Guest: Pete Williams, Brent Scowcroft, Kweisi Mfume, Albert Mohler, Bernice Powell Jackson, Jerry Falwell, Patti Davis
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Two more high-profile changes in the Bush administration, President Bush has chosen Bernard Kerik to be Secretary of Homeland Security. And U.N. Ambassador John Danforth resigns.
Plus, more than 10,000 U.S. troops won‘t be home for Christmas as the Pentagon extends their tour of duty through the elections in Iraq. We will talk to former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.
And as long promised, Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. And a sister of our colleague Ron Reagan on her new book “The Long Goodbye.” Let‘s play HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Good evening, I‘m Chris Matthews. Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik is President Bush‘s choice to replace Tom Ridge as Secretary of Homeland Security. Kerik was police commissioner in New York on September 11, 2001. NBC News chief justice correspondent Pete Williams joins us now—Pete.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Chris, this is something of a surprise in one way, but not in another. Not in one way, because it‘s been widely rumored that he was one of the possibilities. He‘s a very close associate of Rudolf Giuliani, who was important to President Bush during the campaign. And Kerik himself helped to campaign for the president. And also took on the mission of going to Iraq last year. He spent 4 months helping to train Iraqi policemen.
He was best known to the country, of course, as the police commissioner. He was police commissioner of New York on 9/11. Had been police commissioner since August of 2000 and helped to rally his department, which suffered quite a blow as indeed the rest of the city did. 23 New York City policemen lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.
He would certainly bring to the position of Homeland Security the perspective of a police chief in the city that has probably had to do the most to battle the threat of terrorism.
Tom Ridge was a governor, and that brought some perspective. So obviously the White House feels it‘s important to have somebody with Bernard Kerik‘s credentials. And I must say, Chris, it would seem he would likely—I can‘t imagine he wouldn‘t be confirmed.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much, Pete Williams. Also tonight, John Danforth resigns as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. More on Danforth‘s resignation a little later on.
Now to Iraq, where the Pentagon has raised the troop level by 12,000 through the elections in January. Brent Scowcroft, the first President Bush‘s national security adviser, has been critical of the second President Bush‘s war in Iraq. And I asked him whether raising the troop level by 12,000 troops will be enough to succeed in Iraq.
BRENT SCOWCROFT, FRM. BUSH 41 NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don‘t know what the magic number is. I‘m not that much of a tactician. But we have got to provide security so that the Iraqi people can go about their daily business without fear of being stolen for ransom, having your daughters raped, and that sort of thing. While we don‘t provide security, that place will continue to be chaotic.
MATTHEWS: Isn‘t this just more. A country that seems to resent 138,000 troops being in their country, won‘t they resent 150,000 all the more and make that many more men and women targets?
SCOWCROFT: Yes, they will. I think our efforts really ought to be to have the Europeans rethink, help us out. Then we can get maybe some Muslim troops in there to lower the U.S. profile. I think you‘re absolutely right.
MATTHEWS: Who would you think...
SCOWCROFT: But security is the primary requirement, even if we have to do it ourselves.
MATTHEWS: Why would a Muslim country risk its solders‘ heads in that country fighting other Muslims?
SCOWCROFT: For peace and security in the region. Pakistanis, the Moroccans, maybe even the Egyptians .
MATTHEWS: But won‘t—haven‘t we seen the tactic of the outside terrorists, like Zarqawi, they just behead a couple guys and then they go home.
SCOWCROFT: Not necessarily. Pakistanis are very tough troops, very tough troops. It worked well in the first Gulf War. They didn‘t go into Iraq.
MATTHEWS: If you were Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, interested in your own country and your own personal survival as president of that tricky country, would you put your Muslim troops in to another Muslim country and kill Arabs? Would you do that?
SCOWCROFT: I would calculate very carefully. But he has a big stake in the United States, too. And so he‘s got to balance it off. He has huge problems at home. He maybe needs all of his troops at home.
MATTHEWS: But he‘s not our gurhka army. We can‘t just tell him to go in there...
SCOWCROFT: He would not go in there for us. He would go in there for him. He wants stability.
MATTHEWS: Name a European country that hasn‘t had its chance to get into Iraq yet here at the holiday season? I mean, can you imagine the French—who would want to go in there, the Germans?
SCOWCROFT: Here‘s what you go to them with. You say, look, we have different reasons—opinions about getting into the war. Maybe we were right, maybe we were wrong. We thought we were right. The fact is we are there now. And it‘s as important to you as it is to us that Iraq be a success. Because if it‘s not a success, we will all suffer. Now get in there and help and provide the kind of cover that other troops need for themselves.
