Guests: Michael Scherer, Brad Blakeman, Max Kellerman, John Katz
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Thank you, Catherine, and thanks to you at home for sticking with THE SITUATION. We appreciate it.
We have breaking news right now, from “New York Times,” in its edition set to hit the street tomorrow morning, David Johnson and Richard Stevenson write that the prosecutor in the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation, Patrick Fitzgerald, apparently has told associates that he does not plan to issue a report in that investigation.
That‘s significant, because it now leaves Fitzgerald with two options. He can either indict, or we are not sure at this point, or he can do nothing at all.
The implication of the piece is obvious: after two years of investigation, after throwing a reporter in jail for almost three months, it‘s very unlikely that this prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Chicago, is not going to do anything at all. The implication, again, is there will be indictments.
We do know those indictments, if they come, will come by October 28. That‘s about a week from right now, because that‘s the date on which that grand jury dissolves.
The investigation appears to be zeroing in tonight on Dick Cheney‘s office, while Karl Rove also appears to remain central to the investigation. A source who‘s been questioned in the probe tells the “New York Daily News” that Fitzgerald may be edging toward a blockbuster conspiracy charge with help from a so-called secret snitch.
Adding even more fuel to the fire, my next guest broke the news today that Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie, are planning on filing a civil lawsuit against the Bush administration for disclosing her identity.
Michael Scherer is the Washington correspondent for Salon.com. He joins us now from Washington.
Michael Scherer, thanks for coming on.
MICHAEL SCHERER, SALON.COM: Thanks for having me, Tucker.
CARLSON: Now, Joe Wilson is going to file a civil suit against the Bush administration? Is this, do you believe, likely to happen, and, B, what is he going to get out of this?
SCHERER: Well, they haven‘t decided yet whether they‘re going to do
it. I think it will depend largely on what the prosecutor does the next
few days or few weeks. If he brings back charges against people like Rove
Karl Rove or Scooter Libby, it will make it pretty easy, I think, for him to go to a judge and say, “Look, there was a crime committed here. It‘s harmed my family. It‘s harmed my wife‘s reputation. It‘s harmed our economic situation.” These are all things that their attorney is right now saying.
They haven‘t committed, though, yet. They say they‘re going to wait until Patrick Fitzgerald makes his decisions.
CARLSON: Kind of a tough argument to make, don‘t you think? This ambassador, Joseph Wilson, you know, beforehand was this retired ambassador, being sent to Niger, hardly a vacation spot, by the government. After this, he wind up in “Vanity Fair” spread, on the screen now, It‘s kind of hard to argue he‘s been diminished by this, isn‘t it? Michael Scherer.
SCHERER: Yes, I think—I think you could say that his—it‘s probably been good for him in that he‘s got a best-selling book. He‘s made some money on that.
But his wife clearly has lost a position she used to have at the CIA. She no longer has the same clearance, the same clandestine status. So I think they have a claim over there. I think more interestingly...
CARLSON: Stop. Do we know that? We know that her job has changed at CIA and she lost her clearance? Is that—I have never heard that before. Is that true?
SCHERER: No, not that she lost her clearance. She lost her clandestine status, what I meant to say.
CARLSON: OK. But does she have a different job than she had when Bob Novak first wrote his column?
SCHERER: We don‘t know that. That would be something that would come out in the civil trial. What I do know is the lawyer told me there has been economic harm on the family because of this. There‘s been personal trauma because of this, and I think they would try and sue for those damages as well.
CARLSON: Now tell me about the lawyer. I wish I had clips from your piece. It‘s an interesting piece. But you explain who this lawyer is, not just any lawyer. Tell us about the lawyer.
SCHERER: It‘s a man named Christopher Wolfe, who‘s actually their next-door neighbor, and has been for many years now friends with the Wilson family. His—one of his relatives was actually Joseph Wilson‘s agent on his book deal. And he wrote—he actually wrote a piece defending the family, and defending—and explaining the harm that‘s been done to the family this summer, in “USA Today.”
CARLSON: Now, your piece implied that this suit, if it does, in fact, take place, would be part of a larger effort by partisans who don‘t like the administration to discredit Bush and those who work for him. Is that true?
SCHERER: Well, I think—I think you have to look at what opportunities are opened up if this suit goes forward. You have a real possibility of depositions happening again in the White House. That hasn‘t happened in a real way, since the Paula Jones civil lawsuit against Bill Clinton. And we all know where that led.
CARLSON: I‘ll tell you where it led. It led to a spike in Clinton‘s approval rating. I mean, at the end of that whole Monica Lewinsky business, when the Starr report actually became public, and you could look up all the details on the Internet, Clinton‘s numbers actually rose. Everyone forgets that. And I wonder if Democrats are forgetting that now that in the end, Monica helped them.
SCHERER: I don‘t know if you could say that Monica helped Clinton.
CARLSON: The numbers went up.
SCHERER: I think, you know, it may have helped his approval numbers because the American people were sick of what they were seeing...
SCHERER: ... with the prosecution, but it also led to the impeachment of the president of the United States. It led to pretty frank discussion of sexual activities in the Oval Office.
This case wouldn‘t lead to any of that. There‘s no claim against anyone doing anything personally wrong. But you could begin asking questions about what—what people in the White House have been doing with things like the White House Iraq group.
I mean, one of the things that Washington has been very excited about in these last couple of days is this prospect that Fitzgerald will not just go after one or two individuals in the White House, but the entire operation that led to the selling of the Iraq war. If that happens, then we‘ll find out through this prosecution, but it‘s possible I think through a civil trial that we find out even more.
CARLSON: That‘s just insane, and I say that as someone who‘s totally, unalterably opposed to the war, but the place to hash out questions about the war is at the ballot box, I think.
