Guest: Michael Cutler
ANNOUNCER: MSNBC REPORTS. The state of George Bush...
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GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... confident and strong...
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ANNOUNCER: As the new approval ratings show the president enjoying a boost. Now he‘s about to make a bold move, promoting the man who ran the Bush campaign straight to victory to a top policy-making slot. tonight, the controversial of Karl Rove from the message beat to the policy beat.
It‘s one of the top money makers in home entertainment.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sex always sells and it always will.
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ANNOUNCER: And one cable company said it‘d never go there. But now it‘s changed its tune. Why Adelphia is going to the X-treme.
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BUSH: It is time for an immigration policy that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists.
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ANNOUNCER: The Bush administration promised 2,000 new border agents. So why did they deliver only 200?
Now, live from Washington, Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN, HOST: President Bush is on a roll in the early weeks of his second term. There was that dramatic election success in Iraq, where many had feared mass bloodshed, and a well-received State of the Union address just last week. Now in the new CNN/”USA Today” Gallup poll, 57 percent of Americans say George W. Bush is doing a good job.
Karl Rove deserves some of the credit for the president‘s success, and today Rove got a promotion. The political adviser who‘s been called, quote, “Bush‘s brain” will now become deputy White House chief of staff, coordinating all White House policy. But Rove‘s expanded powers are creating controversy.
Joining me now to discuss all this is Byron York, White House correspondent for “National Review,” and Ed Schultz, host of the nationally syndicated “Ed Schultz Show.”
Let me go to you first, Byron. Thanks for joining us. Isn‘t this a little like, in the old Buchanan/Nixon White House, putting Chuck Colson in charge of Henry Kissinger and Pat Moynihan?
BYRON YORK, “THE NATIONAL REVIEW”: No, I don‘t think so. I think the thing that perhaps most people don‘t know is that Karl Rove has been deeply involved in policy over the last four years, anyway. I mean, he has a pretty wide-ranging mind. And his No. 1 assignment, which was getting the president reelected, has been done. And while he‘ll still be working a lot, I would assume, for the 2006 elections, this is not that unusual, it seems to me, a move because he always had a hand in policy at the White House.
BUCHANAN: But you know, we got, what is it, Steve Hadley‘s running the National Security Council. He‘s being coordinated by Karl Rove, the political adviser?
YORK: You know, I‘m told most of what Rove will be doing, if not all of what Rove will be doing, will involve domestic policy. So I think the idea that Karl Rove is going to be setting national security policy or telling the National Security Council what do is not correct.
BUCHANAN: OK. And he doesn‘t sit between the NSC adviser and the president?
YORK: Well, what I‘m told is that this job is kind of a coordinating job, in which you have the National Economic Council...
BUCHANAN: Right. Domestic policy.
YORK: ... the Security Council, domestic policy council. And you coordinate between them in the sense that when they are presenting things to the president, there is somebody who puts all that stuff together for presentation to the president. And I think that he‘ll be involved in that.
BUCHANAN: OK, Ed Schultz, George Bush‘s 57 percent positive ratings—eat your heart out, Ed.
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW”: Well, I‘ll tell you what, Pat, he certainly deserves credit, and so does Karl Rove. But I really believe that this is a big wake-up call for Democrats across the country, especially in the Senate. Karl Rove is organized, he is detailed, and most of all, he is ruthless. And the more he has his hands on, the more brutal the Bush people are going to be. They‘re out to win.
They used the word “reform” on the campaign trail, and now that they‘ve got a number like this, I can imagine that they‘re going to be as aggressive as they have ever been. So I think it‘s a wake-up call to the Democrats. They‘re going to have to push back hard on this. If they can‘t win this issue on Social Security, it could be a defining moment for the party. I really believe that.
BUCHANAN: All right. Well, we‘re going to talk about Social Security in a moment because the president‘s numbers are not that hot in that area. But let me ask you this, Ed. You know, I mean, that‘s a good number, 57 percent. Clearly, the president‘s inaugural address, even those who disagreed with it—it‘s a magnetic moment he had. You got the State of the Union. I think the elections in Iraq—I don‘t know how it‘s all going to turn out, but it was certainly sort of a glorious day. And they put the president up to 57 percent. But Nixon...
SCHULTZ:: Well, I...
BUCHANAN: Nixon, when he—at that point in his presidency, POWs came home, he was at 69 percent.