MATTHEWS: I remind myself often of what happened in 1968, when we were—after Tet, when it looked like we were probably not going to win the war in Vietnam in any clean way. And Westmoreland, then the commander at the time for the U.S. forces said, how about another 250,000 troops? He went to Johnson with that request. And everybody watching that, like me, 1-A, were watching that thing saying, we are not going to win this war. We‘re just going to just slow it down. It‘s not a question of how many troops, it‘s the wrong strategy. We can‘t have that many troops in a foreign country and expect to win their hearts and minds. Do you think more troops will change the minds of the Iraqis?
SCOWCROFT: More troops will not change the minds themselves. Bringing security to Iraq so they can get back to the business of reconstructing their society and becoming a prosperous state will help.
MATTHEWS: And 150,000 troops will do that?
SCOWCROFT: It‘s a lot better than 130,000.
MATTHEWS: I sometimes think people like yourself and James Baker and the former President Bush really wouldn‘t have taken us into Iraq. and let me just follow this, and you can nod or tell me I‘m wrong or maybe just not say anything. And I think General Schwarzkopf is another one. Because you realized that Iraq isn‘t quite a solid country, like invading, say Mexico, which is a country.
It‘s three different areas. It‘s the Kurds, who would be quite happy to have their own country. It‘s the Sunnis, who are used to being the bosses. And the Shia, who cannot wait to be bosses. And if they can‘t get bosses in this country, well they probably will anyway, they still want close ties with people of their Shia background anyway, right?
MATTHEWS: And so it‘s a powder keg. It can blow at any day. When there is no country there, it‘s just us getting shot at by everybody.
SCOWCROFT: That may be a slight exaggeration, but that‘s...
MATTHEWS: Correct me.
SCOWCROFT: No. I‘m not going to correct you.
MATTHEWS: And so that concern was at the heart of your thinking back in ‘91 when you and the general and Secretary Powell and the president said, you know, we would like to punish the evil ones, those phrases used today. Saddam is an evil one. But you know, that‘s not the most important thing in that region. The most important thing in that region is it doesn‘t get worse.
SCOWCROFT: And that‘s what we decided. And I wrote at the time. We can go into Baghdad, simple. Then we are the occupiers in a hostile land. Our troops are going to be sniped at, and we have no way to get out.
MATTHEWS: And the insurgency will grow.
MATTHEWS: Because of nationalistic impulses. And where have you been wrong. You have been dead right. You guys saw it clearly what happened.
SCOWCROFT: That‘s the nature of it. But we are there now.
MATTHEWS: Did you predict it, the hell we‘re we are in right now?
SCOWCROFT: We are there now.
MATTHEWS: You and the former president predicted it that this would happen if you went in and how it‘s happened.
SCOWCROFT: We didn‘t go in for fear of some of the things that would happen.
MATTHEWS: So you‘re saying let‘s make the best of what we have.
SCOWCROFT: We don‘t have any choice.
MATTHEWS: Is there a possibility that one of the choices is to get the hell out right now, it won‘t get any better?
SCOWCROFT: OK. But it can get a lot worse.
MATTHEWS: Can it get worse we stay, or worse because we leave?
SCOWCROFT: As you say, Iraq is not a country in the normal sense of the word.
MATTHEWS: It was put together by the British.
SCOWCROFT: OK. We leave now. The Kurds start to make noises about independence. That drives the Turks crazy.
MATTHEWS: It brings them in maybe.
SCOWCROFT: Maybe. I don‘t know. Anyway, it worries them.
The Shias in Iran have a complicated relationship. Then the Saudis may think they have to protect their Sunni brethren in the center. You can have a real mess—regional mess almost certainly.
MATTHEWS: And what would we have gained by being in there?
SCOWCROFT: What will we have gain fundamental we are there long enough? We can probably create an Iraq that is willing—the pieces of which are willing to give enough minority rights to have the minority say, yes, we want to belong to Iraq.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it‘s credible the belief held by Secretary Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz at the Defense Department, he‘s a real dreamer and you can argue he‘s a real thinker. He may be both.
SCOWCROFT: He‘s both.
MATTHEWS: OK. He believes that you can democratize countries in the Islamic world, even if you have to do it the way we are doing it by going in by force and seizing control of the government. You can get the people to buy democracy. Do you believe that‘s a credible American policy?
SCOWCROFT: I believe that democracy can be taught. I do not believe the way some do that it is native to the instincts of all mankind. And I think it is a learned behavior and it is a complicated behavior. Because you have to believe, among other things, that the rules are more important than winning the game. In very few societies is that true. That‘s learned behavior. That‘s not instinctive.