Finally, these rumors about Cheney stepping down, which as far as I know, are totally false, but they‘ve been everywhere today. Where are they coming from?
SCHERER: Everything in D.C. right now is rumor about this. No one has a good source. Most of the newspaper articles are sourcing it to people who are tied to the White House or lawyers who have sat in on these grand jury testimonies. They‘re speculating.
The real person, the only person who really knows what‘s going to happen is Patrick Fitzgerald, and it‘s not even clear that he‘s fully made up his mind.
CARLSON: All right, Michael Scherer, Salon.com. Thanks a lot.
SCHERER: Thanks a lot for having me.
CARLSON: Well, for more perspective and fiery dissent, I‘m joined now by Air America‘s Rachel Maddow.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA: Hi, Tucker.
CARLSON: Hey, Rachel.
Obviously, I don‘t know what‘s going to happen. I have thought all along, there are going to be indictments. I mean, you throw someone in jail, you feel almost an obligation to indict someone, sick as that is.
But I am really troubled by the idea that people could be indicted for things that took place after the investigation began. Seems to me you ought to be, with some exceptions, indicted for things that took place beforehand. In other words, that justified the investigation in the first place, not things that were caused by the investigation itself. That just seems wrong to me.
It happened to Martha Stewart, who I don‘t care for. It‘s happening to this administration, potentially, which I don‘t defend generally, but I just think it‘s wrong.
MADDOW: Well, I don‘t know that anybody cares, necessarily, when the crime took place. If a crime did take place, there ought to be an indictment.
CARLSON: Wait a second. How is that different than if I go up to you and say, “Hey, Rachel, here take a hit of this joint.”
And you say, “I don‘t smoke pot.”
And I say, “Rachel, come on. If you want to be cool, you want to be my friend, take a hit of this joint.” You do, I arrest you. I‘ve caused you in some way to commit that crime. I am culpable in that crime. That is a kind of entrapment. That‘s not the same as me catching you smoking a joint.
MADDOW: There‘s no indication here that Patrick Fitzgerald has entrapped anybody. I mean...
CARLSON: I‘m not saying entrapment, but it‘s like entrapment. It‘s the investigation itself has caused the circumstances that resulted in the crime.
MADDOW: Not necessarily. I mean, again, what Michael Scherer—the best point he made was that everything in Washington right now is a rumor, because we don‘t know what Fitzgerald is going to say.
CARLSON: That‘s right. Almost...
MADDOW: Sounds like we may know soon. I mean, everything that we‘ve got is from unnamed sources. Everything we‘ve got is from “sources close to the investigation.”
CARLSON: Yes, but they‘re starting to leak, though, don‘t you think? I mean, this “Times” piece, it looks like—unless they‘re making it up, and, you know, I beat up on “The New York Times,” but I think they‘re on to something.
MADDOW: But who is this “Times” piece quoting? Again, it‘s like, you know, sources close to the investigation. And we‘re starting to learn—we‘re starting to get closer to the actual facts, but we are still just guessing.
What we do know is that somebody leaked the identity of a CIA operative, who was covert. That‘s a real crime. And so there may be other charges related to whatever happened, but I mean, it‘s this idea that this is the criminalization of politics, which is the talking point on the right now, or that this is somehow too complicated for mere mortals to understand, or this is some Whitewater mess.
No, something simple happened here. She got her cover blown. And that‘s a crime.
CARLSON: That‘s so—that‘s so false, it‘s unbelievable.
CARLSON: No matter how many times you repeat it, it doesn‘t become real and true. Look, the law under which this investigation was originally launched.
CARLSON: Clearly does not apply because you have to prove that the person who leaked the information knew that leaking that information would result in harm to the person who was named.
MADDOW: So how can you say that we don‘t know?
CARLSON: Well, I would just be—if that is the case, if that is proved in the end, I will give you my car. OK, because I just think that‘s...
MADDOW: Then great.
CARLSON: All this self-righteousness about leaking classified investigation—information. Every time you read in the “New York Times,” “senior intelligence officials say,” what do you think that is? That‘s the CIA leaking classified information to the press. That‘s the CIA doing it. And it happens every day...
MADDOW: Oh, come on.
CARLSON: ... in this country. It‘s true.
MADDOW: What we have learned so far, Judy Miller has admitted that her former Hill staffer, source she was quoting in the “New York Times,” was actually Cheney‘s chief of staff, Scooter Libby. All these unnamed sources, just trying to parse which one is which.
CARLSON: Are you telling me the CIA doesn‘t leak classified investigation to reporters every day? Because I can tell you, I promise they do.
MADDOW: But the CIA does not leak the identity of its clandestine officers for political purposes. Simple crime.
CARLSON: But the point is—the point—it‘s not a crime. First of all, it‘s not a crime. In fact, it hasn‘t been proved to be a crime at all. But hold on.
The point of this is, who was harmed by it? It‘s a crime if the person was harmed, if it causes danger to the person. I would like—that‘s why I want the Wilsons to file this suit, because I would love to know exactly what she was doing at CIA, exactly how this has affected her, if American national security has been hurt in any way. Wouldn‘t you?
MADDOW: Well, sure. And I hope that, if there is a civil suit, I think we‘ll get all that information. But we know if she was a covert officer, one of the things that usually means in the CIA, is that she worked for some cover company. Anybody else who worked for that cover company also now have their clandestine status blown. I mean, something has happened here, that really, really stinks.
CARLSON: Well, if she was working for a clandestine company, and she was going into headquarters every day in Langley, Virginia, then that was not a very good cover in the first place.
But what do you think? I‘m really fascinated at your take on the Harriet Miers news today.