SCHULTZ:: Yes. Well, I think the number is good, but the devil‘s going to be in the details. I mean, now that the Bush budget has been revealed to the American people and we‘re seeing that they‘re going to be gutting the farm bill, they‘re going to be gutting veterans benefits, they‘re not going to be funding education or rural health care or rural community development—I mean, all of the people that voted for Bush in the rural areas of America, it seems to me, in his budget, he‘s starting to turn his back on them.
So I think the big thing here is the Democrats need to focus, that the big snake is now out of the rock pile. And there‘s no doubt that Karl Rove is ruthless. These people are about winning. They want to end the Democratic Party and they want to get rid of every form of liberalism they have found in American history.
BUCHANAN: All right...
SCHULTZ:: And it‘s a wake-up call. I give him his due.
BUCHANAN: All right, Byron York, let me—let‘s take a look at the poll on the president‘s numbers on Iraq. They‘ve turned around significantly, not enormously. And now 55 percent of the people believe we did the right thing going into Iraq, 45 percent say we did the wrong thing. I think that was pretty close to 50/50 before. But doesn‘t this mean the president, after a—what was a terrific election, frankly, over there, the president‘s bought himself some time, but not all that much time?
YORK: Well, look, he hasn‘t bought himself much time. If things were to go terribly badly from now on, I‘m sure the numbers would go down. In addition, in that poll, they also asked people, How would you characterize how things are going in Iraq? And the number who say they‘re going—it‘s going either moderately well or very well is now, I believe, 53 percent. That‘s up 13 percent from the last time they did the poll.
YORK: So clearly—clearly, the election in Iraq and the pretty obvious success of it and the reporting of it as a success, I think, has been very influential in turning those numbers around.
BUCHANAN: OK, let me put up another poll. And this is a—this is more troublesome from the president‘s standpoint. This—the public remains skeptical about his plan to change Social Security: 44 percent of Americans say the president‘s plan is the way to go, but 50 percent disapprove of the president‘s plan.
Ed Schultz, the president, you know, made that the centerpiece of his State of the Union.
BUCHANAN: He‘s been out on the road for several days, and he does not appear to have convinced a majority of the country that he‘s on the right course here. This seems to me to at least put in jeopardy the personal accounts which are sort of at the heart of the president‘s plan.
SCHULTZ:: Well, the personal accounts are at the heart of the president‘s plan. I think 44 percent for Bush on personal accounts is a good number, and I think it‘s a dangerous number. And I think the Democrats have got to get unified and push back on this in a big, big manner.
The president is at his best when he‘s out talking to the American people. And the Democrats have got to get out and talk to the American people and get the facts out. They‘ve changed their vernacular already. First they said it was a crisis, now they‘re saying it‘s a problem. So what is it? They don‘t have any transition money in the budget for Social Security. The American people have got to wake up to this. But 44 percent is a good number, and again, it‘s a wake-up call.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me go to Byron York. What do you feel about that 50-to-44 number? Let me say straight out that for my money, this is an example of presidential courage and leadership, where he‘s putting himself on the line. He‘s going to take a hit one way or the other, but he‘s doing something, I think, that‘s basically for the good of the country. I do think those personal accounts will be for the good of the party down the road. But what is your take on how well this can go, given the political facts of life on the Hill?
YORK: Actually, I agree with Ed Schultz to the extent that 44 is not a bad number. Again, in the Gallup poll, Gallup asked respondents whether they felt that Social Security was a crisis, a major problem or Minor problem. Only 17 percent said a crisis. That‘s not—that‘s a pretty hard sell. But 55 percent said it was a major problem. So that‘s a 72 percent majority who believe it‘s a major problem, where a smaller number say it‘s a crisis. In addition, clearly, the poll shows that people kind of trust Bush as a leader and believe that his policies, in general, are going to move the country in the right direction.
Bush is going to compromise...
SCHULTZ:: But I...
YORK: Bush is going to compromise on this, like he did with his tax cut. He‘s not going to get everything that he wanted, but he is probably going to emerge from this, at the end, with something.
BUCHANAN: OK, Ed Schultz...
SCHULTZ:: Pat, I think this is radical reform, and I think this is about winning elections. I think it‘s about lining the pockets of those people on Wall Street that are going to contribute to future campaigns and really appeal to a demographic that the Republicans didn‘t do very well with in the last election, and that‘s young people. They‘re selling pie in the sky, but their math doesn‘t add up. This is radical reform. And I don‘t believe that Bush is going to back off. I believe he‘s going for the whole enchilada.
BUCHANAN: All right, one last question to you, Ed Schultz.