And it took the West centuries to develop democratic law.
Look, after the French revolution overthrow the monarchy, it was 100 years before the French settled down into a real democratic state. It is not easy. Turkey, in the region, Turkey had a revolution in the -- 1920. Brought in a dictator who says, I‘m going to impose democracy, and he did it by force. Now Turkey is a democracy. But it‘s 80 years later.
MATTHEWS: Yes. But isn‘t the strongest force of our times through Vietnam, through Europe and in the eastern Europe countries throwing off the Soviet yoke? Isn‘t nationalism the strongest force?
SCOWCROFT: It probably is.
MATTHEWS: And we are up against it now in Iraq.
SCOWCROFT: It probably is. And one of the problems in Iraq is that it‘s not clear that Iraqi nationalism is stronger than Kurdish nationalism or Shiite religious nationalism or Sunni religious nationalism.
MATTHEWS: We are going to come back and talk about this U.N. makeup of the new security council and your work in it as the United States representative. General Brent Scowcroft joining us tonight. Later, the outgoing head of the NAACP Kweisi Mfume who is going to tell us why he‘s moving on. Later, Patti Davis, sister of our own Ron Reagan and son of Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan joins us here and her tribute to her father, President Ronald Reagan. You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We are back with former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, who served on the U.N. high-level panel that has just recommended an expansion of the security council membership. Do you worry, General, that we are one of five now that have the veto at the U.N. and we have used it on occasion. The Soviets have used it more often. By extending six more members to the permanent membership, in some way, even though it doesn‘t give them the veto, it dilutes our power at the U.N.?
SCOWCROFT: That‘s one of the big problems. The membership of the security council represents the world in 1945.
MATTHEWS: The big five. That was the United States, the U.S.S.R., the United Kingdom, France and China.
SCOWCROFT: That‘s right. It does not represent the distribution of power in 2004. It does remarkably so but not adequately. So there have been a lot of attempts to change it, to increase the permanent members, to add more members and so on and so forth. And in the course of this panel, which wasn‘t focused on that, it was focused on increasing the ability of the U.N. to act in peace and security, he asked us to recommend changes in the security council. Interestingly enough...
MATTHEWS: This is Kofi Annan.
SCOWCROFT: Kofi Annan, yes.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk politics for a second. He got Egypt in there. He got Nigeria or South Africa in there. So there‘s a much bigger role for that part of the world he comes from.
SCOWCROFT: No, not on the panel.
MATTHEWS: On the permanent membership, sure.
SCOWCROFT: No, no. There isn‘t any permanent membership. There isn‘t any increase yet. We‘ve made some proposals. And he had nothing to do with the proposals.
MATTHEWS: So the actual selection of the new permanent members to be...
SCOWCROFT: Has to be done by the general assembly. We have put out some criteria for new members, whether they‘re permanent or re-electable members.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the U.N. It‘s always been a great target for people who just don‘t like foreigners generally. The fact it‘s in the United States has probably always been a selling point. If it was in Geneva, it may not be so popular. Do you think it‘s more or less anti-American than say it was 50 years ago, 25 years ago? Is it getting more hostile to us?
SCOWCROFT: I think it‘s probably somewhat more but that‘s just because our power has grown so incommensurate to the power of anybody else. People just resent overwhelming power.
MATTHEWS: When I was in the Peace Corps I calculated it would take 350 years for the country I was serving in to catch up where we were in GNP in the sixties.
SCOWCROFT: And that‘s a horrible thought. That gets to one of the real problems in the world though and that is the people where you were serving didn‘t know much about the United States. Now they watch television every night. Even in the boondocks they watch television and they see you shopping on Fifth Avenue and so on and so forth and they think, why am I not shopping on Fifth Avenue?
MATTHEWS: Is it a good deal that we force every representative of every country in the world to come to New York, at least come to our country, is it good that we are the host?
SCOWCROFT: I think it‘s good that we are the host. I think it‘s good that we‘re the host.
MATTHEWS: Even though we are showing them our wealth?
SCOWCROFT: Well, and a lot of them don‘t want to go back home.
MATTHEWS: Would you?
SCOWCROFT: But I think it is good.
MATTHEWS: It‘s certainly a historic decision by Roosevelt to put it here. Thank you very much, Senator Brent Scowcroft and thank you for your views. I know it‘s tricky being with one Bush and living with another one.
SCOWCROFT: Nice to be with you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, up next, the outgoing head of the NAACP Kweisi Mfume on his future plans and the Bush administration‘s relationship with the African-American community, which is also tricky. You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Kweisi Mfume announced this week that he‘s stepping down as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, after heading that organization since 1996. Prior to his service with the NAACP, he served in the U.S. Congress for nearly a decade representing Baltimore and was chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Mr. Mfume joins us right now.