CARLSON: That many years ago, she filled out some kind of questionnaire and checked the “I am a pro-lifer box.”
CARLSON: And now this has the left enraged, and I guess the right partly mollified, with exception of me. Check a box means nothing to me. I want to know what she really thinks. What do you think of this? Does this make her more scary to you?
MADDOW: Well, no. This to me—this means that an unhappy marriage of right and left opposed to Harriet Miers, is now divorced. Because...
CARLSON: Now you like her, because she‘s pro life?
MADDOW: No, I‘m still going to be opposed to her for all the reasons I was opposed to her before, which is that she‘s an unqualified crony. She has no constitutional experience. She‘s patently unqualified for the job, and we know nothing about her.
On the right, that‘s what the argument...
CARLSON: I agree with all that. I think that‘s a perfectly conservative position.
MADDOW: And if you—and if the right maintains its opposition to Harriet Miers on those grounds, which is what‘s has been arguing for the last two or three week, then I will be very impressed.
But what I think you‘re going to see, all that stuff about Miers isn‘t qualified, she‘s a crony, all the things that we agreed on, will now all fall away on the right, because that was the smoke screen for the right saying, “She‘s not anti-abortion rights.”
CARLSON: Maybe. But even that is not, I don‘t think, definitive. I remember; I covered it. I remember really, really well, in 2000, ‘99, when these documents came out about Al Gore, who Al Gore had basically—he was a congressman and a senator, written letters to constituents, “I am for an anti-abortion amendment. I am strongly pro-life.” Tom Daschle, same thing.
There are a lot of people in American life who switched their views on that issue. Right? So checking one box doesn‘t mean a whole lot to me.
MADDOW: What if you got some—hypothetically, if you got some ironclad insurance that she would overturn Roe v. Wade. John Fund said in the “Wall Street Journal” this week that that kind of assurance came from her boyfriend and other people who have worked for her, on the day she was announced to conservatives on a conference call. If you had assurance she would overturn, if she got the chance, would that change your opinion?
CARLSON: That is so hypothetical. I am strongly in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. It‘s terrible law. A lot of pro choice people are for overturning it. It‘s a ridiculous decision, that we will look back on 100 years from now and cringe.
MADDOW: Most Americans don‘t.
CARLSON: That‘s immaterial to the conversation we are having. OK.
Great. Their minds will be changed when real debate takes place.
But look, my point is my opposition to Harriet Miers is many fold, right? And I hope I‘m wrong on every part of it, right? But yes, I would be excited to see that, but it wouldn‘t make me think she was any less unimpressive.
MADDOW: Well, that‘s—if the right—I think it‘s going to happen. On the right wing, people are going to feel more assured that she‘s anti-abortion. And so they‘re not going to stop caring so much about these purported principles about her being unqualified.
CARLSON: Well, what‘s really interesting will be to see whether the left, which has been really nice to Harriet Miers, from the very beginning, no, they have, actually. Yes, some have sniped at her, because that‘s what they do for a living.
MADDOW: I‘ve sniped at her.
CARLSON: Because you‘re more a free thinker, though. But I‘m talking about the actual partisans, who take the party lines. They‘ve been pretty nice to her.
MADDOW: Well, I will say, as a proud partisan on the left, that really, we just haven‘t had to say much, because all the right-wingers have been taking care of it, and if the right-wingers stop complaining about her, we‘ll step in.
CARLSON: You‘re going to fill the void?
MADDOW: Oh, yes. Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Rachel Maddow, thanks, filling the void.
Up next, we‘ll speak with a former member of President Bush‘s senior staff, who worked in the same office with Harriet Miers for three years. He‘ll fill in a lot of the blanks.
Plus, you‘ve heard the arguments for decriminalizing marijuana, but legalizing crystal meth, and crack, and heroin? We‘ll tell you about a new proposal from the former police chief of Seattle when we come back.
CARLSON: Coming up, a new NBA dress code says players must lose the bling-bling and literally suit up. Plus, ever wonder how people can lie to you with a straight face? The answer could be in their brains. We‘ll explain when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Well, as we‘ve just been talking about, today one of the many questions regarding Harriet Miers has been answered, in part, anyway, in a questionnaire Miers filled out while running for the Dallas city council in 1989. She clearly indicated, or seemed to, that she‘s opposed to abortion, unless the mother‘s life was in danger.
Some conservatives are not satisfied with that, but one who appears to be, joins us now from Washington. He is Brad Blakeman. He‘s a former deputy assistant to President Bush. He shared an office with Harriet Miers for three years.
Mr. Blakeman, thanks for coming on.
BRAD BLAKEMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BUSH: Thanks for having me, Tucker.
CARLSON: So what does this mean? Does this mean Harriet Miers is opposed to Roe vs. Wade?
BLAKEMAN: Not at all. I think that judges every day have to put aside their personal beliefs and rule on the law as given.
In this case, with Harriet Miers as a justice of the Supreme Court, Harriet will be called upon to interpret the Constitution. You‘re supposed to set aside your personal feelings or values and rule as the Constitution dictates. And Harriet will do that.
CARLSON: But how does she feel about Roe vs. Wade?
BLAKEMAN: I don‘t know. I never had a conversation with her, and as the president has said, neither has he. And as Harriet has told a senator she‘s met with on the Hill, that “nobody knows how I feel on that issue.”
CARLSON: How about other constitutional issues? We‘ve been talking about this almost every day for the last couple of weeks. I‘ve been kind of, you know, a little harsh about Harriet Miers.
BLAKEMAN: A little?
CARLSON: Yes, a little, and I feel that way, and I feel frustrated, because I don‘t really know what she believes about anything, constitutionally. Can you give me a couple of her opinions on constitutional issues that might help our viewers understand who she is and what she might do if she‘s confirmed?
