Guest: Holly McClure, Kennedy, Jay Carney, Rick MacArthur, Lisa Schiffren, Patricia Ireland, David Frum
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline: Democrats draw blood from Bush‘s next secretary of state. So much for the honeymoon.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
Round one, Condi Rice boxed by angry Democrats, who attack her and put the president‘s foreign policy on trial. We are going to be showing you the explosive exchanges.
And then, can Jane add? The president of Harvard isn‘t so sure. He‘s in hot water again and he‘s booked by the P.C. police.
And later, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n‘ roll, but not Jesus inside the pages of music‘s premier magazine. I have got issues with “Rolling Stone.”
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome to the show.
Condoleezza Rice battered on Capitol Hill today by an angry Barbara Boxer. Tonight, Condi Rice‘s defense, John Kerry‘s return, Barack Obama‘s debut, and these verbal blows from California‘s junior senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: This from a war that was based on what everyone now says, including your own administration, were falsehoods about WMDs, weapons of mass destruction.
The war was sold to the American people, as chief of staff to President Bush Andy Card said, like a new product. Those are his words. Remember, he said, You don‘t roll out a new product in the summer. Now, you rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people as you made your case with the president.
Now, perhaps the most well-known statement you‘ve made was the one about Saddam Hussein launching a nuclear weapon on America with the image of quote, quoting you, a mushroom cloud. That image had to frighten every American into believing that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of annihilating them if he was not stopped.
And I will be placing into the record a number of such statements you made which have not been consistent with the facts.
If you were rolling out a new product like a can opener, who would care about what we said? But this product is a war. And people are dead and dying. And people are now saying they‘re not going to go back because of what they experienced there.
And as much as I want to look ahead—and we will work together on a myriad of issues—it‘s hard for me to let go of this war because people are still dying.
And you have not laid out an exit strategy. You‘ve not set up a timetable.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Senator, I am more than aware of the stakes that we face in Iraq, and I was more than aware of the stakes of going to war in Iraq.
I mourn the dead and honor their service. Because we have asked American men and women in uniform to do the hardest thing, which is to go and defend freedom and to give others an opportunity to build a free society which will make us safer.
Senator, I have to say that I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It is not my nature. It is not my character. And I would hope that we can have this conversation and discuss what happened before and what went on before and what I said, without impugning my credibility or my integrity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, I‘ll tell you what, high drama on the Hill today.
And I have seen Condoleezza Rice testifying before Congress, and never seen her off the mark like that. You can tell the verbal abuse really got to her from Barbara Boxer.
Well, you know, former presidential candidate John Kerry also blasted Condoleezza Rice, but it seemed that, in this instance, the secretary-designate was not to be cowed. That is how that exchange went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Why have we rebuffed the efforts of others to be involved, Russians, Indians offered peacekeepers—others involved? The U.N. offered at a point in time.
There have been a series of offers here and we keep, sort of, making this decision to go it alone. And there‘s a frustration out there in the global leadership that‘s sort of wondering, you know, whether we‘re going to change that dynamic and bring them to the table in a legitimate way.
We do have an international coalition. We have 27 countries on the ground with us, soon to be 28.
Yes, some of the contributions are small, but for small countries they are significant contributions.
We have contributions from places like Japan and South Korea that one would not expect—Asian allies who are serving in Iraq, and we need to honor those contributions.
Senator, I‘ll check, but frankly I‘m not aware of Russian offers of peacekeeper support...
KERRY: Indian peacekeepers.
RICE: ... in Iraq. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite, that there don‘t seem to be people who are willing to put forces on the grounded.
KERRY: They offered training and...
RICE: There are people who in differing ways are offering training. For instance, we‘ve taken up and have been using for some time the German efforts at training in the UAE for police forces. The Egyptians have trained some people. We‘ll look at what more they could do.
KERRY: The Germans say they could do more.
RICE: And we will—if they want to do more, they only have to say they can do more and I can guarantee you, we will want them to do more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: We will take more from Germany. And message to Russia, yes, we will take your troops.
Now, Rice delivered conciliatory remarks regarding some former allies once derided by this administration as little more than chocolate makers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICE: American diplomacy has great tasks.
First, we will unite the community of democracies in building an international system that is based on shared values and the rule of law.