SCHULTZ:: Yes, sir.
BUCHANAN: I used to come through North Dakota and that little radio station of yours. When I was out there, I didn‘t think Howard Dean was the type of fellow you ought to bring out there. That‘s your new chairman. How‘s he going to play?
SCHULTZ:: I think he‘s going to play really well, Pat, and I‘ll tell you why. Howard Dean is not the same Democrat today that he was a year ago. And I think that there‘s a lot of people that have gotten behind him in a big way. I think the fact that he‘s the last dog standing in this race goes to show that the Democrats are ready to be unified. But I will say this. Howard Dean has do what he does best. He needs to get out on the stump right away and push back on this Social Security issue.
BUCHANAN: All right, Byron York, what do you think of the Dean choice?
YORK: You know, I—it‘s just not a good choice. And I‘m Mr. Polling tonight, but in this Gallup poll, they asked people what they think—if they have a favorable or unfavorable impression of the Republican Party, 56-39 favorable. The Democratic Party, 46-47 unfavorable. And Howard Dean has very high unfavorable ratings, and he‘s not the type of person right now that Americans seem to be inclined to listen to.
BUCHANAN: OK. Byron York, Ed Schultz, thanks for your time.
YORK: Thank you.
SCHULTZ:: You bet.
BUCHANAN: Coming up, folks, hard-core pornography available to you with a push of a button in your own home. A conservative cable company is trying to cash in with a new triple-X offer. And later: To keep the terrorists out, the U.S. Border Patrol asked for 2,000 new guards. Why did President Bush‘s budget provide for only 200?
You‘re watching MSNBC REPORTS.
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BUSH: So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them.
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BUCHANAN: That was President Bush in last week‘s State of the Union with a nod to moral values, the issue some think won him a second term. Now comes the announcement that Adelphia, one of the country‘s largest cable TV companies, will begin offering triple-X pornography to pay-per-view subscribers in southern California. This comes from a company that had declared that porn channels were not welcome on their system. Adelphia has also contributed heavily to congressional Republicans, including some who regularly march under the morality banner. So have moral values taken a back seat to greed?
Joining me now, Jan Larue, chief counsel for Concerned Women for America, which promotes biblical values, and Rachel Maddow, host of “Unfiltered” on Air America radio. Let me start with you, Jan. What is...
JAN LARUE, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Hi, pat.
BUCHANAN: What is your take on this? This is—here is a company which, you know, stood up for beliefs. The profit was the all—what it was all about, it was for values. Now it‘s going all the way to triple-X. And I‘ve read what that entails, and you can‘t even describe it on this network, what is permitted to be sent into the homes of southern California by our friends at Adelphia.
LARUE: This is the worst kind of corporate greed, Pat. You‘re absolutely right. This company has gone into chapter 11, bankruptcy, and the new handlers think that it‘s OK to draw the bottom line in a cultural sewer to chase what they think will be big porn profits.
But there‘s several very serious ramifications here. You know, the LA County Health Department said that the porn industry poses a serious threat not only to the health of the porn performers but to the public generally because you‘ve got a crisis in—an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection of five performers this past April. And the kind of sex that‘s portrayed in—especially the triple-X porn, is the most unsafe and dangerous kind of sexual behavior. So you‘ve got the influence there and the threat to public health.
LARUE: And I think the lawyers at Adelphia ought to be advising the corporate heads that when you distribute triple-X hard-core pornography, it‘s the kind of porn that‘s prosecutable under the federal obscenity laws.
LARUE: So if you get a conviction there, all of the assets that they‘re trying to increase could be forfeited to the federal government. So...
BUCHANAN: OK, let‘s get Rachel Maddow. Now, Rachel Maddow, you‘re a good liberal and all the rest. You can‘t be pleased that this type of garbage is being poured into the homes in southern California, or are you indifferent to it?
RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO HOST, AIR AMERICA: Am I indifferent to it? I mean, I‘m not interested in choosing it on my pay-per-view. Do I think that nobody should be allowed access to it because I‘m not interested in watching it? That‘s a thornier question. This is one of those situations where you‘ve got something that‘s very hard to defend in the political context. I‘m not going to stand up here and tell you that I think that these films have great artistic merit. But is the cure worse than what ails you here? Is the effort to tell a cable company what they can and can‘t put on pay-per-view, in a way that can be regulated and kept from children, they say—is that cure worse than actually putting out there...
BUCHANAN: Well, let me ask you...
MADDOW: ... pornography? That‘s the question.
