Guest: Leslie Unruh, Heather Tom, Mort Zuckerman
PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST: Tonight, the return of the imperial presidency. Since November 3, President Bush has removed six Cabinet officers, replaced three with White House staffers, retaken Fallujah, begun to clean house at the CIA, and taken control of a rebellious Department of State. Is Bush riding high in Washington or riding for a great fall?
And the ACLU attempts to shut down a teen abstinence program in Louisiana schools because the program leaders teach kids that God does not approve of sex outside of marriage. So get God out of it or get your abstinence program out of Louisiana‘s public schools. So says the ACLU. And we‘ll ask tonight, who is the real bigot here?
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BUCHANAN: It‘s Friday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Joe is out. I‘m Pat Buchanan. I‘m filling in.
George W. Bush takes charge. In the two weeks since his reelection, President Bush has taken command in this city as no other president since Richard Nixon right after his 1972 landslide. Under Bush‘s new director, Porter Goss, the CIA is being purged of anti-Bush leakers. Six Cabinet officers are gone. Ashcroft is out at Justice. Colin Powell is out at State. Rod Paige is out at education. Into their Cabinet chairs have gone three Bush loyalists from the White House, Alberto Gonzales, Condi Rice and Margaret Spellings.
And the president has reordered the capture of Fallujah, which fell to U.S. Marines and Army troops this week.
David Gergen, who served in four White Houses, writes in “The New York Times”—quote—“George Bush is emerging as one of the boldest, most audacious presidents in modern history.”
Are we seeing the return of the imperial president?
Our panelists tonight are Mort Zuckerman, president of “U.S. News & World Report,” Mike Barnicle, MSNBC contributor and columnist with “The Boston Herald,” and Lawrence Kudlow, co-host of CNBC‘s “Kudlow & Cramer.”
Let me start with you, Mort Zuckerman, because you go back as far as I do. I recall the morning after our victory, we won 49 states, the biggest landslide in history, we‘re called into the Cabinet Room, or, rather, into the Roosevelt Room. The president came in and gave a little speech about Disraeli, observing there were exhausted volcanoes in his Cabinet. Haldeman came in and says, OK, everybody, have your resignation on my desk by noon today. Now—and it was sort of a general statement. We are going to clean house. We‘re going to in a new direction. We‘ve got a mandate. We‘ve got it all.
Do you see some of the same thing in President Bush in Washington, D.C., today?
MORT ZUCKERMAN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT”: I really don‘t.
I think what he is about—and I think it is perfectly reasonable that he should be about this—he is just trying to get a Cabinet with whom he is going to be more congenial. He knows what he is up against in the next four years, particularly in foreign policy. And I think it is no secret that the State Department was really working at odds with most of his major policies through virtually his entire first term. And he doesn‘t want to continue that.
So he has put somebody in there in whom has confidence and who knows where he stands. And I think she will help coordinate the State Department with the Defense Department and the White House. It‘s think that‘s perfectly appropriate. And as far as Ashcroft at the attorney general‘s office, I think it was widely known he had no particular chemistry with Bush. And in that particular job, you want to somebody with whom you can talk.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Mike Barnicle, but it is extraordinary. After Nixon won, we put a number of our domestic council guys who had served four years in as assistant secretaries and deputy secretaries. But the only one that got a Cabinet job was Henry Kissinger. This looks like the president wants loyalty, everybody reading from the same—the same page, and not a lot of dissent.
MIKE BARNICLE, NBC ANALYST: Boy, that is a surprise, isn‘t it, Pat?
ZUCKERMAN: Yes, right. Where did that come from?
BARNICLE: That a cunning chief of executive would wants fistfights at Cabinet meetings, rather than what he has?
BUCHANAN: No dissent.
BARNICLE: I‘m getting such a huge kick out of the hand-wringing coming out of Washington, D.C., with regard to this president‘s new Cabinet for his second term.
I‘m old enough, Mort is old enough, Larry is old enough, and, Pat, you‘re old enough to remember when a particular favorite of ours from this region of the country, John F. Kennedy, appointed his brother as attorney general.
BARNICLE: And that was viewed with some skepticism initially, but he performed well and history has served that appointment well. This is amazing, the hand-wringing in Washington, D.C.
What would we expect the president of the United States to do? He won. He has his mandate. Let‘s get over it. History and events will dictate what this Cabinet does for the president and how the president reacts to these events.
BUCHANAN: OK. Not all the hand-wringing is done in Washington. Some of it is done in New York, Lawrence Kudlow.
Let me read you what the columnist, one of your favorites, Bob Herbert, writes in “The New York Times”—quote—“Competence has never been highly regarded by the fantasists of the George W. Bush administration. In the Bush circle, no less than in your average youth gang, loyalty is everything. The big difference, of course, is that the administration is far more dangerous than any gang.”