BLAKEMAN: Well, Harriet Miers is the first to tell you, she‘s not a constitutional lawyer, but our Founding Fathers put forth in the Constitution that—if they thought the smartest people on the planet were judges, then they would have set forth in the Constitution, “Mr. President, you have to pick from the judiciary.”
It‘s quite the contrary. Our Founding Fathers wanted a diverse Supreme Court, and Harriet Miers, if confirmed, will be the only justice of the Supreme Court, as it presently exists, that is not a judge. You don‘t have to be a constitutional scholar.
CARLSON: I couldn‘t agree more. I don‘t have a problem with that at all. Some of the smartest people I know didn‘t graduate from high school, including some people I‘m related to. So look, that doesn‘t bother me. I just—I think it‘s fair to ask, what are her opinions on the Constitution? I mean, don‘t you think it‘s a fair question?
BLAKEMAN: I think it‘s a fair question, and I think Harriet Miers is going to answer those questions before the Senate, and both Republicans and Democrats will have a crack at it. And quite frankly, Harriet Miers will rise and fall on her own testimony.
And I submit to you that don‘t underestimate Harriet Miers. I worked with her for three years. She‘s able. She‘s...
CARLSON: I believe that. Sure.
BLAKEMAN: She‘s affable. And she‘s going to do a great job.
CARLSON: She‘ll do better than people think. I don‘t think there‘s any question about that.
Now, as just a political question, quickly, this information we got today, that she checked a box in ‘89, saying she was opposed to abortion except when the mother‘s life was at risk, this is the kind of information that would have made evangelical critics of the president feel a lot better, had it come out two weeks ago, two and a half weeks ago, before her nomination was announced.
Is the White House P.R. operation—outreach operation so screwed up that nobody thought to send this to allies of the White House?
BLAKEMAN: No. I think, Tucker, the president could have put forth Mother Teresa, and there were some on the far right that said, “Well, you know, she‘s not really religious enough for me.”
CARLSON: That‘s totally not true. You know that that‘s not true.
BLAKEMAN: No, it is true. The fact of the matter is, the far right...
CARLSON: Hold on. Wait. Hold on. Slow down.
BLAKEMAN: The far right thinks that...
CARLSON: What do you mean, the far right? What is it with the name calling? Why is it every time you talk to somebody from the White House, the far right, the sexist, the elitist? Why are you calling names? Why don‘t you make an argument that makes sense, rather than calling people names?
BLAKEMAN: You have to call it as you see it. Our critics come from the far right and the fringe of our party. And what they want is they think the Constitution should read, “for special interest groups (ph).”
CARLSON: I don‘t respect that at all. I think that‘s totally unfair thing to say. I‘ve asked you totally fair, direct questions about what this woman believes. That‘s a legitimate concern. And to marginalize my opinions or those of any of the...
BLAKEMAN: I didn‘t single you out, Tucker. I just...
CARLSON: I know a lot of the—I‘m offended by your characterization of the critics of her nomination, because many of those critics, many of whom I know very well and have worked with and eaten dinner with, aren‘t on the fringe of anything. They‘re totally mainstream, thoughtful, really smart people who have legitimate concerns. They‘re not name calling.
BLAKEMAN: Well, don‘t take it personally. All I‘m saying is that the critics have said that the president should have sought more advice and consent of them. And quite frankly, had the president done that, those—those people would have deep-sixed the nomination of Harriet before the president had an opportunity to nominate her.
CARLSON: I think you‘re right. I think that‘s a good point. And some of those people whine a lot. I agree with you, too. I understand the president‘s frustration with his allies, because they always want everything to be perfect. I get it. I‘ve seen it a million times.
But you haven‘t answered my question I just asked you, which is what is it with this sexist, elitist, far right stuff? Why—why attack people, A, who support you politically, pretty reliably, and B, who have legitimate concerns? That‘s what the left does. That‘s an unfair, sleazy, and might I add, stupid tactic, because it doesn‘t address the real issues.
BLAKEMAN: It isn‘t. And again, please don‘t take it personally. I‘m not directing it towards you.
CARLSON: It‘s not just you. The president‘s wife said it. She accused it of being sexist.
BLAKEMAN: Like the Democrats, we have a fringe to our party.
CARLSON: Like who?
BLAKEMAN: You don‘t think that there‘s a fringe to the Republican Party?
CARLSON: I don‘t know. Maybe I‘m on it. Tell me. Who‘s on the Republican fringe?
BLAKEMAN: The most severe critics of Harriet Miers. I‘m not going to single anybody out.
CARLSON: Just single out a group. Give me a sense. Who‘s on the fringe?
BLAKEMAN: Have unfairly attacked the president for exercising his constitutional responsibility. I think it‘s unfair. Many—many have called for her to resign, outrageous.
CARLSON: Well, hold on. You may not agree with it.
BLAKEMAN: They ought to give her an opportunity to appear before the Senate, and then have the Senate give her an up or down vote. Don‘t you think that‘s fair?
CARLSON: I think it‘s fair, but I also think it‘s completely fair for people who pay close attention to politics, who know—including some people who used to work at the White House, some you know, David Frum, who was a speech writer at the White House. I‘m certain he‘s one of the people you‘re talking about.
BLAKEMAN: I don‘t think he was on the senior staff. David Frum was a speech writer.
CARLSON: As I just said, David Frum was a speech writer at the White House.
Are you saying that he‘s on the fringe of something? No, he‘s not. He‘s completely. He‘s a supporter of Bush. He voted for him. He‘s a supporter of the war in Iraq. Right? So I guess that‘s my point, when you don‘t have an argument, you attack your opponent...