BUCHANAN: One of the problems, Rachel, with pornography—I remember years ago when they ran down Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy—you talk to detectives, they will tell you every time you got one of these sleazeballs that is abusing little kids and anytime you get someone who‘s a serial rapist, you go to his apartment, and these guys are steeped in this garbage. Now, the correlation seems to be almost absolute. And let me ask you just a question not only about that, but do you think it‘s possible for a society to be degraded in its values by this?
MADDOW: Well, if you look at a society in terms of the aggregation of individuals in the society and you say, Is porn good for every individual in the society, that‘s a sociological question. And I think it‘s hard to answer from anything other than a faith-based or moral perspective. From a legal perspective, from a constitutional perspective, is it more important to stop this stuff from being produced and distributed than it is to have an independent media and to have the 1st Amendment? That‘s where we come down on different sides of this issue. So I think what‘s more important is the Constitution and free media.
BUCHANAN: So you think anything goes.
LARUE: I don‘t think that anything goes. A lot of this stuff is—in terms what‘s prosecutable, anything that‘s illegal is not going to be distributed by Adelphia. You can‘t produce child pornography, for example. There are certain things that you can‘t depict.
MADDOW: Those laws aren‘t going to be changed. This is about the distribution, right?
BUCHANAN: OK. OK, Jan...
LARUE: Well, first of all...
BUCHANAN: ... you are also a lawyer in this area, are you not?
LARUE: Yes. I‘ve practiced pornography law for more years than I want to recall right now.
BUCHANAN: All right.
LARUE: You don‘t have to sink to the depths of child pornography to be illegal. Adult obscenity, which the Supreme Court has used the euphemism hard-core pornography, is prosecutable under the federal obscenity laws...
BUCHANAN: Are these guys nuts, then?
LARUE: ... and also state laws...
BUCHANAN: Are these guys nuts, putting it out over the air?
LARUE: Well, here‘s the other problem, Pat. In that—we have seen so little federal prosecution of obscenity that corporations, mainstream corporations—hotels, credit card companies, cable companies—are thinking that it must be legal because there‘s so much of it available.
BUCHANAN: No, I didn‘t ask you...
LARUE: And that‘s a serious mistake.
BUCHANAN: We have seen so little prosecution—the prosecution is the job of federal U.S. attorneys, who work for the attorney general to the president of the United States.
BUCHANAN: And that attorney general was John Ashcroft. Now, you are telling me John Ashcroft did not go after this stuff or put it on the back burner because he had other things?
MADDOW: Is the goal of prosecuting obscenity...
BUCHANAN: Hold it...
MADDOW: ... to stop it from being seen or to stop it from being produced? Do you want this stuff not to exist?
LARUE: The federal laws prohibit the production, the distribution of obscenity through an instrumentality of interstate commerce, the U.S. mail, on federal land, federal buildings, cable and satellite television...
LARUE: ... radio, dial-a-porn, all of the various facilities.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me ask—let me ask—OK, let me go to Rachel here. Rachel, you know, there was a number I just saw which was startling. And this, of course—this—I mean, when you‘re back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, even, none of this stuff like this really existed except underneath—magazines underneath the counter and some guy with, you know, thick-bottle glasses was coming in and asking for it. And now we say—I‘ve seen this figure. If you take the strip clubs, the Internet, the magazines, the TV and the DVDs, it is a $10 billion industry now. It is more than Hollywood makes from its movies. Now, let me ask you, Rachel, do you think that is a bad thing or a good thing or a neutral thing?
MADDOW: I think that‘s the market. I think you‘re stating there what people are spending their money on.
BUCHANAN: I agree with that.
MADDOW: And we can try to persuade them to not spend their money on it...
BUCHANAN: All right.
MADDOW: ... but can we say it‘s illegal for you to spend your money on that?
BUCHANAN: All right. We used to be able to. We don‘t now. Let me ask you this, Jan.
BUCHANAN: I mean, what Rachel says is correct. That‘s the free market. It is capitalism...
LARUE: Well, but...
BUCHANAN: ... married to a society whose values are headed in the direction of Gomorrah and Rome and Weimar.
LARUE: Well, I agree with you. But also, you know, all the figures we have about the income from pornography are self-reported by the industry. We really don‘t have any way to truly verify that.
BUCHANAN: Like the drugs.
