Guests: Peter Fenn, Pat Buchanan, Jim Wallis, Dr. Keith Ablow
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the show. And Happy Presidents Day.
Speaking of presidents, over the next hour we‘ll bring you the latest on the candidates, including John McCain‘s new fervor on abortion, Barack Obama‘s suddenly conspicuous faith, the possibility of a Gingrich presidency, and Hillary Clinton‘s latest position on the war. But first, the Democrats‘ stealthy new Iraq strategy.
Congressman Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania has privately announced a new tactic to end the war. Murtha, who chairs the committee in charge of the Pentagon budget, says he plans to attach so many conditions to the upcoming emergency war funding bill that the military simply won‘t be able to send more troops to Iraq. Even better, Republicans won‘t be able to accuse Murtha of de-funding the troops, since technically he won‘t be.
Pretty tricky. Too tricky, actually.
If Murtha thinks the war is a disaster that cannot be won, fine, de-fund it and face the political consequences. But to go halfway, blocking reinforcements while allowing more than 100,000 troops to languish in the war zone in Iraq, doesn‘t make logical sense and it‘s not particularly honorable.
It‘s all the way or not. It turns out there is no clever way to end a war.
And here with their insights on Mr. Murtha, Mrs. Clinton, all the other Presidents Day news, MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan, and Democratic strategist Peter Fenn.
Welcome to you both.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thanks, Tucker.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: How are you doing, Tucker?
CARLSON: Peter, here‘s what Jack Murtha says about his plan, which as a political matter, he foolishly is talking about when he shouldn‘t be, it seems to me. But he says once he attaches all these different conditions to the supplemental—the emergency funding bill coming up, the Pentagon won‘t be able to continue, they won‘t be able to do the deployment, they won‘t have the equipment, they don‘t have the training, and they won‘t be able to do the work.
It‘s the drip, drip, drip end the war strategy, and I think it‘s not entirely honorable. Why doesn‘t he just say come out and say we‘re not going the pay for the war, period?
FENN: I‘ll tell you. I think we‘re moving towards a situation where folks will be asked to vote on capping troops, on withdrawing troops, on the funding issue. But when he says that we should send troops into the field with the proper body armor and the proper training, it‘s a little hard to argue with that.
CARLSON: Peter, this war has been going on four years next month.
FENN: I understand that.
CARLSON: And why is it now that he...
FENN: People have leaned on this administration on the body armor issue for several years now. We have had a secretary of defense who answered a question from a young guy saying, well, you go into a war with the equipment that you‘ve got. That was not acceptable then, it isn‘t acceptable now.
CARLSON: But that‘s not what this is about.
FENN: But look, but here‘s the thing. First of all, you know, reinforcements. Reinforcements? This is like reinforcements for Custer‘s last stand here. This is—this is...
CARLSON: Well, then why not pull out—see, that‘s what I don‘t...
FENN: OK. Tucker, you‘re right. The point is, you have a vote that says we‘re against this, and then you have a vote, if you can get it through, which says we‘re not going to fund it. But you know, I know, Pat knows, there‘s no way on God‘s green earth that this isn‘t going to be vetoed even if they were able to pass it.
CARLSON: I just think it‘s unfair to the troops in Iraq. If you think—I think it‘s entirely honorable and may make sense to believe the war is unwinnable.
But if you believe that, Pat, it seems to me logical you are bound to do everything you can to get the guys who are there home as soon as you can. If you really believe that.
BUCHANAN: Look, I agree. And let me say, look, what Murtha is doing now, Murtha‘s in real danger of opening up his party and himself, you know, not to try and end the war, but to sabotage General Petraeus and to sabotage the policy by putting restrictions on it. And to say, in effect, the guys out there, we‘re going to leave them there, we‘re not going to give them the help.
And so I think the Democratic Party—they did in that first resolution, Tucker - what they said is, look, we‘re behind the troops, but we think the surge is a bad idea. Non-binding.
Now they are going to receive co-responsibility for what happens in Iraq if they continue down this road to try to impose a strategy on the president. Politically, I think it‘s a mistake, and on the ground I think what it does, it ensures an early defeat.
CARLSON: Peter, General Schoomaker...
FENN: I was just going to...
CARLSON: Former Delta Force guy...
FENN: Exactly. I was just going to point that out.
CARLSON: I don‘t think anybody questions this guy‘s gravitas.
FENN: Right. Right.
CARLSON: Chief of—outgoing chief of staff of the Army.
CARLSON: Went to Congress the other day and said, you need to pass this, we need this money now, because you (INAUDIBLE) last time and it was “near disastrous when you did that.”
FENN: ... I totally agree with this. He said there‘s $56 billion in money that‘s needed to replace these weapon systems that have been destroyed to get this military up and fighting. He said, right now I need $17 billion to do that.
Now, this administration has fought this war abominably. They have not given these troops what they need.
FENN: No, let me just finish this. No, but Murtha is saying, if you‘re going to put these guys out there, then you darn well better have them...
CARLSON: But Peter, I can‘t believe you‘re saying that with—you know that that‘s disingenuous.
BUCHANAN: You know he‘s sabotaging the policy as well as I do.
BUCHANAN: He said, look, we did this, now let‘s do this. Let‘s sink the whole thing.