Second, we will strengthen the community of democracies to fight the threats to our common security and alleviate the hopelessness that feeds terror.
And third, we will spread freedom and democracy throughout the globe.
We will increase our exchanges with the rest of the world. America should make a serious effort to understand other cultures and learn foreign languages. Our interaction with the rest of the world must be a conversation, not a monologue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: With me now, David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush who worked on some of the president‘s most important addresses. He‘s of course also the co-author “An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror.”
David, I am sure you followed the hearings with interest today and some tough attacks from Barbara boxer, and let‘s go through them.
She says that this is a war that Condoleezza Rice sold based on lies, and it was sold like a new product. Shouldn‘t that cause Americans to be concerned about Condi Rice being the next secretary of state?
DAVID FRUM, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, since Condoleezza Rice didn‘t say any of those things, it should be I think cause to be a little concerned about Barbara Boxer and her standards.
Condoleezza Rice was very calm. I think she went into this session knowing Benjamin Disraeli‘s line, you often have chance to repeat it in Congress, there‘s no reply like a majority behind you, and she has that majority. and so that‘s why the Democrats are maybe extra angry and a little bit extra unfair.
And she could say, look, these senators, they were in it at the beginning. They saw the same thing she saw. This has been a debate the United States had for 12 years, the Democratic Party and its leaders, including Joe Biden, the ranking member, who reaffirmed that he still supports the war in Iraq. He thinks it‘s right.
That Barbara Boxer‘s bitterness is an isolating factor for Barbara Boxer within the Democratic Party.
SCARBOROUGH: But, David, though, you talk about a majority. The president got 51 percent of the vote, but when you talk about the Iraq issue, it‘s at least a 50-50 split. You can look at a different poll every day that shows more Americans oppose the war than support it. And you say Condi Rice didn‘t say a lot of these things, but didn‘t Dr. Rice talk about Saddam Hussein‘s mushroom cloud?
FRUM: I meant a majority on that committee. The way the votes that are going to be counted on Condoleezza Rice‘s nomination, she has got a majority of those.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, she is going to win. she Is going to win that, but let‘s talk about the mushroom cloud comment.
She did talk about the mushroom cloud. And didn‘t this administration sell the possibility of Saddam Hussein having nukes?
FRUM: And you know what? It‘s something to be worried about.
Look, Saddam Hussein had not one, but two nuclear programs. He developed a nuclear bomb in the 1970s. The Israelis terminated that program with the bombing raid in 1981. Well, the world thought that he was finished. But, indeed, he built a second and quite different nuclear program. And when the Americans came into Iraq after the second Gulf War, American inspectors were astonished to discover how close Saddam Hussein had come a second time to a nuclear weapon. The guy was like that Energizer Bunny.
FRUM: If left alone, here‘s where we would be now.
SCARBOROUGH: What do you say, David...
FRUM: Oil is more—Saddam Hussein‘s finances were cramped in the 1990s by low oil prices. Oil prices are now high. Had he been left alone, he would be there with high oil prices, no inspectors, crumbling sanctions. What do you think he would be doing with his money?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, David, as the guy that helped coin the phrase axis of evil, I know a lot of people out there are saying, OK, the axis of evil the president defined was North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. And the only country that we attacked was a country that isn‘t going to have a nuclear weapon in the next few years.
North Korea and Iran were much further along in their nuclear programs than Saddam Hussein, but that‘s not the claim made by Condoleezza Rice a year and a half ago, is it?
FRUM: The people who make that argument—and I am sure you are not one of them—there‘s a kind of disingenuousness there, because it was a game for them. Whichever one of those three the president started with first, one of them was going to be first, and whichever one he chose to be first, that was the one that his opponents would have said, no, not that one, some other one.
But it‘s not like he, as he now is—he is now taking those critics to heart and saying, you are right, that Iraq was not—we also have to deal with Iran. And as he deals with Iran, there was an outrage piece in this week “New Yorker” by Seymour Hersh in which members, rogue members of the CIA are giving away precious military secrets in an effort to stop the president‘s program against Iran.
So, yes, it‘s a comprehensive program. That was always the point to it. Iraq happened to be first. But the people who complain about that don‘t want anyone else to be second.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, David Frum, of course, as you know, I am playing devil‘s advocate. I agree with you on this.