Sir, any ambitions for public office?
KWEISI MFUME, FORMER NAACP PRESIDENT: Chris, I—oh, boy.
MATTHEWS: This is HARDBALL. This is...
MFUME: Yeah, this is HARDBALL, isn‘t it. I thought you were going to lob me a little softy to hit.
MATTHEWS: OK. Congratulations on your service with the NAACP, sir.
MFUME: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Are you going to run for anything?
MFUME: I don‘t know. I‘m going to wait and see what‘s out there.
You know, I really need to spend more time with my family, my grandkids. My youngest son is 14. And my leaving, really, Chris, has to do more with the fact that you can do all you came to do, and if you stay around too long, you can probably screw it up. So I wanted to create an opportunity for someone else and for the organization to go forward, and I‘m going to go clear my head for a couple of months and see what‘s out there.
And so whether it‘s politics or media or business consulting, I don‘t know. But I do miss the give-and-take of politics. I did 10 years in Congress, seven years in a local legislature. And I was the kind of a person, I liked being a legislator. And so having said that, there‘s a part of me that still yearns for it, and maybe one day I will get a chance to do it again.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about the NAACP. And certainly it has got a great history. It played a big role certainly in the Brown case and desegregating schools and that big court fight in ‘54. And certainly in all of the civil rights actions of the ‘64, ‘65, Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. A lot of heroic struggle behind you. What is the one thing still on the agenda for the NAACP that you see, that you‘re leaving behind?
MFUME: Well, yeah, the one thing actually is not an issue, it‘s not a project, it‘s not a program, and it‘s not a protest. The one thing I believe for this organization, for other organizations that are social-oriented, is to make sure that they are able to read their environment as they go forward and understand the political and social dynamics that are taking place and forever changing, and then to be able to adapt to that.
Because if you do that, you will find a way to be very effective going forward, you‘ll clearly be relevant. Often times we as individuals—and sometimes as an organization—we tend to look in the mirror at ourselves. And when we do that, we see a wonderful person. We don‘t see our wrinkles, our warts, our gray hair. We justify whatever we see.
I believe you have to, whether you‘re an individual or an organization, you‘ve got to go to the window, lift it up and look out. Because when you do that, people will look back at you and tell you what you really look like, what you really must do, and whether or not you‘re relevant. I think that‘s the one thing that social organizations have to do. It is more important than a protest or a program or a project, because if you do that right, everything else you will do after that will almost be right, because you will be so close to being so relevant to where everyone else is.
MATTHEWS: Ever since the 1960s, the African-American community has been largely Democrat. It has to do with the King and the Kennedy relationship probably, and Republicans‘ failure to sort of get active in civil rights, even though they voted pretty well in the ‘64 bill. The Hispanic community in this country in this last election voted almost 50-50, and that includes Cuban-Americans, people from Puerto Rico, people from Mexico and Latin America. Almost -- 44 percent, I believe.
Do you think the African-American community made a mistake putting all its eggs in one basket and backing the Democrats in every election?
MFUME: I don‘t think they‘ve necessarily made a mistake. Let me tell you why. Because the interesting juxtaposition is from the day of Emancipation Proclamation, up until the New Deal, black persons in this country who voted were registered 9-1 Republican. I mean, it was a party of Lincoln. My grandmother thought that I was committing blasphemy when I registered as a young man as a Democrat. She said, you can‘t do that. It was a party where the loyalties had been.
I think what happened with the Democratic Party, between the New Deal and the civil rights era—the Republican Party, excuse me—they were kind of off the scene and not in touch. And so, hence, 40, 50 years later, we have a situation where it‘s just about reverse.
I think, quite frankly, this is my opinion, that regardless of your race in this nation, that you really ought to be Democratic, Republican and independent, because it gives you three voices and the ability in each party to be able to leverage in a different way what you‘re doing.
There is not—I don‘t think there was danger in this last election, I think because there was some movement. As you know, Mr. Bush did better than he did four years ago and he did better than his father did in his last try. So there was some movement around a number of issues, some of those had to do with social issues, like this whole thing about gay marriage and other things that people have said, yes, well, that was my motivation. But I do know that it is probably in the best interest of the group, whatever that group might be, to be able to be a part of both parties and at the same time to have a significant number of independent voters.
MATTHEWS: It‘s interesting. Because if you go to groups, everybody‘s grouped diferent ways. Like Catholic voters are about 50-50. They don‘t really have a block power. Jewish voters tend to be Democrat. Black voters tend to be Democrat. Puerto Ricans tend to be—and Cuban-Americans tend to be Republican. So you‘re saying if you split it up, it may be more influential.
