Guest: Christopher Hitchens, Bob Kohn, Willie Brown, Lawrence Kudlow
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.
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PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST: Democrats spent the last four years mocking George Bush as a moron and a warmonger. At the polls, however, Americans showed what they thought of that Democratic Party elite. But now Democrats are saying the president must extend a hand across the aisle to make peace with them. And that‘s not the silliest thing they‘ve been saying. Are the Democrats in denial?
Then, a new study proves that Bush was fighting an uphill battle in the final months of the campaign against the media. We‘ll show you just how negative the coverage of the president was.
And before elections can be held in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi leaders need to deal with a small problem. It‘s called Fallujah. But would flattening Fallujah stop Zarqawi or incite still more terrorism?
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BUCHANAN: Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, I‘m Pat Buchanan, sitting in for Joe.
Across the country on Tuesday, the Democrats were handed defeat after defeat. Are they in denial as to why?
With me now, Lawrence Kudlow, the co-host of CNBC‘s “Kudlow & Cramer,” and the former mayor of San Francisco and an old friend of this program, Willie Brown.
Willie Brown, let me begin with you. You‘ve heard all these statements that the president‘s got to reach out now to Democrats. Why isn‘t it the Democrats who have to reach out to him, since he won?
WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: Well, I think, Pat, you‘re absolutely correct. The president won.
And I hope that the Democrats will follow Mr. Kerry‘s lead. Mr. Kerry said it‘s time for the president unite the country. I, John Kerry, am willing to work with the president towards that end. That is not a plea to have for having the president do anything any differently than you‘d want anybody else to do who has won the victory.
BUCHANAN: OK, what do you say about this, Lawrence Kudlow? What‘s your take on this, hearing all this talk that the president has to reach out to the Democratic Party? It‘s his obligation, his duty?
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, CO-HOST, “KUDLOW & CRAMER”: Well, I think the president may reach out for some conservative Democrats. That‘s a possibility, people like Zell Miller or perhaps Joe Lieberman.
But, look, this is a conservative nation. This is a right nation. We now have the White House, the Senate with 55 votes, the House, the governorships, the state legislatures. If you look at the map, as many have pointed out in the last day or two, it‘s not just blue states vs. red states. If you go by counties, it‘s almost all red, except for some slivers along the coast.
I think if anybody has got to change here, it‘s the Democratic Party, which has a losing formula on social issues, on economic issues, and foreign policy issues.
BUCHANAN: All right, Willie Brown, let me read you to something, call your attention to something, a number of quotes that were just made just today from “Slate,” “The Washington Post,” “The New York Times,” which seem to me almost irreconcilable. Frankly, they have got none of the conciliation that I hear in your voice.
Here is what Jane Smiley writes at Slate.com—quote—“The election results reflect the decision of the right wing to cultivate and exploit ignorance in the citizenry. We have to remember that threats to democracy from the right always collapse. Whatever their short-term appeal, they are borne of hubris and hatred, and will destroy their purveyors in the end.”
BUCHANAN: Do you think that‘s a fair assessment of the campaign the president ran?
BROWN: Oh, no, no, no. No, not at all.
I think, Patrick, that there are many Democrats who are so devastated by what Mr. Bush did to them in this last campaign, I think they‘re just beyond—they can‘t believe that they could lose so easily. They frankly never saw the pulpit doing what the pulpit can do so effectively, which is what frankly elected me in many cases. The African-American preachers for a long time have been pushing politics from the pulpit in the interest of their persons who attend their church.
The Democrats generally didn‘t see that. And so the Democrats have allowed themselves to be perceived as somehow above the fray when it comes to ordinary people. And ordinary people are beginning in many cases to so believe that, that they sometimes vote against what appears to be their best interests. And, believe me, Democrats have got to get it together if they‘re ever going to win.
They are never going to win if they don‘t.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, I want to come back to that in a minute.
But right now, Lawrence Kudlow, now, E.J. Dionne is a very bright man. And he‘s a good columnist. He was an outstanding political analyst. But here he is “The Washington Post” on Tuesday‘s results.
He says—quote—“Let‘s be honest. We are aghast at the success of a campaign based on viscous personal attacks, the exploitation of strong religious feelings, and an effort to create the appearance of strong leadership that would do Hollywood proud. And we are disgusted that an effort consciously designed to divide the country did exactly that and won.”