And, you know, it‘s so interesting. You talk to all these people that come up to you now and say, well, you know, we supported the war in Afghanistan, but there‘s no way we could have supported the war in Iraq. I say, well, actually, I remember you opposing the war in Afghanistan, too. And I suspect, six months from now, after we see that these free elections yield a higher turnout rate in Iraq than we had here in the United States, they will be saying the same thing about Iraq also.
FRUM: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: As always, thanks for joining me. I greatly appreciate it.
FRUM: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, coming up next, Larry Summers under fire from the P.C. police again, this time for raising tough questions about men, women, and getting ahead.
And then “Rolling Stone” runs ads for booze, cigarettes, and phone sex, but the Bible? No way.
That story coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: The president of Harvard suggests that women may not be cut out for math and science. His claim, just trying to promote debate. Well, mission accomplished, Mr. President, because that debate is next.
SCARBOROUGH: Harvard president Lawrence Summers ignited a firestorm today when he suggested that women may be falling behind in fields of science and math because they lack natural abilities. Sounds like Dodger talk. The tough-talking president‘s comments have some women seeing crimson.
Here‘s NBC‘s Anne Thompson.
ANNE THOMPSON, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a bitterly cold day in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the hot topic of debate at Harvard is president Lawrence Summers‘ remark that innate differences between men and women may be why fewer women succeed at math and science.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don‘t want to be looked at as a woman. You wanted to be looked at as an intellectual.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it‘s fine what he said, because then it gets people talking.
THOMPSON: Summers‘ statement came during an academic conference attended by Dr. Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at MIT. She says he gave these reasons for women not making it to the top of most professions: women with children not wanting to work 80 hours a week, socialization and possibly gender bias, and aptitude.
DR. NANCY HOPKINS, BIOLOGIST, MIT: That the president of this great university should say that, in his opinion, an explanation for why there are so women at the top of any profession is aptitude differences between men and women, I was quite shocked.
THOMPSON: So shocked, Hopkins walked out. But Harvard professor Claudia Goldin stayed. She thinks this firestorm is much ado about nothing.
CLAUDIA GOLDIN, HARVARD PROFESSOR: He was mainly trying to provoke thought. He never said that women cannot do math and science. He was trying to figure out why it is that there are fewer women who are mathematicians and scientists and engineers.
THOMPSON (on camera): But Summers says his comments were misconstrued and insists he does not believe women lack the ability to succeed at the highest levels of math and science.
(voice-over): Summers declined to be interviewed, but in a statement said—quote—“The situation is likely the product of a variety of factors” and “that further research can help us better understand their interplay.”
Women have made strides. Math scores in the SATs have improved for both sexes in the last 20 years, although females still lag behind. And in 2000, nearly half of all students earning bachelor‘s degrees in math were women. Tonight, the reason why, like so many other gender issues, is a matter of he said/she said.
Anne Thompson, NBC News, Cambridge.
SCARBOROUGH: And here to talk about Larry Summers‘ latest provocative comments are Patricia Ireland. She‘s a former president of the National Organization of Women. And Lisa Schiffren, she‘s co-founder of Softer Voices.
Patricia Ireland, let‘s begin with you tonight.
This conference was about provoking a debate, provoking a discussion to figure out why women were falling behind in the fields of math and science. If that‘s the case, and if they purposely kept the press out so people would feel free to discuss and debate, what is wrong with Larry Summers coming out and saying, well, it‘s one of these three things, possibly, and one of them is, women aren‘t as proficient in math and science as men?
PATRICIA IRELAND, FORMER NOW PRESIDENT: Well, they were talking about women in science and engineering, and there are very few women engineers. And women scientists are not doing much better.
When you look at that kind of a comment, it is so outdated, and then you look at his record, and you see that every year since Mr. Summers has been the Harvard president, they have made fewer offers of senior positions to women, every year.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s gone down from like 33 percent to 13 percent in his tenure in these fields.
IRELAND: It‘s dramatic.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, though—and I don‘t want to get in the weeds too much here, but I have got a son who is a junior. And parents have to decide if their children are juniors when they are going to take the old SAT or the new SAT.
And everybody out there was saying, well, if you have got boy, it‘s probably better to wait—or to take the old SAT, because there‘s more math and science, more analytical thinking. And, just historically, males have performed better in those areas than females. Well, “Princeton Review” and all these others making those suggestions, were they guilty of doing the same thing Larry Summers did?