MFUME: Well, I‘m not advocating 33 percent, 33 percent, 33 percent. I‘m just saying it‘s important to be in both parties, and it‘s important to have an independent voice. You do have, as I think most people will admit, particularly with the larger black community, and such a block, you do have a different leverage because of the size of that block when you win. When you lose, you have got to find a way, I think, to adjust and adapt and to find a way to be effective on the outside.
One of the great things about democracies is that—and I loved your conversation with General Scowcroft. He‘s a person I have admired for years. He said in a democracy, you have to agree that preservation of the rules is more important than winning the game. And so we have got that to some extent here. And that‘s why after elections it‘s easy—I hope it‘s easy for most people to understand why it‘s important to let the election drop. It‘s history. And to find a way then to build going forward, even if that means a little give and take. But it certainly must include some dialogue.
MATTHEWS: Do you think Condi Rice is going to show some independence from the president and act like a principal rather than a staffer?
MFUME: I think so.
MATTHEWS: Secretary of state is the premiere position in the U.S. government.
MFUME: Yeah, I think so, because there‘s some difference here. I mean, as the national security adviser, you know, she was pretty much expected to—not necessarily be independent, but just to give information and to give opinion. And I think she did a good job at it.
The instance now where we have her as secretary of state, I think in and of itself, that kind of breeds a—I don‘t want to say independence but to a certain extent a different stature, where you are more vocal about saying things and more determined to sort of put your imprint on it. And you know, there are not that many secretaries of state. And I think most say, I have got to be remembered for something. And then they start working on carving out a niche in the time that they have. So I‘m hoping that‘s the case with Dr. Rice.
MATTHEWS: Well, maybe you will get your shot at a big job someday if the Democrats ever come back.
Anyway, thank you, Mr. Mfume. Thank you. Former congressman, head of the NAACP, Kweisi Mfume. Thank you, sir.
Up next—is a television ad by the United Church of Christ too commercial to air, or are networks pandering to conservative audiences? We will debate it with a top officer of that church, and the Reverend Jerry Falwell. Both coming up, left and right, you‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The United Church of Christ, a progressive church with nearly 1.5 million members, wants to increase its flock. They began a multiyear, multimillion dollar advertising campaign, one that is very controversial. And two networks, including NBC, won‘t give it network time.
Aside from the network reaction, some religious leaders take issue with the ad‘s message. Take a look. You decide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST AD)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No. Step aside, please. No way. Not you. I don‘t think so. No.
NARRATOR: The United Church of Christ. No matter who you are or where you are on life‘s journey, you‘re welcome here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joining me now is Reverend Bernice Powell Jackson. She is the United Church of Christ. And on the phone is Albert Mohler. He‘s president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Reverend Jackson, your first.
Do you know any church that does that sort of thing, has bouncers with short crewcut hairs and T-shirts out in front of the church telling gay couples they can‘t come in, telling African-Americans they can‘t come in? Can you name a church that does that?
REV. BERNICE POWELL JACKSON, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: Of course not. That‘s just a symbol for al of the people who have been alienated and turned away, turned off by churches. That is merely a symbol.
MATTHEWS: So this is like the Senator Zell Miller saying that John Kerry is going to defend the country with spitballs? This is a metaphor?
JACKSON: Well, I don‘t know if it is like Zell Miller, but, yes, it is a metaphor.
Let me go to—let me go to Reverend Mohler.
What did you think of that ad? Did you see it, Reverend Mohler, of the sort of bouncer guys in T-shirts and short hair telling a gay couple they couldn‘t come to church and telling several African-Americans they couldn‘t come in the church?
REV. ALBERT MOHLER, SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: Well, of course I found it offensive, because there is no church that does that.
The issue is, what is the Gospel? What would Christ do? And this idea that there are these black-shirted, beefy bouncers outside of an evangelical church is of course foreign to reality. And no one should be surprised that a lot of people are going to be offended by this.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Reverend Jackson, explain the metaphor. Explain the meeting of that ad as you really believe it exists in the country today in our religious communities.
JACKSON: Well, it is not really about evangelical churches or mainline Protestant churches.
It is about the fact that about half of the people in this nation are not active in anybody‘s church. And many of them are alienated. Many of them have been turned off. Many of them have been put in positions where they have been in pain because they have been at churches where they were not welcome, at churches where they didn‘t dress properly, at churches where for all kinds of reasons they felt that they weren‘t welcome. So that‘s really what it‘s about.