What is your take on Mr. Herbert?
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, CO-HOST, “KUDLOW & CRAMER”: My take is that I very rarely read that page of “The New York Times.” And especially now that Mr. Safire is vacating it, I will read it even less, because I will pick up David Brooks online someplace. That will be much easier. I don‘t know what this guy is talking about.
I want to come back to an earlier point. I think, in addition to cleaning out the State Department, which may or may not be possible, one of the most interesting developments in the last couple, two, three weeks is Porter Goss cleaning out the CIA with resignations of very senior people in the directorate of operations, which is where the spying is supposed to take place. But, unfortunately, not much of that has happened successfully in the last 20 some-odd years.
I think the Porter Goss appointment is going to turn out to be a brilliant one. It‘s almost a sleeper. He is a very strong guy, who, as you know, is a former spy himself. So that is really a key element of Bush‘s foreign policy.
BUCHANAN: Let me ask you, Mort Zuckerman, is Bush treating the CIA like Fallujah inside the beltway here?
BUCHANAN: They are really cleaning house. There‘s no doubt about it.
And, look, let me raise this point, though. And I agree, because I think Nixon had every right to do it. And you have got a right to have people there who are loyal and going to carry out your obligation. But, to me, both Armitage and Powell were tremendously heavy guys, between them, five tours of duty in Vietnam. They‘re not wimps on war. They‘re wise guys and they‘re cautious guys and skeptical guys.
Isn‘t it—and also loyal when the president decides. But shouldn‘t the president have big men out there, like Nixon got John Connally in and Moynihan in and Kissinger in—none of them had agreed with him—to come in and really and give him another point of view strongly?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, there certainly is the need for other points of view.
I think it is very, very superficial to assume that Condi Rice is not going to give him other points of view, even if she doesn‘t agree with him. These discussions are not just unilateral discussions, as you would imagine when reading Bob Herbert‘s column. That is absolute nonsense. I‘m not saying that they don‘t have a predilection in terms of what their policy is, but it doesn‘t mean that they don‘t consider alternatives. I think that is just an absolutely naive understanding of the way these kinds of policy conclusions are reached. I don‘t accept that view.
KUDLOW: I just want to weigh in.
BUCHANAN: What are you talking?
KUDLOW: John Connally was a nut who talked Nixon into waging price controls that destroyed the economy and destroyed his administration.
BUCHANAN: Nixon talked him into them. Nixon talked him into them.
KUDLOW: I just thought I would weigh in on that point.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, Mike Barnicle, let me ask you this, Mike.
Look, there is no doubt that Condi Rice is a brilliant woman. She‘s a scholar, though, and she‘s a staffer. And they say, well, she was provost at Stanford University. But running the Department of State, they have got people over there, some of the top fellows are tremendously experienced in foreign policy, knowledgeable. They have run embassies, assistant secretaries and the rest. Do you really think it is wise to say Condi is going over there and then leak word she is going to clean house?
BARNICLE: Well, I think we will find out whether the appointment was wise or not probably about the middle of February, when the leakers, the clerks and the State Department bureaucrats who have been there for their entire careers, they either like her and get along with her or else you pick up the front page of “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times” and they leak negative stories about her. We are going to find that out.
You know, I don‘t know about her. All I know about her is, she is a brilliant woman. Clearly, she has hooked up with the president. Clearly, she sounded in the September 11 hearings, the 9/11 hearings, like a clerk at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. That is kind of bothersome.
But something that you said, Pat, about this whole thing is really I think one of the keys. Who around this particular president of the United States is going to be there to give him the bad news? I can remember Kenny O‘Donnell, who was very close to President Kennedy and served for a while under President Johnson, once told me that your principal obligation to a president, if you‘re serving a president, is to give him the bad news first. And who is going to do that in this administration?
BUCHANAN: And then get out of the Oval Office quick.
ZUCKERMAN: I‘ll tell you, Stephen Hadley will do it. Stephen Hadley is going to be the national security adviser.
KUDLOW: That‘s right.
ZUCKERMAN: And he is a very, very strong-minded guy and a very talented guy.
BUCHANAN: All right, but, Lawrence Kudlow, let me ask you this.
Look, whatever you say, in my judgment, anyhow, Powell and Armitage and the CIA were skeptical of Iraq. They were all behind the Afghan thing. They were saying, Mr. President, this isn‘t going to be any cake walk. They are not going to be greeted with flowers. We could have problems down the road. It was the hawks at the Pentagon and it was the neocons who said, democracy is going to implanted here and break out across the Middle East.
So, the skeptics and the critics who told the president that were right, at least on that point. And they are all being purged or being moved out. And the people who were wrong are being rewarded and advanced. Is that right?
KUDLOW: I don‘t see it that way at all.
