Guests: A.B. Stoddard, Michael Crowley, Joe Scarborough, Brad Blakeman, Pat Campbell, Alex Bennett, Tom Matzzie
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show. Coming to you from New Orleans, Louisiana, I‘m Tucker Carlson.
The Senate‘s new Democratic leadership lunched at the White House today after making a meal of the president‘s party in Tuesday‘s midterm elections. Dick Durbin, Harry Reid and President Bush were all smiles on camera, but you‘ve got to wonder what it felt like behind the scenes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The elections are over. The problems haven‘t going away. And I assured the senators that—that we will cooperate as closely as we can to solve common problems.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: This is a day for looking forward, as we should, instead of looking backwards at past battles and past elections. And I do want to say thanks personally to the president and vice president for their conciliatory gesture by wearing blue ties today. From our side we think that is a symbolic indication and we are off to a good start.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Or are they? Here is Harry Reid after he returned from his lunch with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: I believe that the first order of business, when we reorganize after the first of the year is congressional oversight. Let‘s find out what is going on with the war in Iraq, the different large federal agencies we have. There simply has been no oversight in recent years.
There will be times on rare occasions when subpoenas will have to be offered. But really, if Congress does its job, and does congressional oversight, as has been done for more than 200 years, it‘s good for everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So who is likely to be a target of one of those rare subpoenas? How ugly is it going to be?
Joining me now from Washington to talk about that, A.B. Stoddard. She‘s the associate editor of “The Hill”. And Michael Crowley, senior editor of “The New Republic”.
Welcome to you both.
A.B., how rare are those subpoenas going to be?
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “THE HILL”: That is hard to say. I think just because they are going to do congressional oversight doesn‘t mean they are going to overdo it. I think that because there has been sort of an absence of rigorous oversight in the last six years, people should remember that‘s—that‘s the exception. It‘s not the norm.
It is the job of the Congress to question the accountability of the government and oversee the policies of the government. And I you think that the Democrats are going to, starting with the Iraq war, hold some hearings into pressing questions. And then they will get to domestic policy as well.
But from—from what we are hearing, they really want to stress accountability. They want to stress the present and the future, not so much the past, and really make sure that the taxpayers know and the voters know that they are trying to make sure that government is being run as effectively as possible.
CARLSON: Michael Crowley, Clinton‘s lowest point came in 1994, of course. After that it as an endless series, seemingly endless series of investigations into him and his administration. All of which in the end helped Clinton politically.
Do Democrats remember that?
MICHAEL CROWLEY, SR. EDITOR, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”: Oh, absolutely, Tucker. I‘ve done some reporting on this, and they are—they remember very keenly what the Republicans did in the 1990s.
I mean, you had Dan Burton, who is shooting cantaloupes or pumpkins in his back yard to simulate the suicide—alleged murder of Vince Foster. Al D‘Amato had those Whitewater hearings that went nowhere and contributed to D‘Amato‘s defeat at the hands of Chuck Schumer.
CROWLEY: And it was just—it was just a fiasco for Republicans. And Democrats remember that. They talk about it, and they say they don‘t want to repeat those mistakes. They want to be really careful.
So, that Harry Reid sound bite kind of sounded like Mr. Burns saying, you know, “Release the hounds.” But I actually think that they‘re going to try to be self-aware and not play into the hands of people who say that they want to go crazy and just have every Bush administration official tripped up on perjury and thrown in jail, and that sort of thing. They are going to be a little more cautious.
CARLSON: I wonder, A.B., though, if there—if that‘s exactly what it looked like, too. If there isn‘t, though, pressure, considerable pressure, understandable pressure from the activist wing of the party, the online community—I‘m trying to avoid using the term “blogosphere” because I‘m not that big a loser. But, you know, there all these people who really are Bush haters, and they see their party ascendant, and they want blood.
STODDARD: Yes, they do.
CARLSON: Will the Democrats feel pressure from them?
STODDARD: They will feel pressure from them, but it looks at this point like they are going to be very, you know, good, sound, practical managers. They want to keep the majority, not lose it in two years. And they also want the White House.
And I think, you know, if you look at the candidates they recruited, I think the Democratic Party has figured out in their 12 years in the wilderness that you can either be pure or you could win. And I think they have just chosen to win. And I think that they‘ve really seen—particularly with the area of oversight—that—as Michael mentioned, I mean, the Democrats picked up seats in the six-year itch election of 198. The voters always partisan witch hunts.
And these are very, very important two years for the Democrats. After ‘08, if they get a Democratic president, they can, you know, go crazy on some kooky liberal agenda and serve up the wishes of the activists (INAUDIBLE), but they can‘t in these next two years.
CARLSON: But here‘s the problem, Michael. The Democratic Party, I think, has become a broader party with Tuesday‘s election. I mean, you really do for the first time have a lot—for the first time in a long time have a lot of genuinely moderate, in some cases conservative, Democrats who are coming to Washington.
You‘ve got a party with, you know, Barney frank and Heath Shuler. And they really don‘t have a lot of common except disliking Bush. That‘s the one thing that holds the party together right now. How can, given that, you know, a party whose only commonality is Bush hatred, how can you work with Bush?
CROWLEY: How can you work with Bush?