FENN: Well, he‘s against it, and he says unless you‘re going to do it
right, don‘t do it. So, look, I am totally in agreement with you guys that
this should be a series of votes on—and I believe in de-funding this and
capping the number of troops and not putting 21,000 more people in danger
over there. I think it‘s a disgrace, this administration‘s policy. But my
but his point is, listen, this guy has—this president has done more to eviscerate this military than...
CARLSON: But here‘s the really simple question. And again, for the umpteenth time, I‘m not defending the war or the prosecution of it, both of which I disagree with profoundly and have for more than three years.
CARLSON: However, it‘s a pretty simple question. Would the Murtha strategy help or hurt the guys serving in Iraq now? I don‘t think that‘s a demagogic question to ask. I think it‘s a real question.
BUCHANAN: No, it‘s a sabotage of Petraeus‘ strategy. The surge is going to go on, he‘s trying to block it. They all voted to confirm General Petraeus, and to me, Tucker, what the Democratic Party has opened themselves up to is really the open charge that they are trying to sabotage the policy. They know defeat is coming, they want it to come on Bush‘s watch and not let Bush have, you know, 100,000 troops in Iraq at the end of his term.
FENN: But Pat, what I think the Democrats are trying to do, if you could put them all into one category, is to stop the surge, is to start withdrawing, is to start negotiations, is to start more training of Iraqi troops to end this war as quickly as possible. That is the strategy. Republicans are the ones that if they continue to vote on this and this goes into next year, they are going to be the war party.
CARLSON: Wait. Hold on. Answer this question honestly, Peter.
Looking at—the Republicans already are the war party. And they‘ve
suffered because of it. And again, it‘s not a defense of the Republican
Party, but I guess what bothers me personally for real is the Democrats,
while in general terms they may be on the right side, the war is a disaster
I think they‘re right about that—they‘re not—they don‘t seem responsible to me. They don‘t seem to care about the consequences of what they‘re doing.
They don‘t seem—and I mean this—they don‘t seem now, with a few exceptions, Joe Biden being one of them, like people who have really thought this through and really know what they‘re doing at all.
FENN: I think there‘s a lot—go ahead, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Let me just say, you‘re exactly right in this sense—look, they say we‘re going to end this war. No they‘re not. What they‘re trying to do is end American involvement here.
Nobody is looking down the road at what happens if all these resolutions go through and the Americans come out. I think—you know, somebody wrote tomorrow it‘s not going to be—maybe it‘s Bush‘s war, but it‘s going to be America‘s defeat when this goes down. And this is what—excuse me—what the Democrats seem to be doing, all these resolutions, let‘s do this, this is clever, this is popular with our base, and they‘re not looking at the end of the road.
FENN: But Pat, here‘s what—no, I think they are looking at the end of the road. But here‘s what really burns me about this.
CARLSON: You really think that, Peter?
FENN: Yes, I certainly do. I think—look, I think all these—look, John Murtha, as quirky a fellow as he is, has been the veterans‘ best friend up there. He has been an extraordinarily pro-military...
CARLSON: He‘s been...
FENN: No, let me just—let me answer that question, because that‘s an important question. The Republicans, though, say to the Democrats, well, enough bitching, you guys put forth ideas. You put forth strategies, you put forth some stuff. They start putting forth things, and they come back and they say, whoa, this is terrible, you‘re doing terrible things, you‘re trying to (INAUDIBLE) troops.
CARLSON: Wait a second. I mean, simply because it‘s an idea doesn‘t mean that it‘s a good idea.
FENN: I understand that. But the end of the road—I think the end-of-the-road strategy, Pat, is we‘ve got 4,000 to 6,000 Americans who are training troops over there, that‘s all. We need to train those troops faster, we need to have negotiations with those countries in the region.
This president at his press conference, not one single word about negotiations in the area. We have to look at outside of Baghdad. Now there‘s oil reserves in...
BUCHANAN: Well, look what Murtha is doing. He‘s not saying, darn it, Mr. President, start negotiating. He‘s saying look at all the tactics I‘ve got to really defeat...
CARLSON: All right. You know what? We‘re going to—I want to—I think we‘re very close to a solution, I feel like here, but we‘re going to have to interrupt very quickly for a commercial break.
Coming up, as critics take swings at Hillary Clinton‘s war vote, Mrs.
Clinton swings back hard with a plan to get out of Iraq now.
We‘ll explain her plan and its chances of success and its consequences.
Plus, pro-war, anti-war, Democrat, Republican, man, woman, dog, cat, it doesn‘t matter what the divide will be. We all have one thing in common, and that one thing is Britney Spears. She melted down before our eyes. A mental health professional stops by to explain the pitiful downturn of the pop tart‘s personal and professional lives.
Don‘t go away. Stay tuned for that. I dare you.
CARLSON: Here‘s a word association game. Which party comes to mind, Republican or Democrat, when you think about the intersection of religion and politics? Well, the Democrats are keenly aware of your likely answer.
Hillary Clinton has hired an advisor whose sole job is outreach to religious voters. Barack Obama, meanwhile, speaks often and at length about the importance of his faith.
Can Democrats reclaim religion as a winning political issue?
Joining us now for answers, a charter member of the religious left, the founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, the author of “God‘s Politics:
Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn‘t Get It.” We are honored to have Jim Wallis.
