Guests: Rosa Brooks, Peter Fenn, Pat Buchanan, Harold Ford, Jr., Rep. Jim Moran
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the Monday edition of the program.
There was no professional football over the weekend, but there were spectator sports, mostly Hillary Clinton‘s trip to Iowa. The action included attacks on President Bush, laugh lines involving her husband, and some off-keys singing caught on tape.
More on that in just a minute. But first, the joke that wasn‘t. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: And what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?
CLINTON: I thought I was funny. You know, you guys keep telling me, lighten up, be funny. I get a little funny and now I‘m being psychoanalyzed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: It was a pretty good line, the first genuinely amusing thing Senator Clinton has said in public in a long time. Then, almost as soon as she said, it, she got busy denying she had said it.
Her husband? “No,” Hillary claimed with a straight face. It had nothing to do with her husband. It was a joke about Osama bin Laden. A joke about Osama bin Laden? Please.
No, you heard it right the first time, ladies and gentlemen. It was a woman subtly mocking her husband, and good for her. God knows he does deserve it. But even a mild dig turned out to be too risky for Hillary Clinton, who retreated to her default position, which is phoniness.
It was a minor moment, but it was a telling moment. Hillary Clinton‘s problem isn‘t her politics, which, amazingly enough, are now centrist by the current standards of the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton‘s problem is courage, or the lack of it.
When was the last time you heard her say something bold or unpopular or even interesting? It‘s a problem. In fact, it‘s a deal-killer.
Americans will vote for you even if they don‘t agree with you. Bush proved that. But they won‘t forgive cowardice. Hillary Clinton is likely to learn that the hard way.
Joining us to deconstruct Hillary Clinton, as well as the rest of the day‘s news, “Los Angeles Times” columnist Rosa Brooks; Peter Fenn, Democratic strategist and contributor to “The Hill‘s Pundits Blog”; and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan.
Welcome to all of you.
ROSA BROOKS, COLUMNIST, “LOS ANGELES TIMES”: Tucker.
CARLSON: ... when was the last time you heard Hillary Clinton say something really courageous, counterintuitive, something that all the cool kids disagree with? Has she ever said anything like that.
BROOKS: About 1992.
BROOKS: Or somewhere around there. But, you know...
CARLSON: The “baking cookies” line?
BROOKS: ... I am not—yes, the “baking cookies ‘line, the Tammy Wynette line.
CARLSON: Yes, that was—you‘re right, that was actually pretty cold.
BROOKS: That was the real Hillary. I think she got pummeled so badly after that that she decided she was going to be cautious. And I think she‘s paying the price.
CARLSON: In this year, though, when you‘ve got all of this heavy-duty talent on the Democratic side—Barack Obama, John Edwards, whatever you think of their politics, talented guys, for real, I think—can she run a deeply cautious campaign and still get the nomination?
BROOKS: You know, I don‘t think so, but I don‘t actually think it‘s because of her personality. I mean, I‘m not crazy about her. On the other hand, I liked her little National Anthem sing.
I would be really embarrassed. I would never do that. I thought it was good that she did it.
CARLSON: I would not. No way. I agree.
BROOKS: But I think it warmed up a lot of people to her, but what concerns me more and I think is going to concern most people more is the caution on policy.
BROOKS: It‘s still very, very hard to pin her down. Iowa wasn‘t an exception to that.
CARLSON: Well that‘s—I mean, Peter, listen to one of the things that she said. This is—I think we actually have the sound bite. This is Hillary Clinton suggesting that the president ought to finish the Iraq war so she doesn‘t have to deal with it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: The president has said this is going to be level to his successor. He has said that on more than one occasion. And I think it‘s the height of irresponsibility, and I really resent it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: President Bush is going to leave a mess for me, and I resent it. I shouldn‘t have to deal with messy things like Iraq.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Listen...
CARLSON: It‘s a problem that—yes?
FENN: ... but I think she‘s probably talking about the lives that are going to be lost, the billions of dollars that are going to be spent. And the problem that this president has is that he politically, and stupidly, politically, said, well, it‘s not going to be finished under my watch. We‘ll turn it over to the next guy. And he has said it several times.
CARLSON: Right. He has, right.
FENN: Look, you know, it‘s like President Clinton‘s favorite game of hearts, where you pass off that queen of spades...
FENN: ... on to the next guy. I mean, that‘s what—that‘s what this is all about. For him to say that publicly is a dead-stone loser politically.
CARLSON: Well, of course it‘s a dead-stone loser. And I must say, as much as I dislike Bush for many of the things that he‘s done, including this war, I do admire his honesty in this case. The timetable of the war ought to be dictated by the requirements of American national security, not political terms.
FENN: Great. So, you know, what he‘s basically saying is, I have a plan, but I don‘t know when the plan‘s going to unfold. I‘m going to...
CARLSON: He‘s not in control. Remember?
FENN: Oh, he certainly doesn‘t appear so.
CARLSON: He‘s not.
FENN: I think you got that right.
CARLSON: What do you think of this, Pat, someone who has braved the snows of Iowa a couple of times? She said, If I knew then what I know now, there never would have been a vote. I was misled by the president, that‘s why I voted for this war back in 2002.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that‘s a problem for—well, Kerry‘s out of it. It‘s a problem for Edwards, too.
Look, she cast the most important vote of her life in the Congress of the United States, and it was—it was a vote to give George Bush a blank check to launch this war which has turned into a strategic disaster. Why didn‘t she ask the questions beforehand? Why did they vote with a blank check?