CROWLEY: Yes. I don‘t think they are going to work with Bush all that much. And, you know, I think that...
CARLSON: But wait a second. What about all of this bipartisan cooperation we‘ve been hearing about?
CROWLEY: I don‘t buy it. I don‘t buy the premise.
I mean, I think everyone feels like they have to say this right now. But look what they‘re actually—what‘s actually shaping up behind the scenes.
Bush is putting forward John Bolton, which is just like incredibly provocative. It‘s like—it‘s like just stabbing Democrats in the chest by bringing that guy up. He is a bogeyman for the left. And on the Democratic side there‘s already talk about, you know, engineering votes that Bush is going to have veto on stem cell research that they know they‘re not going to be able to get past a veto.
But I think right now what‘s happening is everyone is talking about hugs and kisses, but Democratic lawyers are preparing for investigations, conservative—Republican lawyers preparing to defend Bush administration officials from investigations. Democrats are preparing votes that Bush is going to have to veto.
So I just don‘t think there is going to be a lot of bipartisan cooperation. I don‘t think that‘s going to be such a big problem.
I mean, the question is—the question is keeping those moderates in line if you go too hard against the president. But I don‘t think...
CROWLEY: ... there is going to be a lot of cooperation in actuality.
CARLSON: So, A.B, what‘s the imperative here? I mean, what—obviously everyone is focused on 2008, and Democrats, like everybody else, focus group everything. And every trip to the men‘s room is focus group.
Do voters want—in preparation for 2008, do they want to see Democrats go against the administration, or do you think they really want a love-fest that produces bipartisan legislation like immigration reform?
STODDARD: Immigration reform actually, you know, is one area where we all have agreed that there is a real chance that consensus and a bill—simply because John McCain, the frontrunner in the—on the Republican side for ‘08 and our president, Bush, and the Democratic Congress are pretty much on the same page on that. So there could be some nice bipartisan moments.
I think that Michael is right, it‘s—you have to talk the talk a couple of days after the election. Walking the walking is harder.
I think the voters would always like compromise and cooperation in legislation, but I think what the Democrats are going to be careful—most careful about is not necessarily counting how many legislative compromises they can pile up with the president, but to really be careful not to overreach to appear partisan, to appear punishing...
STODDARD: ... to be looking like they‘re seeking revenge for their long time in the minority.
CROWLEY: And Tucker, remember, you know—go head. I‘m sorry.
CARLSON: Impeachment, they say they are not going to do it, but it‘s like pizza or sex without love, or things that are bad but feel good. It‘s, like, can they resist?
CROWLEY: It‘s like happy hour.
CROWLEY: We are going to go to happy hour.
CARLSON: Yes, happy hour.
CROWLEY: Just have one pint. You know, famous words. And then you crawl home at 3:00 in the morning with no clothes on.
CROWLEY: But I actually don‘t think that is going to happen. I really think that they are smart enough to know that impeachment is a nonstarter.
I even get the sense that people sort of—and Conyers—around John Conyers don‘t really actually want to do it that much. I think it was kind of loose talk.
Just to go back a little bit to what we were saying before, in terms of working with the president, remember that basically like a quarter of the Senate is running for president now themselves in 2008.
CROWLEY: And I just don‘t think that‘s so conducive. It‘s conducive to people going out and being sort of loan sharks and trying to get their share of the limelight.
CROWLEY: And I don‘t see it being conducive to building a lot of bridges with Bush. So, you know, I‘m pretty skeptical about this talk.
CARLSON: That is—no, that is actually an excellent point.
Michael Crowley, A.B. Stoddard, thank you both.
CROWLEY: Thank you.
CARLSON: Still to come, one down, one to go. Donald Rumsfeld was forced out just hours after the midterm election results came in. Will Dick Cheney be the next victim of the White House shakeup? Many want to believe it.
And on the Democrats‘ side, rumors are flying that Howard Dean may be on his way out as party chairman with a high-profile replacement.
That story when we come back.
CARLSON: A lot of Republicans probably thought the news couldn‘t get any worse in the wake of the thrashing they took at the polls earlier this week, but they were wrong. Just hours later, Donald Rumsfeld lost his job. Maybe a good thing, but it was too late to help Republican candidates. Now some party faithful are furious; others are wondering who‘s going to be next on the chopping block.
Joining me now, a man who predicted the Republican rout in “The Hill” newspaper on Election Day and was praised afterward correctly as a man who saw the Democratic tsunami coming. A Washington insider if there ever was one, a folk hero, our friend MSNBC‘s own Joe Scarborough.
How is that for an intro, Joe?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: Hey, Tucker. That‘s pretty awesome.
CARLSON: Yes, thank you.
So, I mean, there is some truth in—I mean, Republicans have a reason to be mad, don‘t they, that this happened, the firing of Rumsfeld, but too late to help them?
SCARBOROUGH: They really do. I could not imagine how I would feel were I a Republican congressman who had blindly followed George W. Bush as most Republican congressmen have over the past six years and spent my entire campaign on the stump defending this war, and by extension, defending Donald Rumsfeld, when history of this conflict showed that he made several terrible mistakes and didn‘t send enough troops over to the battlefield. Didn‘t follow instruction or advice of a lot of generals, was a terrible micromanager over there.