For one thing, I want to go back to the CIA, because it is such a huge point. They gave bad advice to everyone. I mean, that‘s the important point here. That‘s why the whole intelligence reform effort is taking place. The CIA bungled things up and down the line. So, that is point No. 1.
BUCHANAN: OK, let me interrupt you right there, though. The CIA twice told the NSC, look, that stuff doesn‘t sound right from Niger, that yellow cake. Do not put that in the president‘s State of the Union.
Tenet went there. The CIA went a second time. And so it was the NSC, Hadley and Rice, that stuck that in the State of the Union, got egg all over the president‘s face around the world. Was not the CIA right then?
KUDLOW: Maybe so, although, all the intelligence services around the world have now come around to the view which surfaced in the 9/11 Commission report that, in fact, Iraq was in Africa shopping for yellow cake. So I‘m not sure that—the area the CIA did so badly was weapons of mass destruction.
When Tenet told the president, what was his phrase?
BUCHANAN: Slam dunk.
ZUCKERMAN: Slam dunk.
KUDLOW: It‘s a slam dunk. They also gave Colin Powell bad information. Undoubtedly, they gave the Defense Department bad information. You see, that‘s why the Porter Goss thing is so darned important, because you‘ve got the intelligence agency, which has not been doing its job, and hopefully it will start doing its job.
BUCHANAN: Everybody agrees you need radical change at the CIA.
But it does seem to me, and Mort Zuckerman, that, look, the neocons who really pushed this war and said it was going to be the cake walk phrase came out, and we‘re going to be welcomed with flowers, they were wrong. And we are now caught in a very serious mess over there, and everybody is talking about whether we need more troops because the Iraqis don‘t seem to be picking it up fast enough.
And don‘t you think the president really ought to have people in there like that who will warn him about those things?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, no doubt. I mean, that is an inarguable point.
The president I think today would still feel the same way about the decision to go into Iraq. I mean, that policy may be right, even though some of the consequences of it proved to be a misjudgment. So I don‘t disagree with you that there ought to be people there who give him—quote, unquote—“the bad news” or at least the alternative policies.
But I also do believe, as Mike Barnicle wisely said, once again, you know, when you go into your second term, you want to put together a team of people that you think can work together and work towards the policies that you‘ve already thought of. And one point that I think is absolutely clear is, it‘s George Bush driving this foreign policy. It‘s not the neocons. It‘s not Dick Cheney. It is George Bush driving this policy.
That‘s been my experience in my conversations with him, I have to say. And it doesn‘t surprise me that he wants people who are going to implement his policy.
BUCHANAN: You talk to the president a lot, Mort?
ZUCKERMAN: Not often enough, Pat. I speak to you much more often.
And I‘m happy to do so.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, hold on a minute, gentlemen. We will come back to that, because, when we come back, I want to ask you if the president‘s power grab might backfire.
But, later, the ACLU‘s latest target is a Web site that promotes sexual abstinence among teenagers. But it‘s not abstinence the ACLU has a problem with. It is God.
That and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
BUCHANAN: One of President Bush‘s former aides says the president is going to employ a whack-a-mole strategy in the war on terror. What the heck is he talking about?
Find out next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me put it to you this way. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital. And now I intend to spend it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: OK, welcome back, with our panel, Mort Zuckerman of “U.S. News,” Mike Barnicle of “Boston Herald,” and Lawrence Kudlow of “Kudlow & Cramer.”
Lawrence, let me mention, in his piece in “The New York Times,” which I thought was pretty good, Dave Gergen mentioned, FDR won that big, I guess, 46-state landslide yes, or—yes, 46 or 48-state landslide. And he immediately got in trouble packing the Supreme Court. Nixon of course got into trouble.
And I sense that what Mort Zuckerman says is right, that George Bush now feels that he is the fellow who will decide foreign policy. He‘s got enough experience and knowledge. I think he has far eclipsed Cheney, with all this talk about co-presidency. And he is the man. And he is going to make up the foreign policy pretty much himself as he goes along. Is that your take? And is that wise?
KUDLOW: That is my take. I agree with Mort.
And I think, by the way, it has been true for several years, and not just true after the election. Regarding Mr. Cheney, is he a brilliant guy who serves at the president‘s leisure on any subject possible. And Cheney is a realist who is going to give bad news if bad news has to be put on the table.
The other name you haven‘t really talked about who was so vital to this operation is Andy Card, who the president asked to stay on after four grueling years as chief of staff. Card is a guy who is a shrewd management expert. He‘s also a shrewd policy guy. He‘s a very brilliant guy. And he is going to tell the president all the available information, trust me on this, good or bad.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mort Zuckerman, the fact that the president is the main man here and he‘s really I think eclipsed everyone, whatever they talk about, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and all that.