BLAKEMAN: I do have an argument.
CARLSON: ... By calling names.
BLAKEMAN: No, I do have an argument. The argument is, let the process work as intended. The president has the right to send up his nominee to the advice and consent of the Senate.
CARLSON: Of course.
BLAKEMAN: And not the advice and dissent of a Senate committee. She deserves a full vote of the Senate, and she also deserves the ability to sit in the witness chair and answer your tough questions and other people‘s questions.
CARLSON: Well, and I hope the name calling will stop when she finally does. And just for the record, I haven‘t seen anybody contest the president‘s right to appoint someone to the Supreme Court.
CARLSON: To nominate somebody.
BLAKEMAN: Sure, they do. A lot of folks have called for her to step down. That‘s outrageous.
They don‘t like her. They think she is unqualified. “New York times” last week three printed columns she wrote, the Texas Bar Association, frankly were moronic. I am sure you read it. I think you read them. I think it‘s fair to read that. It‘s not an attack on her personally. I‘m sure she‘s s delightful. But to read those, I think an honest person can say, boy, I have concerns. Maybe she should step down. I think it‘s a fair conclusion to reach. Just my opinion.
Anyway, Brad Blakeman, thanks for joining us.
CARLSON: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Still to come, President Bush finally plans to do something about illegal aliens recollect but will his plan backfire with business owners? We‘ll talk to one expert about that, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here‘s what the strategy has got to be. We‘ve got to strengthen security along our borders to stop people from entering illegally.
Secondly, we must approve our ability to find and apprehend illegal applicants who have made it across the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That was President Bush, speaking earlier today at the signing of a bill that would give the Department of Homeland Security than $30 billion, to have, among other things, protect the country‘s borders.
When it comes to illegal immigration, the president finds it hard to please everyone, or anyone, sometimes. Businesses benefit from cheap labor, but many red state residents are carrying guns and patrolling the borders to keep illegal aliens out.
Here to talk about the immigration policy is Benjamin Powell. He‘s an expert on the effects of immigration on the economy. He‘s an assistant professor of economics at San Jose State University in California.
Mr. Powell, thanks for coming on.
BENJAMIN POWELL, SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY: All right. Thanks for having me, Tucker, and relax, take a deep breath. I promise not to use the words “far right.”
CARLSON: It‘s unbelievable. I‘ve just been upset about this two weeks. I‘m sorry, my frustration kind of came out. I can‘t stand name calling like that. And when I engage in it, I‘ll apologize. I really try not to. Anyway, thanks for doing this.
Look, here one of the things a lot of people, including me, have criticized the president for, not being tough enough or not even taking seriously the question of illegal immigration. Here it seems like he really is listening to the call of his supporters and doing so. What‘s wrong with what he said today?
POWELL: Yes, I mean, at most, this can be considered a mild, marginal improvement in immigration policy, but the thing has a lot of flaws, the proposal does, including this requirement on businesses, that they have to create a labor search and prove to the Department of Labor that there‘s no U.S. worker for this job, before they‘re allowed to hire any of the immigrant workers they want to bring in.
But the consensus of the economic profession is already overwhelming that immigrant workers coming here don‘t have a negative effect on the wages or employment opportunities for Americans.
CARLSON: Well, how does that work? I‘ve heard that argument, and a lot of my libertarian friends are completely for opening up the border and just let things happen naturally, as they say.
But I don‘t—that just defies common sense. I mean, if there are people willing to work, hanging around outside Home Depot, saying, “Look, I‘ll work for you, far below the minimum wage,” how doesn‘t that undercut the negotiating power of American low wage workers?
POWELL: Well, what you have when these workers come in, they also bring with them demands for other products just like anybody else who‘s here. So they create more employment opportunities for other people, as well as substitute for them. And on that, they tend to complement American labor more than they actually take away from it.
CARLSON: What about—I mean, this is a point, and I don‘t mean this as like a low blow rhetorically, but I think it‘s a real question. Illegal aliens commit a lot of crimes, it turns out. Justice Department just did a big study of the 55,000 illegal immigrants now in state, federal and local jails and prisons, and it turns out they committed 700,000 criminal offenses. These are non-citizens here illegally. That hurts America.
Isn‘t it a good idea to try and find out where these people are and get them out?
POWELL: Without a doubt, that‘s a cost, and when you can actually take criminals and remove them from society, we should be doing that, but even with that cost, we still find, on net, immigration to America benefits our economy, not takes away from it.
CARLSON: Benjamin Powell, I‘ve heard a lot of smart people say exactly what you‘re saying. I still don‘t believe it, but I think I probably need to read deeper. I appreciate your coming on.
POWELL: All right. Thanks for having me.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, does your dog live a more comfortable life than you do? One of the foremost experts in the world says that is definitely not a good thing. He joins us next to explain why. Stay tuned.
CARLSON: Welcome back. There‘s an old Russian proverb, and I have got a million of them, that says “a mere friend will agree with you, but a real friend will argue.”
Joining me now, a real friend and a worthy friend adversary, a man we like to call the Outsider. Please welcome, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO: Russian proverb? My people are from Russia, Tucker.
CARLSON: Is that true?
KELLERMAN: You are talking right to me. Ukraine, close enough.
CARLSON: But I am the one with the proverbs. Irony?
From Vegas, Max, welcome.
Well, first up, a novel approach to winning the war on drugs—surrender. The suggestion comes from a cop, a former police chief. The man who headed Seattle‘s Police Department said he is now in favor of legalizing all drugs, from pot to meth to cocaine. The theory, we‘d have fewer prisoners, safer communities, and only a modest increase in addiction.