And then to have George W. Bush fire him the day afterward and then hear that this was in the works for quite some time, I would—you k now, I would blame my political loss and the end of my political career on George W. Bush. And think about all the party chairmen, all the chairmen in the Republican Party in the House and the Senate that are no longer chairmen because of Rumsfeld.
SCARBOROUGH: No, a lot of anger on Capitol Hill, and I think we are going to really see some recriminations. And you‘re going to have a lot of Republicans that are not going to follow George W. Bush blindly anymore.
CARLSON: But I don‘t understand, though, why the White House did it. I mean, the one thing—say whatever you want about Bush and the people around him. They are very clever politically, very clever, and they want to win elections. It helps them when Republicans get elected.
Why would they do something that is so apparently stupid?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, certainly the announcement the day after election helped them take control of the news cycle the 24 hours after this almost historic rout that really certainly proved that there‘s a realignment in American politics, especially in the Northeast. But at the same time, you talk to insiders and other analysts and they will tell you that Bush couldn‘t fire Rumsfeld a week or two weeks before the election because it would look like he was desperate. And, of course, if he fired him in April or May there would have be hearings throughout the summer for his replacement. That would have gotten ugly, too.
So, perhaps he should have listened to his departing chief of staff, Andy Card, who told him in December of 2004 he needed to fire Rumsfeld. Of course, Card wasn‘t alone. He was also hearing that from Colin Powell and his wife and just about everybody else in the White House other than his dog Barney.
CARLSON: Yes. And you never know what Barney may have said.
SCARBOROUGH: Never know.
CARLSON: I don‘t—is there a—I mean, I buy your analysis completely that a lot of these candidates lost because of their ties to Bush. That seems obvious. But were there Republicans who disavowed Bush and won because they did so?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I don‘t really know about the specifics. Certainly you can see that Lincoln Chafee ran a much closer race throughout...
SCARBOROUGH: ... a lot of his campaign than people would have expected. But hard to say. I really just don‘t know the specifics of that. But I certainly know that what worked for me when I was in Congress being an Independent, going after Democrats, going after Republicans, speaking my mind. That certainly would have helped.
But the problem is that the Republican Party essentially on Capitol Hill became nothing more than a rubberstamp for this president from 2001 to 2006. If somebody decided it do it six months ago, I think it would have been by and far too late...
SCARBOROUGH: ... because think—think about this: you would have been going to the polls this time talking about supporting the war, talking about supporting a $7 trillion prescription drug benefit. You‘d have to talk about supporting Ted Kennedy‘s education program. You‘d have to talk about supporting the largest deficits and largest debts ever.
Let‘s face it, this Republican Party was not conservative in the least.
CARLSON: You‘re right.
SCARBOROUGH: And George W. Bush, darting to the middle, really hurt a lot of his conservative—conservative brethren.
CARLSON: And just on a personal note, since you served in Congress and you got out voluntarily—you left to do other things, and I‘m glad you did—what is it like do you think for the guys who, you know, up until two months ago thought they were going to be reelected, have spent their entire lives in politics, and all of a sudden they‘re staring unemployment in the face? Is that crushing or what is that like, I wonder?
SCARBOROUGH: It is. It is beyond crushing.
I remember telling a former congressman who lost an election and got booted out that I was going to voluntarily leave and come back home because I needed to be with my sons, and he leaned forward—we were in the Capitol Hill dining room, and he leaned forward and he grabbed both of my hands and he said, “Don‘t do it. Don‘t do it. Stay here.”
And he was deadly serious. He said, “Stay here as long as you can. You don‘t understand. You‘re in a cocoon. It will never get any better than this. Stay.”
And that‘s—that‘s how it‘s like for 99 percent of these guys who leave, especially when they don‘t leave voluntarily.
You know, Tucker, I left voluntarily. I wanted to get out of Washington. I was disgusted with a lot of things that were going on.
I sort of saw what was come with the Kennedy education bill and the runaway spending. But at the same time, you know, even though politics was not my life, I sort of stumbled into it...
SCARBOROUGH: ... it was extraordinary difficult. It was an unbelievable transition to have your phone ringing all the time and being able to call anybody and get a call back in five minutes, the people stopping to return your phone call. And of course...
CARLSON: Oh, of course.
SCARBOROUGH: ... if I weren‘t such a great guy and so emotionally stable, it would have hurt really bad.
CARLSON: I think people are afraid to leave Congress because they don‘t—they don‘t know how great cable news is. If they knew, they would be leaving in droves.
SCARBOROUGH: If they only knew. But please, it‘s just like northwest Florida. We don‘t want the secret to get out.
Stay in Congress as long as you can.
CARLSON: Joe Scarborough, thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Tucker. And welcome to the great Gulf Coast.
CARLSON: Thanks, man.
Coming up, the election is over and the GOP purge is well under way.
Ken Mehlman is stepping down. Will Karl Rove be next out the door?
And Harold Ford lost Tennessee‘s Senate race. That doesn‘t mean he dropped off the radar screen, though. He could be in line for a high-profile job. We‘ll tell you what it is when we come back.
CARLSON: The latest victim of the Republicans post-election purge, RNC chairman Ken Mehlman. And he‘s not likely to be the last to go in the wake of the party‘s midterm thrashing at the polls.