Now, Lawrence Kudlow, I thought a campaign‘s purpose was to divide the country into Republicans and Democrats and get more than the other fellow. You may have debated at Oxford. I have. But, at the end of the debate, you divide the house. Part of it walks out to vote for one side and the other stays in the room to vote for the other side.
It seems as though the Democrats are just completely outraged and exasperated that the president on a personal level ran a tough campaign and simply won by a going-away margin.
KUDLOW: Well, Pat, I agree with you. I think E.J. Dionne, it‘s a very uncharacteristic and unseemly rant on his part. Politics is about divisions. It‘s about a clash of ideas. It‘s about a conflict of thought.
And that‘s what makes democracy so great is, we can settle this peacefully. I rather liked what Mayor Brown said before, because I think the Kerry Democrats in this campaign deserted many long-standing Democratic positions, particular with respect to cultural values or moral values.
What happened here is, John Kerry and John Edwards surrendered their party to Whoopi Goldberg, to Michael Moore, to George Soros and people of the far left. And Americans are not stupid. They saw it and they didn‘t want any part of it.
BUCHANAN: All right, Willie Brown, I want—Willie Brown, I want to follow up, because I remember—we were following your campaign for mayor out there. And someone told me that the Republicans, they said, we‘re going to have to endorse Willie Brown. I said, what? I know Willie Brown, but Willie Brown is not a conservative. And they said, he is the conservative in the race out here.
And I think they endorsed you. And Al From said today, right to the point you‘re talking about—quote—“We‘ve got to close the cultural gap.”
But, how Willie, do they do it, when in truth liberal Democrats, and that‘s the dominant part of the party, they do believe homosexuals and gays should have the right to marry, they do believe basically in abortion on demand? How do they close the cultural gap if, fundamentally, they disagree with those red state voters?
BROWN: Well, let‘s start first with the selection process.
And I will not concede that the Democratic Party has been turned over to that list of persons that was described by Mr. Kudlow. I think that‘s totally and completely inaccurate. I think the Democratic Party, as always, is the most diverse of all the parties. It‘s made up of something of everybody including the left wingers and the progressives.
Having been victimized or at least they attempted to victimize by use of that process, I know clearly you can win literally if you make the appropriate appeal to the voters.
BROWN: Now, let me tell you, Pat, if in fact the Democratic Party had been smart enough to select second on the ticket either Mr. Graham out of Florida or the governor of New Mexico, some of that red would not have been so red, because they would have been utilizing the opportunity to have the symbol of the Democratic Party be the governor of New Mexico, or the symbol of the Democratic Party be the U.S. senator, the most popular figure in Florida.
BUCHANAN: All right, hold it. Let me follow up. Just a second, Lawrence. I‘ll come back to you.
Willie Brown, let me ask you this. You say we‘re not that party that‘s been described. But can you name for me one pro-life Democrat who has been able to stand up at a Democratic Convention in recent years to say, listen, I‘m a proud Democrat and I happen to be pro-life, or, I‘m a proud Democrat and I cannot support this idea of homosexuals marrying; I think that is wrong? Could a Democrat do that at his convention?
BROWN: I think John Kerry made it very clear. He does not—he supports civil unions, just as the president does, but he does not support same sex marriages. He said that.
The difference is, however, he didn‘t attempt in any fashion to cast judgment upon people who may disagree with him on that issue. On the other end, the president did. The president said, if you disagree with me on this issue, there are some serious questions about your character and about your sense of values. I don‘t think that‘s the proper thing to happen in this country.
BUCHANAN: Lawrence, go ahead.
BROWN: I think, in this democracy, you ought to be able to have your views and have your views not necessarily be so unacceptable that you somehow become a part of those views. It seems to me, that‘s what the president did to Mr. Kerry.
KUDLOW: I don‘t think so.
I think Mr. Kerry suffered from a lot of self-inflicted wounds. He said many things during the campaign and then changed and flip-flopped. Let‘s take a marriage a man and woman. He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. It was part of his liberal record in the Senate. There is way he can squirm around that. That runs counter to between two-thirds and three-quarters of the thinking of voters in this country.