CARLSON: Yes, but I believe you, hardly a liberal, did ask those questions. You didn‘t have to be a screaming lefty. You said that at the time.
Why didn‘t she?
BUCHANAN: Well, exactly. And there are a lot of Democrats that did, came out there. Teddy Kennedy didn‘t vote for the war. But what they did, Tucker, they all know it was done in October of 2002 to get this out of the way for the election so that Bush and Cheney, riding high, would not be able to say they were unpatriotic, they didn‘t give me the authority to go to war.
Isn‘t that right, Peter?
FENN: Well, partly it‘s right, but she and others did ask questions.
They asked questions about the inspectors and why not wait. They asked questions about, OK, if we give you this authority, what does that mean? Well—but the problem is—the problem is with this is her point, which is accurate, which is if the information we know now were available then, there would have been no vote at all.
CARLSON: Well, I mean, you could say that about anything.
FENN: Well, not about anything.
CARLSON: In other words, if I was God I would never have made a bad choice.
Do you buy this, Rosa?
BROOKS: Well, she‘s right that it‘s a hot potato now. Everybody wants to hand it off. You know, she wants it over before she or anybody else takes office, anybody she likes. Bush wants to passes it on to somebody else.
Everybody wants it not to be their problem. The problem is, it just does sound a little bit disingenuous given that she was one of the—she voted for the war, and she was very, very slow, much too slow to back away from it. And now to kind of go, you know, it‘s his problem does sound...
BUCHANAN: Your point‘s well taken, Tucker. It is this—look, the president of the United States, he can say we‘re going to do the following things, but he can‘t know what the enemy is going to do, what they‘re capable of, what the situation is going to be.
What he said is, in effect, this war could be going on in 2009. If you want to turn around and pull out, we can lose it before then. That‘s what she seems to be saying, get our troops out of there by 2009 when I take my oath, regardless of the consequences.
CARLSON: Wait. Wait, hold on. Before we get to that—we‘re going to talk a lot more about Iraq.
Before we end this segment, I have to ask you, Rosa, as a woman—I hate that phrase, “As a woman.” No, no...
CARLSON: This does pertain to sex. Here‘s what Hillary Clinton said.
I‘m going to be asking—this is Mrs. Clinton speak. Hush in the room as the senator speaks.
BROOKS: Tucker needs to have a lot of things...
CARLSON: I‘m going to be asking people to vote for me...
BROOKS: You want to know how women feel about bow ties.
CARLSON: Based on my—I know how they feel. “Based on my entire life and experience, the fact that I‘m a woman, the fact that I‘m a mom is part of who I am.”
Is the fact that she‘s, as she put it, a mom, how would this make her a different or better president, do you think?
BROOKS: You know, I think you could be potentially a good president whether you‘re a mom or not a mom, male or female.
FENN: Or a dad, even.
BROOKS: That said—or even a dad. But that said...
CARLSON: So this is like irrelevant and stupid, you‘re saying.
BROOKS: On thing—no, it‘s not irrelevant and stupid, though. I mean, I think she‘s going up against a long—a stereotype that‘s been out there for a long time, which is that if a woman wants to succeed politically, she‘s got to be, you know, Margaret Thatcher, an iron lady...
CARLSON: Sort of like a dude.
BROOKS: Be more macho than thou. I think that‘s been one of Hillary‘s problem.
BUCHANAN: It‘s just a signal, Tucker, tell all you women, you know, those guys never went through what we went through. Stick with me. We know something.
BROOKS: And I actually think—I think it‘s a good thing...
BUCHANAN: That‘s right. And it‘s...
CARLSON: She can brag about her immutable genetic characteristics? It‘s like, who cares? You‘re a mom. I‘m glad. Unless you‘re making me dinner, it‘s irrelevant. I mean...
BROOKS: I don‘t think that‘s what she‘s doing at all.
BROOKS: Here, for once, I think she‘s doing something totally legitimate and reasonable, and I‘m glad to see she‘s doing it. She‘s just saying, you know what? It‘s OK to be a mom, it‘s OK to not be a mom. It doesn‘t matter.
CARLSON: So she‘s taking the stand on behalf of motherhood.
CARLSON: Exactly. What a brave woman.
FENN: You are the worst.
CARLSON: I know.
BROOKS: Don‘t mess with mom.
CARLSON: If you think the situation in Iraq is bad today, imagine that country being run by Iran. The Iranians are up for it. They said it out loud this weekend.
Is America rage at the Bush administration clouding our judgment about the wisdom of a troop withdrawal?
Plus, the queen of clouded judgment reemerges. Jane Fonda spoke at an anti-war protest in Washington this weekend. That can‘t be good for the anti-war movement, can it?
We‘ll tell you. We‘ll be right back.
CARLSON: Former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford, Jr.‘s run for the Senate ended in an electoral defeat in November, but that was far from the end of his political career. Now he‘s the chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. It‘s a position previously held by, among others, Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt, and former president Bill Clinton.
Joining us with insights about the Democratic Party and about the hard time his successor has incurred from the Congressional Black Caucus, one of my favorite Democrats, Harold Ford, Jr., from New York.
Congressman, thanks for coming on.
HAROLD FORD, JR. (D), FMR. TENNESSEE CONGRESSMAN: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: So who are you going to support in the 2008 election, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?
FORD: Well, as you know, the DLC is not allowed to take positions.
CARLSON: I mean you personally.
FORD: And I‘m going to adhere to the position of the—of the organization for one big reason. I think the DLC will play an enormous and important role in helping to outline some of the key issues that this race should really be about.
