Guest: Jack Burkman, Terry Jeffrey, Carl Bernstein
MIKE BARNICLE, GUEST HOST: Are we witnessing the death of the Democratic Party? This man thinks so, but some think this man might be able to save it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is not a mandate. That is not a mandate. Three percent of the vote is not a mandate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNICLE: And will religion-baiting widen the rift between red states and blue states, and will the politics of hate never end?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I look at this map, and I‘m like, what the heck is happening? I look at the election, and I am going, well, of course, our kids are not bright about these things, because their parents aren‘t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNICLE: We will take a look at who is really uniting and who is really dividing tonight on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BARNICLE: That‘s right. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Joe Scarborough is out tonight. I‘m Mike Barnicle.
It‘s being dubbed post-election selection syndrome. A Florida trauma specialist says he has seen more than a dozen people in need of therapy after John Kerry‘s loss last week, adding—quote—“I observed patients threatening to leave the country or staring listlessly into space. They were emotionally paralyzed, shocked and devastated”—unquote.
Well, does that describe the mood of the entire Democratic Party?
We are here with Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC‘s “Kudlow & Cramer,” Terry Jeffrey, syndicated columnist and editor of “Human Events,” Carl Bernstein of “Vanity Affair, and, on the phone, Joe Scarborough.
James Carville told a group of reporters today that it‘s time for Democrats to reexamine the party—quote—“We can deny this crap, but I‘m out of the denial. I‘m about reality here. We are an opposition party and, as of right now, not a particularly effective one. You can‘t deny reality here”—unquote.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, let‘s start with you, Larry Kudlow.
What do you think? James Carville, is it reality, or is that—what
is going on with the Democrats? Are they done?
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, CO-HOST, “KUDLOW & CRAMER”: I think the Democrats are in denial, but I think James Carville is being very realistic.
He is a very bright guy and he has a track record with moderate
Democrats, namely Mr. Clinton. Let me add moderate Democrats from the
South or the West, which is completely counter to what the party just
offered up, more Massachusetts liberalism. And in terms of values and
virtues and moral conscience and social beliefs, you know, I think Carville
· I don‘t know what his answers are going to be, but I think he is raising exactly the right questions, because the Democrats right now, they are out of the White House. They have lost the Senate. They have lost the House of Representatives. They are way down in the governorships. They have got a big problem.
BARNICLE: OK, Joe Scarborough, on the phone.
Joe, first of all, how are you feeling, buddy?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Hey, I am doing OK. I am on my back, but, you know, I‘m feeling...
BARNICLE: Well, you‘re like the Democrats, then. You are on your back.
BARNICLE: You are going to get up. Are they going to get up?
You know, they are going to get up. I remember in 1995, when the Republicans took over—actually, 1994, Newt Gingrich and the whole revolution. I remember seeing the front page of a news magazine, “U.S. News & World Report,” talking about the death of the Democratic Party.
It goes in cycles. But the Democrats aren‘t helping themselves right now. James Carville is not helping himself by painting this as a fight with the Republicans or saying that they are going to protect Americans from terrorists in Tikrit, and—quote—“homos in Hollywood.”
And you tie that language together with “The New York Times” accusing the Republicans of taking us into the Dark Ages, talking about Tim Russert this weekend had a Democrat—said that a Democrat came up and asked him whether we were on the verge basically of a theocracy, where we can‘t practice what we believe in America if we aren‘t evangelical Christians.
They are whipping themselves up into such a frenzy. But, Mike, as you and I both know, there‘s always good news for parties out of power. First of all, the party in power always overreaches. Secondly, the Republicans face deficits. They face debts, Social Security problems. But I will tell you this. In one area, they need to be very concerned, and that has to do with the long-term consequences of Republicans taking over Congress.
Republicans in the House of Representatives, I believe, are now starting to settle in to becoming a long-term majority, and that‘s because of gerrymandering and also because they are just outorganizing their Democratic opponents, and people like Nancy Pelosi are way out of touch with mainstream America.
BARNICLE: Carl Bernstein, what about that? We have heard the out-of-touch argument going on now for nearly a week, but what about another argument that‘s beginning to be made? You hear it not necessarily on the West Side of Manhattan, I don‘t think, but in various other parts of America, that maybe the Democratic Party, as we know it, as you and I know it, has been in a death rattle since 1968, and this is it, and they really have to go back and completely reinvent themselves.
Do you buy that?
CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR/JOURNALIST: I think there‘s a lot of noise going on. Everybody ought to quiet down a little bit.