Max, I have argued many, many times in public and definitely in private for drug decriminalization. I am totally for it. You know, most people probably can handle drugs. For many people, drugs are fine, they‘re fun, whatever, they don‘t get caught up in them.
The problem is, there is a small group of people for whom drugs are not fun, not fine. They really do destroy their lives. Some people can‘t handle drugs at all. They are terrible, they are a curse on our society, they kill people, they make children neglected, they cause people to murder each other, and drugs ought to be illegal if only because we need a way to prosecute people and to save people from themselves who are using drugs and can‘t control themselves.
KELLERMAN: It was a great article former Norm Stamper, the former police chief in Seattle. I mean, a brilliant article. I encourage people to read it, whether or not you agree with him. I‘m not sure he convinced me all the way. He put forth a compelling case.
The main distinction he made in this article was between treating it as a medical problem, rather than a criminal problem. Because really, drugs are a medical problem. Now, if they become a criminal problem, you deal with it through the criminal justice system, just like you do with alcohol. Alcohol destroys lives. Alcohol leads to drunk driving and really vehicular manslaughter, and things like that, and yet it‘s legal, and it‘s treated that way until it leads to criminal behavior. I think that‘s a compelling case.
CARLSON: Here‘s the other problem. It is sort of a compelling case. I think some drugs are more aggressive in the way they affect people‘s behavior than alcohol. Not marijuana, but others.
CARLSON: Here‘s the other problem with it. Legalizing narcotics would put government in the business of regulating narcotics.
CARLSON: You would have a federal agency telling you your crack had to be this pure, you know what I mean? And your meth couldn‘t be cut with this, and your heroin had to come from here. I don‘t want my government in the drug business.
KELLERMAN: Well, we‘re already—it‘s a little late for that, Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, it is...
KELLERMAN: The government already is in the drug business.
CARLSON: Well, they are in the drug business. Exactly. I don‘t want them anymore in the drug business, and plus, it‘s depressing. I was totally for drug legalization until I spent some time in Amsterdam, and it‘s just ugly. At a certain point, it‘s good for drugs to be underground, frankly.
KELLERMAN: We spend about $70 billion a year on the war on drugs. And if that 70 turns into 20 or 30 because you legalize them, that‘s a big net gain, Tucker, even with all the government bureaucracy. And you are right to make a distinction. You legalize marijuana, and drugs that don‘t have an extremely high correlation with criminal, especially violent behavior.
CARLSON: That‘s right.
KELLERMAN: But I did not buy his argument for crack or drugs that have such a high correlation with criminally violent behavior.
CARLSON: Yes, or heroin. I mean, even crack, but heroin is kind of a pointless drug. You take it, it feels good. You get addicted to it. There is really no way to argue you are using it recreationally. I don‘t now. I‘m against legalizing heroin.
KELLERMAN: You need a compelling case.
CARLSON: Call me radical. OK, our next controversy comes from the court, not the Supreme Court, the basketball court. The NBA has a new dress code that calls for players to wear business casual, whatever that is, when on team or league business. This from the sport that brought you Dennis Rodman. The rules don‘t dress drag. But they do ban sleeveless shirts, bling, and even iPods in public.
I am against this, Max. You become a professional basketball player so you can wear whatever you want, and put earrings in your nose and just live outside of society‘s rules. Moreover, if the NBA really wants to take a social stand here, they can tell these guys to marry the mothers of their kids. They ought to be getting—I‘m serious, getting on these guys for having kids out of wedlock. That‘s a real problem. I‘m serious.
KELLERMAN: You know what, you are right in a larger sense, but in a cultural sense, but if you look at what David Stern did, the commissioner of the NBA, brilliant marketing that league, took it from a marginal league to a mainstream league by marketing individuals as stars.
KELLERMAN: Because sports, it‘s narrative, and you need a protagonist, you need someone to relate to, to root for in the narrative. And so, Michael Jordan, can he overcome the obstacles? Brilliant. Vince McMahon did the same thing with the WWF, or E, or whatever they are calling it now. But Paul Tagliabue, the commissioner of the NFL, did an even better job, because he made it about the team, and something larger than the individual.
What David Stern is doing now is combining the best of both worlds. He is allowing the individuals to remain individuals. He will continue to market them that way...
CARLSON: As long as they wear uniforms.
KELLERMAN: But he‘s taking—look, the NBA, let‘s face it, is considered too urban to really appeal to mainstream America. And urban is code word for black. And the fact of the matter is, black people in this country are a distinct minority in terms of the percentage of the population. And so if you can do things kind of superficially to package it in a way that middle America digests it better and consumes it better...
CARLSON: Tell me...
CARLSON: Every time I see a basketball game on TV, there are a bunch of actors, white rich actors sitting in the front row, and the whole audience is white. I mean, no matter what these guys war, people like them. I don‘t even...
KELLERMAN: At the game they are, because the tickets are very expensive, and there are more rich white people than rich black people in this country. But the fan base is really centered in urban areas, and has not hit mainstream America to the extent that the NFL has. It just hasn‘t. You can look at the numbers. And this, I think, will go towards, will at least—it will be a move towards that, without having to do something radical like suggesting that they actually marry the mothers of their children.
CARLSON: See, that‘s what I would like. But you know, in the end, I am not dumb enough to argue sports with Max Kellerman and pretend to win. I think you won that one.
KELLERMAN: Thank you, Tucker. See you tomorrow.
CARLSON: Have a good time in Vegas.
KELLERMAN: I will.
CARLSON: Still plenty more ahead tonight on THE SITUATION.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Well, pampering dogs is a huge problem for dogs, apparently, though maybe not for dog owners. Our next guest says it‘s important to remember that dogs are not human. He is an expert on dog behavior and training, he is the author of an excellent new book, “Katz on Dogs.”