Who is running the show over at Republican Party headquarters?
Here to talk about that, among other things, Brad Blakeman. He‘s former deputy assistant to President Bush.
BRAD BLAKEMAN, FMR. DEPUTY ASSIST. TO PRESIDENT BUSH: : Welcome.
Good to see you, Tucker.
CARLSON: So, you know, everyone goes through the familiar motions in the wake of a loss. Every time, “We need to rethink. We need to regroup. We need to think about our message.” But nobody ever really does that, or rarely does that.
Do you think the Republican Party is going to rethink what it stands for and what it does? And if so, what are the conclusions it ought to reach?
BLAKEMAN: Well, first of all, let me say this about Ken Mehlman. He‘s not a victim at all. Ken Mehlman leaves the RNC being a very effective chair. I know Ken Mehlman very well. I served with him in the White House and before that.
So Ken is leaving on his own for a great future.
CARLSON: You know what? Let me just say, Brad, I agree with you. And I‘ll be honest, I am on the road, and I think that script does not reflect my views. I actually agree with that, and I‘m sorry that I said that.
So, yes, I think he is leaving on his own, too. Absolutely.
BLAKEMAN: Thank you.
CARLSON: But to the point, I mean, the Republican Party is a pretty liberal party by traditional definitions now. It is a huge spending party with a Utopian foreign policy.
Are they going to start to rethink that?
BLAKEMAN: We have to go back to our roots, absolutely. We got a
great thumping at the polls, but if we put it into historical perspective -
and we should for your viewers—is an incumbent president in the second midterm typically loses 29 seats in the House and three seats in the Senate. So what you‘ve seen is not without a historic precedent.
But having said that, yes, we took a thrashing at the polls, and we have to return to our basics. And if you listen to Newt Gingrich, he‘s probably one of the folks that we must listen to, because he brought us that ‘94 great victory, and we do have to return to the things that made us winners—fiscal responsibility.
CARLSON: One of those things...
CARLSON: Right. And not, you know, starting wars in the name of spreading democracy to people who never heard of the word was not one of the things the Republican Party was founded on. I wonder if the resignation and the firing of Donald Rumsfeld suggests a new tact in the Middle East and in Iraq specifically.
Do you think?
BLAKEMAN: Well, I‘m not so sure about our tact changing in the Middle East. But I will say this, that bringing in Dr. Gates as the new secretary of defense is a sign that the president is willing to be receptive to changes in the war in Iraq. I think the Iraq committee that the president has put together that‘s a bipartisan committee will have great suggestions. I‘m sure the president won‘t take all of them, but some of them may be new ideas that we should look at.
So this president has never been somebody who has been stubborn, who‘s not going to listen to people. He will listen to people. But now we‘re in a different situation.
Certainly the departure of Secretary Rumsfeld I think was brilliant on the part of the White House. It sucked the air right out of the Democrats because they were champing at the bit for another set of investigations to get Rumsfeld in the chair in January. And they‘re not going to have that opportunity.
CARLSON: It‘s a little late now, though. Right, it was a brilliant political move that took place after the political disaster.
I mean, do you know what I mean? It‘s like putting fire on a—water on a fire that has already burned out.
Back to the RNC, though...
CARLSON: ... so Mehlman is out. Word has it that Michael Steele, the unsuccessful Republican Senate candidate from Maryland was offered the job and turned it down.
Who do you think the players are, the contenders are for this position? Mary Matalin? Is she on your list? Who else?
BLAKEMAN: I think Maria Cino, who ran the Department of Transportation as acting secretary for a while, was the deputy over there, certainly is a great political operative. People like Rob Portman I‘m sure will be looked at, who is our current OMB director. Rob is a former congressman, had a great re-elect record in Ohio, has worked with the Hill brilliantly.
We have a bunch of god people to choose from, but what we need at the RNC in the next few years is somebody to be a face of the Republican Party, and Ken Mehlman was a great technician. And he let the president be the face of the party.
CARLSON: Yes, I agree with that. Yes. And that worked great.
What about Michael Steele? Why would he turn that down do you think?
Have you heard?
BLAKEMAN: Who knows? I mean, Michael may have his eye on other opportunities to run for office. He certainly would have been a great choice to lead our party, but we have a lot of great folks out there who would be willing to lead this party and reinvigorate this party for a victory in ‘08.
CARLSON: All right.
Brad Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President Bush.
I appreciate it, Brad.
BLAKEMAN: Thank you.
CARLSON: Still to come, al Qaeda threatens to blow up the White House. Will terrorists get bolder in the wake of the president‘s election defeat? That‘s what they‘re claiming.
Plus, what effect, if any, will Nancy Pelosi‘s turn as House speaker have on the presidential aspirations of Hillary Clinton? Answers to that when we come back.
CARLSON: Still to come, his party won big on Election Day, but could Howard Dean lose his job anyway? And will liberal Democrats find themselves out in the cold now that the tide has turned toward moderates in the Democratic Party? All that in just a minute, but right now here is a look at your headlines.