The first thing is that, you know, Bill Clinton won two terms for the presidency, had a very effective presidency, despite whatever his personal problems were. And, in this last election, the president and his opponent were separated by 3 percent. In the votes for Senate, the Democrats in terms of shear percentage points outpolled the Republicans, though they didn‘t pick up the seats.
But more important, George Bush is the most radical president, if not in our history, certainly within the last 100 years.
BARNICLE: Carl, people don‘t buy that, though.
BERNSTEIN: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
First of all, I think people do buy it, including people who would call themselves liberal Republicans. I think whoever captures the center effectively, I think that the country, if you are going to generalize, is longing for some peace and quiet and for some centrist principles. I don‘t think most people in the country—look, we are not on the verge of establishing a theocracy, and, at the same time, we have a president and a vocal minority who would, indeed, abolish some of that wall of separation between church and state.
That‘s what I think some of the hyperbole is about. Let‘s not call it theocracy, but let‘s call it very dangerous in terms of the Constitution. We had a discussion on here last night that I was—Joe will talk about it later.
BARNICLE: Well, we are going to show that.
Well, I went home, and I said, am I still living on the same planet? And I pulled out the Constitution of the United States, and I started to read it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Carl, you know what I did. I actually read the transcript of what you said last night.
SCARBOROUGH: And what you said last night in the transcript was exactly what I remembered you saying. And that was, you were saying that a small band of religious zealots were basically trying to set up a theocratic state.
And it‘s just not the case. Let‘s face it. These are the hard facts
that people don‘t want to face. Listen, whether you agree with it or not -
· and, again, I am more libertarian than not—about 75 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage. That doesn‘t mean they want to set up a theocratic state. About 50 percent of Americans are pro-life. That doesn‘t mean they are theocratic.
About 50 percent of Americans have serious questions about stem cell research. Now, these three issues have been spun by “The New York Times” and Carl Bernstein and the elitists in Manhattan and L.A. to turn us into a bunch of knuckle-dragging, right-wing, illiterate zealots..
BARNICLE: Joe, wait a minute. Carl, wait a minute.
For those of you who didn‘t have the benefit of this, let‘s take a look at that clip from last night‘s show.
Here is Joe and Carl last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNSTEIN: We have a secular nation.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. I‘m sorry, Carl, but I cannot allow you to say that a narrow...
BERNSTEIN: I didn‘t use the word narrow.
SCARBOROUGH: That a narrow group of people are opposed to gay marriage. Now, let me tell you something.
BERNSTEIN: No, to the contrary. Whoa.
SCARBOROUGH: Carl, this is the mistake that people make, though, OK?
BERNSTEIN: Wait. Joe, most people are opposed to gay marriage. You are not wrong about that. You are not wrong about that.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. But what you are saying, though, is that a small subset of people are trying to take over the government, when you and I both know...
BERNSTEIN: You are putting words in my mouth.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I‘m not.
BERNSTEIN: I said nothing about...
SCARBOROUGH: Look at a transcript tomorrow. You are saying that small groups of people are trying to take over the government.
BERNSTEIN: I did not say try to take—I will look at the...
SCARBOROUGH: You said a minority. Did you not say a small religious minority?
BERNSTEIN: Whoa, Joe, Joe, Joe, quit screaming.
SCARBOROUGH: Did you not say that? Did you not say that? Did you not say that?
BERNSTEIN: I said a small—I said a minority want to impose their views.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNICLE: All right. We have had 24 hours now to calm down.
Carl, your turn again. Go ahead.
KUDLOW: Can the rest of us get into this fight? Because I have got a dog in this fight, and I want to get into it.
BARNICLE: All right.
BERNSTEIN: I think it‘s time to lower our voices.
I think indeed that a minority do want to impose their views. Does that mean that they are going to be successful? I doubt it. I hope not. I think there are sensible people who will prevail.
TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR, “HUMAN EVENTS”: ... CBS News.
BERNSTEIN: But I think it‘s also very unfortunate when the president of the United States sends out his chief political operative, Karl Rove, right after the election and announces that the president—one of the president‘s first piece of business is going to be a constitutional amendment to forbid gay marriage.
BARNICLE: Carl Bernstein, go to your corner.
Larry Kudlow, you are on. Go ahead, Larry.
KUDLOW: That‘s what he campaigned on, for heaven‘s sake.
But I think—listen, my friend Carl is reflecting an attitude in some liberal circles which I think is quite healthy, because it will continue to drag down the Democratic Party. This is not about theocracy. This is not opposing the will. This is about deeply held values. Defense of traditional marriage is one of them. Using the word God in the Pledge of Allegiance is another of them.