I heard your last conversation about Hillary Clinton and whether or not a woman can be elected president and the attributes. I would hope that we have moved beyond that point and that we will focus—as we have moved beyond the issue of race when it comes to Barack and we can confront these candidates with the real issues that people are concerned about, from Barack, to globalization, and a whole host of other things that are on voters‘ minds.
CARLSON: Right. Actually, my point was, simply because she‘s given birth doesn‘t necessarily qualify her to run the country. But I guess that‘s up for debate.
But you just said or implied that Barack Obama is someone who will not be judged by his race, we‘ve moved beyond the question of race when it comes to Barack Obama.
Do you believe that?
FORD: No. I‘m saying I think those in the media have a unique responsibility, as you talk very seriously and substantively about the issues, that you put those issues before the candidates and judge them based on how...
FORD: ... they would lead the country and how they would govern, and what their philosophy would be for a whole range of issues. And I hope the DLC is able to host leadership forums, not only in the presidential primary states, but to host forums around the country where we invite a new generation of voices, be they young politicians, young businesspeople, young civic and nonprofit leaders across the country to inject and offer their ideas and their answers and solutions for some of the big challenges. And to give the Democratic candidates for president an opportunity to choose from a menu of options and a menu of policy directives that this organization is able to put together.
I hope not to be moderate, conservative, liberal, or whatever. We want to be answer-oriented.
CARLSON: Right. Well, here‘s an answer you can provide.
John Edwards voted for the war in Iraq in 2002, so did Hillary Clinton. John Edwards has said, you know, I was wrong and I apologize. And I want to apologize to you, Democratic primary voters, for that vote.
Hillary Clinton, by contrast, this weekend in Iowa said, I was misled. You know, I didn‘t know. I voted in ignorance. It‘s the president‘s fault, not mine.
Is that good enough?
FORD: Well, voters will have to make that determination. One thing is clear. The evidence and the intelligence that we all believed—I was in the Congress. I voted in favor of that resolution.
If I knew then what I know today, I would not have voted for it. And in fairness to President Bush, I seriously doubt that he would have brought the resolution to the Congress.
Now, Vice President Cheney has disputed that, as you know. He indicated that even knowing today—if he had known then what he knows today, they still would have gone forward in Iraq, which raises other questions. But I don‘t believe the Congress would have voted in favor of it.
CARLSON: Well, that‘s...
FORD: The real question now is, where do we go from here? And we can
I don‘t live in the past. I don‘t think most Americans do, either.
They know we‘re in a mess in Iraq. We‘ve got to figure out a different course.
I‘m not in favor of this troop surge in and of itself. I think the president is going to have to do some more selling and explain not just to Democrats, but to Republicans and to the entire country...
CARLSON: OK. Well...
FORD: ... how does this work? And what do we—we all know we want to democratize and stabilize the country, but how will 21,000 more troops alone solve this?
CARLSON: I want to move quickly then to the president. Steven Cohen, who took your seat representing Memphis in the House of Representatives—
I believe the district is 60 percent black. He campaigned by saying, when elected, I will join the Congressional Black Caucus.
He tried to do that and was prevented from doing it because he‘s White, and for no other reason, according to members of the caucus itself.
That strikes me as racist. What‘s your position on that?
FORD: I‘m not in the Congress, Tucker. And I—you know, I‘ve got to focus here with the DLC. And I wish my colleagues in the Congress the very, very best. And...
CARLSON: But what do you—I mean, do you think that that‘s a fair criterion to use for admission, if you‘re the wrong color you don‘t get in? Isn‘t that wrong?
FORD: Well, the black caucus started several decades ago. And I think it‘s a longstanding practice, just like the women‘s caucus is the same way.
CARLSON: Huh, just like the women‘s caucus. So you support...
FORD: Tucker, I don‘t care to get into a debate with you.
CARLSON: I‘m not debating, I‘m just trying to get your position.
FORD: You know, I ran for the United States Senate in a state that
has never elected an African-American. So clearly, I believe voters should
I want voters to listen and weigh the issues.
There‘s—no admission to any caucus in the Congress will prevent any member from voting Republican, Democrat, voting for the things they care deeply about. And I would imagine that Congressman Cohen is going to vote what he believes in the best interest of those in the 9th District.
That‘s what I did for 10 years in the Congress, and that‘s how I would hope he would do, as well as the other 433 members, would listen to the issues, weigh the ideas, and do what‘s in the best interest of not only their district, but do what‘s in the best interest of the country.
CARLSON: Right. All right.
Congressman Harold Ford from New York.
Thanks a lot.
FORD: Thank you.
CARLSON: Coming up, the anti-war movement came together for a good old-fashioned protest in Washington. What went right? What went wrong? And were they glad to see Jane Fonda, who showed up?
Plus, one person who definitely wasn‘t at the protest but probably knows who was, Dick Cheney. We‘ll analyze Mr. Cheney‘s latest round of tough talks about his critics, because, in his words, he‘s the vice president and you‘re not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS, ACTIVIST: I haven‘t spoken at an anti-war rally in 34 years because I‘ve been afraid that because of the lies that have been and continue to be spread about me and that war that they would be used to hurt this new anti-war movement, but silence is no longer an option.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Anti-war protesters descended on Washington over the weekend to demand an end to U.S. military involvement in Iraq. They were joined by, among other celebrities, Jane Fonda, who 35 years ago traveled to North Vietnam to encourage that country‘s communist government to kill more Americans.
On Saturday in Washington she was greeted like a hero, which raises the question, have some opponents of this war allowed their hatred of Bush to destroy their judgment about what is best for this country?