CARLSON: Welcome back, we‘re coming to you from New Orleans at the NBC News bureau here right in the city. The terrorists group al Qaeda calling President Bush, quote, “The most stupid president in history.” Sounding like Borat. An audio recording posted today, an al Qaeda leader celebrated Donald Rumsfeld‘s resignation and the big blow the Republicans suffered in the midterms, he also threatened to blow up the White House. Does the president‘s perceived vulnerability hurt American security. Joining me now to talk about that among other things, from Orlando, Florida Pat Campbell, he‘s the host of “The Pat Campbell Show” on 540 WFLA. And in New York City, Alex Bennett, he hosts “The Alex Bennett Program” on Sirius Satellite Radio. Welcome to you both.
Alex, this is a sensitive topic and I‘m not exactly sure how to approach it except directly. Democrats win, Al Qaeda celebrates. What does that mean?
ALEX BENNETT, HOST, “THE ALEX BENNETT PROGRAM” ON SIRIUS: Well, just because al Qaeda is celebrating don‘t forget the millions of Americans who are celebrating too. I mean just because we have some—
CARLSON: I agree, I‘m not saying that its Democrats are the party of al Qaeda.
BENNET: Just because we have something in common. I was thinking about this and I was just thinking, why do we care really what al Qaeda thinks, it‘s what al Qaeda does that matters. They are going to seize every opportunity to try and gloat and do things like that. But the fact is I think the good will that we‘ve gotten over the past few days around the world as well has more than, you know, made that well worth it.
CARLSON: So al Qaeda is happy, who else is happy?
BENNETT: Who is happy? I think a lot of the governments of the world are happy. They have interviewed people around the world and people say, you know, the American people are good. Bush is bad. And we now have more faith in the American people. I think --
CARLSON: I wonder—why is that though? I mean let‘s dig a little deeper, Pat and then we‘ll go back to you Alex because I know you‘re going to get mad and I understand why, but Pat, why is that? Why would al Qaeda and the Belgians both be happy about the Democratic takeover of Congress?
PAT CAMPBELL, HOST, “THE PAT CAMPBELL SHOW”: First of all I don‘t know where any of this good will is that Alex is talking about. I haven‘t seen a whole lot of it, I‘ll tell you who one of the big group of winners was on Election Day. And that‘s illegal immigrants. I welcomed them on my program, all twenty something million of them and their families because for all intents and purposes they are going to be American citizens, they‘re a big winner. Let‘s get back to the al Qaeda thing for a moment. I‘m a realist and I‘m a big believer in something Jack Welsh used to do over at General Electric, he‘d start every meeting with phrase, what‘s the reality. We talked about the reality of Tuesday‘s election on my program this morning and it really irritated some of my callers because the reality is and you can see it today, George McGovern, former senator George McGovern is going to be meeting with about 60 key members, Democratic members of Congress next week and the plan is to bring the troops home in June.
The reality is the American people have spoken. They do not support this war, and we are going to cut and run. Now, that‘s going to have consequences for us globally and we‘re starting to see the consequences today. I congratulated Osama bin Laden on my program, I congratulated the insurgents, they were right, we do not have the patience, we do not have the stomach for the long fight. They knew that, we haven‘t won a war since World War II. They know our track record, we cut and run in Vietnam, we cut and run in Lebanon. We cut and run in Somalia and we‘re going to cut and run here. It may be what the American people want right now but it‘s going to have dire consequences for us globally down the road.
BENNETT: Pat I think the problem—
CARLSON: It‘s kind of hard to argue with that, isn‘t it Alex?
BENNETT: No it isn‘t, it‘s very easy to argue with that because Pat, you know, I think since World War II in many cases maybe save the Korean Conflict, we have --
CAMPBELL: What‘s our exit strategy in Korea by the way?
CAMPBELL: I said what‘s our exit strategy in Korea?
BENNETT: Well --
CAMPBELL: We‘re still there buddy, we‘re still there.
BENNETT: There are four guards at the border. But any way, the point I‘m making is, is that we have not recently picked our wars wisely. And when you go into a war that is a not a wise war to go into, or one where you really shouldn‘t have gone in there, you don‘t have exactly the same will to fight it as the people who were there and fighting for their land.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right.
BENNETT: This is the kind of thing --
CAMPBELL: No, Alex is right. We‘re a society of instant gratification, we were spoiled by the first Gulf War. It was like a five day made for TV event, and if it‘s going to take longer than five days, Osama knows, we don‘t have the patience.
BENNETT: I was against that war in Iraq, but I‘ll tell you one thing if you were going to go in there you should of gone in there with the amount of people it would take to do the job with armored equipment, with the proper equipment for the troops. We didn‘t do any of that, we just went in like --
CARLSON: Speaking of second thoughts, so you have this election, took place on Tuesday, Democrats swept. They did so on Iraq, which is an issue really embodied by Howard Dean who ran for president famously on an anti-Iraq platform. So Dean presides over the party that wins and now word is he is on his way out. The Republicans even reporting that some Democrats would like to see Harold Ford Jr. take his place. Is this actually likely to happen, Alex?
BENNETT: Bye-bye Howard. You know I‘m not one of these people that have liked Howard Dean as the head of the Democratic National Committee, he‘s too blustery. He says things he shouldn‘t say when he—I mean he just is the wrong guy for the job.
CARLSON: Wait, he‘s the wrong guy. Wait, hold on. So he presides over a party that takes over Congress for the first time in 12 years. Do you think he ought to be replaced by a guy who just lost?