Thanks a lot, Jim.
JIM WALLIS, AUTHOR, “GOD‘S POLITICS”: Hi, Tucker.
CARLSON: I want to put up a quote on the screen—this is from Barack Obama—that really struck me. This is from last June during a political speech he gave.
And he said, “Kneeling beneath the cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God‘s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to his will, and dedicated myself to discovering his truth.”
Now, coming in the context of a political speech, the implication is that God is on Barack Obama‘s side. That‘s the implication you often here, sometimes hear among religious conservatives, and they are attacked for it.
Does this make you uncomfortable?
WALLIS: Well, it was a speech at our conference, so I introduced him for that speech.
WALLIS: It was to church leaders and faith-based activists.
WALLIS: And it was, I think, Tucker, it was the most intelligent speech on faith and politics since the (INAUDIBLE) since Kennedy a long time ago gave a speech on the same topic. I think it was how faith can be engaged with respecting pluralism, democracy and diversity. It was a great speech.
CARLSON: But it‘s also part of a—as you‘re well aware—you wrote a book on it—part of a political strategy devised by very smart people who looked at the numbers and noticed that religious voters tended to vote Republican, and if you want a national party, you‘ve got to win some of them over. And this is a very calculated play on the part of the Democratic Party to win those voters.
WALLIS: Well, I‘ve known Barack for 10 years.
WALLIS: So back when he was a lowly state senator, he and I talked about faith and politics.
WALLIS: He was progressive in his faith and politics like I was, and we thought that to have faith and issues forth and talk about economic justice and poverty, was more logical than the religious right. So he‘s not new to this. He‘s been doing it for a long time.
He‘s very active in his South Side black church. So this is for him very common. He‘s talked more comfortably about faith and politics than any Democrat has in a long time.
CARLSON: There are a lot of—I think a lot of evangelical voters, a lot of church-going voters, who are sympathetic to part of the Democrats‘ program. But abortion is just the deal killer for a lot of them, and that is really one of the few remaining orthodoxies on the Democratic side.
Don‘t you think the Democratic Party has to sort of change its—I mean, by any definition, extremist view on abortion? No—you know, no barrier to abortion. Don‘t they have to change that in order to win...
WALLIS: Well, I‘m an evangelical.
WALLIS: And so the evangelical agenda is wider and deeper than ever before.
WALLIS: So now it includes issues like global poverty...
WALLIS: ... the environment, HIV-AIDS. But evangelicals like I still care about the sanctity of life.
WALLIS: But I would like to see a serious conversation about how to practically, radically, dramatically reduce the number of abortions in this country...
WALLIS: ... and not use it as a political litmus test in football by both sides, left and right, in an election. The abortion rate is not any lower under 12 years of Republican rule. So...
CARLSON: Well, we‘d make it lower a lot faster if we banned it. Now, why—I mean, in other words—I mean...
WALLIS: The question is, how do you practically, in this country, with all the division...
WALLIS: ... how do you really make a difference in abortion? So now I see Democrats on the Hill talking about abortion and how to reduce abortion, which I think is welcome talk for the first time.
CARLSON: I‘m not saying—as a non-Democrat, I like to hear that also, as someone who is opposed to abortion.
CARLSON: However, the Democrats—I mean, if you—if you have a party that defends partial-birth abortion, I mean, there‘s just no way around that. Clinton vetoed anti-partial birth bills twice. You have to change that to win religious voters in large numbers, don‘t you think? Or you don‘t have to?
WALLIS: I think—I think Democrats are rethinking their views on abortion. I hear Hillary Clinton say abortion is always a tragic choice.
You can believe that without wanting to criminalize a desperate choice. So I want to see solutions on abortion, where we actually change the abortion rate. Not, you know, just a vote...
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton takes...
WALLIS: ... for an abortion ban and then to vote for policies that favor the rich over the poor...
CARLSON: OK. But hold on. Wait. That‘s—with all due respect, that‘s a little too glib. I mean, if you‘re a candidate who‘s taking money from people who commit abortions, from abortion providers and the abortion industry, you can‘t really say that you think abortion is also terrible. You‘re taking money from people who profit from it.
WALLIS: But Tucker, I‘ve spoken to Democrats on abortion. I‘ve been attacked by the left for doing so. But when you find—when I find 2,000 versus in my bible about poor people, I insist that fighting poverty is a moral values issue, too.
CARLSON: Well, I agree with that.
WALLIS: So is God‘s creations.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
WALLIS: So you can‘t just favor a symbolic stance on abortion and win the votes of evangelicals and Catholics over and over again.
WALLIS: The political future is going to be shaped by moderate evangelicals and Catholics who care about sanctity of life and the family, but have a much broader agenda that cares about poverty, the environment, Africa, HIV, and the ethics of war in Iraq. So there‘s going to be a very different conversation.
WALLIS: The playing field has been leveled now.
WALLIS: Democrats and Republicans are going to talk about faith. God is not a Republican or a Democrat.
CARLSON: I must say, just speaking for myself, I can‘t even hear that conversation until that stumbling block is moot. But that‘s just me.
Jim Wallis, I appreciate your coming on. Thank you very much.
WALLIS: Good to be here. Thank you.