Joining us again with answers, “LA Times” columnist Rosa Brooks;
Democratic strategist and contributor to “The Hill‘s Pundits Blog,” Peter Fenn; And MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan.
I can see you shifting in your seat, Peter. I want to read you a quote.
FENN: I‘m not shifting in my seat.
CARLSON: When I get up and hear Jane Fonda—not to re-litigate old crimes here, but Jane Fonda saying—this is what Jane Fonda said when she came back from Vietnam in 1972. And all—some POWs came back the following year, and they said, “We‘ve been tortured.”
She said, “These were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed.” They are “liars and hypocrites” for saying that they‘re mistreated by the North Vietnamese.
This is a woman I think has forfeited—not her right—it‘s not a good to have Jane Fonda at the front of your anti-war movement because of what she said. It‘s very hard to forgive things like that.
FENN: First of all, there were a lot of people at that anti-war rally. But she came back and said that, and then she apologized. She apologized.
CARLSON: At the rally? She just said that...
FENN: She apologized...
CARLSON: ... lies had been spread about her.
FENN: ... and there were lies spread about her. But she apologized for what she said.
And, you know, she said it was a mistake for her to go to North Vietnam. So, you know, I hauled (ph) her on that. I totally agree that it was.
But here‘s someone who, you know, every time this comes out, people question the patriotism of those who are protesting.
CARLSON: It‘s fair to question the patriotism of someone who encourages the murder of her own country‘s soldiers.
FENN: Well, she didn‘t encourage...
FENN: And she did not encourage the murder of her own—of her own...
CARLSON: Read the radio broadcast she gave on April 9, 1972.
BROOKS: You know, why is this remotely relevant?
CARLSON: Because I think it speaks to something deeper.
BROOKS: Wait. Wait. You know, there are 70 percent of Americans—for instance, the surge—oppose Bush‘s surge plan.
CARLSON: Yes. That‘s right.
BROOKS: That means that—you know, you ask a question like, 70 percent of Americans—who cares what one person thinks?
CARLSON: I‘ll tell you why.
CARLSON: I oppose this war, and I am not in any way defending the war. I am merely saying at this point we have all these important choices to make.
BROOKS: But why—why is this interesting? Why is it interesting that one individual...
CARLSON: I‘ll tell you exactly—I‘ll tell you exactly why, because for a lot of these people there is clearly—and definitely in her case—an anti-American agenda that‘s out in the open.
BROOKS: You know, I don‘t even think this is interesting to argue about. I mean, there are probably people in that—there were probably people in that anti-war march who also believe in UFOs.
CARLSON: Why isn‘t that interesting to argue about?
BROOKS: There are probably people in Congress who believe about UFOs.
FENN: Tucker, let‘s make something very clear. You could argue with Jane Fonda, you could disagree with her, you could be angry at her.
FENN: She is not anti-American. The people at that rally were not anti-American.
CARLSON: Well, I‘m not saying most people were anti-American. I‘m saying some of the leadership is.
FENN: And those—those people in our service corps now who—
General Petraeus stood up for, for their right to protest, their right to say what they believe about this war.
CARLSON: Everybody is for that right. That‘s a—I‘m not...
FENN: But I am sick and tired of the Dick Cheneys of the world and people questioning...
CARLSON: Really? Well, you know what I‘m sick and tired of? I‘m sick and tired of people who can‘t recognize anti-Americanism when they see it. I agree with you, Dick Cheney pulls that card out too much and he does...
FENN: Tucker, all of us, including Jane Fonda—what she did she apologized for it. She was wrong to do what she did. But for her—for you to question her and others who come before the American people...
CARLSON: Look, if you can‘t question the patriotism of someone who sat in an anti-aircraft gun, who mocked American POWs, ask Jim Webb and John McCain want they think.
BROOKS: Thirty-five years ago -- 35 years ago. As peter said, she was wrong, she apologized. You know, I wish—if I were organizing that war, I wouldn‘t have asked her to...
CARLSON: If she were on the right, she would never have gotten a pass.
BROOKS: But, you know...
BUCHANAN: Thirty-five years ago she gave aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war. It was treasonous what she did.
BROOKS: She shouldn‘t have done that. No.
BUCHANAN: Shouldn‘t have done that. And it‘s silly—it‘s silly for the anti-war movement to put her out front on national television as a face and voice of the anti-war movement.
FENN: But that‘s another question.
BROOKS: And you‘re talking about...
FENN: She‘s not the face of the anti-war movement.
CARLSON: Well, wait a second. If she‘s at the podium, why is she not the face...
FENN: There are a lot of faces...
BROOKS: This is not...
BROOKS: This is a group of people who wanted to go out. They‘re very diverse. Some of them probably can‘t stand her. Some of them probably admire her.
FENN: You‘ve got four-star generals...
BROOKS: You know, the point here is that most Americans oppose the war. You know, it‘s really...
CARLSON: And I‘m one of them, passionately.
BROOKS: Yes. Well, get over Jane Fonda. Get over it.
BUCHANAN: If you‘ve got an anti-affirmative action rally and you‘ve got David Duke up there speaking, who do you think is going to get the press?
BROOKS: She wouldn‘t have been my choice. But also, I just think that this becomes the constant way of sort of just making it seem as if opposition to the war is...
CARLSON: I spent the last four years arguing against the war. That‘s why I think that this is such a painful thing to see, people who actually...
FENN: Then we should have had you down there speaking.
CARLSON: I also want to ask you this question...
BROOKS: I will call them and I will ask them to invite you to a key...