IRELAND: I think, by the time you are talking about juniors in high school, you have already seen an extraordinary amount of gender stereotyping built into those kids.
When girls get the same attention in mathematics, when they are taught in ways that appeal to their lives and examples that seem to fit better into their lives, they really do quite well. But the reality is, the same question about working 80-hour weeks, it‘s an extraordinary woman that would want to do that, and it‘s an extraordinary man. It‘s an extraordinary man or woman who has the level of math and science to be an engineer or a scientist at that level.
So, I think you can‘t generalize from those tests to say that that is the reason women aren‘t in those professions. I think the reason they are not there is because of outdated attitudes like Larry Summers‘.
Lisa Schiffren, what is your comment on Larry Summers? Do you believe he makes a good point here or that he is living in the 1950s?
LISA SCHIFFREN, CO-FOUNDER, SOFTER VOICES: You know what? I would say two things.
One, I applaud him just down the line for not being afraid of the political correctness orthodoxies that have governed Ivy League campuses in most of my lifetime and yours. I think it‘s wonderful that he is willing to say what he thinks and provoke a debate, even if the P.C. are out in force by the next day.
But on the specific issue of what he actually said about women and their innate talents, he said that it‘s a possibility that the reason women are not represented at a 50 percent level in the top engineering and math departments at Ivy League universities is that—is perhaps—he threw this out as a hypothesis—perhaps don‘t want to work 80-hour works, don‘t want to do other certain things, and perhaps innate ability.
He is not saying that the average student, the average math student, boys or girls, are smart. He is saying that, at the very top—and there‘s tremendous amounts of I.Q. data to support this. At the very top, there are screws, more men than women test at higher levels. The women who tested at high levels are as gifted as the men who do. But it‘s a numbers game.
IRELAND: If Summers had bothered to read the research that was presented that very morning at that very conference, he would have seen those comments that he made refuted. He wasn‘t provoking discussion. It had already been discussed, researched and refuted.
SCARBOROUGH: But he did say that time and again during the speech, according to reports. Hey, I am just here to provoke debate.
And, of course, Larry Summers has a long history of provoking debate. Of course, this isn‘t the first time that he set off the sirens for the P.C. police. In 2001, he confronted African-American studies professor Cornel West, who spent a semester making a rap C.D. He didn‘t like that. West left Harvard for Princeton and took other members of the department with him.
Summers was also Bill Clinton‘s treasury secretary. And he raised eyebrows in 2002 when he said that a call to have big universities invest themselves in holdings of companies that invested in Israel were just being anti-Semitic.
This guy is a tough talker. And I want to talk about double standards for a second, because, whenever I gave speeches, and not to women‘s groups, but when I just gave general speeches, and people would say, well, how do you run your office, well, gee, I would say, say, well, you know, I have got this rule. If I want to get things done, I hire a woman. If I want people to sit around and talk about getting things done, I hire a man. Audience chuckled. Nobody wrote anything negative about it.
I meant it as the truth, because I found—and, again, am I generalizing? Is this unfair to men? Am I being bigoted towards males? But I found women were task-oriented. I would say, listen, we need one two, three, four, and what I found in my experience was they didn‘t sit around saying, well, gee, who is going to get credit for it?
SCARBOROUGH: They went to work.
Now, if I had said that about men—or women instead—or men instead of women, I would have been absolutely pummeled in the press. Isn‘t there a double standard here?
IRELAND: Maybe that‘s why they don‘t get to the tops of these professions, because they aren‘t worrying about who is getting credit. Maybe that is something they should work on.
But the truth of the matter is that, in my experience, in the movement, a lot of women sat around talking about who got credit and generalizing and not taking action. That‘s why I ended up at the National Organization for Women, an activist organization.
SCARBOROUGH: Right. So, you are saying I am generalizing there, too.
Lisa, final thoughts.
SCHIFFREN: I think it‘s a wonderful thing to have Professor Summers bring up this question that is actually the most serious question in biology and in the social sciences in our time, which is the role of nature vs. nurture.
And to have it addressed openly and seriously strikes me as much more useful to all of us than to pretend that we are all the same, which is perhaps what we would all like to think, but the truth will be more interesting yet.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much.