CARLSON: Coming up, John McCain announces his determination to see Roe v. Wade overturned. With rhetoric like that, can he win over social conservatives who distrust him profoundly?
Plus, are you looking at the next junior senator from the state of New York? If Hillary Clinton wins, why not send her husband in as a replacement? Some Democrats are floating that idea.
More in a minute.
CARLSON: Religious voters are the base of the base, the very core of the Republican Party‘s electoral strategy—and reality, for that matter. But Democrats clearly believe they can make some sort of support from the right.
Are they right?
Here to tell us, MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn.
Welcome to you both.
Pat, we were just talking about this in the commercial break. I do think the single most significant thing Democrats could do to win over religious voters is to moderate their position on abortion.
Do you think they‘re going to?
BUCHANAN: Well, I think you‘re right. I think about Casey up there in Pennsylvania. His father, of course, was a hero of the right to life movement, and that helped him tremendously.
CARLSON: He crushed Rick Santorum.
BUCHANAN: He beat him by 20 points, 19 points—yes.
BUCHANAN: I think what they‘re going to do, Tucker, is this—they‘re going to de-demonize themselves with this, you know, religiosity, if you will. You know, take positions like Hillary Clinton, abortion is a tragedy, and talk in those terms.
And the purpose there, I think, is not so much to win over the evangelical Christians, as to make themselves at least acceptable and not intolerable to that community. And in that, I think they—obviously they‘re working on that strategy and they‘ll probably make some gains.
CARLSON: But Peter, the base of the Democratic Party—if the base of the Republican Party is evangelicals in the Midwest, the base of the Democratic Party is, you know, never married agnostic women on the coast with Masters degrees.
CARLSON: That‘s true, actually, as you know. If you‘re—literally.
FENN: We do pretty well with single women.
FENN: I mean, you and I don‘t.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right. Maybe if I was a Democrat it would help.
That‘s exactly the group of people who I believe are going to be alienated by ads like this. I want to put up an ad. This is Harold Ford during his ill-fated run for Senate.
We don‘t have that ad I‘m just being told. Harold Ford did an ad...
FENN: It‘s a great ad, actually.
CARLSON: Yes, it is a great ad. But he did an ad essentially—it‘s also an appalling, nausea-inducing ad, because here you have Harold Ford wandering around this church saying, you know, Jesus is on my side.
FENN: No, you know what he said, actually, in that ad? He said—he said, “I got religion the old-fashioned way, I was forced to go to church.”
CARLSON: That is actually right. No, I agree with that.
FENN: But look, I think just as Democrats were late on Republicans taking the flag and seizing that, they are—they are—they were a little late on the religious side. I think it has been very difficult for a lot of our candidates to talk about their religious experience.
John Kerry would not talk about it. He didn‘t want to talk about his Catholicism, he didn‘t want to talk about religion. And in this country, people want a three-dimensional sense of a candidate, they want to know what makes you tick. And part of it is your faith.
And I think, you know, as Jim Wallis just said, that‘s a big part of the new Democrats.
BUCHANAN: Well, Kerry had a problem when he mentioned John Paul the 23rd, as there was only John Paul II.
CARLSON: Right. Or when Howard Dean said Job was his favorite book in the New Testament.
I want to put—we now officially have the Harold Ford ad. As you watch this, ask yourself, if Harold Ford was a Republican, how well would this ad have gone over with the people who make opinions in this country?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAROLD FORD, FMR. DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: I started church the old-fashioned way. I was forced to. And I‘m better for it.
I‘m Harold Ford, Jr., and here I learned the difference between right and wrong. And now Mr. Corker is doing wrong.
First, spending millions, telling untruths about his Republican opponents, both of them good men. And now me.
I voted for the Patriot Act, $5 trillion in defense, and against amnesty for illegals.
I approved this message because I won‘t let them make me someone I‘m not. And I‘ll always fight for you.
Give me that chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, organ music in the background. “My opponent is doing wrong,” he says as he walks through the pews.
I mean, it‘s a very short distance from that to Jerry Falwell, basically.
BUCHANAN: Well, yes. I mean—but I don‘t fine any problem with it. He‘s obviously exploiting the church. But as the guy said in Tennessee, you know, Harold goes to church on Sunday morning, and Saturday night he‘s back at the Playboy Mansion.
FENN: Oh, jeez. Give me a break.
CARLSON: I actually don‘t have a problem with that.
FENN: A party of 30,000 people. But look, here‘s—the problem I think that Democrats have is they have, as I said, have always felt awkward about talking about their religion.
CARLSON: Why is that? Why is that?
FENN: I think it‘s been—they thought it was a private thing and they thought it was something that they shouldn‘t wear on their sleeves. They thought they shouldn‘t use it...
FENN: And that was my point. I mean, you had some folks who it was part and parcel of who they were from the very beginning.
FENN: And, you know, I think that what you‘re going to see is you‘re going to see folks expanding what it means to be religious, and that‘s what just Jim Wallis was talking about. It isn‘t just a group of social issues.
It is about poverty in America and around the world. It is about...
FENN: Well, poverty, I would—a little more encompassing. It‘s about HIV-AIDS.
FENN: It‘s about how we treat...
BUCHANAN: They can you use the social gospel.
CARLSON: Of course. That‘s right.
BUCHANAN: The social gospel and use those issues, you know, rather than the more traditional ones.