CARLSON: Nothing makes me feel more pro-war than watching people with another separate sinister agenda hijack an anti-war sentiment for their own ends. I want to give you a great example.
They called this woman Mariah (ph) -- a girl, a 12-year-old girl, a sixth grader from Massachusetts, up to the podium to denounce the war. And, you k now, “America is seen as a liar now,” she said.
What kind of creepy movement would use a sixth grader for propaganda purposes?
BROOKS: How do you know she‘s being used?
CARLSON: She‘s in sixth grade.
FENN: She sounds like a pretty smart sixth grader to me.
BUCHANAN: Well, Kerry (ph) us an international pariah last week.
BROOKS: He was right, too.
BUCHANAN: An international pariah? A pariah?
FENN: Look at what‘s going on. The latest polls...
BUCHANAN: Look, we may be isolated and unpopular. An international pariah?
BROOKS: (INAUDIBLE) now think that we‘re a greater threat to world peace than anybody else out there.
CARLSON: Do you agree with them?
BROOKS: No, I don‘t agree with them. But that‘s called a pariah.
CARLSON: Then shouldn‘t we be making the case instead for why we‘re not a bigger threat than Kim Jong-Il?
BROOKS: Sure. We sure ought to.
FENN: But here‘s the problem. And you guys—if what the administration had done was followed your policy and your policy from the very beginning, which on September 12, 2001 was not to invade Iraq and create a war, our standing in this world would be hugely popular.
CARLSON: OK. But the war will never end if the anti—so-called
anti-war, so-called peace movement is hijacked by lunatics like Jane Fonda
I‘m just telling you as a practical matter.
FENN: OK. I understand the practicality and the pragmatism, and we all agree with you on that.
CARLSON: Whoa! All right.
BUCHANAN: Get the hook (ph) for Jane.
CARLSON: If you‘re not crazy about Dick Cheney, he has some guidance for you. He‘s the vice president and, guess what, Pal? You‘re not.
What‘s with the administration? Why do they need to remind us that they‘re in charge? We‘ll talk about that.
Plus, the vice president also left all options open to deal with Iran.
And as we learned today, the Iranians are taking the same position with us. So how do we avert a war with the most frightening regime in the Middle East?
If there‘s an answer, we‘ll find it.
CARLSON: Dick Cheney maybe the Greta Garbo of American politics. He appears to want to be alone. In the past five days though, Mr. Cheney has been a veritable well spring of quotes and sound bytes, many of them interesting. His recent interview with “Newsweek‘s” Richard Wolffe gave us many lightning bolts: a veiled warning to Iran, a fairly clean shot at the most visible Republican defector from the administration, Chuck Hagel, and a declaration that he, Mr. Cheney, is the vice president. You are not.
Here to dissect it all, “LA Times” columnist Rosa Brooks, Democratic strategist and contributor to the “Hill‘s” pundit‘s blog, Peter Fenn, and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan. Welcome to you all.
Rosa, it turns Dick Cheney is vice president. You, Rosa, are not.
ROSA BROOKS, “LA TIMES”: I know
CARLSON: I‘m not attacking Cheney. I‘m just wondering what is this about.
BROOKS: no, you‘re not attacking me?
BROOKS: I really wish I was the vice president, but I‘m not.
CARLSON: That would be interesting. You‘d have some conflicts with your boss. What kind of strategy is this? I mean, this is clearly a strategy. What does it mean?
BROOKS: It‘s the vampire strategy. I can‘t possibly explain it. Various horror movies actually shed a lot of light on this. I just don‘t know what they‘re thinking. They‘re on a different planet, maybe.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I call it the Frankenstein strategy. He‘s alive. He‘s alive. Look, I don‘t know why you bring this guy out, honestly Tucker. I mean, if the president‘s popularity is in the mid 20‘s, I‘d hate to think where Cheney is. What he does is further antagonize press people he‘s talking to. He further antagonizes the middle, that they‘re trying to sway. And he makes absurd statements again about the war.
CARLSON: So Pat, you were a communications director once upon a time.
I mean, you were in charge of this. This would have been your—
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It wasn‘t a hard job to be communications director for Ronald Reagan.
CARLSON: I‘m sure it wasn‘t but still.
BUCHANAN: Go ahead sir. Say what you like.
CARLSON: If Vice President Bush had said to you, you know Pat, I want to get at there and scream at the media? Would you have said that‘s a good idea or not. Like, what is the idea behind this?
BUCHANAN: Let me say this. We‘ve all been talking about how unauthentic and programmed Hillary is. You want authenticity?
BUCHANAN: I mean, we‘re getting what this guy thinks. Here‘s what he thinks. Here‘s a guy, he‘s not going to run again. He‘s ticked off. Everybody‘s on his case. He‘s been hammered and so he‘s going to fight back and let them know what he thinks.
BROOKS: I just realized that it‘s all about. This is their
impeachment insurance for George W. Bush. Send Cheney out there,
absolutely nips that whole impeachment thing in the butt. Nobody, nobody -
FENN: That‘s brilliant.
CARLSON: I actually think they thought this through.
CARLSON: I like watching Cheney because I think he‘s real. I totally agree with you Pat, even when I agree, which is sometimes. But, I didn‘t like to see him attack Chuck Hagel. He said I adhere to Reagan‘s 11th amendment. I don‘t attack fellow Republicans. But with Chuck Hagel, it‘s hard not to attack him. This is a guy who‘s as conservative on everything else as Dick Cheney is. Why are they making Chuck Hagel enemy number one?
BUCHANAN: Would you have preferred him to give the same answer he gave to Mr. Leahy?