Actually, I do want to have just a yes-or-no answer. Should Larry Summers be fired?
SCARBOROUGH: OK. There we go.
Well, I‘ll tell you what. We will be right back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a second with our political roundtable discussion. Also going to be talking about “Rolling Stone” banning an ad for the Bible. How subversive.
Be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Does the president have the political capital to push his policies through in the second term? I am going to be asking our all-star panel in a minute.
But, first, here‘s the latest news your family needs to know.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: The nation‘s capital is ramping up for the second presidential inauguration of George W. Bush. Will one of the most divisive presidents in recent history reach across the aisle on Thursday, or will he claim a mandate, declare a mission, and define his vision for the next four years, Democrats be damned?
With me now is Jay Carney, who of course covers the president for “TIME” magazine. We also have Rick MacArthur. He‘s the publisher of “Harper‘s.” And we have Terry Jeffrey. He‘s the editor of “Human Events.”
Jay, let me begin with you. I am not going to even ask you if the White House has tipped their hand, because they are just far, far too disciplined. But I will ask, you remember back in ‘88, in Bush I‘s inauguration, he talked about the age of the extended hand.
JAY CARNEY, DEPUTY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, “TIME”: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: Should we expect to see the extended hand redo on Thursday from this Bush?
CARNEY: I think we will get a rhetorical flourish in that direction.
I think that if you look at this speech as the beginning of a period that starts with the inaugural address, is interrupted briefly by a huge news event with the elections in Iraq, and then is continued with the State of the Union speech, this is the opportunity for the president to frame it rhetorically, frame...
SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, Karl Rove has already planned all that out on the calendar. They‘ve got the three X‘s marked.
And they know that the State of the Union is the speech that is going to have to be reactive to what happens in Iraq. So, the inaugural address on Thursday is an opportunity for Bush to set a tone, and I think he will be—try to be conciliatory towards Democrats, talk about the nation as a whole.
He has been speaking lately, and so have his aides, about how these are hopeful times. So, I think that we are going to see some of that and some of what we saw towards the end of the campaign, when the president was talking about how he wants to be a peace president, a little less bellicosity, a little more warmth.
CARNEY: And very few specifics in terms of his agenda.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, but Terry Jeffrey, how can the president be too conciliatory to Democrats when conservatives like you are angry at him for spending way too much money, angry at an immigration policy that is actually to the left of Hillary Clinton‘s right now, angry because the federal government, under his watch, has grown—I am not talking internationally—I am talking domestically—at record rates. Where does he go?
TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR, “HUMAN EVENTS”: Yes, well, I concede all those points, Joe, and I would like to get into them.
I agree with Jay, though. I think the president is going to give a very romantic, poetic speech. He‘s got outstanding speechwriters.
SCARBOROUGH: Is this president romantic?
JEFFREY: Well, he‘s going to give a romantic speech.
I think the model isn‘t going to be his dad in 1988. It‘s going to be JFK in 1960. He‘s going to try to call the country to a higher vision on both the foreign policy front and the domestic front.
As a conservative, I think his real challenges domestically are to get the Social Security reform with the personal retirement accounts and to secure the confirmation to the Supreme Court of some constitutionalist judges. Another thing we are going to see out there Thursday is maybe the last major public appearance of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who has agreed to go out there and give the oath of office to President Bush. I think it‘s the last hurrah of a great conservative.
SCARBOROUGH: I am afraid it‘s going to be one of the last times we see a judge who was elevated in 1971, known as the lone dissenter. He‘s not doing well.
Rick MacArthur, now, I know you have always believed the president was a uniter, not a divider.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Exactly.
RICK MACARTHUR, PUBLISHER, “HARPER‘S”: Thanks for that. I like that.
This is a president talking about uniting America that decided that he was going to renominate 20 judges who were rejected by the Democratic Senate over the past few years. Doesn‘t sound like a uniter to me. What about you?
MACARTHUR: Well, I think his main problem now is with Arlen Specter. The man of the hour is Arlen Specter, the new chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
SCARBOROUGH: Rick, he has already been rolled.
MACARTHUR: It all depends on—what is that?
SCARBOROUGH: He has already been rolled, Rick. He ain‘t the man. He was the man of the hour like two days after the election. They basically said, play ball or we are going to lop your head off.
