Guests: Michael Smerconish, Rachel Sklar
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now, in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, George W.
Bush extends an olive branch to Democrats, and then calls for a showdown with them over the U.N. and the NSA spy program. Meanwhile, the GOP hunkers down for what could become a nasty civil war. It‘s been less than 48 hours since voters evicted Republicans from Congress, but in those few short days, the president‘s party has begun tearing apart at the seams.
Tonight, “Time” magazine reports that Karl Rove is blaming corrupt GOP congressmen for Tuesday‘s landslide, but GOP congressmen are blaming Rove and Bush for the election day debacle, telling “The Hill” that they were enraged that Donald Rumsfeld‘s firing was delayed until after the election. Former House Speaker and future presidential candidate Newt Gingrich stepped into that fray, telling reporters that George Bush‘s bungling of the Rummy resignation cost Republicans the House and cost Republicans the Senate.
And overseas, Democrats get love and support from all the wrong places, With al Qaeda and Iran cheering the Democrats‘ victory, Reuters reporting that Iran‘s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Friday called the Democrats‘ win, quote, “an obvious victory for the Iranian nation.”
Meanwhile, Rumsfeld may face criminal charges in Germany related to torture. John McCain steps a step closer to a 2008 presidential run. and one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington insults an entire state.
Here now for our all-star panel, we have radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, Rachel Sklar—she‘s the media editor for the Huffingtonpost.com—MSNBC political analysts Pat Buchanan and Flavia Colgan.
And let me start with you, Michael Smerconish. I know the phone lines have to be lit up in Philadelphia, conservatives have to be angry at this president, and now you‘ve people firing at each other, Rove telling “Time” magazine tonight it‘s Congress‘s fault, Congress telling “The Hill” it‘s the president‘s fault. Where do you fall in this fight?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think that Rove is smoking something in his analysis because in my view, it is clearly the failure on the part of the administration to articulate an exit strategy or at least an end game relative to Iraq. And yes, there were a number of instances of corruption in this case, and Foley comes to mind, and here in the Philadelphia suburbs, we‘ve got a circumstance of our own. But overall, I think it was clearly the tide of the nation against the situation in Iraq that has thrown out the Republican members of the House and Senate.
SCARBOROUGH: And how fascinating, Pat Buchanan, that 12 years ago, a guy named Newt Gingrich was swept into power when Republicans became the majority party, now he‘s getting back into the fray as he prepares, I believe, for a presidential run, now that—and he will become empowered (ph). You know, he‘s blaming President Bush for costing Republicans control of Congress, blasting his decision to replace Donald Rumsfeld after the election. This is what Newt said. Quote, “We would today control the Senate and probably have 10 to 15 more seats in the House.” Gingrich called the timing exactly backwards and adding, “I hope the president will rethink how he engages the American people and how he communicates with candor.”
Pat Buchanan, George W. Bush has been granted almost unprecedented deference from congress and his party for six years, and now, though, I‘m telling you, the long knives are out. What does it mean for Bush and for the next two years of his presidency?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, clearly, Newt Gingrich is using the president of the United States now as a foil. As I recall, Newt was a very strong supporter of going into Iraq, and now he‘s—I believe he is trying to pick up the constituency that is very unhappy with the president, with his campaign, with the administration.
I think, Joe, that this is the truth, though. The Congress is blaming the president, and Rove is blaming the Congress. I think there‘s merit in both positions. The corruption on the Hill was a real problem, but fundamentally, this was a vote against the president of the United States, against his Iraq party and against—his Iraq war, and against the Republican Party.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, it certainly wasn‘t a vote against Mark Foley or Curt Weldon in Philadelphia suburbs. Most people don‘t know who he is. But Grover Norquist, also a very close ally of the president, he said Americans for Tax Reform, who has close ties to Karl Rove—says he hasn‘t heard complaints about Rove and ads (ph). He said, quote, “Sherwood‘s Pennsylvania seat would have been overwhelmingly ours if his mistress hadn‘t whined about being throttled. The lesson should be, Don‘t throttle mistresses.”
SCARBOROUGH: Rachel Sklar, it‘s kind of hard to argue with that logic, isn‘t it.
RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Well, it‘s pretty hard to argue with that logic, yes. Please don‘t throttle mistresses or anyone. But I think that the Republicans can‘t fall back on that. I agree with Pat, this was a sweeping wave of anti-Republicanism. This was not only about the war, this was about how the Republicans have conducted themselves in office for the past six years. And it was—the Americans came out against that. It was a strong reaction against that.
SCARBOROUGH: And of course, Flavia, your home state of Pennsylvania -
it was just—it was the killing fields for the GOP...