CARLSON: But as a matter of principle—wait, hold on. Democrats tell us it‘s wrong to imply that God is on your side. That‘s out of bounds, that‘s dirty pool.
Isn‘t it also wrong when the Democrats do that?
FENN: Well, he didn‘t say God is on his side. He said...
CARLSON: Of course he did. “I know the difference between right and wrong. My opponent is wrong.”
FENN: He said this is where I learned my values.
But listen, it‘s the Christian coalition who put out voter guides.
FENN: And they put political issues on there. If you‘re for one, you‘re for God, God‘s for you, and I—you know, I think that was outrageous.
CARLSON: But that ad is not outrageous?
BUCHANAN: Whose side is God on in an abortion? Whose side is he on?
FENN: I haven‘t talked to him lately, so...
BUCHANAN: Well, I mean, on issues like gay rights and things like that, look, that‘s right in the Old and New Testament. Those are moral issues that are much more powerful.
All of us are against poverty. We have different ways of dealing with it, whether it‘s a personal obligation or a federal government obligation. But when you get to these moral issues, they‘re black and white, yes or no questions.
CARLSON: All right.
FENN: And I think a lot of them are for people.
CARLSON: I‘m hearing the call. I‘m hearing the call. It‘s not from God. It‘s from one of my producers.
CARLSON: Not much difference in TV.
Coming up, before she admits a mistake on her Iraq war vote, Hillary Clinton has a plan, a plan to end the war pronto. That‘s Spanish for immediately.
We‘ve got the details of the plan and insight into its possibilities.
So stay tuned.
Plus, the heavy hitters spent Presidents Day weekend ‘07 campaigning for president in ‘08 in the South. What John McCain and Barack Obama did differently in Dixie and how the South will pick the president.
All that when we return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: We need to begin a phased redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. I‘ve been pushing for this for almost two years. Now it‘s time to say that redeployment should start in 90 days or the Congress will revoke authorization for this war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: She may have stayed her own pro war course longer than her fellow Democrats, but Hillary Clinton has now proposed legislation that moves more quickly and more radically to end the war than most of her colleagues have proposed. Her plan was posted on her website. It prohibits the current troop surge and it calls for the beginning of U.S. troop withdrawal in just 90 days.
Here to analyze the practical and political effects of Mrs. Clinton‘s plan, we welcome back MSNBC political analyst, former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan and the great Democratic strategist, Peter Fenn.
Pat, what do you think about this idea of revoking authorization? Revoking the authorization she, you know, in 2002 voted to give. Can you do that, has it ever been done?
BUCHANAN: I don‘t know. I think it might have been done during Vietnam.
FENN: Yes, Gulf of Tonkin --
BUCHANAN: They revoked that. I think even around 1970, even before Nixon‘s second term.
CARLSON: So we had troops there for five more years.
BUCHANAN: Yes, there‘s no question about it. And they continued to fund them for the next five years, and put restrictions on Nixon. But I do think, while Hillary clearly is being dragged over to the left, but I will say this, I think she‘s very smart in refusing to apologize, because once you apologize, people say, you know, why did you get it wrong when Feingold and Kennedy and half the party got it right? And if you made the greatest blunder in American history with your vote, getting us into this horrible war, how are you qualified by judgment to be president of the United States?
So I think she‘s doing the right thing.
CARLSON: I will defer to you on its practical effects. But I think, as a matter of logic, it‘s absurd. I mean, if you are basing your candidacy in opposition to something that you voted for originally, almost by definition, your original vote was a mistake. Why not say so?
FENN: Except, as she said, that the information that everybody had turned out false information. Here‘s the problem, there‘s a general election strategy, there‘s a primary strategy. Would it help her a bit in the primary, would it make some of the liberals feel better, if she apologized? Probably. Then what do you have, you have ad. Oh, she voted before it before she was against it.
Sound familiar? I mean, they will do to her what they did to John Kerry—
CARLSON: I understand that. Actually, she‘s much more sophisticated.
BUCHANAN: They fouled it up so badly. We gave them the authorization to do this, and then they went ahead and used it precipitously. And then they fouled up this war. They broke up the army. They destroyed the Baath party. And they managed it all wrong.
And now we‘ve given it four years and now we‘ve got to turn around and move out. That‘s more credible than, I made a mistake, I apologize.
CARLSON: Yes, I blew it. We all blew it. The administration blew it to a much greater degree than any of us did, but all of us who supported the war were wrong, and I regret doing that. I mean, that seems kind of human to me.
BUCHANAN: Why was she wrong in supporting a war to take down Saddam Hussein?
CARLSON: Well see, I think that is the key, because Hillary and many of the opponents of the war, have never repudiated the ideology that led to the war in the first place. They still say, well, it was a good idea to take Saddam down. They‘re still, in a sense, neo-cons. They‘re still nation builders. And the root cause of this disaster has not been defeated or repudiated or even thought through, it seems to me, and that‘s a huge topic.
BUCHANAN: That‘s what you and I believe, correctly. But if she comes out and says that, again, she‘s got to start answering why she made this blunder and she has got to start repudiating the ideology.
CARLSON: Yes, and she should repudiate the ideology of the neo cons.
No she hasn‘t.