Faith is yet another of them. Clear differences between right and wrong behavior is another of them. Whoopi Goldberg and George Soros and Michael Moore and their tawdry statements, which John Kerry and Edwards said was just great, they were the values that made America great, that‘s the kind of thing that a vast majority of people don‘t like.
And until the Democratic Party becomes more tolerant of these values and, indeed, tries to reach out to the people that hold these values, they are going to dig themselves deeper and deeper into the hole of minority status.
BERNSTEIN: I would simply say that, again, you go back to the Clinton administration, in which the Clinton administration did hold out those values, whatever the excesses of the president‘s personal behavior or Newt Gingrich excesses of personal behavior. Let‘s keep that stuff out of the equation.
Let‘s look at the part of the vote, the religious vote, the evangelical vote, the Catholic vote that Bill Clinton got.
KUDLOW: I agree. You see, the trouble is, the group—this group—the point I am making is, Carl, I basically agree with you on Clinton.
Clinton is far more conservative than Kerry-Edwards. That‘s the key point. And, in fact, since Mr. Clinton left office, the Democrats have drifted further and further to the left on all of these issues, whether it‘s big government economics or big government entitlements or faith-based values or Defense of Marriage Act. They have lost the Clintonian strain.
That‘s the whole problem with the party. And now they are in danger of crossing a line which will be completely unacceptable to Americans. That is the risk here.
BERNSTEIN: I have got a different interpretation.
BARNICLE: All right.
BERNSTEIN: Let me just say one thing.
I think that John Kerry‘s values are very similar to Bill Clinton‘s. I think that the Bush campaign was very successful in painting John Kerry as something—and his views—as something they are not. And I think, again, only 3 percent separated these two candidates. And if you look at the red states and the blue states, you will see they weren‘t all red in a red state, and they weren‘t all blue in a blue state. And we have a cultural war.
KUDLOW: If you look at it county by county, it‘s even worse.
BARNICLE: We are going to be looking county by county, red states, blue states, for the rest of the hour. Joe Scarborough is here. He is going to leave us now and go back and get his back better.
BERNSTEIN: Get better, Joe.
BARNICLE: And Terry Jeffrey is here.
And, Terry, you are going to be here the rest of the hour, and I am, too. You are going to get a chance to talk as well.
But Joe, before we get out of here in this segment, what is on your mind before we leave?
SCARBOROUGH: Tell Carl Bernstein to behave himself.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s amazing. It‘s amazing to me.
Let me tell you, this is what offends so many of us in middle America, that, if, let‘s say, 3 percent of liberals in African-American churches decided to exert themselves because Jesse Jackson in 1986 went around the Southeast, as he did effectively, and got African-American churchgoers to get out and change the Republican Senate to becoming a Democratic Senate, that was praised by the elites as a way of getting people involved in the Democratic process.
I praise that too. I think that‘s what is so great about America. But, if it is right-wing Christians or conservative Christians, instead of left-wing Christians, then, all of a sudden it becomes dangerous. It becomes intolerant. It becomes the Dark Ages. And that is what people on both coasts don‘t get.
BARNICLE: OK, Joe, I want to thank you for calling in.
I think the whole God thing is overrated. We are going to get into it during the rest of the hour. We will talk to Joe later. We will see Joe later.
The rest of you, please stick around, because we‘re coming back. We are going to talk about what many are calling religion-baiting, including one guy who thinks there‘s an American jihad going on. You won‘t want to miss that, so stick around.
BARNICLE: Are religion and reason mutually exclusive? Some people are saying yes. Stick around for that SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown next.
BARNICLE: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Mike Barnicle, in for Joe.
Take a look at this quote by Gary Wills, history professor at Northwestern University: “Can a people that believes more fervently in the virgin birth than in evolution still be called an enlightened nation? In fact, we now resemble modern Europe less than we do our putative enemies in the Muslim world and al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein‘s Sunni loyalists. Americans wonder that the rest of the world thinks us so dangerous, so single-minded, so impervious to international appeals. They fear jihad, no matter whose zeal is being expressed.
Terry Jeffrey, what is your immediate reaction?
JEFFREY: Well, let me put it this way, Mike.
I am a native of the city of San Francisco, Roman Catholic, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have a degree in English literature from Princeton University. I have spent the last 18 years living and laboring inside the Washington beltway. And I will here and now declare myself in cultural solidarity with the middle American evangelical Taliban that Mr. Wills is talking about and Carl Bernstein was talking about in the last episode.
I feel, as a Roman Catholic from Northern California, as an Ivy Leaguer, that the things that I was raised to believe in, permanent, fundamental, underlying values of Western civilization, are the same thing that evangelical Christians in the South believe in and the same thing that German Catholics in Dubuque who voted for George Bush last Tuesday believe in.