And I think he was hung out to dry because of that in the red states and the red counties. And, again, I think what Kerry did, he got in bed with the Hollywood crowd. At that big gala affair in New York City when he said these are the people with the values that I respect. And he was talking about the tawdry remarks made by Whoopi Goldberg, that was a devastating mistake. It was an unbelievable thing for him to make, because he didn‘t really believe that culture and morals were going to matter. And that was his downfall.
BROWN: Let me tell you, the difference is, with Democrats, we don‘t attribute somebody who demonstrates lunacy to you and the president and other people unless you openly say he is speaking for me.
KUDLOW: But that‘s what Kerry said, Mayor Brown.
KUDLOW: Let me just say, Senator Brown—Mayor Brown.
KUDLOW: Senator Kerry actually said that night and afterwards what a great concert this was, what great people they were, and that these represented the right kind of values. He endorsed it.
You see, I agree with what you‘re saying, Mayor Brown. The trouble is, Senator Kerry went far beyond it. He went over the edge. And he paid for it later.
BROWN: He paid the price.
KUDLOW: Yes, he did.
BROWN: He‘s over. Kerry is history.
KUDLOW: Yes, he is.
BROWN: I am certain the Democratic Party would not renominate Kerry as their standard-bearer come four years from now.
The question is, how will the Democratic Party begin to change the color of the perception in some of those states of who Democrats really are? How do we manage to win a few more U.S. Senate seats? How do we manage to win a few more House seats?
BROWN: We start by first selecting good quality candidates.
BUCHANAN: Well, Mayor Brown, Willie, is not the perception reality?
It seems to me the Democratic Party in the convention assembled in Boston is in favor of giving homosexuals the right to marry. It is in favor of abortion on demand right up until birth. It does not like the idea of prayer in the public schools, voluntary or not. Some of those folks have problems even with “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
In other words, don‘t—the heart of your party and Buchanan on this side and Kudlow on this side, don‘t we fundamentally and deeply disagree, and that is just fact of the matter?
BROWN: Well, when you say all of those things are the hallmark of the Democratic Party, you‘re wrong, because you and I both know, as I said a moment ago, both John Kerry and John Edwards said very clearly they do not support same-sex unions. They do support civil unions.
And that was very clear. On the question of choice, yes, the Democratic Party, with great pride, is for choice. There‘s no question about that whatsoever. And there are a whole series of other important things on which the Democratic Party and the Republican Party disagree.
BUCHANAN: OK. Can you hold the phone?
BROWN: In that process, however, there are candidacies like Bob Graham. There are candidacies...
BROWN: OK, five seconds, Mayor.
We‘ll be back in a minute. Stick around, because we‘ve got much more with our panel when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
Don‘t go away.
BUCHANAN: The lessons some Democrats took away from Tuesday‘s defeat, they need to move still further to the left. We‘ll be talking about that clever strategy next.
BUCHANAN: Are Democrats in denial?
John Kerry loses his bid for the White House. John Edwards couldn‘t even hold his North Carolina Senate seat. South Dakota canned Senate minority leader Tom Daschle. And President Clinton‘s former chief of staff loses yet another bid for statewide office.
Do Democrats understand why they lost big on Tuesday and what the party must do to find its way? We‘re back with Willie Brown and Lawrence Kudlow.
Willie Brown, let me read you another. And these are not people out on the fringe. E.J. Dionne is a respected columnist for “The Washington Post.”
Here is Paul Krugman writing in today‘s “The New York Times.” He‘s a major voice of American liberalism, a supporter of the Democratic Party. He says—quote—“President Bush isn‘t a conservative. He‘s a radical, the leader of a coalition that deeply dislikes America as it is. Part of that coalition wants to tear down the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, eviscerating Social Security and eventually Medicare. Another part wants to break down the barriers between church and state. And thanks to a heavy turnout by evangelical Christians, Mr. Bush has four more years to advance that radical agenda.”
BUCHANAN: Now, Mayor Brown, look, since George Bush—I opposed him.
He added a $440 billion prescription drug benefit for Medicare.
Is he really trying to tear down Medicare and Social Security or have some of these liberals simply gone around the bend over this defeat?
BROWN: I think many of the people who express themselves are doing so at a time that maybe they should sit back and wait and let the dust clear, let their emotions subside.