John Katz joins us live from Boston tonight. John, thanks a lot for coming on.
JOHN KATZ, AUTHOR: Thank you. I appreciate it.
CARLSON: So the instinct most people have, very much, including me, is to feed the dogs from the table, treat them like slow but beloved children. That‘s bad for dogs?
KATZ: Well, it‘s become a problem for dogs. You know, people see them increasingly as kind of kids with fur, or human-like. They attribute all kinds of human thoughts and motives to them, and it‘s a problem. I mean, most dogs, only 3 percent of Americans train their dogs at all. And it‘s hard to train a dog when you think they‘re a kid.
CARLSON: I think most Americans like middle class people hate telling the housekeeper what to do, right, I mean, famously? I think a lot of Americans feel bad about training a dog or being too harsh with the dog. It seems so old-fashioned and kind of mean.
KATZ: Well, there‘s a huge amount of guilt about dog ownership. People are afraid to leave dogs alone. They‘re worried about—I have heard people tell me they don‘t want to go to the movies, they don‘t want to go on vacation.
You know, dogs are really very simple creatures. They are not as smart as a 3-year-old kid. And they are not aware of time, and of course they don‘t think. People are always telling me, their dogs are angry about because we are going to work, or they‘re angry because we have a boyfriend. But dogs are not thinking at all. I mean, they don‘t have words. They don‘t have narrative. They don‘t know the difference between being home for half an hour and three hours.
CARLSON: What do they want?
KATZ: They want food and they want attention. They like to go outside and sniff things. They like to roll in disgusting stuff. They want to have sex. They want to squabble with each other. Most of the things they want...
CARLSON: And you are saying they are not like people?
KATZ: Well, they don‘t—I guess there are more similarities than I thought.
I think what people are always doing is they are telling you what their dogs are thinking, and of course it‘s hard for them to kind of get their dogs really aren‘t thinking much of anything. I mean, if you ran the inside of a dog‘s mind, it would probably look like a DVD or a video, sort of sensory video streaming, but they certainly don‘t have these human-like revenge motives and they don‘t act out of spite and they don‘t have guile, and they are not able to put together these scenarios about when you are leaving them and who you are with, and how they want to get back at you by peeing on the floor.
CARLSON: You say that, but then you have this amazing story about your border collie, Orson—border collies are famously the smartest dog in the world, supposedly—how your dog learned to open your refrigerator while you were gone, take certain food items out, open the plastic container, consume the contents, and then hide the empty packages. My kids can‘t do that.
KATZ: You don‘t want your kids to do that.
CARLSON: No, we don‘t.
KATZ: Of course, you know, he wasn‘t doing it out of calculation. You know? He was interested in food. He was a scholar of food, and he followed the movement of food. You know, my lab is like that.
CARLSON: But then he hid the evidence. Isn‘t that evidence that he‘s brilliant?
KATZ: I think it‘s evidence he just really wasn‘t that hungry. You know, he wanted something to do. If you don‘t give border collies work, they will find work. He also liked to move my magazines from the downstairs to the upstairs. He didn‘t like where I kept them.
But border collies just want to be busy. They want stuff to do.
CARLSON: That is so cool. The book, “Katz on Dogs: A Common Sense Guide to Training and Living With Dogs.” John Katz, truly an excellent book. Thank you for coming on.
KATZ: Thank you. I appreciate it very much.
Coming up, Bill Clinton and the incredible screaming woman from last night‘s show have more in common than you may think. Don‘t worry. It‘s nothing like that. We will make the connection when we check THE SITUATION voicemail, next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for our voicemail segment. Every night, we hand out our phone number; every night you have a few drinks and call us late at night. We‘re basically like your old girlfriend. We don‘t mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANONYMOUS: Yeah, THE SITUATION, where you‘ve got the core of family values. What a hell of a show. You‘ve got Max Kellerman defending drug use at every chance he can. He defends marijuana. You would swear he wants it legalized. Then you‘ve got Tucker, who tries to force a sperm donor who is performing a service—you guys are doing a great job. What other things could you come out and defend?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: There‘s so much here. Very quickly, did you see Max Kellerman defending legalized heroin tonight? If you thought that was offensive.
But a sperm donor is performing a service? Does the sperm donor really do a lot of arduous work? I mean, get real. You know what I mean? Actually, I thought I was standing up for family values and saying it‘s your child, support him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL: Hi, Tucker, this is Bill from Illinois. And I was just calling to talk about the remarks you made about Bill Clinton, his reckless behavior. Well, there are thousands dying while George Bush is running the war over in Iraq. That, to me, is reckless behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, I totally agree with you. Both presidents can be reckless. Just because one is reckless doesn‘t mean the other isn‘t. Clinton was reckless at every turn, and I‘m not going to bore you or agitate myself by going through all the many examples, but if you want to write in to our Web site, I‘ll certainly give them to you. But yes, Clinton was an incredibly reckless president. And Bush was reckless to go to Iraq, but I don‘t think he‘s that reckless otherwise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANONYMOUS: Oh my God, you just had that chick screaming like a fool!
(LAUGHTER). That was hilarious!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Whoa. There is a man who is for marijuana legalization. Yes, that was one of our all-time great segments. Last night, in case you missed the show—I think you can probably order a tape from NBC. We had a woman who coaches rock stars on how to scream. Really, top 10 all-time guest.