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Is this my gloating time? Do I get to gloat, Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: You‘ve got to—you‘ve got to actually let me ask the question before you start gloating. You have a gubernatorial candidate, Lynn Swann, a sharp enough guy—he got destroyed. Rick Santorum wiped out. You have a Republican congressman in the suburbs Philadelphia wiped out. Was that about the war, in Pennsylvania, or was that about the scandals?
COLGAN: You know, I think it was a combination of both. And the reason I disagree with Newt a lot about this is, to use a sports analogy—
I mean, Donald Rumsfeld—and of course, I‘m no big fan. I think that he has not been the best leadership in the terms of the direction of Iraq. But he‘s an offensive coordinator, and the president is the head coach.
So for Newt Gingrich to say, Well, if he had done this a month before
look, the American public is much smarter than that. Even if he changes Donald Rumsfeld out, he has to look at the playbook and realize that he needs a new direction. So I really don‘t think that—I mean, I agree with Pat that you can look at any of these things. I think it was an accumulation. I think, one, it was certainly Iraq, I think, was one of the most prominent issues.
As you know, Joe, I‘ve been in about 12 states over the last month for a different show I was actually doing on miracles (ph), and it was really interesting for me because I really thought it was just Iraq, but it was Iraq, it was the scandals, it was the corruption. But it also was actually Americans‘ love for what the Founding Fathers felt was appropriate, which is checks and balances. So I would have...
SCARBOROUGH: And—and a divided...
COLGAN: ... loved to just say it‘s just that, but it‘s—it was all of it. It‘s a very intricate tapestry of so many things that came together that made people feel we weren‘t moving in the right direction, and they wanted a change.
SCARBOROUGH: And that‘s the same thing, of course, Michael Smerconish, that happened in 1994, when we had scandals, we had Bill Clinton‘s tax increases, we had Hillary Clinton‘s health care debacle. So Michael, as you move forward and you‘re the Democratic Party, how do you avoid the same mistakes we made as Republicans by lurching too far to the right and scaring the hell out of the American people?
SMERCONISH: Well, in other words, how do they prevent themselves from swinging too far to the left, I guess, is the question...
SCARBOROUGH: To the left. Actually, Michael, more—really, the question is this. I mean, do you think they‘re going to be able to restrain their worst instincts?
SMERCONISH: That will be, really, the $64,000 question. And let‘s talk specifics—the Patriot Act, you know, that great rallying cry for some of the more liberal elements of the Democratic Party. Now that they control the House and the Senate, will they do anything about it? I don‘t think that...
SMERCONISH: ... they will, Joe. I don‘t think they‘ll touch an issue like that.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let—let...
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, that‘s it. I wanted to ask you that next. Let‘s go down the checklist...
SCARBOROUGH: ... anything about the NSA wiretapping?
SMERCONISH: No. Absolutely!
SCARBOROUGH: Not at all.
SMERCONISH: If they‘re wise—if they‘re wise, they won‘t touch it because although this was a drubbing for the GOP, I still think on those hard-core security issues, the Republicans represent the mainstream of this country. And if the Democrats know what‘s wise for them, they won‘t go near those issues.
BUCHANAN: Joe? Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: And Michael Smerconish—well, OK, Pat Buchanan, Charlie Rangel also told us before the election that he would vote to defund our troops the first day he was in power as the Ways and Means Committee chairman. Is he going to do that?
BUCHANAN: No, he‘s not going to do that. Joe, let me tell you what the problem is...
SCARBOROUGH: Wait a second. I‘m confused. Were they lying to us while they were running for office?
BUCHANAN: No, he was saying things, but look, his party is not going to do that. In 1994, the Republicans misread that election as a mandate for them. It was a repudiation of Bill Clinton, of gays in the military, of a takeover of health care. They were unhappy with Clinton, and everybody that ran on a Democratic ticket—everybody lost.
This—the danger here is that Pelosi and the liberal Democrats are going to assume that the repudiation of Bush is a mandate for the Pelosi Democrats to go after the Patriot Act and all those other things. It is not! If they interpret it that way and act that way, they will be wiped out in two years. But I think they know that. Everywhere I watch them, they seem to realize, these centrist and moderate Democrats, like Webb, like Casey, that‘s the winning formula, and they are interested in power. I don‘t think they‘re going to make the same mistakes as the GOP.
COLGAN: Right. And Pat, you‘re—Pat, you‘re exactly right because they do know that because if you look across the country, whether it‘s Virginia or Ohio or Pennsylvania or, you know, even Tennessee, where we lost...
COLGAN: ... I mean, if you look at those races, these campaigns were not based on, you know, impeaching the president or turning the place into a courthouse. They were based on very populist, progressive positions on both minimum wage, on uniting not dividing. And so they know—all those individual candidates, whether they‘re governors‘ mansions or federal races, know what they ran on and what their campaign promises...
SCARBOROUGH: And Rachel Sklar, though...