I do believe it‘s legitimate criticism to raise questions about whether or not Mr. Bush will destroy the Social Security system by his suggestions and recommendations and policies that say people should be able to invest a portion of Social Security in their own way. And that‘s obviously dramatically different from what Social Security has been in the past and how Social Security is perceived, particularly when there‘s no comment and no indication of how you make up the gap that will be created by the absence of the contributions.
BROWN: That‘s legitimate. Those are completely legitimate.
KUDLOW: Pat, if I may.
BUCHANAN: All right.
KUDLOW: It was that old Democrat, Senator Pat Moynihan, who organized the commission for President Bush and inserted options to take some money out and put it into personal savings accounts, because Social Security, which the government has looted, is a bankrupt program.
I mean, look, Paul Krugman used to be a pretty decent economist when I first met him 25 years ago. He‘s become a left-wing nut as a columnist for “The New York Times.”
BUCHANAN: He went downhill when he went into journalism, huh?
KUDLOW: Go back, Pat, to somebody you and I both revere, and that‘s Ronald Reagan. Remember what he said. He was a Democrat who became a Republican. And Reagan always maintained that he didn‘t leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left him.
Now, Mayor Brown is right about Governor Bill Richardson, who is a friend of mine and I think a terrific man. That‘s what the Democrats need. If you look at what Ken Salazar did in Colorado in winning a Senate seat, that‘s what the Democrats need.
KUDLOW: But I don‘t see them moving in that—this kind of ranting and raving doesn‘t get them anywhere.
BROWN: Wait just a second.
BROWN: The same ranting and raving, Mr. Kudlow, you just did when you called some guy a left-wing nut.
KUDLOW: OH, for heaven‘s sakes, mayor. He is a nut. He is a nut.
BROWN: No, no, no.
KUDLOW: Yes, he is. He is a nut.
BROWN: That kind of language shouldn‘t be used either by you or in his writing. I disagree with that wholeheartedly.
But I want to compliment you. You are right about Salazar. He did—exactly. That is a quality candidate.
BROWN: Barak Obama in Illinois, that is a quality candidate.
KUDLOW: He has great values. He has great values. I agree with you.
BROWN: There‘ many faces of the Democratic Party. And that is why you cannot simply assign the party to the scrap heap. They‘re a talented people and they are going to be tough to compete with.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mayor Brown, let me get in here now.
Here is the advice your party is getting from another magazine, “The Nation” magazine. And it‘s offering Democrats this advice, head due left for victory. The title of the article is, “We Must Move Left.”
It says: “The Democratic Party is not the only vehicle for change.
Historically, that party‘s finest moments have come when it was pushed into
action from outside by popular movements, from the labor movement to the
civil rights movement to the women‘s movement to the gay-rights movement”
Now, Mayor Brown, what about the idea—it‘s being brooded about—that the party should become pure and it should really go all out for the causes in which it believes, so you get the enthusiasm and the energy and the fire that centrist candidates cannot deliver?
BROWN: I think that would be a disaster for America. I think it would be a disaster for the Democratic Party. And I think it would be a disaster for talented Democratic candidates like Ed Rendell, like Chuck Schumer.
There are a whole host, like Michael Coleman, the mayor of Columbus, Ohio. There are a whole host of Democrats of all stripes and all colors.
BUCHANAN: All right, how the former governor of Vermont, Howard Dean?
BROWN: Howard Dean has a role to play. And Howard Dean will define his role and he will play that role. He‘s an inspirational leader. He provided really absolute good participation, inspired all those young people to come out. Otherwise, John Kerry would have lost by an even greater margin.
BUCHANAN: Lawrence, you get the final word.
KUDLOW: Let me offer a slightly separate view.
I think the Democratic Party can rebuild itself if it finds moderates from the South and moderates from the West. But if it goes for left-wing Democrats from the Northeast or, heaven forbid, Northern California, it is going to be in a heap of trouble.
BUCHANAN: Any particular area of Northern California you‘re talking about?
BROWN: Let me tell you.
KUDLOW: I just want to say that I am so impressed with what Mayor Brown is saying tonight that I may have to rethink my whole San Francisco position.
BUCHANAN: Mayor Brown sounds like he‘s moving our way, Lawrence.
KUDLOW: I agree. I really am impressed by what he‘s saying.