All right, let me know what you‘re thinking. You can call 1-877-TCARLSON. That‘s 1-877-822-7576. You can also send your questions via our Web site. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond every day to anything you can come up with, no matter how bizarre. And you‘ve definitely tested the outer limits of that. To check out my responses, go to tucker.msnbc.com, and you‘ll find them there.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, David Copperfield is one creepy illusionist. You won‘t believe the new standard of creepiness he‘s reached with his latest trick. We‘ve got immaculate conception on “The Cutting Room Floor” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Back by popular demand, which incidentally is really a euphemism for the threat of violence, Willie Geist on the “Cutting Room Floor.”
WILLIE GEIST, THE SITUATION: I‘ll take it any way I can get it.
CARLSON: Low standards, Willie.
GEIST: Totally low standards. You know what I love are the voicemails we get where they don‘t say anything.
CARLSON: They don‘t say anything.
GEIST: They laugh, or when they called crying about the idea of Max Kellerman reproducing, tears and laughter, we‘ll take whatever you‘ve got.
CARLSON: We‘ve got a very loyal impaired audience.
GEIST: We do.
CARLSON: I love it. Thank you.
Well, spam is perhaps the most versatile food known to man. It can be prepared so many different ways. I prefer to eat it raw out of the can, personally. That versatility was on display at the Texas State Fair today, as contestants made their cases for the best spam recipe. Spam quesadillas, spam casseroles and spam pies, just a few of the culinary delights in the competition. The winner advances to the national spam recipe finals—held where, Willie?
GEIST: I have no idea. I‘ll have to look that up.
CARLSON: American Samoa, I‘ll bet you.
GEIST: Is that right?
CARLSON: They eat a lot of spam out there.
GEIST: But that‘s the headline to me right there. The winner, congratulations, go home, enjoy this tonight, but don‘t lose sight of the goal, which is the national finals. There is a lot of work still ahead. And by the way, can I just say something?
CARLSON: More spam on the horizon.
GEIST: That‘s right. Buy stock in spam. Mad cow, bird flu.
CARLSON: That‘s totally right.
GEIST: Huge market for fake meat.
CARLSON: Yeah, I was about to say, so you‘re implying that spam is not actually meat?
GEIST: No, I‘m not implying.
CARLSON: Well, Buster (ph) the German shepherd simply was not cut out for police work, it turns out. The dog who looks a lot like these American police canines was relieved of his post at the South Yorkshire, England Police Department because of his complete lack of commitment to the job. Constable David Stevenson (ph) said, quote, “Buster just showed no interest in doing the job. He had no fire in his belly. He‘s got a very low drive for finding people.”
GEIST: If you‘re a search dog and you don‘t like looking for people, it‘s probably time to get out of the business.
CARLSON: Well, you can come stay at my house. That‘s my kind of dog.
GEIST: Right, be a pet, exactly.
But by the way, where is the Fraternal Order of Police on this? If a human cop was fired for being lazy, there would be a huge outcry. Dog discrimination.
CARLSON: They need a union, those dogs.
If you‘re a buffalo racing fan—and we assume you are—there may not be a better place on Earth to take in a race than at the Buffalo Racing Festival in Changbury (ph), Thailand. Think of it as the Kentucky Derby of buffalo racing. OK, you don‘t have to.
The jockeys ride bareback and race on a 110-meter track. Some of them don‘t make it to the finish line, though. The winner gets $120 and some farm equipment.
GEIST: Yeah, Tucker, buffalo racing is a lot of fun until you lose your nest egg on the trifecta somebody told you was a sure thing.
CARLSON: Looks like you could lose your nest eggs riding one.
GEIST: And a couple of those did. Bareback? I don‘t recommend bareback buffalo riding.
CARLSON: I don‘t either.
GEIST: Saddle up, partner.
CARLSON: In buffalo riding or anything else.
CARLSON: That looks like one dangerous sport. And I have to say, they have weird sports around the world. This is just another example of American...
GEIST: Elephant polo last night.
CARLSON: We actually got an e-mail today saying, you claimed you knew the rules to polo? What are they? That was a joke.
Well, in Romania, a prisoner has set a new standard for litigious frivolity. He‘s suing God. Yes, God. The inmate says his baptism was a contract with God, and that God let him down by not keeping him away from the devil. He‘s suing for, quote, “cheating, concealment and taking bribes.” The man is serving a 20-year sentence for murder.
GEIST: We wish him all the best with this. Although God‘s taking this seriously. He just hired Alan Dershowitz. You‘ve got to protect yourself, even if you‘re God. It‘s a cruel world out there.
CARLSON: There is no possibility God would hire Alan Dershowitz. Johnnie Cochran, possibly. Even God can‘t stand Alan Dershowitz. Just too annoying.
GEIST: No, this guy just moved ahead of the people who sue McDonald‘s for being fat on the worst lawsuits ever in my opinion.
CARLSON: It actually sounds like he‘s not been taking his medication.
Well, master illusionist David Copperfield dazzles us with his magic and frightens us with his creepiness. The next trick he‘s planning is heavy on the latter. As you can see in this dramatic reenactment performed by THE SITUATION players, Copperfield plans to impregnate a woman on stage without ever touching her. Like any good magician, he won‘t say how he‘s going to do it. He just say there won‘t be any sex. We can all be thankful for that.
GEIST: Wow. You know what? God should sue him. Copperfield is ripping off his material.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly...
GEIST: Immaculate conception...
CARLSON: ... that‘s a copyright infringement.
GEIST: Immaculate conception is an old trick, David. Nice try.
CARLSON: How is he going to do it?
GEIST: I have no idea. As long as there‘s no sex, it‘s fine with me.
CARLSON: I can think of a couple different scenarios, all too vulgar.
My question is, who would want to watch that? (INAUDIBLE).
GEIST: For the right price.
CARLSON: Willie Geist. That‘s SITUATION for tonight. Up next, “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN.” Thanks for watching. See you back here tomorrow night.
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