COLGAN: ... were. And I believe...
SCARBOROUGH: ... let me ask you...
COLGAN: ... that the Democrats will live up to that.
SCARBOROUGH: Rachel, let me bring you in. Rachel, you obviously are a key player for the Huffingtonpost. You consider it a place where progressives go. What will the Huffingtonpost membership and all the people that believe they had a say and had something to do with Democrats taking control of the House and the Senate—what will they think if Congress looks more like a Jim Webb Congress than a Nancy Pelosi Congress? What if they are moderate? What if they are moderate to conservative? will Democrats, will movement liberals feel like they‘ve been betrayed?
SKLAR: I don‘t think so. I think that—lookit, you‘ve got a spectrum, so there will always be people along that spectrum. But I think what‘s important here is that there actually was a mandate, a pretty clear mandate. They‘ve got Congress. They took the House and the Senate. That‘s a very clear mandate that there had to have been a change in the way the Republicans were handling themselves.
So all that means is, going forward, listening to voters, seeing what the public wants and handling this—handling everything, from corruption to draining the swamp, like Nancy Pelosi said, to Iraq, and kind of addressing these issues going forward in a way that is responsive to what Americans want.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Smerconish...
SKLAR: That‘s a big difference already.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Michael, Smerconish, did you see that picture of Jim Webb today? And I didn‘t call for it earlier, so we probably don‘t have it, but it was when he was (INAUDIBLE) had his fists like this, and he was, like—I mean, he was, like, strutting (ph), looked he was—you know, back when he was a Navy boxer. This is a muscular guy. He‘s going to be a muscular senator. I actually—as a Republican, I have hope that when you have people like Jim Webb in Virginia and you‘ve got people like Bob Casey up in Pennsylvania—he may not be the sharpest tool in the drawer, but at least he‘s pro-life. It‘s nice for them to have one or two pro-lifers out of 51. Then you‘ve got Lieberman in Connecticut, who is somewhat moderate. But maybe these aren‘t the wingnuts that took over the party in 1972.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Joe, there‘s some strange things happening in America. My God, I‘m wearing a pink shirt on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, my God! I am, too, Michael!
SCARBOROUGH: Michael, if we keep talking this way, Buchanan‘s going to walk off the set, and he‘s going to start talking about how I...
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? You know—he thing is, Buchanan, you know, you were a hater. That‘s your problem.
BUCHANAN: I‘m suspicious, Joe!
SCARBOROUGH: Unlike George W. Bush, you‘re not a uniter, you‘re a divider.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat—Pat—here‘s—here‘s—as we talk...
SCARBOROUGH: ... about pink shirts, same-sex marriage, the direction of this country, I think it is fascinating—I mean, you can read “The New York Times” editorial page and walk away believing that this country has somehow darted left. When you look at all those state initiatives...
SCARBOROUGH: ... on same-sex marriage, on Ward Connerly‘s African-American fight...
SCARBOROUGH: ... up in Michigan, on not legalizing marijuana, this country is just as conservative in the areas that most greatly offend media elites in Manhattan.
BUCHANAN: It‘s not—Joe, you‘re exactly right...
SCARBOROUGH: So—so will the Republican Party flinch and say, Oh, my God, we don‘t want to offend the editorial page of “The New York Times,” or will they actually realize this was about them being corrupt and out of touch and in the wrong war at the wrong time?
BUCHANAN: I think, Joe, the Republicans will react properly. Mainly, when parties lose, they say, Look, we forgot the basics, we got to return to our roots. And you‘re exactly right. Affirmative Action was wiped out. The marijuana initiative went down. Even on stem cell research in Missouri, it started off at 80 to 20 and it ended up about dead even. The Republicans and conservatives were not repudiated on low taxes or conservative judges. Nobody campaigned against Alito or Roberts.
What Republicans have to do, take a look at those big core issues where Democrats chose to go around them and not fight them, and battle on that high ground, and they can do a good job. And if Ms. Pelosi and her friends—if they—you know, if they let their—let the liberals (INAUDIBLE) their ideology, they give it a jolly (ph) run in the yard (ph), they‘ll be in real, real trouble. So the Republican...
SCARBOROUGH: All right...
BUCHANAN: ... Party‘s in good shape.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Pat we got to go to a hard break here. Michael Smerconish, I know you disagree, as does the panel, so stay with us.
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up next: Is America turning blue, red or a new shade of purple, kind of like Smerconish‘s shirt, kind of half purple, half pink, maybe a little bit of lavender thrown in there? We‘re going to be asking our panel which way the political pendulum is really swinging, coming up next. Plus, looking ahead to 2008 and the possibility of a Clinton-Pelosi ticket? Yes, that‘ll win ‘em in Peoria~! Will we see the first ever female running mates? And who will the GOP put up to stop them?