BUCHANAN: All right, Lawrence Kudlow, Mayor Willie Brown, thank you for joining us tonight.
Still to come on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, we‘ll reveal the extent of the media bias the president fought throughout this campaign.
Plus, we‘re going to debate the question: Should the Marines finish off Fallujah?
Don‘t go away.
BUCHANAN: Ten thousand U.S. Marines are massing near Fallujah, preparing for an expected assault on the insurgent stronghold. But is a direct attack the right answer? We‘ll talk about that.
First, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Yesterday, in “The New York Times,” there was an eye-opening story quite revelatory about the character of the American media. It was in “The New York Times” and it seems that Howard Wolfson, who is an aide to president—excuse me, to John Kerry, at 12:30, as soon as said he heard Fox News call Ohio for the president and the election for the president, rushed into the war room, talked to three of his other senior aides. They phoned CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC and said don‘t call Ohio.
And except for NBC, the other three networks apparently went ahead and did not call it at all, all during the evening. It suggests a certain measure of influence or at least a disposition to listen to John Kerry on a matter of considerable moment.
Joining me—or his campaign.
Joining me now is Bob Kohn, author of “Journalistic Fraud,” and “Vanity Fair”‘s Christopher Hitchens.
Bob, what did you make of that story?
BOB KOHN, AUTHOR, “JOURNALISTIC FRAUD”: Well, you know, the three major networks and CNN have been carrying the water for the Kerry campaign throughout the campaign.
But I‘m willing to give the networks the benefit of the doubt that, when they did receive the call from the Kerry campaign—the networks were being extremely cautious. They didn‘t want to have happen this year what happened four years ago. So I‘m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It wasn‘t just plain liberal bias.
But as the evening wore on, I was struck at how long it took CBS, ABC, and CNN to call Ohio for Bush. And there is where I have the questions. And I started to watch Dan Rather. And here was a beaten man. He was looking for anything to give hope to the Kerry campaign. When he had the secretary of state of Ohio, Blackwell, on, and Blackwell mentioned that it might take several weeks to count those provisional ballots, you should have seen the grin on Dan Rather‘s face. It was the highlight of his evening.
BUCHANAN: OK. Let me ask you...
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, “VANITY FAIR”: I can believe all that. But, look, is this—how much better is this? You‘re talking to someone you probably should never have asked on, an amateur about opinion polls and all this kind of thing.
But how is this different from Michael Moore saying that the Florida result was changed by some guy who knew Bush calling it early last time? What difference does it make? It seems to me that the problem is not media bias, which I agree with your other guest, is self-evident. But I really don‘t know anyone in the professional press media who wanted Bush to win.
HITCHENS: And it‘s remarkable.
HITCHENS: But this poll bias, if this wasn‘t so scandalous, I think the press would be reporting it.
Who gets the money when the extra funds are dumped into a late campaign? The networks do.
HITCHENS: Who keeps saying it‘s too close to call, a phrase I hope I never hear again?
BUCHANAN: You‘re saying they have a conflict of interests, a vested interest in the horse race, just like...
HITCHENS: It‘s so obvious that people can‘t see it.
They pay polls to make the news for them. They don‘t report what they say. They commission them. They coexist with them. They collude with them to make the news, which is always, oh, man, it‘s a hair. It‘s a cliffhanger.
HITCHENS: Well, that incites people to spend more money. And where does that money go to? It‘s as vulgar a conflict as you could possibly imagine. It‘s very destructive to democracy.
BUCHANAN: All right.
HITCHENS: It means that anyone who wants to talk about politics is drowned out for the last month of the campaign by people who think they have numbers.
And it is finally a scandal that anyone is allowed to hang around a polling place on Election Day. I‘m not allowed to do that, if I want to, nor you. The First Amendment doesn‘t give me the right to go hang around a polling place, handing anything out or asking people things or telling them things.
HITCHENS: Why are exit pollsters given the right to do this, to pollute and infect the process?
BUCHANAN: Well, they wait until people come out of the polls and they ask them, who did you vote for and why? What were the reasons?
HITCHENS: Sure. Or they can ask them later.
I‘m not allowed to go do that, unless I have an exit poll credential.
HITCHENS: Polling places are protected from people hanging around like bluebottles on Election Day.
HITCHENS: Why don‘t we do it at the weekend, give people time to vote, time to think, shut this raucous garbage down, and stop asking as if we were...