MACARTHUR: Well, we will see. He is in an interesting position, where he is to the left of the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, on abortion.
Harry Reid is a Mormon and a very, very hot anti-abortion politician. He is against abortion in almost all cases, just a couple of exceptions, whereas Specter has always been a fairly firm pro-choice senator. So you are going to see clashes right away within the Republican Party. And that‘s the action is. It‘s not between Republicans and Democrats.
And it‘s the same thing I am looking for in the inauguration speech, or the second inauguration speech. Is Bush going to send a message to the unhappy Republicans who hate the Iraq war and see it as a crazy Wilsonian liberal adventure in nation-building and so on?
SCARBOROUGH: Are you talking about Pat Buchanan?
MACARTHUR: There are a lot of them. There are a lot of them. They kept their mouth shut during the election because they wanted to see him get reelected. But there are a lot of unhappy Republicans who want to get out of Iraq.
And Bush, being the most political president in my lifetime, in the sense of always putting politics ahead of statesmanship, never misses an opportunity to make a political speech. In this case...
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, because Bill Clinton—never did that.
MACARTHUR: No, no.
SCARBOROUGH: Did he?
MACARTHUR: No, no, but Clinton faked it better than Bush.
MACARTHUR: And Bush is very, very determined, I think, to push his families agenda also. If he is trying to set up his brother, Jeb, to run for president in 2008, he has got to figure out what he‘s got to do with this disaffected, angry portion of the party.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, well, Rick, Jeb has already said no.
MACARTHUR: Oh, of course.
SCARBOROUGH: And then he said hell no.
MACARTHUR: They always say no.
SCARBOROUGH: They always do, but we will see if he backtracks. Jeb has always been pretty straightforward on that subject.
Jay, I want to ask you. Rick brought up a lot of points. Terry has brought up a lot of points. What do you think is the Bush administration top goal? Is it going to be selling this Iraq election or is it going to be Social Security? Is it going to be—we know...
SCARBOROUGH: And I ask you this question because we know historically
· I don‘t care what people say. The fact is, a president in his second term really only has about a year to get major legislation passed, whether you are Ronald Reagan or you‘re FDR. I mean, FDR, after his first term, slowed it down a lot. What is their top goal?
CARNEY: Well, I think there are a number of items on the agenda, tax reform, tort reform, immigration reform. But the two that matter most are Iraq, over which they have limited control at best. They want a happy outcome or something that looks better at the end of this year than it looks now.
And Social Security reform. If there is anything, this is clearly their top priority this year. I think it‘s a stretch to get. I am not sure that the president has what it takes or the support he needs to make that happen. So, you could see a situation where his two top priorities do not look good six or eight or 10 months from now.
SCARBOROUGH: Terry, I have got a prediction. I think the Iraq elections are going to go well. They‘re going to a higher turnout in that election than we had in America, but I predict Social Security DOA on the Hill. Republicans I talk to in Congress are scared to death.
MACARTHUR: I‘m just the opposite.
JEFFREY: Well, Jay is right. It is definitely the president‘s top agenda item on the domestic front.
It‘s unfortunate, Joe, that you hear a lot of moderate Republicans, who, No. 1, do not agree with the president that payroll tax increases should be off limits. They think ought to be on limits. You even have Lindsey Graham talking in the Senate about making a deal maybe to trade the personal retirement accounts for a payroll tax increase.
But you do hear Republicans worried about the president‘s lack of leadership on this.
SCARBOROUGH: On Social Security?
JEFFREY: They want him to come forward with a definite plan. They want him to stake his prestige on a specific plan that he will promote.
They don‘t want him to lay back passively and allow them to put together a plan. It won‘t happen if the president doesn‘t lead forcefully.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Rick, let me give you the last word.
SCARBOROUGH: I know that you know the -- you believe the war is going to be a failure. Why do you think Social Security, though, will pass?
MACARTHUR: Because the Democrats will help Bush pass it. Wall Street supports the Democrats, as well as—even more than they support the Republicans in certain instances. And New York is still a Democratic state.
And can you imagine the fees that will go to the fund managers, the investment banks if Social Security is privatized, even a portion of it is privatized? Wall Street wants so-called reform. What it is, it‘s a giveaway to the investment banks and to the fund managers. And the Democrats feed off that campaign money, just like the Republicans.