CARLSON: I loved that!
BUCHANAN: What he‘s saying is, obviously Hagel‘s gotten under his skin. He must have really done it, you know. What it suggests is that Hagel has really drawn blood, whereas other guys are not.
FENN: You know, I hate to speak for the Republicans here, but if I were a Republican getting ready to run for re-election in two years, I wouldn‘t want this guy out doing what he‘s doing. I mean, this does not help the Republicans. And tell you what, John Warner, suppose he starts in on John Warner. The resolution that‘s—
CARLSON: That would never happen. That will never happen.
CARLSON: Peter, speaking of—I want to get back to the most ethical Congress in history. And now the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, it‘s been revealed that some years ago he bought a bunch of land in northern Arizona for 166 dollars an acre, which is actually pretty good, even in northern Arizona.
CARLSON: He bought it from a friend of his, a lubricants dealer—what ever that is. Six months later, sponsored legislation to help the lubricants industry. I don‘t know if we‘re talking KY or what. I turns out this land has appreciated in value so dramatically he could make hundreds of thousands of dollars if he sold it. That doesn‘t sound like the most ethical Congress in history to me.
FENN: You know, I know nothing about the specifics of that, but if it‘s little oil versus big oil, I‘ll go for the little oil guys. But listen, you know the one that amazes me, that doesn‘t get much play? Dennis Hastert buys this land, puts in the earmark for a highway, and makes a two million dollar profit on it.
CARLSON: It‘s disgusting.
FENN: If there‘s any perception of conflict of interest, you ought to stay the heck out of it.
CARLSON: I totally agree. I wonder what you think of the fact that Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, left office with a 60 percent approval rating, despite his brothers unpopularity. He comes to D.C. this weekend to address conservatives and say, you know, I‘m your champion. He‘s going to run if a Democrat is elected this time. He‘s going to run the next time, in 2012. Could there be a deal brokered where Republicans agree not to run another Bush and Democrats agree not to run another Clinton? We just end the dynasties right here.
BROOKS: You know, I would like to see that, because I think the fact that a couple families have been controlling American politics for most of the last 30 or 40 years is bad news for American democracy. I would love to see that. That‘s one of the reasons, actually—maybe I just like underdogs—I like Edwards. I like Obama. I would like to see some new faces mixing it up in here.
CARLSON: I agree.
BROOKS: Frankly, if we could have a little bit less dynastic politics, it would be a good thing.
BUCHANAN: Everything I know about him, he‘s been a great governor. Conservatives really admire him. I think one area where I disagree with him, I‘m not sure he‘s good on the immigration issue.
CARLSON: No, he‘s terrible.
BUCHANAN: He seems like a good guy.
CARLSON: It‘s a tragedy. Speaking of tragedies, Pat, we were informed by this morning‘s “New York Times” that the Iranian ambassador to Iraq told the “New York Times” that Iran has plans to shape the future of Iraq, has plans to help with military aid. They‘re already giving guns to the Shiite militias. They‘re going to be a large factor in the reconstruction of that country. How terrifying is this?
BUCHANAN: Look, in the long run, this is going to be a Shia Iraq now. We did that. We created an ally of Iran. We gave Iran that victory. It‘s likes the United States and Mexico, quite frankly. They‘re going to be very, very close. And frankly, Tucker, there‘s not going to be a whole lot we can do about it, if, as many Democrats believe, we ought too get all American troops out of Iraq. That‘s what they‘re going with.
CARLSON: Do you think this is reason enough to keep troops there, to prevent this?
BUCHANAN: No, it‘s not. I think ultimately—look, it‘s the Persian Gulf, just like the Gulf of Mexico. One day it was the United States and the British got out. Eventually we‘re going to get out of that part of the world and I don‘t think there‘s a great deal we can do about it. That‘s one of the reasons I was against the first Gulf War and the second Gulf War. The empire is coming to an end.
FENN: Pat‘s right, I think. The worst thing we can do is to get all worked up about this right now. And—in Dick Cheney‘s interview he talked about everything being on the table, the possibility of invading Iran. You know, we got another carrier in there. I just think that nothing could get—every time you think nothing could get any worse, it does.
CARLSON: If I had said to you—we‘re having dinner three years ago, and I had said, you know, in three years Iran will be on the precipice of acquiring a nuclear weapon. They will be functionally in control of southern Iraq. And they would be redoubling their anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric, you would say that‘s unacceptable.
FENN: It‘s fine that it‘s unacceptable. It is not for us to handle this always on our own. You need a worldwide effort here. The problem we‘ve got is we‘ve created most of this problem right now.
CARLSON: That‘ doesn‘t absolve us of the responsibility to solve it now.
FENN: This group, look, now they‘re telling us, OK, we‘re killing Iranians in Iraq, because they‘re bringing in weapons. Then, they‘re going to go back over their border into Iran. Then are we going to do hot pursuit, like we did in Cambodia? Are we going to use excuses, because we‘ve got folks there?
CARLSON: No one wants a war with Iran.
BROOKS: There‘s a pattern of escalation that, of course, is very reminiscent of the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003. And just like Saddam Hussein—Saddam Hussein did his little bit to start the Iraq war by, you know, acting bellicose when any sane person would have been saying, wow, slow down.
CARLSON: So this is like a Tonkin Gulf scenario right now? This is the predicate for a war with Iran?
BROOK:S They may be digging their own grave here, but equally it‘s terrifying the way we‘re responding. Even Henry Kissinger last week actually came out and said we have to have direct negotiations with Iran and Syria. You can‘t just do this militarily. The issues not that it‘s not bad. It is bad. It‘s very scary.