LARUE: Exactly. So you know—and another thing. That doesn‘t mean that mainstream Americans are the consumers because, as we know from those who treat sexual addiction, pornography has an addictive effect on many individuals, so you could have a very small segment of the population that‘s spending all the money on this material. And even if it is profitable, doesn‘t mean it‘s right. As I said...
BUCHANAN: All right, well, that‘s the question.
LARUE: ... you‘ve got threats to public health and safety.
BUCHANAN: When you say—I—listen, that‘s the point, and we‘re getting a dissent from Rachel here when you say it‘s right.
BUCHANAN: And we get into people‘s moral values. Hold on, Rachel, but I think we‘re going to have to take a break.
BUCHANAN: We‘re going to come back to you. We got Rachel Maddow and Jan Larue.
And later: Does the president‘s new budget leave America‘s borders open to terrorists and criminals?
You‘re watching a special report on MSNBC.
BUCHANAN: OK, we‘re back with my guests, talking Adelphia Communications‘ decision to go XXX after years of saying they wouldn‘t carry porn channels for moral reasons. They‘ve changed their tune.
Jan LaRue, chief counsel of the group Concerned Women For America, and Rachel Maddow, radio talk show host of the program “Unfiltered” on Air America, are with me.
Let me go to you, Rachel, and read to you and get your comment on the statement which Adelphia Communications released today regarding this decision I guess to change their policy. They‘re under new management. The former boss, I guess, is headed to the gray bar hotel.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me read it to you, Rachel.
It says: “Adelphia aims to provide a full range of news, information and entertainment programming to meet our customers‘ varied interests. As with other cable channels and satellite distributors, adult content is a small component of the mix. We do not promote adult programming and through electronic encryption and parental control measures, we are careful to ensure that the programming will be viewed only by customers who choose to purchase it.”
What‘s your comment on that one, Rachel?
MADDOW: Well, I‘m glad that we‘re keeping the focus on Adelphia, because Adelphia as a company is important here.
The reason that Adelphia is doing, they have made a full turnaround, is because the president of the company, the guy who founded the company who said he didn‘t want porn, who took the Spice Channel off because it was immoral, is going to be sentenced this week—the company has gone bankrupt. He‘s going to be sentenced this week because he stole billions of dollars from the company and from shareholders.
And so you have this awkward situation of him saying it‘s immoral to show the Spice Channel, but meanwhile stealing billions of dollars on the other hand. So you‘ve got kind of a difficult champion of morality here in Rigas, in the head of the company.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Let me go back to Rachel again.
Rachel, at least he stole the money from good, healthy programing, right?
MADDOW: Right, exactly.
BUCHANAN: All right, now, let me show you about the Adelphia‘s history now of contributions.
It donates money—it has had a history of donating money to the Republican Party. Comcast Cable has donated—get this -- $851,000 to the Republican Party, $109,000 to President Bush. It has donated $166,000 to the Republican Party committees and $12,000 to Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
And let me tell you, Rachel, that people may be yelling they should give it back, but they got the money from Adelphia when it was putting out good—or not putting out this kind of programing. So I think Adelphia may not be hypocritical or may be greedy and may have changed their stripes, but I don‘t think the president or Senator Santorum, since they weren‘t doing that kind of thing when they got the money, should return it. Do you?
MADDOW: Well, I think it would be a generous statement from Senator Santorum in support of his values.
We know exactly how much it would cost him to make that principled statement, to say I‘m going to give back $12,000 in order to make a statement about what I believe in. It raises the real issue. If Senator Santorum, who wants to run for president on a moral values campaign, has really demonized gay people, gone after a lot of other real culture war issues, but taking this money from Adelphia and keeping it.
And, yes, you may be able to split hairs and say that‘s before Rigas went to prison for stealing billions of dollars. But is it also not a moral issues that Rigas was stealing billions of dollars, even if he was keeping porn off the air?
BUCHANAN: All right, I think Rachel might have a point.
BUCHANAN: I think it would be—given the fact that Rigas was ripping the place off and now they‘ve gone to porn, maybe it‘s only 12 -- I mean, it‘s not that much for a big man like Santorum who wants to be president. Why not give it back and condemn Adelphia?
LARUE: His wrong doesn‘t make the corporate decision today right.
BUCHANAN: Whose wrong?
LARUE: Mr. Rigas stealing. That‘s wrong. He ought to go to prison for it, but the wrong that he did doesn‘t make this right, just because...
BUCHANAN: I agree.
All right, what about...
LARUE: And, also, let‘s look at something else. And Rachel wants the Republicans to turn money, return money from when they were making it. Honestly, I think that all the Democrats, including John Kerry, should return all the money from the porn industry, because I can tell you...