MATTHEWS: What do you think, Reverend Jackson, about the decision by NBC, our parent network, and CBS? Both decided not to run this ad.
JACKSON: We were a little stunned by that, quite honestly, because we didn‘t see that it was controversial.
It‘s at the heart of our faith that Jesus welcomed everyone. So for us, we just thought it was a normal way of telling the story of who we are as a church. So we were a little surprised at that and we don‘t quite understand what‘s so controversial about Jesus‘ extravagant welcome.
MATTHEWS: I saw a great movie years ago called “Places in the Heart,” where, at the end of the movie, you see everybody at the same church, beside, you know, black and white together, all worshiping at the same church. And you realize at the end that that‘s heaven, that that‘s not the way it is in this country. Why do you think we segregate on the way to church on Sunday morning?
JACKSON: Well, you know, Dr. Martin Luther King said 11:00 on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.
And, in many places, that‘s still true. I think some of it has to do with housing problems.
MATTHEWS: In most places, I think it is, yes.
JACKSON: But I think that that‘s something that, as we enter the 21st century and enter a country that‘s much more diverse, that I think many of us want to be together as we worship God.
MATTHEWS: Are you afraid that in rejecting this ad by your church, the United Church of Christ, a mainstream church, that the networks are afraid to side with mainstream churches, to side with secular, to some extent, thinking, or pluralistic think, I think is a better word, that they are afraid they might be offending people who are not so pluralistic, who are traditional in their values?
MOHLER: Well, you know, it was kind of strange, because when we got the letter from CBS, it actually said that part of the reason why they thought it was too controversial was because of the executive branch‘s proposed constitutional amendment on gay marriage. And this commercial has nothing to do with gay marriage.
MATTHEWS: Let me read you something. Here‘s a statement about the ad from NBC.
“The United Church of Christ approached us with two advertisements. One, we accepted and one we did not. The one we rejected violated our longstanding policy against accepting ads dealing with issues of public controversy. The issue of controversy stemmed from the ad‘s suggestion that other religions are not open to all people for a variety of reasons. We have offered suggestions to the church on how the ad could be changed to fit within our policy. If the changes are made, we will gladly revisit the issue. In the meantime, the UCC, United Church of Christ, ad that we approve can run as soon as the church gives us the go-ahead.”
Let me ask you, Reverend Jackson, then, about this controversy. Do you think that the networks are smart not to engage in competitive religious advertising? Like some TV products, they dump—they knock the other products and they can sell their product more successfully. Do you think religion should say, those churches are no good; ours is good? Is that a good policy for a Christian religion to follow?
JACKSON: Well, I don‘t think we are trying to point fingers at any one church.
MATTHEWS: Well, sure you are.
JACKSON: No. We‘re not trying to...
MATTHEWS: Oh, come on. You‘re showing a church with a bunch of brownshirts. You‘re showing people in crewcuts and they look like bouncers at a nightclub.
MATTHEWS: Shoving people away who happen to be African-American or apparently gay, gay couples. And you‘re saying you‘re not pointing a finger?
JACKSON: No. We are not pointing a finger at any one church, I said.
JACKSON: I think we are pointing a finger at all churches. And I think that the reality is that, as I said, half of America does not belong to a church.
And many people—if you will look at our Web site and see all of the responses we have gotten, because it is showing on several cable stations, people who are so excited about the fact that we have a message of tolerance, that we have a message of saying that the church is a welcoming place and we want folks to come to church.
MATTHEWS: Is one of the targets of that ad the Roman Catholic Church, which believes that homosexuality is a sin?
JACKSON: No. There‘s no church that is a target.
We are coming right back with the Reverend Bernice Powell Jackson of the United Church of Christ. And we will be joined by the Reverend Jerry Falwell.
You‘re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, much more on the debate over a new commercial for the United Church of Christ, plus, Patti Davis and her moving tribute to her father, President Ronald Reagan.
HARDBALL returns after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We are back with Reverend Bernice Powell Jackson of the United Church of Christ and the Reverend Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University.
Reverend Falwell, thanks for joining us.
JERRY FALWELL, CHANCELLOR, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: Sure.
MATTHEWS: What do you think of this ad, this UCC ad, That showed these bouncers keeping people who were apparently a gay couple and some people who were African-American from coming in the church? Should the networks have run that?
FALWELL: I think networks should have run it. I have no problem with the ad.
The United Church of Christ had a dual purpose. One was a positive one. Everybody is welcome. Every church should say that. Two, apparently, they are trying to say there are churches out there that everybody can‘t get in.
FALWELL: And I think they even have a subtler message. They‘re saying that the African-American, the Hispanic, the handicapped and then the gay couple or all four bona fide minorities. I would disagree.