BENNETT: I don‘t think that he was responsible or the architect for that. I think Nancy Pelosi had more to do that than anybody. I think she gave them the marching orders. I think she‘s the one that‘s the hero of this particular scenario. Howard Dean basically at times was an impediment to moving forward. As you know a lot of the Democrats are mad at him because they feel he didn‘t spread the money out the way he should have to certain congressional seats. The whirlwind (INAUDIBLE) were lost because they didn‘t have enough finances to put them ahead of the game. He‘s just not the right guy for the job. Now they mentioned Harold Ford, Jr. I‘m not the biggest fan of Harold Ford, Jr., but he is a more soft spoken guy who I think can also go out and stomp—and this is a job of the head of the Democratic National Committee, go out and stump and get a lot of money. Because he‘s got that kind of that star appeal.
CARLSON: Well it seems to me that that job is to win elections and you point out that Nancy Pelosi is responsible for this week‘s Democratic win. Most Americans before this week I don‘t think knew who Nancy Pelosi was. But now, you hear all sorts of Democrats saying this is a historic moment the first woman in the speaker‘s office, it‘s a huge deal for women, every woman in America is the victor here, not just a single lefty from San Francisco. Does—I wonder Pat, does this make, first of all do you buy this. Do you understand what these feminists are talking about A? And B, does it make it easier for Hillary?
CAMPBELL: Yeah. First of all I don‘t buy into the line that the Democrats beat the Republicans, I think the Republicans beat themselves. They strayed from the core values.
CARLSON: I agree with that, that‘s right.
CAMPBELL: These aren‘t the guys that came in 1994 with the contract with America. They got drunk with their own power and arrogance. You know I‘ve been on the radio for the last two years having to defend the indefensible. People like my former Congressman Bob Ney who became drunk with power and corruption. Mark Foley down here. Runaway deficit spending. Now, Wednesday was the greatest day for me in talk radio because I get to go on the radio and now I get to play offense, which is my strength and it‘s like bobbing for water. I can‘t miss. Now when it comes to Howard Dean, Republicans want Dean to stay. Please God, keep him there. The guy is a lunatic, he‘s a loose nut. Now if I was a Democrat, I like Harold Ford. You know why? He‘s got what we call a high likability index. He‘s a likable guy. He‘s a nice guy, he‘s very charismatic. Although he is young, I don‘t know if he‘s actually up for the challenge of being the head of the DNC right now though.
CARLSON: Alex, what do you make of this idea that Nancy Pelosi is a victory for all women? I mean all women from a tiny hut in Namibia to the high rises of Tokyo, Nancy Pelosi‘s election, imminent election as speaker of the House is good for all women. I mean that‘s why people don‘t elect Democrats typically because they say dumb things like that, don‘t you think?
BENNETT: I think there are a lot of people, a lot of women that came before her that made the path easier, not the least of which was Gina Davis when she played the female president of the United States and people saw that on TV. I mean but you‘ve had (INAUDIBLE) and you‘ve had the Indira Ghandis.
CARLSON: Like eight people watch that show I think.
BENNETT: In this day and age I think to vote or not vote for somebody because they‘re a woman is pretty passe. I think that we‘re getting ready to accept anybody who can do the job. And I don‘t know that this makes it any easier for Hillary.
CARLSON: Then why is it the Democrats are always—I mean I agree with you completely. Then why is it that they‘re stuck in this 1975 mode always lecturing us about the first this, the first that, the first Samoan insurance commissioner, like anybody cares. When are they going to knock that off? I hope very soon.
BENNETT: We have the first Islamic congressman, yeah, I heard that one too.
CARLSON: Exactly. I mean how uninterested can you be? I‘m not.
BENNETT: I‘m saying that this is, it‘s kind of myopic, it‘s kind of old fashioned to even think that Hillary is going to somehow be hobbled by the fact that she is a woman. She‘s going to be hobbled by the fact that she‘s Hillary. And I think that that‘s, you know, that people are not going to care for her or care—would be against her because she‘s a woman in this particular case.
CARLSON: Do you, Pat, when you look at Hillary Clinton is woman the first word that comes to mind?
CAMPBELL: No, to be honest. Look—
BENNETT: You can‘t say the word that comes to mind, can you Pat?
CAMPBELL: I can‘t say the word that comes to mind on the TV here.
Actually I think having Pelosi and she really is an unproven element as far as being the majority leader. We have seen what she‘s done as minority leader, but I think he actually makes Hillary look more appealing, more rationale more middle of the road as a candidate and this may actually work out in Hillary‘s advantage.
CARLSON: You know what, I think it‘s a really smart point. I totally agree with that. Hillary Clinton is far to the right of Nancy Pelosi and I think that helps Hillary. Pat, Alex, thank you both.
BENNETT: Hey, thank you.
CAMPBELL: Have a great weekend.
CARLSON: You, too. Newly elected Senators Bob Casey and Jim Webb are not your moveon.org variety Democrats, so how do moveon.org variety Democrats feel about their election. We‘ll ask one of them when we come back.
CARLSON: Have you taken a close look at some of the Democrats who got elected on Tuesday? They‘re pretty conservative. Could it be a bittersweet victory for the left wing of the Democratic Party? We‘ll discuss that when we come back in 60 seconds.