And later, the Governator stirs up trouble south of the border less than a week after his reelection. We go live to Mexico to show you his controversial comments on immigration.
It‘s a big night on this special Friday night edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I have benefited greatly from criticism, and at no time have I suffered a lack there of.
JON STEWART, “THE DAILY SHOW”: You‘re welcome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘m obviously disappointed with the outcome of the election, and as the head of the Republican Party, I share a large part of the responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: So now that the election is over, what does this mean about our country? Is America changing politically, or was this a one-time tsunami over an unpopular war? NBC‘s Chip Reid has a lot more on whether this country is actually changing political colors. Chip, what have you got?
CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joe, as you can imagine, there are a lot of happy Democrats around here, but some of them believe this was much more than just a victory. They think this was a sign of a long-term realignment from Republican red to Democratic blue.
(voice-over): For Democrats, it‘s cause for celebration. Not only did they take control of the Senate, gaining six seats, and the House, gaining at least 27, they also added six statehouses, giving them the majority of governors for the first time in 12 years, 28 to 22. They even made major gains in state legislatures, where more than 275 seats and 9 houses switched from Republican to Democrat.
Some joyous Democrats say it‘s all part of a major national realignment from red to blue, but political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, whose predictions of this election were uncannily accurate, disagrees.
STUART ROTHENBERG, POLITICAL ANALYST: It‘s far from clear that this is some sort of long-term change in the electorate. Rather, it‘s a reaction to the war in Iraq, to the president‘s performance and to the desire—short-term desire for change.
REID: Rothenberg does say, though, that in certain parts of the country, shifts are clearly occurring. For example, just as Southern Democrats were purged from the House in 1994 when Republicans swept to power, in this election, nearly all New England Republicans were purged from the House. And in the Rocky Mountain states, where four years ago, all eight governors were Republicans, now five are Democrats.
Chuck Todd of the political newsletter “Hotline” says Republicans are losing ground in those areas in part because they‘re so focused on the party‘s Southern base.
CHUCK TODD, “HOTLINE”: There is that potential that they‘re going to regionalize themselves, that they‘re going to be only a Southern evangelical party. They‘ve lost a little bit of their Reagan—Western Reagan roots.
REID: The analysts we talked to said that if Republicans do take that kind of narrow focus, and if Democrats use their new power to expand their base, there could be some kind of long-term realignment from red to blue, but they say it has not happened yet—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Smerconish, Pat Buchanan and I were saying before the break that we think America‘s just as conservative as it was. What‘s your take?
SMERCONISH: My take‘s different. I think, first of all, that those graphics of the country, with those distinct red and blue colors, are misleading and that things are much more muddled, much more convoluted than those straightforward diagrams would indicate.
Here‘s my common ground with Pat. Pat wrote this book, “State of Emergency,” that for me and others was really an epiphany about the problem of illegal immigration. I wish that Pat Buchanan‘s book had been the playbook for the GOP because to me, that was the blown opportunity in this campaign, illegal immigration not having been stressed.
Looking forward, I think the lesson here is to remember the Schiavo case, which, my way of thinking, was a national debacle for the GOP, and we never got beyond it. And Joe, you talked about Webb down there in Virginia. That‘s the model for the GOP. For the first time, we need to broaden our tent in the same way that the Democrats do. This return to our roots and return to conservatism frankly makes me nervous on some social issues.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. All right. Well, hey, thanks, Michael. We‘re going to have to go to break. We‘ve got—I‘ve got so much to say about that, about Schiavo, about whether we‘re getting more conservative or more liberal, but we‘re going to pass it around to the whole panel. Plus, coming up, President Bush meets the press and Jay Leno in an all-politics edition of “Must See S.C.. And later: Is it going to be Hillary versus McCain, or Obama versus Giuliani? Our panel‘s going to be handicapping the 2008 race, coming up.
But first, more of the funniest late-night moments of this election week.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a campaign in which Democrats didn‘t put forth a single coherent position, offer any vision for the future, and the only Democrat to get any TV time used it to call U.S. troops retarded. Yet somehow, they delivered a crushing defeat to the ruling party. Something‘s not right, Jon. It‘s a trap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Time now for the best of this week‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see. And tonight, it‘s all elections all the time. First up, if the GOP wants to win back Congress in 2008, some are suggesting they go after black voters. But as Tim Meadows found out on “The Colbert Report,” that may be easier said than done.
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TIM MEADOWS, “THE COLBERT REPORT”: Are you voting Republican or Democrat?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m going to vote Democrat.
MEADOWS: (INAUDIBLE) vote Republican?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
MEADOWS: Well, I think, you know, if you look at the history, Democrats started the KKK party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the...