What is your take as to what the president‘s resolve and determination is with regard to Iraq? When we have seen in Iraq the Marines and soldiers did a good job, took the city down, and killed an awful lot of insurgents and terrorists, but clearly it seems with these things spreading up to Mosul and Ramadi and everywhere, it seems like we don‘t have enough troops in there, and certainly the Iraqis are not prepared to take over responsibility. What do you think this portends for what he does?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, you know, it‘s a very interesting question as to whether we have enough troops or not.
I think there was a period of time when we didn‘t have enough troops. But, look, we have succeeded in Najaf. We‘ve succeeded in Fallujah. We‘ve succeeded in Samarra, so we are making real progress in terms of cleaning out those areas of Iraq that have been huge problems for us.
So I‘m not saying we don‘t have problems. I‘m not sure that additional troops are the answer. I think the critical thing that‘s going to happen is what‘s going to happen in January when they have the election there. That is going to be critical. If the Shiites, for example, elect a Shiite majority to whatever that government is going to be and take it over from Allawi, then we‘re going to have a real issue there as to how we deal with the new government.
BUCHANAN: All right.
ZUCKERMAN: But I do think that we are making real progress on the ground in military terms.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mike Barnicle, what is your take from your vantage point on how it is going in Iraq?
BARNICLE: Iraq‘s a mess. Iraq‘s a mess. We have made military progress. Mort is right. We can clean the clocks of the terrorists in Fallujah and anyplace in Iraq. We can do that.
But you see the way the situation is deteriorating daily. You can see it on the TV news each and every night. I mean, we are doing some wonderful things in Iraq on the ground, building schools, hospitals, things like that. But doesn‘t the whole thing in Iraq, really, the pivot point for this president and for the next couple of years, revolve around Iran? What are they going to do? What are they going to do to mess up Iraq?
BUCHANAN: Before we get to that, Lawrence, let me give you something here we mentioned in the tease. Terror expert Roger Cressey gave his summary of the Bush doctrine in Iraq on “The Today Show.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”)
ROGER CRESSEY, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: My concern is, we are now going to implement what I call a whack-a-mole strategy. Zarqawi shows up in Ramadi. We whack Ramadi. Or he‘ll show up in Mosul. We will whack Mosul. We need to keep him on the defensive, keep him running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: OK, let me ask you, Lawrence, what is your take on that? Do you think that is the right strategy? And we‘ve got the troops and everything to do that.
KUDLOW: Look, I‘m not going to second-guess the military, for heaven‘s sakes.
All I know is that what we achieved in Fallujah was a blowout. We even blew out their headquarters. And we killed thousands of terrorists. You don‘t create more terrorists by killing thousands of terrorists. You reduce the force of terrorists.
BUCHANAN: You think there are X-number of terrorists and you cut the number down to zero?
KUDLOW: Well, yes. That‘s where we are going on this thing. I‘m going to leave the tactics in the hands of the military, where it belongs. It is by far, as Dan Henninger wrote in “The Wall Street Journal” today, the greatest fighting force this country has ever seen. So they‘re doing their job.
I think the issue is, you‘ve got two elections coming up, one in Iraq, and another in Palestine. The results of those elections and whether those elections occur are going to be unbelievably important to the course of foreign policy and Bush‘s strategy. And no one can know the outcome right now.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mort Zuckerman, we saw yesterday Colin Powell—
I guess they might have backed off a bit, saying that the Iranians, and they have got this terrorist organization said the Iranians are trying to weaponize nuclear weapons.
BUCHANAN: Miniaturize them, put them as warheads on these Shahab-3 missiles. And there is a counterargument that the Iranians are very far away from—frankly, from having any enriched uranium to the point that they can make an atomic bomb.
What is your take, listening to all these threats coming out of Washington, this talk that we got to take out their nuclear plants? Would you anticipate in the next six months we would have a confrontation with Iran and possible airstrikes on their nuclear facilities?
ZUCKERMAN: I don‘t think so. This isn‘t to say that I think Iran is to be trusted. I think they are going to try and develop their capacity right up to the point of actually developing weapons, so that they will know that they are at the point within a matter of several months that they can actually develop nuclear weapons.
They will stop before, in a sense, they provoke us to the point of doing that. But beyond that, even if we wanted to think about doing that, it is an extraordinarily difficult challenge to take out these various nuclear sites militarily. They are hardened sites. And all of the work that I have seen in terms of the military effectiveness is, is that they can replace these within a matter of time.
They are hardened sites. Many of them are in civilian areas. We don‘t even know if we know all of them. So the military benefits, in my judgment and I think in the judgment of the administration, would be far outweighed at this point by the political costs. There may be a point later on when Iraq has settled down where we might think that the political costs are going to be justified, but not at this point. So I don‘t foresee that at all.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mike Barnicle, let me follow up on that.