BUCHANAN: You want to bankrupt the party?
LARUE: From every single publication of the “Adult Video News,” they were promoting John Kerry‘s presidential election and putting money there.
BUCHANAN: But shouldn‘t Santorum stand up and say, look, I‘ve received money from these folks when it was a good business; what they‘re doing now you is something I oppose and I condemn that? Shouldn‘t he do that?
LARUE: I think that would be a good thing to do.
BUCHANAN: All right, tell me why Ashcroft didn‘t go after the porn industry?
LARUE: Well, they did make a step in the right direction. They have brought some indictments and have gotten some convictions.
The problem was, they were climbing out of a deep, dark hole from the Clinton/Reno administration, when virtually no obscenity prosecutions were undertaken. And so they had to gear up, train some U.S. attorneys and decide what they‘re going after. And, as I said, they‘ve got some convictions. We applaud them from that. But they‘ve not really taken on the major mainstream porn industry in the San Fernando Valley.
And even the one Internet indictment they‘ve brought is a small company of the most deviant kind of material. Now, when Adelphia makes the self-serving statement that they have today about, oh, we won‘t be showing this to children and so forth, that‘s all irrelevant to a prosecution for obscenity.
LARUE: Furthermore, I went on the Playboy site today, on the Web site, and that‘s who Adelphia is partnering with.
LARUE: And let me tell you, the stuff is XXX hard core. It‘s clearly prosecutable. And it‘s portraying some of the most dangerous, unhealthy sex imaginable.
BUCHANAN: All right. OK.
Rachel, do you want to comment on that? I mean, get back to this question, is there any limit to—I mean, in your judgment, should the people be allowed to do what they want do as long as they keep it away from kids? Some people want it? Let the free market work? Let 1,000 flowers bloom? And you don‘t care? Is that right? Or do you think that the pornography which can be prosecuted should be prosecuted, even that for adults?
MADDOW: I think that laws should be enforced where laws exist. I think dramatically increasing the prosecutions for obscenity isn‘t where most American people would like their tax dollars spent at the Department of Justice.
If people think about maybe clearing the backlog of untranslated tapes sitting in the FBI hallways, maybe that‘s a kind of a better thing than going after porn, on which Americans are spending $10 billion a year. And we may not like it, but Americans want to be able to watch pictures of people having sex. And that may seem harmful to you, but the harm may be less than other ways to spend our resources at the Department of Justice.
MADDOW: This is an unwinnable fight. The cure may be worse than what ails you here, Jan.
LARUE: Totally disagree.
And, as a matter of fact, the latest polling shows that 82 percent of the American public wants the federal obscenity laws enforced. And so this is very doable. And, also, prosecuting obscenity doesn‘t pull any of the Department of Justice off of, you know, finding the terrorists and tracking down bin Laden. There‘s an entire action in DOJ devoted to...
BUCHANAN: Yes-or-no final question to you, Jan.
BUCHANAN: Is President Bush prosecuting the culture war the way he should?
LARUE: I want to see more emphasis on that. I was glad to hear him mention it in his State of the Union, but I want to see the DOJ step it up.
BUCHANAN: I would say not enough is the answer.
BUCHANAN: OK, Jan LaRue, Rachel Maddow, thanks.
MADDOW: Thank you.
BUCHANAN: Still ahead, before criminals and terrorists can do their dirty work inside America, they‘ve got get into the country. So, does the president‘s budget do enough to stop them?
That‘s next on this special edition of MSNBC REPORTS.
BUCHANAN: Congress asks for 2,000 new border agents to secure America‘s borders. So why does the president‘s budget call for just 200?
BUCHANAN: Last year, as fears grew that terrorists could enter the United States across the Mexican border, Congress called for 2,000 new border agents. Well, the president‘s new budget is out. And he‘s added 200.
Joining me now is Michael Cutler. He‘s a former special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and a fellow at the Center For Immigration Studies.
Michael, thank you for joining us.
Two hundred new agents, if you say three shifts a day, that‘s 65 or so on each shift, 65 new agents covering 2,000 miles of border, which is wide open and 500,000 people walk in each year. Is this a joke or what?
MICHAEL CUTLER, FELLOW, IMMIGRATION STUDIES CENTER: Well, it‘s frightening. I don‘t understand it. You know, the 9/11 Commission made the recommendation that we needed to do much more to tighten up on the borders. And for whatever reason, the administration has seen fit not to do that. They‘ve also seen fit, by the way, to not hire the additional special agents to protect the United States from within the interior where immigration law enforcement is concerned.