FENN: Yes, now, Tucker, come on. Let‘s back off here. To call Hillary Rodham Clinton a neo con is crazy.
CARLSON: What has she repudiated?
FENN: Well, she has repudiated going to war and occupying a country, and leading to a civil war.
CARLSON: Maybe over dinner with you she has said that, but she has not said that in public. She has not said, I don‘t think we ought to be occupying countries, or I don‘t think we ought to be invading countries to depose evil dictators. She still believes that.
FENN: No, no.
BUCHANAN: What was her mistake, are you saying? Are you saying her mistake was she‘s going to say, look, we should never have invaded that country. They didn‘t do anything to us. We should never have gone in. I was wrong? She‘s not saying that, is she?
FENN: No, she is saying—
CARLSON: That‘s what I‘m confused by. What the hell is she saying?
FENN: There are two things. One is, it‘s this administration that has screwed it up, and it is this administration who took us to war with lies, number two.
CARLSON: And with her help.
FENN: The third thing, here‘s the point, she is the one now that‘s coming out with a plan to get out, which is what everybody is talking about. If we‘re going to look towards the future, then we have to examine that plan. We could argue until the cows come home about—
BUCHANAN: What we‘re doing now, she doesn‘t want to be in the middle of it. That‘s why she‘s not going to apologize. She knows if she apologizes, that ain‘t the end of it. Then they all say why, how did you make the mistake, why didn‘t you give due diligence, all these other questions follow. So she says I‘m not going to apologize.
CARLSON: Here‘s my problem, I think human beings have this tendency to sort of blow things off and keep going. And I think in some cases it‘s important to stop and say, why did I make that mistake in the first place. I don‘t want to make it again. And it‘s not just Hillary Clinton, it‘s all of us haven‘t thought through how we got there in the first place.
FENN: I agree, and if you look at the writings of George Bush the first, in a speech that he gave in 1999 about this, he was adamant about not going in, about being sucked in. And the interesting thing, I think, about this is folks thought, OK, it will be quick. It will be easy. We were told that this would be—the red carpet would be laid down for us, people would be so happy that we—
CARLSON: Right, buts that are tactical screw ups. You need to get to the root causes.
FENN: And we were under immediate threat by the mushroom cloud.
BUCHANAN: What you‘re asking, Tucker, which I think the country needs to do, is a whole re-evaluation of this whole foreign policy. Because this follows from a certain ideology. That‘s why we‘re in there. That‘s why we‘re looking at Iran. That‘s why we‘re trying to nation build in Afghanistan.
CARLSON: But Democrats have not thought this through. I do think Joe Biden has. And he comes to different conclusions than I do, but at least I think I respect the fact that he has thought it through. The rest of them are, I think, very shallow.
Speaking of campaign politics. Everybody is out on the road this weekend. Barack Obama, very interesting series of quotes from a speech he gave. Now, I want to put these both up on the screen. This is from the same speech. This is from a speech he gave in South Carolina.
The first quote, he says, “For me to be able to stand here as an African American reflects the enormous progress this country has made and to some degree represents not the perfection of the union, but a whole lot of progress in perfecting this union, one more step we have taken to line up the essential creed that Thomas Jefferson wrote about in the declaration.”
He‘s a good writer, I have to say, Barack Obama.
Second quote, from the same speech, “ultimately the decision that voters across this country make with respect to who will lead it is not going to be based on symbolism. It‘s going to be based on who can make sure America‘s safe, who can make sure that health care is affordable, who can assure that our children are being educated, issues that span region and span race.”
He‘s making two different appeals.
BUCHANAN: Two points, the first point is—
CARLSON: I‘m black and that makes me special.
BUCHANAN: No, the first one is if you want to continue America‘s rise up to genuine authentic equality, the only way you can do it is vote for me. The second point is if you really want a first rate liberal candidate, vote for me. There are two different points, but they‘re compatible and they‘re well done.
CARLSON: They are very well done. It‘s interesting, reading a Barack Obama speech is a lot more fun than reading almost anyone else‘s, because he writes like a real writer. I‘m impressed by it.
FENN: He was in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the confederacy, and he was saying, this country has come a long way. We have a long way to go. And he was saying I‘m the guy. I agree with that.
But that these are issues which transcend race. These are issues that transcend—but I agree with you. He‘s an incredible writer.
CARLSON: John McCain says he wants Roe V. Wade overturned. He said pretty explicitly last time he ran, I think it was 19999, that he didn‘t want it over turned. Social conservatives don‘t trust him. I think part of that is a little bit unfair, personally. Will this help him at all with the evangelicals he needs?
BUCHANAN: Sure, because the evangelicals and social conservatives don‘t trust Romney. They don‘t trust Giuliani for good reason, Romney for good reason. And they don‘t trust McCain for good reason. McCain overall is not as bad as Giuliani on this. What he‘s doing, he‘s trying to get—well, he says look, I‘m going to get the nomination, and you got some deep concerns, and I‘m going to appoint justices like Scalia, who will overturn Roe V. Wade, and I would like to see it overturned.
And so you‘re going to get what you want. And you and I know we can‘t do a great deal about abortion up there in the Congress of the United States. So I think it‘s going to help hi. Again, he‘s de-demonizing himself. He‘s making himself acceptable, you know, not embraceable.