The two ethnic persons are as God made them, as I am Caucasian.
FALWELL: The handicap person, behind his power, his handicap.
FALWELL: And the gay couple. They chose to marry each other.
MATTHEWS: How did they get to be gay, though?
FALWELL: Well, we probably differ there.
MATTHEWS: I‘m asking.
FALWELL: But I think all behavior is chosen.
MATTHEWS: I‘m open. I don‘t know.
FALWELL: I think that...
MATTHEWS: Did you choose to be heterosexual?
FALWELL: I did.
MATTHEWS: You chose it? You thought about it and you came up with that solution? That lifestyle?
FALWELL: Put it this way. I was taught as a child that‘s the right way to...
MATTHEWS: But did you feel an attraction toward women?
FALWELL: Oh, of course.
MATTHEWS: When people are born and they find themselves having an attraction to somebody from the same sex, do you think that‘s a choice?
FALWELL: I think you can experiment with any kind of perversity and develop an appetite for it, just like you can food.
MATTHEWS: You don‘t think it‘s nature? You think it‘s nurture.
FALWELL: I don‘t think any—I don‘t think anybody is born a bank robber or born a hostile left-winger or a hostile right-winger or gay or a promiscuous heterosexual.
I think there comes a time in childhood where environment may be a part of it, whatever, teaching, instruction, one chooses, I will do this or that. And that‘s why good, godly parenting...
MATTHEWS: How old were you when you chose to be heterosexual?
FALWELL: Oh, I don‘t remember that.
MATTHEWS: Well, you must, because you say it‘s a big decision.
FALWELL: Well, I started dating when I was about 13.
MATTHEWS: And you had to decide between boys and girls. And you chose girls.
FALWELL: I never had to decide. I never thought about it.
MATTHEWS: I think it‘s a ridiculous proposition that you actually sit down and decide. Let me see, boy or girl this week. Anyway...
FALWELL: I don‘t think anybody does that.
MATTHEWS: But let me ask you about this ad again. Do you worry that the networks are exercising a kind of reverse sort of liberal censorship, saying we are afraid that the conservatives will be mad at us?
FALWELL: I think it‘s a corny ad. I think it‘s a corny ad.
MATTHEWS: Right. Well, that‘s a good word for it.
FALWELL: Because, really, it‘s a left-wing slap at a lot of churches.
And I don‘t know where those churches are.
FALWELL: I don‘t know where I can walk up and I can get in.
MATTHEWS: What do you think of John Danforth as a member of the Supreme Court, if he gets nominated, should he be? He just stepped as the U.N. ambassador.
FALWELL: Because he‘s pro-choice—he is a great man. He‘s had an illustrious career. But because he is pro-choice, I would object to it.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much for joining us.
FALWELL: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for fighting the traffic, Reverend Jerry Falwell.
And also, I want to thank again the Reverend Bernice Powell Jackson of the United Church of Christ.
When we come back, Patti Reagan, the daughter of President Ronald Reagan, pays tribute to her father with her new book, “The Long Goodbye.”
You‘re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back.
As I have been promising you for days now, we have got Patti Davis joining us right now. She‘s, of course, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and more importantly for our viewers, the sister, the big sister of Ron Reagan.
Patti, thanks for joining us.
PATTI DAVIS, DAUGHTER OF RONALD REAGAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this. When did you—we have got a lot of these pictures we are going to show during the course of our conversation tonight and tomorrow night about you growing up in this halcyon California, family. It looks perfect. It looks like out of a greeting card. Was it really that great?
MATTHEWS: I mean, it looks unbelievable, you swimming with your brother, hanging out on the ranch, riding horses.
MATTHEWS: It is almost like a movie star‘s dream life out there.
DAVIS: You know what? No family is perfect. Every family is a work in progress.
And I think part of my growth has been to recognize that you look at your family as a matter of choice. You choose what memories you want to focus on.
DAVIS: And now I do look at those images as being perfect.
And as—I look at the sweeter memories now and focus—and focus on those, instead of the ways in which we didn‘t get along at whatever stage we were.
DAVIS: Because that‘s just the way families are.
DAVIS: You‘re meant to—families are messy, you know?
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, you don‘t turn the 8-millimeter on when you‘re having an argument either, luckily.
DAVIS: That—this is true. You do not, no. You leave it off.
MATTHEWS: Yes. And these vacation pictures, though, every family that‘s lucky has them. And there‘s your mom there and your brother.
And tell us about Ron, our colleague here. That‘s what we call him, our colleague Ron Reagan here at HARDBALL and MSNBC. What was he like to have as a little brother?