BUCHANAN: Well, what is going on here, Michael? You read every day that the Americans are starting to do a better job deploying troops on the Iraqi border with Syria and the Iraqi border with Iran, but they‘re not putting them on the border of the United States.
CUTLER: Well, you know, I‘ve made the same analogy myself.
We‘re sparing virtually no expense or effort to prosecute the war on terror overseas. But the reality is, this is a multifront war. We can‘t simply win the war on terror overseas. We also need to protect ourselves from within our own borders. And, quite frankly, domestically, we‘re not doing what we need to do to make this country safe.
BUCHANAN: Well, let‘s take a look at what the president had to say during his State of the Union address about immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: How do you close, Michael, the border to drug dealers and terrorists if we stop 1.5 million each year at the border right now, but 500,000 people get into this country illegally, most of them across the Mexican border every single year. How do you stop any of them from being a drug dealer or a terrorist?
CUTLER: Well, you really can‘t.
But the other problem is that we‘ve never really coordinated enforcing the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States, because, right now, the mentality that the people that want to come here have is that, if they can get passed that very thin green line—and believe me, it‘s a thin, green line that the Border Patrol represents—that they‘re home free.
We only have 2,000 agents dedicated to enforcing the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. And we need many more doing that as well. You have got to look at what I call an enforcement tripod. You need the inspectors at the ports of entry to protect us. You need the Border Patrol between ports of entry. But you also need to address the issue of interior enforcement of the immigration laws, so that, if people do get here, we‘re in the position to track them down, arrest them and conduct investigations to make certain that the immigration benefits program has real integrity.
And right now, fraud is a rampant problem. The GAO did a study three years ago that found it to be pervasive throughout the entire benefits program as well. So we wind up giving away residency and citizenship to people who shouldn‘t be getting it. And, quite frankly, I‘ve made the point in the past that if there‘s three things a terrorists wants, it‘s $1 million, an atom bomb and a U.S. passport.
Immigration fraud puts them on the road to that U.S. passport. So we have got to do more, and not just at the border. But, certainly, the border is a big problem as well.
BUCHANAN: OK. We‘re going to talk about how we deal with the illegal immigration problem once they break through and they‘re here, because we‘re talking about somewhere between eight million and 20 million people in this country who don‘t belong here.
More with Michael Cutler when we come back.
BUCHANAN: And I‘m back talking about President Bush‘s decision to add just 200 new border agents in his new budget, one-tenth the number of agents Congress had asked for.
With me is Michael Cutler, a former IMF special agent.
Michael, in a recent report—I just was noting it—Jerry Seper, who is an excellent reporter of “The Washington Times,” he wrote about the violence he witnessed on the U.S.-Mexican border. Here‘s the lead of his story. He says: “Snipers working as lookouts for drug traffickers and illegal-alien smugglers are targeting U.S. Border Patrol agents from vantage points across the U. S.-Mexico border.”
Is this right? They‘re shipping American Border Patrol agents with sniper rifles from the other side?
CUTLER: That‘s what I‘m hearing. And you‘re right. Jerry Seper is an excellent reporter. I‘ve spoken with him a number of times. And he certainly has my admiration.
I can tell you that it‘s a war zone basically. And the State Department came out with a warning telling U.S. citizens to be wary of traveling to the northern parts of Mexico and the border region, because we‘ve also had Americans kidnapped by people involved with crime in Mexico.
So how we don‘t have more agents controlling what is happening on the border and backing up the beleaguered Border Patrol agents who are there right now is something that truthfully mystifies me. And I‘ve been asked to testify before the Immigration Subcommittee over in the House next week on this issue. And I plan to voice my concerns at that hearing as well.
It makes no sense that we don‘t have adequate numbers of Border Patrol agents to secure that very troubled part of this country.
BUCHANAN: I know one young officer was killed down there. I think someone smashed him in the head with a rock or shot him.
CUTLER: Well, there have been a few killed, yes.
BUCHANAN: A few killed.
What‘s the morale of the Border Patrol agents when they see the president of the United States, who is constitutionally obligated to defend this nation from foreign invasions, basically looking the other way while a massive annual invasion of hundreds of thousands and some say millions of people a year are walking into his country? Among them are criminals and drug dealers. I think criminals now constitute something like 30 percent of all federal prisoners. I mean, what is their attitude—of the Border Patrol when they see that?