MEADOWS: Republicans love black people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don‘t none of them love -- (INAUDIBLE)
MEADOWS: I‘m a Republican. My wife is Republican.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Next up: Major news organizations conducted exit polls on voters on Tuesday, but only the fake news reporters from “The Daily Show” thought of doing entrance polls. Didn‘t work out too great. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you voting for today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m—rather not say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. You can tell me.
Come on. Don‘t be stuck up. Who‘re you voting for? I have a right to know~!
Tell me who you‘re voting for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the easy way or the hard way, lady.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you kidding me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please do it the hard way. Please!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Finally, Stephen Colbert paid tribute to himself, after all the candidates who appeared on his show won on Tuesday. Even this next guy won.
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REP. LYNN WESTMORELAND ®, GEORGIA: The 10 Commandments is not a bad thing for people to understand and to respect.
STEPHEN COLBERT, “THE COLBERT REPORT”: What are the 10 Commandments?
WESTMORELAND: What are all of them? You want me to name them all?
COLBERT: Yes. Please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Ain‘t America great? Still ahead: Who‘s going to run for the White House in 2008? And could we see the first ever all-female ticket? A lot of Republicans hope so. We‘re going to be asking our panel. And later: The Governator stirs up controversy south of the border, talking about immigration. We go live to Mexico for the very latest when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in this special Friday night edition of “Decision 2006.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LYNN WESTMORELAND ®, GEORGIA: The Ten Commandments is not a bad thing for people to understand and to respect.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”: What are the Ten Commandments?
WESTMORELAND: What are all of them?
WESTMORELAND: You want me to name them all?
COLBERT: Yes, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Ain‘t America great? Still ahead, who‘s going to run for the White House in 2008? And could we see the first-ever all-female ticket? A lot of Republicans hope so. We‘re going to be asking our panel.
And later, the Governator stirs up controversy south of the border, talking about immigration. We‘re going live to Mexico for the very latest, when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in this special Friday night edition of “Decision 2006.”
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back. The 2006 elections may have shuffled the field for the 2008 presidential race. You know, right now, there are 20-plus candidates for president already in 2008, and we‘re also seeing magazine covers like “New York” magazine from this week, talking about how Hillary Clinton is on her way to beginning the real race. And, of course, there‘s also the “Detroit Free Press” newspaper, which has a really funny way of looking at some of the early possibilities.
On the Democrat side, there‘s the woman many see as a frontrunner, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wild card, Senator Barack Obama, and the damaged goods, Senator John Kerry. And on the GOP side, there‘s this frontrunner, Senator John McCain, who, according to reports, has started his presidential bid. The provocateur, the former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and the toast, Senator George Allen.
And with that last title, of course, the “Free Press” is referring to Allen‘s now infamous macaca comment.
Hey, let‘s bring back our panel, Michael Smerconish, Rachel Sklar, Pat Buchanan, and Flavia Colgan.
Pat, what is the biggest impact from the 2006 race? Who does it help the most? Who does it hurt the most?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it helps McCain, because it‘s eliminated a conservative challenger in George Allen, who was the strongest of the conservative challengers. And I think it helps Hillary, as well, because she did so well coming out of New York. And Mark Warner has dropped out of the race.
I do think, Joe, that one name that has not been included there, which would be Governor Romney. I think the Republican field will come down to Romney, McCain, and Newt Gingrich.
SCARBOROUGH: You really think Romney is going to do well?
BUCHANAN: I think he‘s going to be in the race, Joe. He‘s a fellow that can raise $100 million or $50 million, and anybody that can come to the poker table with $50 million, he‘s in the game.
SCARBOROUGH: You can certainly buy a few chips with $50 million.
BUCHANAN: You can stay for a couple losing hands, too.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, you can, through the first five or six primaries. Now, NBC conducted some exit polls on these presidential candidates on 2006. And this is Arizona voters, McCain for president, 48 percent said yes, 43 percent said no. And, of course, New York voters very supportive of Hillary Clinton running. And I think right there you‘re looking—and we‘re going to keep scrolling these through.
But, Flavia Colgan, one guy that conservatives have always loved is Rick Santorum. He‘s out. George Allen, probably out. Who‘s going to be the standard-bearer for the Northeast?
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I actually disagree with Pat. I think that if you look at—so many of us tend to focus on what‘s happened inside the Beltway, but I think the biggest strides really have been made in the state houses across the country and in the governors‘ mansion.
And I think that gives strength to a governor running for president, which frankly, I think—and I‘m mildly biased, having worked for Ed Rendell, who I think would make a great president, governor out of Pennsylvania who just got reelected. But I think that, that gives a tremendous amount of strength to a Democratic governor who would want to win, someone who‘s created jobs, cut taxes, sort of not viewed as...
SCARBOROUGH: Who‘s that?
COLGAN: ... inside the Beltway. I think that someone like a Rendell.