BUCHANAN: But you‘re asking for something that is not going to happen.
HITCHENS: This network is part of this racket, you know? Where do the ads actually go? Where does the money actually get spent?
BUCHANAN: Well, we didn‘t get a huge share of it, not as much as some of the others.
BUCHANAN: All right, listen, according to a new study by the Center For Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, President Bush received twice as much negative press as John Kerry during the height of the presidential campaign. Between Labor Day and Election Day, Bush‘s coverage was 64 percent negative, with only 36 percent of the news stories painting him in a positive light.
During that same period, the news coverage of John Kerry was positive 58 percent of the time. Now, get this. Overall, John Kerry received the most favorable news coverage of any presidential candidate in the last 25 years.
Bob Kohn, is that your understanding? That comports with what that Project For Excellence in Journalism found almost exactly?
Pat, you know, I think Christopher Hitchens has a very interesting theory. And I think it has a ring of truth to it, that they want to see a close election for their own business interests. But that theory doesn‘t explain the study that you just mentioned. That study shows quantitatively that the press has been providing Kerry with a number of stories favorable to him—or the press has been providing Kerry these stories.
KOHN: But that only counts the quantitative side.
The qualitative side, you can‘t compete with a front-page banner headline in “The New York Times” saying no ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. You know, that was the wrong headline.
BUCHANAN: Well, Christopher, let me ask you about that, because that is a key story.
BUCHANAN: It was a two-column front-page story, 377 or 380 tons of explosives missing. “The Times” pumped up it hugely. CBS was waiting until 36 hours before the polls opened to dump it on “60 Minutes,” where the president wouldn‘t have a chance to respond. And Jeff Fager, the CBS guy, said he was distraught that “The Times” broke the story early and they couldn‘t dump it on election eve.
HITCHENS: Well, then it can‘t both be “The Times” and CBS, can it?
BUCHANAN: Well, no.
BUCHANAN: This is CBS. And “Times” said we are going to—we can‘t sandbag the president. We‘re going to go with the story.
HITCHENS: Well, fine, but, I mean, “The Times” had been working on the story for a while. I can‘t remember the first time I read that story. It is a while ago. It could have come up at any time. I think it left people baffled.
They said, well, if that‘s true, how does it come out? And the Democrats are always saying there‘s no dangerous stuff lying around Iraq and there never was.
HITCHENS: It was self-contradictory.
HITCHENS: The fact is, we not must treat viewers and listeners and readers as if they‘re dumb. People read, hey, the Bush people failed to clean up a huge dump of stuff that could have left off nuclear weapons as triggers in Iraq, are going to ask, why—the same paper was telling us weapons in Saddam‘s Iraq are no problem? Your own belief, for example.
BUCHANAN: Go ahead, Bob.
KOHN: Pat, one thought is this.
There‘s an investigation going on headed by Dick Thornburgh about CBS and Rather-gate, about those forged memos.
BUCHANAN: Right. The forged memos, right.
I think it would be quite appropriate for him not to only look at the practices of “60 Minutes” and how they put their stories together, but maybe they should bring in this very latest episode with how CBS was suggesting it wanted to hold the story until the last day before the election. On top of that, they might even go into what happened a couple of nights ago, with CBS getting the call from the Democratic campaign. Maybe...
BUCHANAN: Quickly. Go ahead.
KOHN: It would be very interesting...
HITCHENS: I feel Mr. Kohn‘s desire, to ask the questions, rather than answer one.
You have kept saying, Mr. Buchanan, that there are no weapons in Iraq and there was no connection between the president and al Qaeda. Were you carrying Kerry‘s water for him every time you said that?
BUCHANAN: No, I was not carrying for it for him.
BUCHANAN: Were you carrying Michael Moore‘s water when you did that?
BUCHANAN: No. I do think, when “The New York Times” did that two-column headline, I did look at that and I said, here it comes. This is a sandbag.
I‘ve been in politics long enough. We didn‘t fall off the turnip truck on the way into town. When that thing is sitting up there, “The New York Times” is basically running an attack ad against the president, just like the National Guard story of Dan Rather and CBS was an attack ad in prime time against the president of the United States.
HITCHENS: Yes, but it was never going to work.