And they are in fact the things that keep us free and make this nation great.
BARNICLE: Jack Burkman, a Republican strategist, joins us now as well.
Jack, let me ask you, do you think that people in the red states are so vastly different from people in the blue states?
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think there are a lot of culture differences, Mike.
I mean, people have forgotten Madison‘s writing in Federalist 16, when he argued that religion is the only glue that will ever hold this society together. The problem is, the last 60 years, the establishment media has put forth this myth that somehow this is and always was a secular, humanist society. That‘s nonsense. Religion has been a part of the American experience for almost 400 years, right from the Pilgrims, right from the start.
And I will tell you what. Without religion, how do you hold this culture together? How would you this society together? Secular humanism is not doing it. Look at all the trash and nonsense and poison coming out of Hollywood. The only antidote—religion has been the only antidote to that. Only conservative religious groups have been able to stand up to that. Without religion, this country would be overrun by that kind of trash.
I mean, even people who don‘t—even if you are on the other side of this equation, every if you‘re...
BARNICLE: Why does it do so well? BURKMAN: Why does religion do so well?
BARNICLE: No. Why does all this trash that pours out of Hollywood do so well?
BURKMAN: Because the society needs more religion and not less.
There‘s no—it‘s the only glue. Madison wrote brilliantly about this over 200 years ago. It‘s the only glue that can hold this kind of a diverse society together. There‘s nothing else to hold this country together morally.
BARNICLE: Larry Kudlow, let me ask you about a cockamamie theory of mine—most of my theories are cockamamie. But I think—my own instinct is that all this God talk, over the last week, while I respect it, it‘s a bit overrated.
It‘s part of it, I feel, but the larger umbrella that has divided us is a feeling among many people—and this is just my theory—of powerlessness, that courts are changing definitions of words like marriage, that the Internet, while a marvelous tool, exposes kids to things that some parents have to watch them and monitor them too often, that the lyrics in records are bothersome to some adults that kids are exposed to, that cable TV, 600 channels, that, unless you have parent locks, you worry about what your kids are watching, and all of this feeds into a feeling of powerlessness that we are now maybe confusing with moralism.
KUDLOW: Well, I like a lot of what you just said.
I think, however, the feeling of powerlessness has motivated many, many voters in this past election to go out and cast a vote for the candidate that they identified with.
Listen, these are values voters. And those values are moral values, but they are undeniably rooted in religion. There‘s no two ways about that. Whether you wear your religion on your sleeve—some do. Some don‘t. You can go on about that. But I think one of the key messages here is, people see the threat of a certain crossing of the line, ending traditional marriage being first and uppermost, as it turns out, but not only that.
George Bush displayed strong moral virtues and values with his steadfast and certain prosecution of the war on terrorism. People admire that. Unfortunately, Mr. Kerry was rather wishy-washy on that subject. People didn‘t admire that.
So I think this is of a piece, and I think the key center of it here, if you will, the spokes of the wheel revolve around the center, values voters. We are talking about virtues. We are talking about morality. We are talking about good vs. bad behavior. Yes, it‘s grounded in religious thinking. There‘s no two ways about it.
BURKMAN: Mike, what I would add to that, the big problem, going back to the Democrats, not only have they ignored religion for a long time. They have promoted an overtly immoral agenda.
When you talk about pro-choice agenda, which, in many cases, I think many people would agree today—and I think increasingly young people are coming to agree in larger numbers—that that‘s really nothing but birth control. That‘s the way they intend it. The party has—they have not only ignored values. They have promoted very immoral values.
BARNICLE: Wait a minute. Are you saying birth control is bad?
BURKMAN: I am saying that the Democratic Party, many on the left, advance the pro-choice—they advance abortion as birth control. They don‘t want to say that expressly. They don‘t want to say it explicitly, but that is their theory. No, birth control is not bad, but if you use abortion as birth control, that‘s very bad. That has been the message of the Democratic left for a long time, the tacit, unstated message.
BARNICLE: Terry Jeffrey, there‘s always been an acceptance of separation between church and state, but it seems now, especially in the last week, there‘s a blurring of the lines between church and politics. And we are hearing some of it here tonight, I think, aren‘t we?
JEFFREY: Well, I think church has always been involved in politics in the United States.
To sort of give you a specific example of the kind of hypocrisy that Joe Scarborough was talking about at end of the previous section; 40 years ago, the greatest grassroots movement in the United States of America was led by a group of Southern Christian preachers, Martin Luther King, Fred Shuttlesworth, the people in Birmingham who brought down Bull Connor and Jim Crow.