I think that someone like Al Gore, who‘s been out of the somewhat political inside baseball fold for a while and can be looked upon as someone who‘s had a tremendous amount of vision, on an issue like the environment, who, as you know, Joe, either surprisingly for some, but not to us, has cut across party lines and really brought a lot of evangelicals and Catholics into the fold, with not destroying God‘s creation, really making it a moral and values issue.
So I think that people really need to think outside the box. I mean, I don‘t want to trash Hillary Clinton, but I think it‘s kind of tired. Fine, she‘s going to run, but I think there are so many other possibilities. And I think that, really, we keep talking about this being a referendum on Bush, and I think it certainly is on his policies. But if you look at even Pennsylvania...
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Let me bring in Rachel Sklar here.
COLGAN: ... Democrats lost to. It‘s about anti-Washington.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Rachel...
RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Rachel, talk about Hillary Clinton, because a very interesting thing happens when you talk to people about who‘s going to win in 2008 on the Democratic side, everybody brings up Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. But it doesn‘t matter where I go in this country, Democrats have so many doubts about her because they think she‘s too divisive. What do you think?
SKLAR: She‘s a very divisive candidate. I think, of course, people have a lot to say about the 2008 field. It‘s two years away. And who knows what‘s going to happen? I think the only thing that we can know is that that field is going to change again and again. This conversation will be had over and over. In six months, it will be different. We‘ll be talking about new people in a year, and then, in 18 months, also new people.
SCARBOROUGH: But do you think, though, Rachel, six months from now, we won‘t be talking about Hillary Clinton? I mean, I think she and McCain are in it to stay.
SKLAR: I think Hillary is definitely a contender. She‘s got the Clinton name, which is, obviously, an asset and, you know, definitely a minus for many people. She‘s very divisive, but she‘s done great in this campaign. She came out to support all the Democrats, not only seeing for herself. And we‘ll see what happens.
She‘s an asset. She‘s a definite asset to the party. Now, whether or not she‘ll be an asset as a candidate for presidency, that‘s another thing entirely, and I think that‘s something that will unfold over the next few years.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Smerconish, what did you see on Tuesday that helps you read the tealeaves better for 2008?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I have a very high personal regard for Senator John McCain. I think that he‘s presidential timber. But the reality is that, on Tuesday, the referendum was on Iraq. It was a repudiation of what‘s been taking place in Iraq. And if there‘s one individual on the landscape who has been the most of that “stay the course” mentality who‘s viewed as a ‘08 contender, it‘s John McCain. So the issue now is...
SCARBOROUGH: But, Michael, can he get around that by saying, as he‘s been saying for years now, that Rumsfeld screwed the war up by not giving our troops enough firepower, not giving our generals enough troops to run the war effectively?
SMERCONISH: I think that that‘s a great retrospective answer, but the question is: What will John McCain be saying forward-looking? And the ball is now in his hands.
But, Joe, he‘s got to have a satisfactory answer to that question. And if I can add one other element to this, I believe that the Republican Party is at a crossroads right now and needs to make a determination as to whether we‘re going to be a party that‘s led by the likes of Bill Frist and Ann Coulter and James Dobson, or is there going to be room in the tent for Rudy Giuliani? And is there going to be room in the tent for Michael Bloomberg, a name that hasn‘t been thrown in to the mix yet? Or even an Arnold Schwarzenegger?
BUCHANAN: Joe, let me get into this.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, OK, Pat, you get into it.
BUCHANAN: Let me say this. All right, let me say this. I agree with Michael to this extent. I think John McCain is enormously vulnerable. He‘s way out front on the war, 100,000 more troops. I think he‘s very much into interventionism. I think the country is moving in the other direction. I think a candidate who ran on the issue of economic patriotism, stop exploiting the jobs, secure America‘s border, and build that fence...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Pat, you say that, Pat...
BUCHANAN: But nobody is there.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. Michael said that also, but you read the “Wall Street Journal” editorial this morning, I‘m sure, that talked about all the candidates that adopted your stance and Lou Dobbs‘ stance, and it appeared they all got beaten?
BUCHANAN: That is utterly silly. Every candidate in the country was for border security, including Hillary Clinton, for a 700-mile fence in Arizona.
SCARBOROUGH: What happened to J.D.—I was laughing because I knew the fuse would be short on that one. But what happened to J.D. Hayworth?
BUCHANAN: Well, J.D. Hayworth went down, but every referendum in Arizona for tougher restrictions on illegal aliens sailed through.
SCARBOROUGH: But J.D.—but hold on a second though. J.D. Hayworth has a district where more illegal immigrants flood over. He is that (INAUDIBLE) guy. And yet they both went down.
BUCHANAN: Well, his opponent is as tough on illegal aliens as he was, but he carried some baggage in there, Joe. Everybody in the country was for a border security fence. I mean, it‘s a winning issue. McCain is not. McCain is with Kennedy. McCain is with Pelosi. McCain is with Bush on this, and they are not with the country.