If, as Mort Zuckerman says, we cannot make—really, we cannot successfully make or definitely and finally make the kind of airstrikes that will eliminate the possibility of nuclear weapons in Iran and we certainly don‘t have the troops on the ground—if we are having trouble in Iraq, we certainly don‘t have the troops on the ground anywhere near to invade and overthrow that regime, how do you effect the Bush doctrine, which says we will not tolerate weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Tehran?
BARNICLE: Well, that‘s going to be his presidency, isn‘t it?
Clearly, he clearly, you know from his body language every time you see the president on TV, every time I have spoken to someone who has been with the president or talked with the president in the last couple of weeks, he is a confident, determined president who just won reelection. And his position in history and his party‘s position over the next 10 years, I think, will depend on exactly what he does with Iran, Iraq, and Palestine and Israel. That‘s the ball game for this particular president. And it is a tough game.
KUDLOW: But, you know, he has not yet ruled out any options regarding Iran. And I think that‘s important.
ZUCKERMAN: Nor will he.
BUCHANAN: They never do, Lawrence. They always says it‘s on the table.
BUCHANAN: Or not off the table.
ZUCKERMAN: Well, I‘ve heard other presidents rule out options. But I don‘t want to have to get into that.
All I‘m saying is, if the intelligence were to show clearly that enriched uranium, or worse, warheads, were being developed, you can‘t rule out an airstrike. That‘s different than a military incursion. But think about the dynamic here. If the Bush policy is succeeding in Iraq, if there are free elections there and so forth, and if you were to have an airstrike into Iran, you‘ve got a very strong pro-democracy movement, particularly among the younger people in the schools and so forth.
We‘ve talked about a potential native uprising in Iran for years.
That could conceivably happen. It could.
BUCHANAN: You really think—do you know any country on Earth, if you strike and attack them, they don‘t rally around their government, rather than overthrow it, for heaven‘s sake?
KUDLOW: I think the mullah government in Iran is just as isolated as all these totalitarian governments. And I think it depends on what actions occur.
For all you know, the armed forces may be taking a look at the U.S. military domination in Iraq, and the armed forces in Iran may desert the mullahs, because they don‘t want to have a taste of the American military boots on their necks. So you can‘t rule out any of these more optimistic scenarios or tougher scenarios.
BARNICLE: So what does it come down to, then, Larry and Mort and Pat? Over the next two years, does the actions of this Bush administration either change the world as we know it or inflame the world as we know it?
BUCHANAN: I think you‘re exactly—well, I happen to agree with you, Mike.
BUCHANAN: I think you are exactly right.
BUCHANAN: I think the United States, the best thing—President Bush‘s presidency hangs on Iraq. And I think that means it hangs on the Iraqi people and the Iraqi army and the Iraqi government that comes out of these elections.
If that thing goes down, I think the United States turns around and marches out.
But wait a minute. Our panel is going to stick around, because, coming up, folks, we‘ve got a new issue. We have talked about Bush taking on Washington and Iran. But could the economy be the one foe that brings him down? We‘ll debate that next.
BUCHANAN: President Bush says the economy is strong. But are some of the economic numbers starting to point the other way? We‘ll talk about that in a minute.
But, 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.
While President Bush shatters the status quo at State and CIA, he‘s going to be fighting on yet another front, the U.S. economy.
Let me bring our all-star panel back, Mike Barnicle of “The Boston Herald,” Mort Zuckerman of “U.S. News & World Report,” and Lawrence Kudlow of CNBC‘s “Kudlow & Cramer.”
Let me start with you, Lawrence. Today, Alan Greenspan over in Europe sent financial markets spinning all over the world when he talked about the impact on the American dollar, which is sinking like a stone, because of the trade deficits and current account deficits this country has been running, which are about now 6 percent of its entire gross national product. So Greenspan seems to be joining the Buchanan view about these trade deficits and the dollar. And we are wondering when you‘re going to join us.
KUDLOW: The answer to that is never.
And, actually, contrary to your report and contrary to a lot of the media coverage today, when you read the speech, you see he had a much different message. He called for greater government saving and greater private saving. He was not particularly alarmist about the dollar.
BUCHANAN: Is that why the Dow went down 100 points?
KUDLOW: The Dow went down—listen, the Dow has been in a terrific rally since the election. So it corrected today. Oil prices jumped up.
Pat, if you are a day-to-day arbiter of these things, then I guess I will have to come to you for advice. But let me suggest this. Let me suggest this. Greenspan‘s message...
BUCHANAN: Listen, I‘m not the guy that predicted the market would go up after 9/11, Lawrence.
KUDLOW: Well, it did go up.
KUDLOW: It did go up.
BUCHANAN: Eventually. After all your clients were in the ditch, it went up.