CARLSON: -- news bureau here. Many of the Democrats who won the 30 or so congressmen swept in on the Democratic side on this Tuesday were pretty moderate, some of them even conservative. Well how do liberal activist groups, groups like moveon.org, Daily Coast, how are they responding to this. A bittersweet development? Joining me now to break down exactly how the left feels about the election of moderates, Washington director of moveon.org, Tom Matzzie. Tom, thanks for joining us.
TOM MATZZIE, MOVEON.ORG: Thank you Tucker, glad to be here.
CARLSON: When you hear Harold Ford, look straight into the camera and say I‘m a Democrat and I love Jesus, and this is an explicitly Christian campaign I‘m running, and by the way I‘m pro-life and pro-gun and anti-illegal immigration. Is that your party that he‘s talking about?
MATZZIE: I think he‘s probably representing some Democrats. I think there is a—
CARLSON: Like how many, like six or seven or more?
MATZZIE: I don‘t know. But let‘s talk about who won on Tuesday and let‘s first start in the senate. You‘ve got five out of the six new United States senators are Democrats who are certainly progressives. And I think that‘s important to understand. And then you look at the House of Representatives, what are we up to, 28, 29, I can‘t remember what the exact number is right now. You have 18 to 20 of them who are progressive. The progressive caucus in the House of Representatives expects to expand to over 70 new members.
CARLSON: Here is what‘s striking, I mean there are many things striking. The most striking thing to me as just an observer of all this, I‘ve never worked in politics, but just as someone who likes to watch. There have never been in my lifetime this many Democrats who openly proclaim their opposition to legal abortion. That kind of has been the deal killer issue for Democrats as you know, they call it choice. You know if you‘re not for legal abortion, you really don‘t have a place in the Democratic Party. And all of a sudden, apparently you do. What do you think of that?
MATZZIE: Well, there have always been a variety of opinions on abortion in the Democratic Party. But the major issues facing the country today, look at Iraq for example, which is a very important issue to our members.
CARLSON: I can‘t let you blow past that.
MATZZIE: I can‘t let you bring up issues that weren‘t essential to the election Tucker.
CARLSON: That‘s not true.
MATZZIE: Let‘s talk about the issues that are essential to the election.
CARLSON: That‘s a totally fair point.
MATZZIE: Let‘s talk about Iraq.
CARLSON: And we can do that in just one second.
MATZZIE: Ok, go ahead Tucker.
CARLSON: No problem, we can talk about Iraq. Ok, absolutely, and you‘re right. Abortion was not central to the election. However, it was only 12 years ago that Bob Casey, Senior, governor of Pennsylvania, literally was not allowed to talk at the Democratic Convention because of this topic. You haven‘t noticed the change? I‘m not making this up in my mind.
MATZZIE: What‘s the change, Tucker?
CARLSON: The change is that prominent Democrats who are getting an awful lot of national money are publicly declaring themselves, quote, pro-life and that‘s something that Democratic interest groups, NARAL and the abortion industry groups have never allowed until this point. I don‘t know if it‘s good or bad, I‘m just saying I‘ve noticed it and I‘m surprised that you haven‘t.
MATZZIE: Well certainly we‘ve noticed, there are some Democrats who are elected who, you know, hold a position which is different than a lot of other Democrats. But, you know, the issue was on certain issues that are faced—the election rather was fought on certain issues that are facing the country, really big issues. If you want to pick a fight about abortion Tucker, go ahead and pick it. But let‘s talk about Iraq.
CARLSON: Hey, slow down Tom, I‘m not picking, wait, I‘m not picking a fight at all, I‘m just observing something that happened. Is Iraq the new abortion though? Are you allowed as a Democrat to say stay the course? Can you have a Joe Lieberman position and call yourself a Democrat in 2006 do you think?
MATZZIE: You certainly can, but I think you‘re going to confront grass roots activists who have a big problem with that. You know, let‘s start with what Moveon members contributed to this election, over $27 million raised in support of Democratic candidates. Over seven million phone calls, over 6,000 events in the last two years. All in support of electing Democratic candidates around the country. So there is a grassroots movement that has high expectations for the Democratic leadership now. Largely on Iraq Tucker.
CARLSON: Look, I know that. That‘s why I wanted to talk to you about it. I‘m not picking a fight with you, I wonder, though, the issue that seems to tie all the Democrats on the left together even more than Iraq is the idea that George W. Bush is evil. And I wonder if the pressure that you all are going to put on the Democratic Party won‘t in the end be counterproductive. I mean if the party doesn‘t at least seem to try to work with Bush, it will get defeated two years from now. Do you guys understand that?
MATZZIE: I don‘t think that‘s the question Tucker. The question is whether or not George Bush will respond to the mandate of the American people, which is for progress on the key issues facing the country. I think the Democrats have laid out a plan for what they want to do in the first 100 hours certainly in the House of Representatives, which should be something that the president can embrace and he has not yet declared whether or not he will. And I think there is a grassroots movement that supported Democrats getting elected and we‘re going to be supporting Democrats in passing this agenda. And then we‘re going to be looking for progress in Iraq from the Democrats.