SCARBOROUGH: Those are fighting words, Pat Buchanan. Stay with us. Make sure you tune into NBC‘s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, because Pat‘s friend, Senator John McCain, and Joe Lieberman are going to be Tim Russert‘s guests. And, again, you heard it here first: John McCain will be running against Hillary Clinton in 2008. McCain will win. Write it down.
What‘s today, November something? What month are we in? We‘re November 10th, yes, and it‘s—well, if you‘re on the East Coast, it‘s 9:43. I‘ve got about 17 more minutes, so I‘ve got to decide. Am I going to go to the break? Yes, I‘ll go to the break. They‘re screaming in my ear. OK.
Coming up next, less than a week after being re-elected, the Governator is creating a political firestorm deep south of the border. We‘re going to head to Mexico live for the full story on this special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where we‘ll all getting a little loopy. We‘ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA: I love doing sequels. I love doing sequels.
I‘ll tell you, but this, without any doubt, is my favorite sequel, I have to tell you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That was Arnold Schwarzenegger late Tuesday night, after he was re-elected governor of California. And the new governor of California is wasting no time being a headache to his fellow Republicans. Today, he was in Mexico City trying to repair his image after being criticized for not condemning the 700-mile border fence that was made possible by President Bush.
Reporter Conan Nolan from our NBC station in Los Angeles, KNBC, is traveling with him and has more from Mexico City.
Conan, what do you got?
CONAN NOLAN, KNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Joe. Well, as you pointed out, the governor is here. It‘s a trade mission, actually, but he has been dogged by one question, and that is immigration. And for the first time, the Republican governor of California seemed to endorse the Democratic takeover of Congress.
NOLAN (voice-over): He is here to promote all things California, from tourism to wine, and some who have followed his visit say he‘s adjusted well to his new profession.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He is a good actor, a good politician.
NOLAN: But since Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has not condemned the building of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, along with his past statements praising the Minutemen, the citizen volunteer border patrol, his image here has suffered. Even those who welcomed his trade mission had mixed feelings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does good things for promoting all the products of California and bad things, because he doesn‘t want the people that goes there to work.
NOLAN: To immigrate?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, to immigrate.
NOLAN: It‘s a feeling the governor has tried to change, today starting with Mexico‘s new incoming president. Presidente-elect Felipe Calderon today met with the California governor, congratulating him on his landslide re-election, which allowed the visitor to do some boasting.
SCHWARZENEGGER: When you get 40 percent or so of Latino votes, which is very unusual for a Republican...
NOLAN: The governor insisted he agreed with Calderon on the need for an immigration reform law that would include a guest-worker program and a pathway to citizenship for millions of Mexicans living in the United States illegally.
SCHWARZENEGGER: It‘s insane not to go and not to have been able to accomplish this year.
NOLAN: Pandering to rebuild an image south of the border? No, says the governor. It‘s all about restoring trust, while helping eliminate the need for Mexicans to seek employment outside their country.
SCHWARZENEGGER: If we build our trade from $18 billion to $30 billion, and you do the same thing, you trade to California, we can create another 200,000 jobs. Mexico is our ally.
NOLAN: Now, just yesterday, the governor told a press conference with Mexican and American journalists that it was great to have new blood and new leadership in Congress, that Washington wasn‘t able to get anything done on immigration reform, and that was terrible. Later, he tried to explain himself, saying that he did not mean to endorse the Democratic take-over. He just wants more bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.
Joe, back to you.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, so that‘s what he meant, OK. Thanks a lot, Conan Nolan. Greatly appreciate it.
Let‘s bring in Pat Buchanan. Pat, once again, the issue of illegal immigration taking center stage in American politics. Do you think Schwarzenegger has it all wrong? I mean, let‘s face it. This guy got re-elected—again, a second time—and he certainly has not been bashing illegal immigration, has he?
BUCHANAN: Well, he said he was for the security fence on the border, and that was a very contentious issue, but let me say this.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, he was before it before he was against it.
BUCHANAN: Well, right, OK. Now he‘s moving to accommodate that. But, listen, you heard that piece, Joe. The Mexican folks are good folks, but what you heard there was their claim to a right to come to the United States if they wish to come, and to work in the United States at will, and to become citizens of the United States.
Now, who controls the immigration laws of the United States and the immigration policy, Americans or Mexicans? That is the issue. Is this a separate, unique country which we have a right to preserve or is it not? Is it wide, open borders, like the “Wall Street Journal” recommends, or is America our own homeland which we are in danger of losing? Those Mexican folks are good folks. They think the Southwest belongs to them, Joe, and they may not be wrong 45 years from now.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Pat, we‘ll talk about that and much more when we return with our panel, right after this message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”: Jimmy, could you lower in the emergency donkey pinata, please?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, right, whatever. Let‘s bring our panel back in. I‘ve got to ask each of you—well, I‘ll just start with you, Michael Smerconish. What does this past week mean, the results on Tuesday? What‘s it mean, not only for Washington politics, but the future of America?