The president was not running on his military record. It didn‘t attack him on any position he‘d taken. It‘s not comparable to the swift boat stuff.
KOHN: Pat, in your defense, you‘re a commentator. You‘re providing analysis and commentary. The front page of “The New York Times” is supposed to be news. That‘s what is supposed to be objective. So I think that they shouldn‘t carry the water. You can.
HITCHENS: Only what is fit to print. I wake up every day. When I see that on the front page of “The Times”—it actually says all the news that is fit to print—I can‘t believe they still do it. But they can‘t tell me they haven‘t warned me.
BUCHANAN: OK, Bob Kohn, thanks for joining us.
Christopher Hitchens, stick around, because, coming up, is it time once and for all to put an end to Zarqawi‘s hold over Fallujah? And is invading and occupying the city the only way to eradicate the insurgency?
We‘ll debate that next.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: Which state has voted for a Democrat in the most consecutive presidential elections? Is, A, New York, B, Minnesota, or, C, Massachusetts? The answer after the break.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked:
Which state has voted for a Democrat in the most consecutive presidential elections? The answer is B. Minnesota has voted for a Democrat in every election since Nixon won the state in 1972?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IYAD ALLAWI, IRAQI INTERIM PRIME MINISTER: In Fallujah, yes, we have been asked by the people of Fallujah to help them, to liberate them from the terrorists and insurgents who have taken Fallujah as a hostage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Iraqi officials say they have set elections for January 27. But before the elections, U.S. and Iraqi officials want to clear insurgents out of their stronghold in Fallujah. Women and children have been warned to leave and all roads into Fallujah have been closed; 10,000 U.S. Marines are poised to enter the city, waiting only for the order from Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi.
But are we doing the right thing? Should this be a battle Iraqis themselves should fight?
Joining me now is General Wayne Downing, MSNBC analyst and former deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism. And still with us, Christopher Hitchens.
General Downing, let me ask you this question. If we are about to send 10,000 Marines into Fallujah, is that not an admission that we made a terrible mistake in not reducing Fallujah and ending its role as a haven for terrorists and insurgents in April when we had them on the ropes?
RET. GEN. WAYNE DOWNING, NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Pat, it does suggest that, but it‘s just not quite that simple.
As you remember, back in April, we not only had the Sunni problem in Fallujah—and, by the way, don‘t just think Fallujah. It‘s much larger than Fallujah.
DOWNING: It‘s about a dozen cities in the so-called Sunni Triangle.
But also at that time, we had a major uprising with the Shias. That‘s when Muqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army was causing us all those problems. And I think what we chose to do then was to, you know, close down Fallujah, take an eye on it, solve the Shia problem, which we have done, which is well on the way to a solution.
Now the election is over. Now I see us going back into Fallujah, and not only Fallujah, Pat, but that entire area.
BUCHANAN: Ramadi and all the others.
BUCHANAN: Let me ask you, General.
BUCHANAN: Will they do it the same way we did it apparently in Najaf, which was, they brought in an awful lot of really highly qualified American snipers and they really just reduced the numbers of al-Sadr‘s characters down to a very minimal level?
Do you think they are going to that, or are they just going to roll right into the city with armor and all the rest of it?
DOWNING: Well, Pat, they‘re going to do the whole thing.
I don‘t want to sit here and second-guess their tactics. Their tactics are very innovative. I doubt if they‘ll do the same thing again. That would be stupid, because the enemy is smart. He picks up on what you‘re doing. But they‘re going to roll in there. They‘re certainly going to use every trick that they have in their kit bag and certainly the armor is going to be there. And it‘s not just going to be Marines. There‘s going to be Army forces, Army armored units with them for that kind of fighting. And I wouldn‘t...
BUCHANAN: How long do you anticipate it would take once the signal goes and the flags drop for the Marines and the Army troops and the others, everything we‘ve got, to basically eliminate the insurgency in Fallujah?
DOWNING: Pat, it depends on what‘s still there.
I mean, believe me, the people in Fallujah know this is coming. I mean, this has been building up for weeks. Now, the question is, is, how many of them are still there? Have they squirted out? How hard are they going to fight? You know, these are the kinds of things that are going to determine how long it is going to take us to clear that area.
BUCHANAN: But this has to be done, right?