CARLSON: Peter, give me your 30 second reaction to the following phrase, Newt Gingrich.
FENN: Run, Newt, run!
CARLSON: I knew you were going to say that. Newt Gingrich said the other day, you know, if you were really smart, and one thing Newt considers himself is really smart, you would not jump in the race now, you would wait.
FENN: He‘s going up in the polls as he‘s been out of the race. So he‘s saying, I‘ll stay out of the race a little longer, see how far it can go. Let me just make one quick point on McCain.
BUCHANAN: It‘s the Rockefeller syndrome, the further he was away from things the higher he went, but he got back in, right back down.
FENN: I tell you, these guys are doing more flip flops, on the Republican side, than anything I‘ve ever seen. You might remember that in New Hampshire there was a little problem with McCain when he was asked by a reporter about what he would do if his daughter got pregnant.
CARLSON: I was sitting literally next to him when he said that.
FENN: And he said, well, it‘s up to her and, you know, you would have to look at it. And boy, everybody went crazy, the social conservatives went crazy. He had to try to explain it. And that was leading into South Carolina, which I think hurt him greatly. And you‘re right, he‘s changing his views.
CARLSON: Thank you very much Peter Fenn, Pat Buchanan.
Coming up, who would replace Senator Clinton of New York if she won the actually presidency, which by the way she could. Buckle your seat belt. You could be looking at her replacement. Could America handle Senator Bubba from the Empire State? We‘ll talk that over. Plus, mommas, don‘t let your babies grow up to be child stars. But you probably knew that. Britney Spears cracks up, shaves down and cries out. We are joined next by a mental health professional to discuss the truth behind the pop tarts public implosion. Stay tuned for that.
CARLSON: It is the custom of serious news minded people to ignore the comings and goings of child stars, pop singers and party girls. But Britney Spears, child star, pop singer and party girl, and single mother of two, lost her mind so completely, so publicly, so bizarrely over this weekend, that Lincoln Steffens, the original muckraker, would have been moved to wonder what‘s going on with that girl.
Here with his professional opinion on what is going on with Britney Spears, we‘re joined by psychiatrist and host of “The Dr. Keith Ablow Show,” Dr. Keith Ablow. Doctor, thanks for coming on.
DR. KEITH ABLOW, “THE DOCTOR KEITH ABLOW SHOW”: How are you? Any time.
CARLSON: What happened here?
ABLOW: What happened is a bit of a mystery, because we haven‘t interviewed Britney Spears to find out specifically what‘s going on in her mind. But I can tell you, having worked for 15 years as a practicing psychiatrist, that when a woman shaves her hair off, it‘s a dramatic sign that she is reacting against an identity problem. There‘s something about women‘s hair that speaks to their sexuality, to their feminine role in society, if you will. And I think especially for a pop icon to do this, in the wake of Anna Nicole having died, is a very graphic symbol that she‘s having a kind of identity crisis, if you will.
CARLSON: yes, that‘s obvious. I interviewed Britney Spears a number of years ago, before she went crazy, and I remember thinking this is not going to end well. I remember feeling sorry for her, on the basis of really no evidence, other than she was a child star. What is it about being a child star that seems to set so many up for tragedies?
ABLOW: Well, you know, I think if we were to create sort of a condition or a disorder that goes with being a child star, I would simply say this: there are a lot of things that children, adolescents, young adults, and into our later years, we need to address. If you have the applause of a crowd and if you have enough money to not address those things, you can kind of anesthetize yourself from really coming to terms with basic root issues in your life, like am I lovable, what sort of person do I want to be, are the people around me to be trusted.
And I‘ll tell you, Tucker, the longer you don‘t address the truth, the more difficult it becomes to get to the truth. And there‘s more pain involved.
CARLSON: I believe she‘s 25 years old, kind of amazing considering she has two children. It‘s a little premature to be making prognostications about her life, but do you see this ending well for Britney Spears?
ABLOW: Well, we don‘t even have to address Britney Spears specifically. I think there‘s hope for anyone. There‘s redemption possible for anybody. But here‘s the key, it‘s got to be the people.
Any individual who comes to a place where he or she is not sure exactly who they are, needs to then retrace their steps, and generally that involves summoning the will to experience some amount of discomfort and pain, to figure out, well, who was I meant to be. Before I was routed into the Mousketeer routine, who was I supposed to be?
How do I get back there? How do I decide I‘m a valuable person and that I want to be a good mother to my kids and pursue a different path in life, when one is yearly laid out for her that can make a lot of money?
CARLSON: Well, speaking of good mothers, I mean, my instincts is to blame her parents, who sort of shunted her off into this bizarre life she lives in the first place. We should blame her parents, right?
ABLOW: I think blame is such a loaded word.
CARLSON: OK, attack, excoriate.
ABLOW: You could be my partner in psycho therapy. I think as a story teller—
CARLSON: I‘ll be bad cop.
ABLOW: What I like to do is explain. So without blaming, I‘ve tried to sometimes trace the roots of psychopathology back, you know, 10 years, 20 years. Often it goes back many generations, and, you know what, the truth is there‘s nobody to blame. It‘s that everybody is recycling pain. And for this young woman, it seems the time has come for her to address the core issues in her life.
If it‘s with her mom, great. You know, she said when she had her haircut, she said my mom is going to be so angry with me. What more human thing could a woman of 25 with two kids, who sold millions and millions of albums, say, I want my mom.