CARLSON: What about Republicans? Would you ever support a—is it a party hat group or would you support a Republican who had your issues, have you ever supported a Republican?
MATZZIE: Moveon members make the decisions about our endorsements and they have not yet voted to endorse a Republican, that‘s true. But I don‘t think those sorts of decisions are outside of the realm of possibility. It‘s in the hands of Moveon members, they decide those things.
CARLSON: So basically it‘s just a wing of the Democratic Party, it‘s not very independent group then, you‘ve never supported a Republican. I mean, you know.
MATZZIE: Well as you know Tucker, we‘ve taken certainly positions that run contrary to the establishment of the Democratic Party. You know we challenged Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, we‘ve even challenged other Democratic leaders when they‘ve strayed off the path of what Democrats should be standing for.
CARLSON: I think you more than challenged Lieberman, I think your group more than any other helped knock him off the slate as a Democrat. I mean by the way, I wasn‘t against that, I mean, good for you. Thanks I appreciate it, Tom. Thanks for joining us.
MATZZIE: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: The Reverend Ted Haggard and the journalist Borat, stir up more controversy. No gay hookers or crystal meth involved this time. But stick around many details coming, we‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back from New Orleans. When you think of this city, you think of beads, topless women and Willie Geist. We don‘t have the first two, but the third, is right here.
WILLIE GEIST: Tucker, you don‘t have nearly enough beads on yourself.
I mean you‘re not showing your chest enough.
CARLSON: No, I‘m not.
GEIST: Thank goodness for that, actually.
CARLSON: America thanks me.
GEIST: As you know, Tucker, it‘s been a tough couple of days for President Bush, his party lost control of congress, he had to unload his defense secretary, al Qaeda said today it was going to blow up the White House. That one stings particularly. So you‘d think Hugo Chavez might give the president the week off, well no such luck. During a speech the Venezuelan president suggested that if Saddam Hussein was to be given the death penalty, then Bush should be executed too. Chavez‘s comments came right after the release of a report from Venezuela‘s National Assembly that said the attacks of September 11 were carried out by the Bush administration. And I‘ll tell you what Tucker, the president cannot catch a break this week. I mean if it‘s not al Qaeda blowing up the White House, its Chavez calling for his execution. I mean this is a rough week.
CARLSON: You know looking at this big guy with a tiny brain ranting into the camera, you‘d never know that Venezuela is a real country, it‘s a huge country with a lot of oil and sky scrapers, they have electricity. I mean it‘s unbelievable that he heads it.
GEIST: Unfortunately he has most of the oil and then the rest of the people don‘t have any of the oil, so.
CARLSON: Good point.
GEIST: It‘s not a good place to be right now. Well Tucker, the documentary film “Jesus Camp” shocked a lot of people with its scene of children praying in tongues and blessing President Bush. The film was shot at the religious summer camp “Kids on Fire” in Devils Lake, North Dakota. The camps director has now decided to shut the camp down for several years because of the threats and negative feedback she‘s received. It probably didn‘t help that the Reverend Ted Haggard appears in “Jesus Camp.” He is of course the preacher accused of using drugs and having a relationship with a gay prostitute. In the documentary Haggard tells camp staff, “We don‘t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity, it‘s written in the bible.” Whoops, here comes that hypocrisy again. But you know it doesn‘t say a word about crystal meth in the bible, so he‘s clean there. Thank goodness.
CARLSON: No, not one word.
GEIST: Not a single word, I‘ve read the whole thing, I haven‘t seen anything about crystal meth, nothing.
CARLSON: Ted Haggard, you know if you brought to me a movie script that had the character of the Reverend Ted Haggard in it, I would throw it back in your face and say, it‘s just not realistic, you know what I mean? But I must say, “Jesus Camp”, I mean I‘ve been to a number of Democratic conventions, nothing I saw in “Jesus Camp” is any weirder than I have seen in politics.
GEIST: You know what, I didn‘t see “Jesus Camp”. For them to shut down the camp, there must have been something odd going on. It‘s not just threatening emails that shut down the camp, I don‘t know.
CARLSON: That‘s a good point.
GEIST: Finally Tucker, the Borat juggernaut continues to roll $56 million worldwide at last check. And humorless eastern European nations continue to fan the flames. Russia‘s federal culture and cinematography agency better known as the KGB has declined to certify the movie, blocking it from appearing in Russian theaters. Meanwhile, a group of college students who get drunk and watch porn with Borat in the movie have sued because they said they signed waivers while they were drunk. Don‘t you hate that Tucker, when someone gives you beer and takes advantage of you, that‘s terrible?
CARLSON: I hate that.
GEIST: He was on Leno last night, I don‘t know if you saw it. It was pretty raunchy, I have to say, I‘m a fan of Borat, I haven‘t seen the movie yet, I plan to. But it was pretty bad. He was getting a little possibly over the line. He was sitting next to Martha Stewart and I think scaring the daylights out of her.
CARLSON: And she‘s been to prison! Getting drunk, watching porn, now they‘re suing, amazing. Willie Geist.
GEIST: All right Tucker, we‘ll see you.
CARLSON: Truly the greatest. Thank you Willie, have a great weekend.
That‘s our show, thank you for watching too. We‘ll be back here on Monday.
Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris, have a great weekend.
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