So you are going to get a significant minority of Democrats hiding behind this notion of Social Security reform, which is a hoax. It‘s a hoax.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Rick, I thought I was the most cynical man regarding Washington. I think you just one-upped me, because I don‘t think the Democrats are going to be able to help themselves. I think they are going to pile on. I think they‘re going to kill Social Security reform, and I think they are going to claim victory.
MACARTHUR: But Bush has got the votes, Joe. Look, he has got the votes.
SCARBOROUGH: You said it yourself. And we have got to go, but you know what? You said it yourself. The most interesting thing over the next few years is going to be watching Republican-on-Republican sects or, should I say, Republican-on-Republican infighting, because that‘s going to be happening over the next two years?
And I think Republicans in the House and the Senate are going to get scared and they‘re going to kill this bill. But we‘ll see.
Hey, Jay Carney, thanks for being with us. Terry Jeffrey and Rick MacArthur, as always, great to have you here.
Now, coming up next, I used to read it like the Bible, but now it‘s banning the Bible. I have got issues with “Rolling Stone” magazine coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back. I‘m Joe Scarborough. And I‘ve got issues.
First of all, I‘ve got issues with “USA Today” and it‘s doom-and-gloom coverage of the liberation of Iraq. Now, if you look at page four of today‘s paper, it‘s all bad news. One source says this—quote—“We‘d expected good relations with the United States. But, every day, you see on the news, American Army kills family. They destroy civilian cars. An engineer who works with me was killed in one of these accidents with a tank.”
Of course, he was a Sunni that was protected by Saddam Hussein. It‘s not until that page‘s second story that you find a sliver of good news, but, when you do, an Iraqi voter is quoted as saying this—quote—“We lived in a dictatorship a long time, and it‘s the first time in my life, in 48 years, that I can vote in Iraq. I feel very happy.”
Now, according to the best estimates, the Iraqi who is represented in just 2 percent of these articles actually represents 90 percent of the Iraqi nation‘s sentiment. Congratulations, “USA Today.” You are the winner of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s spin of the day.
And I‘ve got issues with Donald Trump. Today, the Donald announces, in his new marriage, he has decided to turn over a new leaf and not bring girlfriends home. Hey, Don, thanks for setting the bar so high for the rest of us.
And, finally, I‘ve got issues with “Rolling Stone,” the rock journal I grew up with. Now, I forgave “Rolling Stone” when it changed from a tabloid to a slick glossy. I turned the other cheek when its coverage no longer featured Neil Young or John Lennon, but instead, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Hell, I even forgave it in 1984 for claiming Michael Jackson‘s fame surpassed the Beatles.
But I cannot forgive intolerance. Today, we learned the supposed bastion of free speech banned an ad for, egad, a Bible. Funny how a magazine known for selling ad space for used term papers would be so holy when it actually became confronted by faith.
And with me now to discuss the “Rolling Stone” dust-up is film critic Holly McClure. She‘s from the Christian Broadcasting Network. And Kennedy, a former MTV veejay.
Holly, let me begin with you. I suppose that this says all you need to know about the dominant liberal media culture and its hatred of religion.
HOLLY MCCLURE, FILM CRITIC: It really does say that, because, first of all, the ad is not offensive. It doesn‘t mention Christianity. It doesn‘t mention faith. It‘s just an ad talking about the truth and seeking the truth, so it‘s not even offensive.
And, second of all, I find it interesting that “Rolling Stone” was more than willing to sell them ad space last summer. So it‘s not like they said, our policy is never to accept it. They took their money and accepted the offer anywhere to do their ad for them. And then, right before they‘re releasing it, all of a sudden, they look at the print and it‘s not in their policy, their terms, and they don‘t even offer to show it to them?
It is blatant. It is blatant, in our face. And I think it‘s very depictive of Hollywood, the religious right—the religious left—the liberal left after the religious right is what I‘m trying to say, because, ever since the election, there has really been a backlash against that. And you can see it. And I think we are seeing it clearly in “Rolling Stone.”
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you look at “Rolling Stone” and it—it promotes hedonism. And you have got this article. Let‘s read what this ad actually says—quote—“In a world of almost endless media noise and political spin, you wonder where you can find the real truth. Well, now there‘s a source that is accurate, clear, and reliable for today‘s times. It makes more sense than ever, timeless truth, today‘s language.”