FENN: Talk with your enemies.
CARLSON: Pat, 30 seconds, tell me what we should do.
BUCHANAN: In 30 seconds what we should do is—
BUCHANAN: Even John Edwards, this week—every single person—John Edwards, the peace candidate, said all options are on the table. Let me repeat that, all options are on the table with regard to Iran. The Hertzilea (ph) conference. You have to read what is going on there. There‘s a tremendous push to get us into a war with Iran. And I wonder if we can withstand it, because I think your part, the Democrats would go along with it.
FENN: I hope not. We‘ve got to negotiate with our enemies. We seem to talk with our friends with this administration, not with our enemies.
CARLSON: All right. Rosa Brooks, Peter Fenn, Pat Buchanan, you‘re the best. Thank you.
BUCHANAN: Take it easy.
CARLSON: Coming up, so the Iranians want a peace of the American creation that is the new Iraq. With that in mind, is the president‘s commitment to add troops to the mission as crazy as many portray it? An anti-war Democratic congressman joins me next to answer.
Plus the appeal of basketball has spread all over the world, but apparently not to Buckingham Palace. This just in, Prince Charles shoots hoops like Queen Elizabeth. MSNBC‘s chief royals and sports correspondent Willie Geist is just minutes away with expert analysis. Stay tuned.
CARLSON: Are Americans and American politicians who oppose President Bush on the war giving enough thought to what could happen in Iraq, and more frighteningly, in Iran, if American forces were to leave? For answers to that question and others we welcome our next guest, Democratic congressman from Virginia Jim Moran. Congressman thanks for coming on.
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: It‘s my pleasure to be with you Tucker.
CARLSON: You read this morning in the “New York Times” that Iran is stating out loud its policy toward Iraq, which is to gain as much influence there as possible. They‘re opening up a bank in downtown Baghdad. They‘re going to help with reconstruction. And they‘re going to arm Shiites to a greater extent than they have been in Iraq. Should we leave, knowing this is going to happen?
MORAN: Well, they‘re doing it with us there. I don‘t know that it could be any worse than it is right now, Tucker. You know, when the British finally left, the Iraqis decided they didn‘t want foreign influence and they kicked out the Iranians. They executed those who had collaborated with the British. They took back their country. I have a suspicion that‘s what‘s going to happen if we get out of the free fire zone between the civil war.
CARLSON: I wonder how you can argue simultaneously that there‘s a civil war going on—and I agree with you, it seems like there is—and that somehow Iraqis will—the warring factions literally killing each other by the thousands right now—will unite against the Iranians as soon as we leave. On what evidence would you say that?
MORAN: I don‘t know that they‘re going to unite against the Iranians, but I don‘t think they want foreign influences telling them what to do. But there‘s an irony here. The—we have focused our hostile efforts now towards Iran, but in the meantime, if we are successful, what we will create is a Shia theocracy that would clearly be aligned with them, probably more aligned than anyone else, other than the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.
So, that‘s what we are creating now, if we are successful. We don‘t have any good options, but it seems to me that it doesn‘t make a whole lot of sense to be going in that direction, strengthening the Shia theocracy. Let them work it out. Let the Sunnis carve out a piece of the pilots. Let the Kurds establish their autonomy. I‘m not suggesting I have any solutions or anybody else does, because we shouldn‘t have been in there in the first place.
MORAN: But we don‘t want to make a bad situation worse, Tucker.
CARLSON: However, it could be—I mean, it seems to me, with all due respect, you‘re espousing a kind of faith based policy, that when we leave, as you put, they‘ll work it out, because they hate foreigners. But if the Kurds establish a state, there‘s a chance Turkey might move against that state. If the Iranians are allowed to make a satellite out of southern Iraq, there‘s a chance that the Saudis and Syrians and other Sunni populations will go crazy, and there will be a wider Mideast war. You‘re not worried about that?
MORAN: It‘s not faith-based. It‘s historically based. I don‘t know that I‘m right, but I know that the folks who put us in there were wrong.
CARLSON: Yes, I agree.
MORAN: I know that most of the policies that we‘ve undertaken have been counter-productive. So I‘m suggesting that if we give more responsibility to the Iraqis themselves, they may prefer not to just be a step child of Iran. I don‘t know that that‘s going to happen, but I know that the Iranians are—have deep influence right now, because it is a broken government.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
MORAN: And I‘m not crazy about Maliki‘s leadership. Yet, that‘s the guy that we‘re putting all our confidence in if we stay the course.
CARLSON: I don‘t think anybody is crazy about it. I think the ideas aren‘t many good option. Some liberals have criticized the president‘s directive to American troops in Iraq, to engage Iranians, whether they are agents or regular soldiers, if they‘re acting hostile. If an Iranians shoots you, you get to shoot back. Why is that a bad policy? That makes sense to me.
MORAN: I don‘t think that‘s a bad policy if they‘re in Iraq. But I have reason to believe that they are pursuing Iranians into Iran. I think that‘s a different situation. I know that you recall, as well, what we did in Vietnam. We widened that war to all of Southeast Asia, and we broke all of those governments, the Cambodian government, led to the killing fields. We broke down the Thai government, the Laotian government, and I don‘t want us destabilizing the Middle East any more than we already have.
CARLSON: So you‘re saying, just in very, very practical terms—
MORAN: I don‘t want to go to war with Iran. That would be insane.