They were preaching the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that led the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King appealed to principles that he said were rooted in our founding of the Declaration of Independence, also in his Christian belief. He was absolutely right. That‘s the same thing that middle American conservatives are doing today.
And it‘s—the left has drifted so far away from. They call people extremists who express the same principles today that Martin Luther King did in Birmingham in the face of segregation in 1963.
KUDLOW: There is, in the U.S., plenty of evidence of a great moral awakening. That‘s what is going on here. People do not want certain behavioral lines crossed.
People do want certainty in defending their nation and all of its freedom. And people on the left who somehow confuse these significant issues and this great awakening, they think people want to end church and state. That is nonsense. That has never been the issue. That is just a red herring.
BARNICLE: Larry, if there‘s great moral awakening in this country since last Tuesday, is there not and hasn‘t there always been a great awareness or a reluctance to pay attention to a lot of finger-waggers in this country? Don‘t, basically, people want to be left alone to lead their own lives without having someone else‘s sets of morality imposed upon us?
KUDLOW: I don‘t think so. I don‘t think everybody wants to be just left alone to do whatever libertine things they can do. I think you are talking about the very heart of American family life.
There‘s a renewal going on, and there‘s a revolt going on. You saw the results, the electoral results, of the renewal of family life and family values. This is like a modern version of Victorian England as written by historian Gertrude Himmelfarb.
As far as the revolt, these people are revolting, because, as you said, they do feel powerlessness and they are exercising their new power at the ballot. That‘s why so many new people voted. That‘s why the voting levels were so much higher this time, particularly among the groups that Terry and Jack and I are talking about.
BARNICLE: Larry, do you think this is the first time that Gertrude Himmelfarb has been mentioned on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY?
KUDLOW: Well, Gertrude Himmelfarb is a brilliant historian. That‘s Irving Kristol‘s wife. And she wrote a great book about Victorian virtues and values, worth reading.
BARNICLE: All right, before we end this segment, there was a piece in “The New York Post” today by John Podhoretz. And this will give us food for thought for the next segment.
Podhoretz writes: “This president placed his most controversial and polarizing decisions at the center of his quest for a second term. He made no bones about what he planned to do. And 60 million Americans decided that sounded acceptable to them. Because of the way he ran his campaign and the fact that the American people knew exactly what they were choosing when they chose him, there‘s one thing Bush most certainly did win, a mandate.”
But not everyone agrees. Here is Howard Dean.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: That is not a mandate. That is not a mandate. Three percent of the vote is not a mandate. There are 48 percent of the people in this country who did not support the president of the United States and will not support a right-wing agenda anymore. We will not retreat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNICLE: Jack, the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, perhaps, Howard Dean? What do you think?
BURKMAN: Mike, well, the Democrats are in worse than denial. I heard from a leading Democrat in the House today. They‘re talking about secession in the Northeast. Of course it‘s a joke. I said, don‘t let the door hit you on the way out. And we will give you good agreement on tariffs and quotas.
But there is more than—it‘s more than humor, because you know what the Democrats are doing now? There‘s all this talk about preparing for a new awakening. But what they are really doing is bunkering in, in the Senate, preparing for these judicial nomination fights. The talk is that Rehnquist will retire. That‘s going to be the first battle.
It‘s siege. They are bunkering in for a siege mentality, but that will hurt them. The Democratic Party right now is like a—it‘s like a drunk that has to hit bottom. It‘s like somebody on drugs that has to hit bottom before it can recover. And I think they will hit bottom somewhere around ‘06.
BARNICLE: Part of the recovery process involves Hollywood, and they say they it will only step up the fight out in Hollywood now that the election is over, but is that good news or bad news for the Democrats?
We‘ll talk about that straight ahead.
BARNICLE: Coming up, the culture wars between the red states and the blue states, is Hollywood‘s latest move making it worse? We will tell you about that in just a minute.
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.
BARNICLE: Well, the blue states are feeling a little blue this week.
Is that because the other states saw red over Hollywood elites?
We are back with our panel.
Carl Bernstein, let‘s start with you. Carl, I suspect that you and I are similar souls in life. I grew up in a house where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a patron saint. I have spent most of my life working for newspapers. I am now in it largely for the story, the story of America. That‘s what I do each and every day.
One thing mystifies me, though. Why is it, Carl, do you think that the Democratic Party seems unable to tell the narrative story of America and Americans and the American family and thus win elections?
BERNSTEIN: I need to back up a little bit here and say, I am a reporter. My last book was a biography of the pope.