DOWNING: If they really put up a fight and don‘t leave—oh, Pat, I think we have to defeat this insurgency in order for these other things to happen.
DOWNING: You mentioned the election, Pat. It‘s not just the election. It‘s the restoration of services, government services, to that country. It‘s rebuilding the economy. It‘s making the place safe enough so that foreign contractors will come in there and invest their money.
You just saw in the paper today that the Doctors Without Borders are pulling out of there.
DOWNING: I mean, it takes a lot to get them to move out. The security situation is absolutely essential. The sine qua non to rebuilding Iraq. We have let that thing over 18 months get under control. We‘ve got to get it under control if the Iraqis are going to take this...
DOWNING: And make a government.
BUCHANAN: I gather, Christopher Hitchens, you‘re a strong supporter of the war. You believe this has got to be done as well? Americans have to do it?
HITCHENS: Well, unless you want to hand a country of that size and importance over to people like Zarqawi and Sadr, you...
BUCHANAN: What I‘m asking is, should the Iraqis play the central role? They played a major role.
HITCHENS: I was very pleased to see Prime Minister Allawi telling people what not everyone knows is true, which was also true in Najaf and in Karbala elsewhere. The locals have ways of communicating and they send messages saying, please, we can‘t live any longer under gangster rule. We would like you to come in. That has happened before.
Unfortunately, it happened in the reverse order to the one the general just outlined. And, in fact, the concentration was so much on reducing Fallujah for a while, that it was decided to let Muqtada al-Sadr run for a bit. And he got way out of control because they thought, let‘s not quarrel with the Shia as well.
HITCHENS: By the way, it takes nothing to get Medecins Sans Frontieres, Doctors Without Borders to run away. They ran away from Afghanistan shortly just before I got there and I was only there for the registration of the elections. These people look for any excuse to pull out. We don‘t have this luxury. And the Iraqi people have to go on living there. And we have to guarantee they‘re going to have a proper election.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, General Downing, let me ask you this. How long will it be before the Iraqis themselves can be trained to deal with problems like Ramadi and Samarra and Fallujah?
DOWNING: Well, Pat, this thing is gaining speed, but it‘s still going very, very slow.
The most effective units that we have right now who are actually fighting with us are actually probably Kurds. We‘re trying to get more Iraqi units up and trained. It takes time. It takes time to develop the leaders. I think you‘re looking at certainly a year before they start getting some effective forces.
I don‘t think the key and I never have thought the key was more U.S. forces. We don‘t have enough forces in our entire armed forces to pacify that country. I mean, we don‘t have...
DOWNING: ... even if we put them all there.
HITCHENS: I‘m so glad to hear the general say that. I‘m so glad to hear that.
DOWNING: We‘ve got to get the Iraqis involved.
HITCHENS: It‘s so important that the general said what he just said.
BUCHANAN: OK, hold the thought.
Now, Monday night, General...
HITCHENS: I have to hold it already?
BUCHANAN: Hold it.
Monday night, General Tommy Franks, former allied commander in Iraq and author of “American Soldier,” will be here to weigh in on the battle of Fallujah.
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will return in a minute. Don‘t go away.
SCARBOROUGH: Monday night, as election week comes to a close, General Tommy Franks steps in to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to weigh in on the presidential campaign and the battle for Fallujah. That‘s Monday night at 10:00 Eastern.
Stay tuned for more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back, General Downing, Christopher Hitchens.
Christopher, you go first. Your thoughts on what the general said.
HITCHENS: Well, just to praise him for saying something a lot of people don‘t.
This is the badge I have in my lapel. It‘s the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. It is true the Kurds are brilliant fighters. We often don‘t recognize it. The word insurgent only really belongs to the only really brave, solid rebel army that has ever been in Iraq, the Kurdish people‘s army, and that is fighting on our side. Shouldn‘t be forgotten.
BUCHANAN: General, what is going to happen, do you think? And is it going to be a fairly bloody couple of months up until inauguration?
DOWNING: Oh, yes, Pat.
I think it is going to be bloody. I think it is going to continue beyond January. I think the key to this thing is the Iraqis. I think we have got to bring them along politically, militarily. And that is going to be the key. And we are going to be there another five years.
BUCHANAN: OK, I think—five years?
OK, General, thank you very much.
Chris Hitchens, thanks for joining me.
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