SMERCONISH: I think the GOP had become a complacent party and needs to get its act together or they will lose control of the White House in 2008. And, as I said previously, I think we‘re at a crossroads and we now need to determine whether we‘re prepared to broaden our tent. In one sentence, it‘s a question of, do we want to be pragmatists or ideologues? And I‘m hoping we‘re pragmatists.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Rachel Sklar, what‘s this past week mean?
SKLAR: I think, more than anything, it‘s indicated an acceptance of all Americans. You‘re seeing more women now in Congress, in the House and Senate, a record number. Also a record number of gay and lesbian candidates getting to victory.
And I think, you know, you guys were giggling before over your fashion choices. I mean, these are prejudices that have seen their times. It‘s true.
They‘ve seen their time, and they are on the way out. We‘re moving towards a more liberal country. The voters have spoken.
SCARBOROUGH: And I‘m celebrating that tonight, Rachel, by wearing pink.
SKLAR: Looks great.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m pink all over. Thank you so much.
Flavia, what does this past week mean?
COLGAN: You know, I agree with Michael and a little bit with Rachel. I think it‘s very clear that this was certainly a repudiation of the direction in Iraq. I think that there were a lot of things on the ballot. Pat‘s been talking about his issues, but what about minimum wage and other things?
But to me, one of the things that has not been talked about which was fascinating to me—and something that, Joe, you and I have talked about a lot—is that, if you look at Ohio and you look at Pennsylvania and Virginia, there was a shift of about 25 to 30 percent in some of those states on the Catholic vote. And, according to Bill Bennett—though I don‘t know which poll he‘s citing—there was a shift of almost 40 percent in the Evangelical vote in Virginia.
And to me, it‘s very fascinating to me, because this wasn‘t a campaign cycle where people—Democrats felts they needed to disingenuously quote scripture, pretend that they had found God. They were running very populist campaigns. But what it says to me is something that I‘ve been talking about for a while, which is the Democratic Party, you know, really needs to open its doors and listen with respect to people of faith and to talk about issues, whether they be economic...
SCARBOROUGH: And they certainly have. I mean, you look at...
COLGAN: ... and an issue in a way that‘s based on values.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Flavia, we‘ve got to move on. We‘re running out of time. But they certainly did. And Harold Ford in Tennessee did it as well as anybody.
Pat, my main man, Patrick “Boochanan,” as Ali G would say, what does this past week mean? You‘ve written a book called “State of Emergency.” Talk about that and what it means, what this past week means to the Republican Party, to this—go ahead.
BUCHANAN: All right. Bush Republicanism has been repudiated. The Republican tide that began to rise in ‘64, crested in 1980 through the ‘80s, has begun to recede, Joe, when you see basically the purple state moving into Northern Virginia.
What the Republican Party needs is a new agenda, thoroughly consistent with its principles, and I think this battle has to take place inside the great conservative movement, for what conservativism truly is in the new century. Because if the Republican Party is not a conservative party, there‘s no need for a Republican Party, because the movement will have to find something else.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Patrick, I‘ve always said, if give Americans a chance to vote for real Democrats or Republicans pretending to be Democrats, they‘ll take the real Democrats every time, right?
BUCHANAN: I think they will. But I think the country is still fundamentally a center-conservative people. There are some issues, like minimum wage—I do agree with whoever said that—they want the minimum wage raised, but they love traditionalism and conservatism, and Bush has not been a real conservative.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, not even close to it. And, Michael Smerconish, we got to go, but I‘ll tell you what, very quickly, the thing that, as an attorney—we both went to law school...
COLGAN: Me, too.
SCARBOROUGH: ... I love that our founding fathers—and Flavia, OK -
the genius—I mean, just the genius of our Constitution, our founding fathers, and the separation of powers. Our system really works, doesn‘t it?
SMERCONISH: Yes, we didn‘t solve it with knives and guns on Tuesday.
Hey, is my wardrobe acceptable to Buchanan‘s party? That‘s the only...
BUCHANAN: I think I don‘t like these two guys wearing pink, I‘ll tell you that.
COLGAN: Get used to it, Pat. Get used to it.
BUCHANAN: They‘re signals. These are signals.
SMERCONISH: And Joe looks pretty in pink.
SCARBOROUGH: I do. And, Patrick, you‘re going to have to learn to become a metrosexual.
BUCHANAN: Well, you go talk to your friend, Foley, about this.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘ll see you Monday. I‘ve got to call Mark. Good night.
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