Part of reporting this election is to say that 52 percent of the Catholic vote as far as can be determined went for Bush, and the rest went for Kerry. It was close. There‘s a lot of misrepresentation, factual misrepresentation, going on in this broadcast, a lot of straw men and scorched-earth talk, a lot of Armageddon talk about politics.
But I want to particularly address this question of Martin Luther King. Of course we are a religious country. We have always been a religious country, and religious values have had much to do with who we are. And, at the same time, we are also a country with a very firm separation of church and state.
Every single amendment to the Constitution with the exception of prohibition has been to enlarge the rights of the people of this country beyond what the founders afforded them, for instance, the abolition of slavery, Brown vs...
BURKMAN: Let me ask you, what has George Bush done to violate the separation of church and state? What has the president done to do that?
BERNSTEIN: I am not saying that—I will tell you what—I am concerned about is a constitutional amendment that, for political reasons...
BURKMAN: But think about—that doesn‘t violate—that doesn‘t violate the Constitution. If you amend the Constitution, you don‘t violate it.
BERNSTEIN: I don‘t think I got to finish my sentence.
BARNICLE: Yes. Well, go ahead, Carl.
BERNSTEIN: My sentence was simply about the idea that the agenda of a religious minority—and we are talking, I think, about a religious minority here. I don‘t think that constitutional amendment, incidentally, is going to pass, but that the agenda of a religious minority has been taken up by one of the presidential candidates and by the president of the United States without much thought to the damage to the Constitution.
BURKMAN: But, Carl, what does that have to do—you are alleging that the Republican Party is somehow engaging in a scheme that violates the separation of church and state. Leaving aside the religious agenda, whatever that is, whatever you think that is...
BERNSTEIN: First of all...
BURKMAN: But, no, here‘s the question. Tell me specifically how the Republican Party, George Bush, Republican forces, is in the business of violating the separation of church and state.
BERNSTEIN: First of all, I think there is a wide spectrum of Republican belief in this country. And I believe, sir, that you are hardly a spokesman for most of those Republicans.
BURKMAN: You answer the question, Carl.
BERNSTEIN: Well, yes, I will.
BERNSTEIN: Yes, I will.
BARNICLE: All right, go ahead.
BERNSTEIN: I hear somebody screaming back there. Who is screaming back there?
BARNICLE: Not me. Go ahead, Carl, quick.
BERNSTEIN: No, what I am suggesting is that, if we allow a church-driven agenda on abortion, we already have the Supreme Court of the United States, which, under Article 3 of the Constitution, has made Roe vs. Wade the law of the land, much as Brown vs. Board of Education was the law of the land. And it‘s expanded rights.
If we are going to go into establishing the values in law of a religious minority, I think we need to get out of the business of arguing religion.
BARNICLE: All right.
BERNSTEIN: Somebody wanted to answer. Go ahead.
JEFFREY: Well, Carl Bernstein—may I address...
BERNSTEIN: Sure. Please do.
BARNICLE: Well, Terry, first of all, before you respond to that, I want to mention something that you wrote in “The Washington Times.”
And you said this morning: “While there many important issues in the historic election a week ago, the single most important one for the largest bloc of voters was not the economy, the Iraq war or the terror war. It was the cultural war.”
And Carl was just talking about an aspect of this.
So, go ahead, Terry.
JEFFREY: All right, exactly.
Now, I think Carl, without specifying, was challenging what I said about Martin Luther King. And I would invite him to engage me on this. And let me be specific. Let‘s talk about specific words and arguments by Martin Luther King, and let‘s apply it to abortion, as well as civil rights. Martin Luther King, Carl, as I assume you know, as a reporter, when he was jailed by Bull Connor on Good Friday 1963 in Birmingham, wrote the famous letter from the Birmingham jail and explained, why was he justified in violating the civil law and going to jail in advancing his cause?
He cited Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine, Roman Catholic saints, and said that a just law is law that comports with the law of God. An unjust law is one that isn‘t. He then went on to say, this is the exact same argument, Carl Bernstein, as the Declaration of Independence. And he was right.
The truth is, we Americans, me, Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson, believe that our rights come from God. Just laws are laws that comport with the law of God. Now, you explain to me, Carl Bernstein, how Martin Luther King‘s belief, articulated in the letter from the Birmingham jail, justifies a right to abortion? Explain that to me.
BERNSTEIN: Whoa. Whoa. What Martin Luther King believed in was civil disobedience against unjust laws of the states.
JEFFREY: And how were they defined?
BERNSTEIN: And they were defined by Jim Crow laws in the state of Alabama that were contrary to the laws of the country.