CUTLER: The Border Patrol morale has got to be in the tank. And I can tell you that I stay in touch with lots of the folks I used to work with back when I was a special agent. And their morale is in the tank as well.
It makes no sense that we don‘t do a better job of securing our borders and protecting our country from within the interior. And since the merger of U.S. Immigration with U.S. Customs, the new agents now going through the ICE Academy, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Academy, aren‘t even getting Spanish-language training. You can‘t investigate people you can‘t communicate with.
BUCHANAN: All right, Michael, look, this is an issue politically which is boiling, been boiling up for years, in California for over a decade.
BUCHANAN: You have got Prop 187. You‘ve got I guess it‘s Proposition 200 in Arizona.
CUTLER: In Arizona, yes.
BUCHANAN: People speak up. They want something done. A vast majority of Americans say defend the borders, send illegals back home. They want to be generous with legal immigrants who came here legally and did it the right way.
This is an overwhelmingly popular issue. The people want it done. But neither political party will address it. I mean, Sensenbrenner did in the House, I guess. There are Republicans who are starting to act up in the House. But why hasn‘t it really reached critical mass politically, in your judgment?
CUTLER: Well, I just got to tell you that Mr. Sensenbrenner is right. He‘s got a bill going to the House tomorrow that would make it illegal to give driver‘s licenses to illegal aliens. I agree with that bill. I hope it happens.
But I think it‘s because it‘s been so politicized. I mean, to put it bluntly, I think that when politicians see the flow of illegal aliens headed this way, traditionally, the Democrats have seen new voters and the Republicans have seen cheap labor. But the reality is, we‘re fighting a war on terror. You‘re right about the criminal problem.
You know, I was assigned to DEA intelligence a number of years ago. In New York, 60 percent, 6-0 percent of the people arrested by DEA for drug trafficking are identified as being foreign born, 30 percent nationwide. And we know there‘s a link between terrorism and narcotics trafficking.
BUCHANAN: You mean 60 percent—let me stop you there. In New York, 60 percent of those arrested for drug trafficking are foreign born, are foreign born?
CUTLER: In New York by DEA. Yes, that‘s correct.
BUCHANAN: And the president says the way we ought to—that we want to stop drug dealers from coming into the country?
CUTLER: Well, you know, it mystifies me.
And the other thing is this. If you have a terrorist coming into the United States, his biggest priority is to hide in plain sight, go to a school here, as we‘ve seen the terrorists from 9/11 do, get a job, stay under the radar. So, if you have people who are staying under the radar, these are people who potentially are a threat to our safety.
We need to do a far better job of policing the border, of rooting out those people who violate the law and remain here.
BUCHANAN: All right.
CUTLER: This is why I opposed the guest worker program for the same reason, because what we do is encourage people to run the border, because their sense is that, once they get here, they‘ll get whatever they want.
BUCHANAN: It‘s de facto amnesty.
Now, I said I would give you a chance. We have got a few seconds here. Tell me, what do you think is the best way? We have got 80,000 people been ordered deported from this country, many for rape and murder and everything else..
BUCHANAN: ... who have disappeared into the population. What‘s the best way and what do we need to do to get them out of the county?
CUTLER: OK, first of all, you need many more special agencies to do the job from within the interior of the United States.
We also need to make certain that we deprive illegal aliens the ability to function normally within our borders. People wouldn‘t break into an amusement park if they couldn‘t get to go on the rides, to put it simply. If people here knew that, if they got here illegally, they couldn‘t work, they couldn‘t get driver‘s licenses, I think you would cut down on the demand that is on the border right now for people that are trying to rush the border to get here.
BUCHANAN: OK. OK.
CUTLER: And you‘ve got to have consequences to people who hire illegal aliens. Last year, my understanding is that only 13 employers, if you can believe this, across the entire country were fined.
Michael, we got to take a break. We‘ll be delighted to have you back there. Thanks very much.
And we‘ll be right back.
CUTLER: Thank you for having me.
BUCHANAN: Tomorrow night, is the United States operating under a judicial dictatorship? Is the Supreme Court imposing a social revolution on the American people without their consent?
My guest, Mark Levin, author of the provocative new book “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America.” He says that activists judges are meddling in your life, from social issues, to the election process, to the war on terror. Is this what the founding fathers intended? How the American people can fight back when judges step out of bounds, that‘s tomorrow night.
I‘m Pat Buchanan. See you back here tomorrow night.
Coming up next, it‘s Joe Scarborough in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”
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