given to movies that advocate a gay agenda.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
MEDVED: Now, look, there are different sides on homosexuality. You only see one from Hollywood.
WOLF: You know, Joe, I have got to tell. I spoke to Ang Lee last night.
SZISH: Hilary Swank won for “Boys Don‘t Cry.”
WOLF: And he doesn‘t like the punchline...
SCARBOROUGH: Listen, I‘ll tell you what. You all take it out on the street, because we have got to go for break. I wish we could talk about this all night. We almost did.
Katrina, Michael, Jeanne, thanks for being with us.
We will be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, that‘s all the time we have for tonight.
If you want to read my blog, you can do it by going to Joe.MSNBC.com. And, like the gay cowboys in “Brokeback Mountain,” once you read it one time, you will say, I can‘t quit you, man.
“THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts right now.
SCARBOROUGH: Tucker, what is the situation tonight, baby?
CARLSON: I can‘t quit you, Joe. I‘m addicted.
SCARBOROUGH: I can‘t quit you. I can‘t quit you either, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, baby.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 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.