KUDLOW: You know, Pat, that‘s such an inaccurate cheap shot, I‘m not even going to dignify it.
The stock market is up 50 percent from the bottom two years ago, in case you hadn‘t noticed, and the economy is growing at a 3.5 percent annual rate, in case you hadn‘t noticed. But all I will say to you, and probably to Mort, who is going to want to raise taxes before this segment is over, Greenspan‘s message was very simple. He‘s saying, more private saving will ameliorate the international trade flows. And the way you get that...
BUCHANAN: Well, I mean, that‘s obvious. Sure it will.
KUDLOW: That‘s right.
But you know how to get more private saving? Stop the double and triple taxation of investment. And that is exactly what George Bush intends to do.
ZUCKERMAN: Then, what that does is increases the federal deficit.
KUDLOW: No, it does not. It can be done in a revenue-neutral way, which is part of Bush‘s program.
BUCHANAN: Let Mort Zuckerman, who controls a good part of our economy do you think want to talk to this, Mort?
ZUCKERMAN: That‘s right.
Look, I think Greenspan, if he is concerned about the dollar and the current account deficit, he is absolutely right, because, if we have a situation where the governments of Asia, and particularly China and Japan, stop buying—never mind—they don‘t have to sell, but they are buying 40 percent of the trade deficit that we are running, which is $2 billion a day, and they are picking up 40 percent.
If they stop buying, we are going to have a situation where the dollar is really going to sink. And the only way we are going to be able to respond to that is by increased interest rates.
ZUCKERMAN: Excuse me a second. Let me just finish.
Now, there are some people who may disagree. Larry, I do agree. You do disagree. I happen to be very worried about that. It may not happen tomorrow and it may not happen next year. But Alan Greenspan, when he talks about government saving, he is talking about reducing the deficit, not increasing it. That‘s what that means. You translate that into language.
KUDLOW: I agree with that.
ZUCKERMAN: And there‘s a good reason for him to do that. And that is because we have to do something about the deficits at home and the deficits abroad. It‘s going to croak us sooner or later. I just don‘t know when.
BUCHANAN: Hold it. Wait a minute.
Let‘s get Mike Barnicle in here now.
I happen to believe, and I‘ve been arguing for a long time, that I think these trade deficits are—they almost cost Bush the election, all those manufacturing jobs in Ohio. I think, if this continues, I think Mort Zuckerman is right. The dollar is going to suddenly go the way of the Mexican peso. What‘s your thought on this?
BARNICLE: My thought on it first, is, Pat, I get rare enjoyment out of watching rich guys argue about the future and strength of the dollar.
BARNICLE: I would have paid to hear Zuckerman and Larry just go back and forth about the strength of the dollar.
ZUCKERMAN: I‘m willing to throw my body on the flames.
BUCHANAN: You‘re not going to abroad soon, Mike?
BARNICLE: The thing about the trade deficits—and I‘m in so far above my pay grade here, talking about trade deficits—that interests me is, there was a piece in “The Wall Street Journal” I believe yesterday about how much high-end furniture is being made now in China.
And every time I read one of those pieces, all I can think of is the jobs that are being lost here in the United States that are never coming back. And they are now in Mexico, in China, in the Philippines, and in Vietnam. And you wonder, in terms of the strength of the dollar, if you don‘t have a dollar in your pocket and you‘re living in Paducah, Kentucky, or Boston, Massachusetts, that is a trade deficit right there.
KUDLOW: You know what‘s so interesting though?
BUCHANAN: All right.
KUDLOW: It may be—listen, I don‘t know about high-end furniture. I prefer English antiques myself. But the fact remains that, if you are in the trucking industry, you are hiring more drivers than ever before. If you‘re in the cement business, the chemical business, you‘re hiring more than ever before.
There is a boom going on in the industrial old economy and in the transportation economy, the likes of which we haven‘t seen in close to 20 years. Even railroads are hiring people, for heaven sakes.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mort Zuckerman, you mentioned China. We have got $150 billion trade deficit with China. And they are now selling us computers, all this high-tech stuff. And we‘re selling them cigarettes and the type of things that the Jamestown Colony sent to the king of England.
BUCHANAN: And to me, I just think—I think it‘s going to be a political disaster for the Republicans if they don‘t get this under control.
ZUCKERMAN: Listen, China is moving up the food chain of technology in every way and they are going to become a competitor of ours across a whole spectrum of products, not just the basic industrial products or manufacturing products, but a lot of products with a lot of technology in them.
And India, on the other hand, is also going to become a major competitor. So we have real problems for the first time in a way that we have never experienced before. And one of the reasons therefore that I think we have to get our fiscal side under control is because we now put ourselves literally at the hands of and at the mercy of the Chinese Central Bank. At some point, they have a chance to crack our whole economy. That is something that I would not recommend to any responsible government.