CARLSON: It‘s pathetic, it‘s sad. Dr. Keith Ablow, thanks a lot.
ABLOW: All right.
CARLSON: Well, if you really thought we were going to get rid of Bill Clinton, and I bet you didn‘t, then you just don‘t know Bill Clinton very well. But would the former president really slum in the Senate? Willie Geist explores the possibility of that when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to our President‘s Day show, a show on which I have handled the Britney Spears story, and Willie Geist will be bringing us from the United States Senate. It is opposite day here on the program, Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: That is exactly right. Before that though, Tucker, we have to point out, as long as we are talking about the Britney story., Congressman Joe Scarborough has the owner of the hair salon where Britney shaved off her own hair on his show tonight. It‘s a true story, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, the owner of the hair salon, did that—actually didn‘t do that little number, but stood by as that little number took place.
And Tucker, I just have to say, I think on Britney Spears we have just lit the Anna Nicole/Mike Tyson fuse, which is the point at which it explodes eventually. It is just a matter of time when it‘s going to happen.
CARLSON: You start biting people and getting tattoos on your face?
GEIST: Yes, it‘s going to end poorly, as you stated before. Well, Tucker, if Hillary Clinton becomes our next president, the state of New York will have an empty Senate seat to fill. Hmm, can you think of a good replacement? Democrats sure can, and you‘re looking at him right there.
If Hillary vacates her seat to take over the White House, Democratic New York Governor Elliot Spitzer will likely choose another Democrat to replace her, perhaps a Democrat like the one Hillary wakes up to every morning. It‘s a long shot, but the “Washington Examiner” today quotes Democrats, including your friend Paul Begala, Tucker, surprise, surprise, as saying Bill Clinton would make a great United States senator.
Tucker, do you agree with that?
CARLSON: Willie, did you just describe Bill Clinton as the man that Hillary wakes up to every morning?
GEIST: I‘m trying to be—Yes, I did.
CARLSON: What planet are you living on.
GEIST: Occasionally, occasionally, when he has nothing else going on. But he might be exciting. He‘s heard about the exciting new page program in the Senate.
CARLSON: You know, I could actually—you know, people are laughing at this, but I think it is completely real.
CARLSON: I absolutely do. I mean, this is a very restless man. He‘s got a lot of energy. He has made more money than he knows what to do with. I could see him doing it.
GEIST: Wow, everything I read said it was unlikely. It was a long shot. There might be pressure to put a black senator or a Hispanic senator in there, but maybe—I would watch that.
CARLSON: I would watch that too.
GEIST: Well, a publicist, Tucker, for actress Bridget Moynahan, says Moynahan is more than three months pregnant with a child belonging to New England Patriots all pro quarterback Tom Brady. Moynahan and Brady dated for three years. You see them there. but here is where things get complicated. They broke in November, and Brady is now dating this creature, super model, and unofficial most beautiful human being in the world, Gisele Bundchen, bad timing.
Reports say. Brady has known for a couple of months that Moynahan is pregnant, and sources predict that Brady will, quote, do the right thing. Now, the right thing, we all know what the right thing is. But it is hard to imagine a scenario where that is not the right thing. How is that not the right thing.
CARLSON: I have a feeling, Willie, that Brady will do the, quote, right thing, now that the right thing is in the newspapers.
GEIST: No, that‘s exactly right. No, he will do the right thing. He‘s a reputed good guy. He is a family guy. He will do the right thing, but boy, unfortunate timing. You locked up Gisele and then this comes along. Oh well.
Well, Tucker, now this week‘s reminder that the Guinness Book of Records needs to be abridged at once. This Australian gentleman doing exactly what it looks like he‘s doing. He is smashing water melons with his head. And it is all in the name of setting a world record.
John Alwood head butted 40 water melons in 58 seconds. Apparently that is a good thing? In fact, it is good enough to set the Guinness record for most water melons smashed with one head. It‘s unclear if anyone else has ever attempted to set that record. Tucker, look back in history, you know, or me specifically, I have been very critical of the Guinness Book of Records.
CARLSON: Yes you have.
GEIST: And I think this is the point at which we take a year off, scrap the book, and let some of these things catch up to themselves. It is an insult to the world‘s tallest man. What‘s the world‘s largest dame thinking right now when it sees something like this. It is an insult. It cheapens the name.
CARLSON: You have been on a one-man jihad for almost two years now, Willie, against the Guinness Book.
GEIST: I have.
CARLSON: I‘m beginning to suspect they‘re doing this just to incite you, torment you.
GEIST: Of course they are.
CARLSON: It goads you into further commentary.
GEIST: Well, I mean, I set a Guinness record every time I walk out the door. I don‘t know. They‘re all over the place. I want to see the integrity of the Guinness name reinstated. It hurts.
CARLSON: You know what, as far as I am concerned, once you include the world‘s biggest hair ball, there is really no limit.
GEIST: That‘s a good point. I like the most world‘s grapes caught in the mouth at once. That was a good one.
CARLSON: I think we had him on the show.
GEIST: We did.
CARLSON: Boy we‘re high tone. Willie Geist from headquarters. Thanks Willie. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL.” We will be back tomorrow. Tune in then.
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