CARLSON: But in practical terms—it has nothing to do with events of decades ago—if American troops on the border of Iraq and Iran are fired upon by Iranians, who then go back into Iran, we shouldn‘t be allowed to shoot back at them?
MORAN: I think we can exercise judgment, but I don‘t want them feeling that they have a mission to be able to go into—penetrate into Iran under the guise of chasing people. Frankly, I don‘t have a lot of trust in this government. I don‘t have a lot of trust that they are doing what the Congress has prescribed their authority to be. In fact, already they‘ve exceeded their authorization from the Congress. And so I want us to limit their activities within Iraq. I don‘t want them provoking any kind of wider war.
I think there are people, the very people that got us into Iraq, that think that the only way to win this war is by widening the war, i.e. bringing on Iran.
CARLSON: Right. All right, Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, thanks a lot.
MORAN: My pleasure to be with you.
CARLSON: We don‘t pick our presidents by their singing voices. And Hillary Clinton can be grateful for that. Her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner did not win her any points in Iowa. Willie Geist joins us with complete analysis of her voice when we come right bank.
CARLSON: Joining us now to announce his exploratory committee live on our air, from headquarters, Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You know what I would like to explore Tucker, why Chris Matthews is judging Miss America Vegas tonight and I‘m in New Jersey talking to you. That‘s what I‘d like to explore. Where did my life go wrong?
CARLSON: That is a great subject for exploration.
GEIST: I would like to know. I want to show you some good video here, a few of our brethren in the television broadcasting industry went overboard in going after a story yesterday. That comes to us from an affiliate in Milwaukee, a CBS, not NBC, of course, doing a story, ironically, about ice safety, thought a channel into a lake was a road and it turns out it wasn‘t. So, the guy got out of the truck OK, and they‘re going to drag that thing out of there today. Everybody‘s all right, thank goodness, but be more careful.
Well, when Senator Hillary Clinton wasn‘t calling her husband an evil man over the weekend, she was treating a national television audience to her singing voice. The senator‘s heart was in the right place when she sang along to the Star Spangled Banner at an event in Iowa, but her voice was not.
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GEIST: Pretty bad, obviously, but I would have been much worse. And, in her defense, she didn‘t know her mic was going to be isolated on national television, unfortunately. But in her defense, also, she was a quiet bad singer. You know the loud bad singers in church or happy birthday?
CARLSON: That‘s me.
GEIST: That‘s you?
CARLSON: I‘m actually—I‘m not planning on voting for Hillary Clinton, obviously, but her voice is better than mine.
GEIST: Yes, you are also a loud bad dancer. I don‘t know if anyone‘s ever told you that.
CARLSON: Thank you, Willie.
GEIST: We can get into that later. Well, it is unclear why Prince Charles was hanging around a basketball gym in Harlem yesterday, but it is clear why he shouldn‘t have been. Take a look at his form in this shot you‘re going to see coming up. Charles and his wife Camilla stopped by a children‘s center during a trip to New York City. Charles found himself doing something a person who‘s called “His Royal Highness” should never do, play basketball in Harlem.
He threw up an air ball on his first attempt, but look at this, bouncing back, going off the glass, converting on his second try. Now Tucker, I‘m going to suggest, from here on out, he stay with sports that involve riding horses with mallets and things like that, or cricket, or other sort of more royal sports. I don‘t think—
CARLSON: Yes, grouse shooting. No, that‘s exactly right.
CARLSON: Also, when you‘re going to run five on five in Harlem, the double breasted suit and the pocket square not the way to go. I‘ve played a little ball up there in my day, and you don‘t really fit in when you roll in there—
CARLSON: I think he looks very stylish.
GEIST: He looks stylish certainly, in his own right. You know what, air ball to going off the backboard, good for him for converting. He had the stick-to-it-iveness (ph) as we call it in sports.
Well Tucker, If you thought the Super Bowl was going to be a big party in Miami this weekend, just wait until you see how the bash they throw there when Fidel Castro dies turns out. The Miami City Commission has appointed a committee to plan a massive party celebrating Castro‘s death, no kidding. The government is planning it. The party is to be held at the Orange Bowl, which is a football stadium with a seating capacity of 75,000 people.
Themed t-shirts even being drawn up as part of the bash. Now Tucker, I know he is a bad guy; he has his faults, but there is something about a government-sanctioned death party that just kind of rubs me the wrong way. I don‘t know. What do you think?
CARLSON: But also there is going to be no one there, because everybody in south Florida, and maybe me too, is going to be on the island of Cuba, trying to make deals to buy cheap real estate, then flip them to Starbucks and Starwood hotels.
GEIST: It‘s going to be all-stars. I just hope that when I die, they don‘t sell out the Orange Bowl to celebrate it. That would really hurt my feelings.
CARLSON: You know Willie, the truth is, it all depends on how evil you are in this life. Were you to take over an island nation and hold it hostage for 50 years, they might.
GEIST: I‘m not as publicly evil as Castro, but there might be some people who want to fill up the Orange Bowl.
CARLSON: Let me put it this way, when you go to a dinner party at Willie Geist‘s house, you are not berated for six hours of Marxist speeches, and you are allowed to leave at the end. So, in fact, so far you‘re not half as evil Fide.
GEIST: It is like a roach motel. You check in, but you don‘t check out at a Castro party.
CARLSON: Let me just say, when he does die, we are going to Havana to celebrate. That‘s my pledge to you.
GEIST: I‘m there. Let‘s do it.
CARLSON: All right. Willie Geist—
GEIST: All right Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks Willie. That does it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. We‘ll be back here tomorrow at the same time. Hope you‘ll tune in. Have a great night.
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