KUDLOW: The numbers just don‘t prove that point.
I want to say how great it is that China‘s economy is expanding. I want to say how great it is that India‘s economy is expanding. So, the whole world economy is growing wealthier every single day. And we will grow. As a result of that, we will sell them more goods and services than ever. But I want to come back to this other point I‘m making, which you guys laugh at.
You can eliminate tax loopholes in order to fund better, lower tax burdens on saving and investment, which will solve your budget deficit and will also solve your trade deficit.
KUDLOW: That‘s what Bush intends to do and that is what Greenspan called for today. And that is a pro-growth solution that makes enormous sense.
BUCHANAN: OK. That‘s about it, folks, I think.
Mike, Mort, Lawrence, as always, thanks for joining me here on a Friday night.
And coming up, the same group that wanted to send little Susie and Bill to nudist camp with no parental supervision is now up in arms over a Web site that promotes abstinence. The ACLU‘s latest project next.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: How many members of Richard Nixon‘s first-term Cabinet stayed on for a second term? Is it, A, five, B, seven, or, C, nine? The answer coming up.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked: How many members of Richard Nixon‘s first-term Cabinet stayed on for a second term? The answer is A. The morning after his 1972 reelection, Nixon asked his entire Cabinet to resign. In the long run, five members ended up staying.
Now back to Pat.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
The ACLU is at it again. They are threatening to sue the state of Louisiana over its taxpayer-funded Web site abstinence.edu, a sit promoting sexual abstinence for kids. They claim the site discusses God and advances religion, violating a previous agreement between Louisiana and the ACLU. The site is part of Governor‘s Kathleen Blanco‘s $1.6 million program on abstinence.
But is the real issue here the ACLU trying to secularize a country that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles?
Joining me now, two-time Emmy Award-winning actress on “one Life to Live” and chairperson of the Daytime For Planned Parenthood Committee, Heather Tom.
HEATHER TOM, ACTRESS: Hi.
BUCHANAN: Hi, Heather.
And Leslie Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse.
Heather, let me ask you, for heaven‘s sakes, what is wrong in an abstinence program trying to get these kids to stay away from sexual activity by simply saying, listen, it‘s against God‘s law, it‘s wrong, you shouldn‘t do it? If that works, what is wrong with it?
TOM: Well, there used to be something in this country called separation of church and state.
And somewhere along the road—I think it was when we decided that ignorance was better than information—we decided that we should start trying to meld these two issues. I liked it in your introduction when you said that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. But we in this country protect the minority against the majority. And we need to include all viewpoints. And this taxpayer site...
BUCHANAN: All right, you say all viewpoints. Let me stop you right there.
If it‘s all viewpoints, Leslie, what is wrong giving the viewpoints that sexual activity is wrong, it‘s against the Ten Commandments, it also is not good for you, it will emotionally hurt you? What is wrong with that?
LESLIE UNRUH, NATIONAL ABSTINENCE CLEARINGHOUSE: Well, what‘s interesting is, our programs are federally funded. They walk a line and they know the line that they walk.
And they are very, very careful that they are not proselytization. There is nothing there. And so what has happened is, this Web site is very, very successful and it‘s reaching kids. And we have evaluations that show that, when kids get this message, they abstain from sexual activity.
TOM: Well, I think honestly, this is—the whole issue here is absolutely ludicrous.
I think that what the problem is with this is that we need to start giving our kids comprehensive, medically accurate sex education, which includes abstinence, but also includes condom use and birth control. When we have instances in this country where we are like the hugest Western country where we have teen pregnancy and HIV instances and we are not talking about condom use and we are not talking about birth control, there is something wrong with that.
BUCHANAN: All right, Leslie, but, still, what is wrong with using arguments from faith or belief?
TOM: Well, I‘m sorry to jump in here, but what‘s wrong with it is, when taxpayers pay for it, that‘s what‘s wrong with it.
BUCHANAN: Go ahead.
UNRUH: Well, what‘s interesting is, I‘m a taxpayer, too. And the kids that are abstaining, their parents are also taxpayers.
And kids that are abstaining from sex until marriage are really tired of having all this sex, sex, sex, and sex ed in their schools, by the way, are outfunded. They fund $12 to our $1...
TOM: I don‘t know where you are getting your information. Over 75 percent of parents out there want comprehensive sex education for their kids.
BUCHANAN: Ms. Unruh is running one of the national abstinence programs. I gather that is where she gets her information.
UNRUH: I think I know. I look at all of the different programs and I see this information that‘s out there. And we are outfunded everywhere we go.
And I want to tell you, if there are kids that are abstaining from sex, which there are, why don‘t we at least give them what the president asked for? Why don‘t we give them some equal time to feel good about themselves and what they are doing, instead of to feel pressure that there is something is wrong with them because they are waiting and want a healthy outcomes and have healthy skills?