DAVIS: Ron was—my father nicknamed Ron “Happy Jack.” And he really was. He was just this bouncy little kid. He was always giggling. And he was just—he was just so joyful and happy.
MATTHEWS: Did you know—well, let me ask you this. How old were you when you realized your parents were famous?
DAVIS: Well, I was very young. I mean, there are six years between me and Ron. So I had more of my life than Ron did with our father as an actor. And I very much remember turning on the television on—I think it was Sunday nights.
MATTHEWS: At 9:00.
DAVIS: “General Electric Theater.”
MATTHEWS: Yes. I watched it every Sunday night at 9:00, too. So—and what was your impact when you saw your father on TV?
DAVIS: Well, my mother tells a story, which—I was too young to really have a clear memory of that.
But my mother tells a story about the first time—I guess the first time that I saw my father on television. And I was waving at him and saying hello to him. And I started crying because he didn‘t say hello back to me. How do you explain to a child you can see them and they can‘t see you?
MATTHEWS: But did it ever both you he was famous?
DAVIS: No. I didn‘t...
MATTHEWS: Well, like, when you walk around the streets and people say hello to him or they ooh and ahh that Ronald Reagan is walking past, did that bother you, that he would stop and talk to them?
DAVIS: You know, I—no, but I don‘t know anything different. I don‘t know any other different life. It was always that way, certainly not to the degree when politics took our lives in a different direction. But it was always that way.
MATTHEWS: What about when he started to give—I was reading something where you were very aware when he gave that first big speech for Goldwater that sort of got him into politics. Tell me about your memory of that.
DAVIS: I was 12 years old.
It was in Phoenix, Arizona. What I remember is being surrounded by—
I think they were Young Americans For Freedom. But I remember the boys all had really short haircuts and I think they wearing some kind of like pork pie hats with little American flags on them.
MATTHEWS: Your kind of guys, right?
DAVIS: Even at 12, they were not my kind of guys.
MATTHEWS: YAFers, we called them. YAFers is what we always called them.
DAVIS: YAFers. I was surrounded by YAFers, yes.
And I just thought they were very uncool and unhip. And my father was giving this speech for Goldwater. And I guess there was some political things even at 12 I found myself moving away from. My memory is siting there thinking, well, I don‘t really agree with what—you know, this and that. I don‘t know how much political consciousness I could have had.
But what I really recognized was my father‘s gift for connecting to people and moving people with his words and with his delivery of words. He was so impassioned. I remember sitting there and feeling tears well up from my father‘s words.
MATTHEWS: Did you listen to him as a public man, or was it always like listening to dad?
DAVIS: I would say it was a combination of the two, because you know what? My father was a very authentic person. There was not a public person and a private person.
DAVIS: He was the same man.
MATTHEWS: So he really believed in the Vietnam War, for example?
DAVIS: Well, sadly, I think he did, yes. I think that probably, over the years, he came to see it differently. But maybe I‘m imagining that.
MATTHEWS: But he saw it differently from you right at the start, right?
DAVIS: At the start, sure, yes. I was from the generation who—you know, we called ourselves doves, and he was a hawk.
MATTHEWS: Well, we had the same argument in our family, I have got to tell you. Did you know that, that the argument you were having with him was all over the country?
DAVIS: I did, because I was in high school when the war was really reaching a crescendo. And I had a very close friend who lied about his age and joined the Marines. And we used to write letters back and forth. And it was a window into the Vietnam War that changed my life in many, many ways.
Do you still feel you‘re on the liberal side of things, on the left side of things compared to your mom and dad?
MATTHEWS: Or you have reached some sort of cen—you‘re still there?
MATTHEWS: What are the big issues now that you feel are important to you in your generation?
DAVIS: The environment I would say leading the list, because, logically, if we don‘t have a planet to live on, you know, where else do you go from there? Certainly for me and my family and for many people, stem cell research.
MATTHEWS: And it passed, thanks to your mom. It passed.
DAVIS: Well, it passed in California.
DAVIS: The state initiative passed in California. And so, if you‘re going to have a spinal cord injury or be ill, I guess California is the best place to be. But, you know...
MATTHEWS: Let‘s come back tomorrow night and talk about your feelings about President George W. Bush. I would love to hear them.
We‘ll be right back tomorrow night with Patti Davis, more, as I‘ve been promising you. She has come here all week. She is here now. She‘s back tomorrow night. The name of her book is “The Long Goodbye About” It‘s about her dad.
Join us again tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL.
Coming up next, the “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.
And right now, we leave you with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree earlier this evening.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Five, four, three, two, one.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
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