JEFFREY: How did Martin Luther King in his letter from the Birmingham jail define an unjust law, Carl Bernstein? I ask you as a reporter. Report the facts to our audience. How did Martin Luther King define an unjust law?
BERNSTEIN: You will have to read it to me. I don‘t have it in front of me.
JEFFREY: You don‘t know.
BERNSTEIN: No, first of all...
JEFFREY: You don‘t know. You challenged me on the facts of this, and you don‘t know the facts, sir.
BERNSTEIN: No, I remember, indeed.
JEFFREY: Let me tell you how he did it. He said an unjust law is a law that doesn‘t comport with the law of God.
JEFFREY: He said that quoting two Roman Catholic saints. Now, do you deny that as a fact? Do you concede you did not know that fact? You challenged me on what Martin Luther King was about.
BARNICLE: All right.
JEFFREY: You don‘t know the facts. You challenged somebody, saying they don‘t know the facts. But you did not know the facts.
BERNSTEIN: I happy to...
BARNICLE: Carl—tomorrow night, we‘ll have another opponent for you, Carl. Last night, it was Joe. Tonight, it‘s Terry. But...
BERNSTEIN: I think there is a cultural war going on, and I think you guys ought to stop this scorched-earth policy.
JEFFREY: You ought to learn our culture.
BARNICLE: We will keep up with the culture wars, if you stick with us.
Coming up, it‘s official. John Ashcroft, talking about the culture wars, he is out. Who will take his place and who will be the next Cabinet member out the door? We‘ll talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY continues.
BARNICLE: One week after the election, and the resignations have begun.
Today, the White House announced Attorney General John Ashcroft will leave as soon as his replacement is confirmed. In his letter of resignation, General Ashcroft says: “I believe that the Department of Justice would be well served by new leadership and fresh inspiration. I believe that my energies and talents should be directed toward other challenging horizons.”
Now the challenge is guessing who will replace him at Justice Department.
And our panel is still here.
Larry Kudlow, General Ashcroft, a polarizing figure, second term in the Bush administration. A lot of people think that Bush might moderate his views somewhat in terms of the people around him, or his views, or whatever. Take a look at Justice first. What are we looking for at Justice?
KUDLOW: Well, you know, I think Ashcroft did an excellent job, I have got to tell you, as attorney general.
Everybody knew he was going to leave because he has had some poor health. He was in the hospital not long ago. So none of this is a big surprise. But, look, for one thing, prosecuting the war on terrorism from a homeland security standpoint and a counterterrorism standpoint is huge, and that means, I might add, maintaining effective prosecution of the Patriot Act, which I believe has gone a long way towards protecting us and has allowed us to get information, to get intelligence, to get people, incarcerate them for questioning, or worse.
So I think Ashcroft has done a good job. There‘s a lot of speculation about his former deputy, Mr. Larry Thompson, I believe from Georgia. I don‘t know whether that‘s the case or not. Thompson is a very capable guy, but you are going to get a strong A.G. who absolutely shares President Bush‘s values here and absolutely shares President Bush‘s determination to prosecute the war on terrorism here at home.
BURKMAN: Mike, two thoughts.
One, I think the argument can be made—and I think it‘s a strong one
· that John Ashcroft is the best attorney general in American history.
When you consider that there has been a war on U.S. soil for three years, and he has had to not only enforce the Patriot Act, but enforce all the of the laws of the United States under these conditions, it‘s without precedent, with the only exception maybe being the civil war 140 years ago, so I would give him that accolade.
The other thing is, there‘s a danger for the president in this, because, if you think back four years, when Ashcroft came in, he was a bone to the far right.
BURKMAN: He was what Bush gave to the far right that solidified their support, that got them on board.
Bush probably needs to go with another conservative. If he doesn‘t,
if they bring in a moderate at Justice, which they could do, then he
probably will have to keep Rumsfeld, because the right is going to need a
bone. You can‘t suddenly fill the Cabinet with moderates. The president -
· this becomes a nine-level chess board. Bush has a lot of equations he has to look at.
BERNSTEIN: Go ahead. I‘m sorry.
BARNICLE: Carl Bernstein.
BERNSTEIN: I really want a crack at this one, because I think, first of all, that John Ashcroft has been a disastrous attorney general because he doesn‘t respect the Bill of Rights. But, that said, I think his successor may be a priest who could really be a terrific attorney general, I suspect. And that‘s John Danforth, an Episcopal priest who was in the U.S. Senate, is a moderate Republican.
And I am not afraid of a preacher at the Justice Department. I think a man of faith there would be terrific.