TOM: I have a quote from “Facing Reality.” It‘s a parent-teacher guide for the curriculum. It‘s for an abstinence-only program.
This quote says that having sex promotes pregnancy, fear of pregnancy, AIDS, guilt, herpes, disappointing parents, chlamydia, inability to concentrate on school, syphilis, embarrassment, abortion, shotgun wedding. It goes on and on and on. It ends with loss of honesty, jealousy, depression and death. Is this a healthy way of viewing sexuality? That‘s supposed to make us feel good about sexuality?
UNRUH: Well, first of all, that program was done in 1984, so you need to get a little updated.
That is now since—and, in fact, A.C. Green, is it his now. His new program is called Game Plan, and it‘s an excellent program. So I don‘t know if we want to waste our time with old data.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me ask you, Heather, you mentioned something being ludicrous. Well, earlier this year, the ACLU fought a Virginia law that simply requires parents to supervise their children if they attend a nudist camp. The courts ruled against the ACLU, which was outraged.
The legal director of the ACLU in Virginia said—quote—“There was no good reason to enact this law and there is no reason to believe that these camps are harmful to children in any way.”
Now, as I understand it, the ACLU objects to somebody saying, God says it‘s wrong to have sex and you shouldn‘t. But it‘s fine to have little kids, 12 and 14 years old, in a nudist camp without their parents. Now you tell me what‘s ludicrous.
TOM: I don‘t think the ACLU is saying...
BUCHANAN: That‘s exactly what it says.
TOM: ... that it‘s wrong for us to say that God is saying that sex is wrong. I don‘t think the ACLU is trying to censor speech at all.
I think the ACLU is saying that it is wrong for this to be on a taxpayer Web site that we pay for.
BUCHANAN: But aren‘t you censoring it, Heather, when you say you can‘t say this; you can only say that? Who is the censor? Isn‘t it you?
TOM: Absolutely not, because we have to—we have a separation of church and state in this country.
TOM: We don‘t want this to be a Judeo-Christian country. What we want is to have tolerance for everyone. And I‘m not saying that we can‘t talk about abstinence.
BUCHANAN: Well, tolerate religious folks, too.
Go ahead, Leslie.
UNRUH: You know, it‘s interesting, because we have done our checks on our data. And we happen to know, believe it or not, when you look at the -what the Heritage Foundation has done with the studies, and believe it or not, the data is in, and the church ladies are having the best sex, because sex in marriage is the best sex.
BUCHANAN: How do you like that, Heather?
TOM: Honestly, you know what?
TOM: I say that sex in a committed relationship is absolutely the best sex. I will totally agree with you with that.
TOM: But what I‘m saying is that we cannot say, you have to wait until marriage. We cannot say that is the only option. We also have to educate our children to say that, if they do choose to have sex, this is how you protect yourself. This is what you have to do in order to make sure you don‘t get sick and to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
BUCHANAN: OK, hold on, Heather.
And hold on, Leslie. We have to take a quick break. But we will see who gets the last word in just a minute.
BUCHANAN: Unanswered questions about tonight‘s show? Just send us an e-mail to Joe@MSNBC.com.
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will be right back.
BUCHANAN: One minute left with our guests now for final thoughts.
Let me ask you, Heather, when the ACLU says that little kids, subteens and teenagers, should be allowed to go to nudist camps without parental supervision, I cannot believe you think that is a good idea. Do you?
TOM: Well, to be perfectly honest, I‘m not real familiar with the case. But I have to say that a 12-year-old or a 14-year-old is not driving themselves to a nudist camp. So I would say they probably have the permission of their parents.
TOM: But I have a question for you, Pat.
Pat, did you have sex before marriage?
BUCHANAN: I‘m going to—I would answer you, but I would be taking Leslie‘s time up.
You go ahead, Leslie.
UNRUH: You know, it‘s really interesting.
By the way, Pat, if you did, we are all about second chances, and we‘re all about secondary virginity. And we don‘t judge people. We meet them where they are at. And so we forgive people. And I think that‘s what it‘s all about.
And I think that it‘s really important to know that there are kids out there, according to the YRBS study, which is a youth behavioral surveillance study, that we are now winning, that there are less kids having sex than those that are.
BUCHANAN: All right. OK.
UNRUH: And because of the abstinence-until-marriage programs.
BUCHANAN: OK, Heather, it‘s all about forgiveness, OK?
BUCHANAN: Thank you both for joining me.
TOM: It‘s all about forgiveness and it‘s all about tolerance. We have to keep in mind we have to allow for everyone‘s viewpoints.
BUCHANAN: Thank you both for joining me.
That‘s all for Joe Scarborough‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on Friday night.
“HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” up next. I‘ll see you Monday.
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