Kennedy, why is “Rolling Stone” so scared of the Bible and having its readers read this ad, which really doesn‘t even mention God?
KENNEDY, FORMER MTV DEEJAY: Joe, first of all, welcome back. It is so wonderful to have you back in the studio. You look great. And from what I can tell...
SCARBOROUGH: Kennedy, you look great, too.
KENNEDY: Thank you very much. I wore a special cashmere hoody for you.
SCARBOROUGH: God bless you.
KENNEDY: From what I can tell, you are stronger than ever, although slightly misguided on this issue.
I can forgive Holly McClure. She is a Christian Broadcasting film critic, which means she liked, what, four films in the last decade, which is fine. However, “Rolling Stone” is a private organization. Jann Wenner maybe is a good-old fashioned Protestant, and he likes the Revised Standard Version of the Bible and not the dumbed-down NIV.
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t think Jann is, Kennedy.
But, Kennedy, here is the thing, though. You and I both know that if Holly went on the air and said, I saw “The Life of Brian,” and it offended me, and Christians should not allow their children to go see “The Life of Brian,” because it is sacrilegious, we would people screaming about an abridgement of First Amendment rights and...
KENNEDY: No, we wouldn‘t.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, we would. We always hear Christians are trying to kill artistic freedom.
MCCLURE: That‘s right.
SCARBOROUGH: And when the shoe is on the other foot, they don‘t...
KENNEDY: If Holly McClure had a problem with the “Monty Python” movie, we would think that she has a problem with her tastes, that maybe she has poor tastes.
MCCLURE: Well, you first of all shouldn‘t speak to me and my tastes, because you don‘t even know how I review.
KENNEDY: I wouldn‘t be running to the ACLU.
I am talking about the example that he is using, Holly.
KENNEDY: Keep your shirt on, please.
But it‘s not always a First Amendment issue. And this is not censorship. This is merely a private organization deciding what ads they are and are not going to run. And, by the way, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I do not go looking for my spiritual literature in the pages of “Rolling Stone” magazine. If I want a reference to some theology or any sort of spiritual text, I am going to go see my parish priest. I am not going to see what P.J. O‘Rourke or Chris Mundy has to say about it in the pages of “Rolling Stone.”
SCARBOROUGH: But, you know, Kennedy, I will guarantee you, from reading “Rolling Stone” for as many years as I have, there are a lot of people that read that magazine that I guarantee you need spiritual guidance.
MCCLURE: There‘s a lot of young people.
SCARBOROUGH: And I think that‘s a perfect place. A lot of young people.
MCCLURE: A lot of young people. This is aimed for young people.
SCARBOROUGH: And I think that is a perfect place to place an ad like that. And I would say the same thing if somebody were advertising the Koran, the Bible, the Torah, whatever.
KENNEDY: All right, then. you know what?
SCARBOROUGH: We‘ll be right back in a second, Kennedy, with more of this discussion. Keep your cashmere hoody on.
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will return soon.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s see. You can advertise for cheap cigarettes in “Rolling Stone,” bisexual sex, used term papers, Jim Beam, but not the Bible.
That‘s next in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Holly, do you think “Rolling Stone” brought more attention to this Bible ad by banning it?
MCCLURE: They probably did. And I hope that they did good for the ad in the process. Yes, I think they did. I think people are going to pay attention to it.
And you brought up a good point. Look at their ads that they run. They‘ve got an ad for energy right now that uses two people talking about having sex to sell energy. They have no problem with sending their own messages, religious or otherwise, to a younger generation that is reading their newspapers. And a lot of them are Christians, by the way, who do read “Rolling Stone.” So, are they saying they don‘t want the Christian audience who reads their very magazine and buys it, just because they don‘t want to put an ad in there?
SCARBOROUGH: I think that‘s what they are saying.
Kennedy, you know, I am a libertarian sort of guy, but I find this offensive. Am I off the mark?
KENNEDY: You are absolutely off the mark.
If everyone is trying to say on the left and the right—a bunch of blowhards, in my opinion—that we are in the middle of some sort of a cultural revolution, then I think the editors and writers at “Rolling Stone” are firmly in their barracks saying, you know, it‘s...
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
KENNEDY: If it‘s the conservative right that got this president reelected, we are not part of it.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Kennedy, thanks.
We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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