BERNSTEIN: And I want to also say, you know, I am going to Texas tomorrow. I spend 20 weeks out of each year between the two coasts.
BARNICLE: Do you know you‘re coming?
BERNSTEIN: And I hear something different than—and, you know, this is anecdotal. It‘s not measured by polls.
But I hear something different than most of the people here tonight. And what I hear is a longing for some quiet and some move toward accommodation by most people that I talk to in this country, particularly between the two coasts and a lowering of voices and an end to a scorched-earth policy on both sides of a lot of this debate, and particularly in media, particularly on talk television.
BARNICLE: Yes, you are right.
BERNSTEIN: I think, on talk television, that we are starting to have an agenda of manufacturing controversy.
BARNICLE: You are right.
BERNSTEIN: Instead of trying to illuminate for our viewers and listeners. And let‘s all calm this thing down, because I don‘t think we are serving anybody by being such ideologically—you know, we are reporters. I am a reporter. Somebody else here is a party official.
BARNICLE: You are right.
BERNSTEIN: But, at the same time...
BERNSTEIN: ... if the objective of our politics—and I say this to the gentleman from the Republican Party—is to really, by any means necessary, decimate the opposition party, demonize them...
BARNICLE: All right, Terry Jeffrey, Terry Jeffrey, go ahead.
BERNSTEIN: And the same goes for Democrats.
BERNSTEIN: Can I finish?
And the same goes for Democrats who try to demonize the Republican Party.
BARNICLE: All right, Terry, go ahead, quickly, 30 seconds.
JEFFREY: You know, it‘s always humorous. When the left is losing, they want to call end to the game. They also always have this pretense of superior intellect and temperament.
You want a measure of what an excellent attorney John Ashcroft was, Bob Graham said on HARDBALL back in February of 2002, there were 100 al Qaeda sleepers in this country. He thought another attack was probable. We haven‘t had one. Carl Bernstein can thank John Ashcroft for that.
KUDLOW: I just want to ask Carl, by the way, if his plea for quiet and a lack of partisanship and ideology includes Dan Rather and the CBS network.
BARNICLE: Well, we are going to have quiet now. We are going to have quiet now while we pay some bills.
BERNSTEIN: I don‘t think Dan is an ideologue.
KUDLOW: Where do they fit into this equation?
BARNICLE: All right. We will find out in 30 seconds or less. Final thoughts from the panel coming up when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
BARNICLE: OK, guys, here are the rules. We only have 30 seconds left for each of you to mouth off now on your thoughts.
And here‘s the challenge, something that Carl raised. Is the country as noisy about these issues as we are on cable TV?
Terry, we will start with you.
JEFFREY: Not noisy, resolute, I would say, Mike.
I think that people recognize there is a cultural war in this country. It‘s about very serious issues. It goes to the core values that many of us believe undergird our whole system of freedom. It is about precious things like the right to life, traditional marriage, the right to raise your children to believe in the fundamental beliefs Americans have believed in for two centuries. So, we have serious issues facing us. And I think conservatives are resolute about moving forward in the right direction.
KUDLOW: I think conservatives are a lot more tolerant than some liberals I know.
KUDLOW: But speaking as a faith-based conservative, there‘s two things today that I just love.
One is the formation of the faith and values coalition, which is a 21st century moral majority. And second is reports coming out of the White House that the next chief justice of the Supreme Court will be either Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia, two excellent men who represent the kind of thinking that I believe in.
BURKMAN: Well, I would say, keep in mind, unity is a good thing, but it‘s not an end in and of itself. Good policy is the end. If you get that through fighting and division, fine. If you get that through unity, all the better. But unity is not an end. Unity can lead to a lot of different things.
The other thing, Mike, I think the Democratic Party, to follow up on our previous discussion, I think they are going to have to reform. Their core constituencies, the problem is, will not let them move to the center, so they have problems.
BARNICLE: OK, batting cleanup, Carl Bernstein.
BERNSTEIN: I agree with almost everything Mr. Burkman just said, actually.
And I think that maybe it‘s time to move away from ideology and back to the Constitution and back to the rights reserved to the states, which conservatives have long claimed. And particularly the speaker a moment ago talked about the right to raise our children as we want. That is indeed what these arguments are about. And the right to raise our children as we want means you do not restrict their freedoms.
Lawrence, Terry, Jack, and, Carl, thanks, all, for being here. God bless you all.
BARNICLE: And make sure to catch Don Imus tomorrow morning with Joe Scarborough. He‘ll be there. So, Joe will be back perhaps tomorrow night with his bad back. It should get interesting with the I-Man, though, tomorrow morning, 6:00 to 10:00.
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