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The McLaughlin Group

Issues: General Joseph Dunford; Hillary Clinton and Immigration Reform; Russian Aggression; Bernie Sanders Candidacy

Participants:
John McLaughlin, Host
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune

Taped: Friday, May 8, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of May 80-10, 2015


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ANNOUNCER: From Washington, THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, the American original. For over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Confirm these remarkable leaders without delay so we can stay focused on the work that unites us all as Americans: keeping our military strong, our nation secure, our citizens safe.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Obama has nominated General Joseph Dunford, current commandant of the Marine Corps, to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, as is widely expected, General Dunford will replace current chairman, General Martin Dempsey.

General Dunford has already served in key national security rolls. Notably, between 2012 and 2014, General Dunford commanded NATO forces in Afghanistan, where he earned President Obama’s gratitude. The president accepted Dunford’s recommendation to extend the deployment of U.S. forces to Afghanistan.

Going forward, Chairman Dunford will have to manage U.S. operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He’ll have to consolidate NATO forces against potential Russian aggression in Europe. He’ll have to provide military option to Commander-in-Chief Obama in the event that his nuclear negotiations with Iran fail, and he’ll have to make sure that U.S. military forces in the Pacific are able to deter and defeat Chinese aggression, and he’ll have to do all this and more with shrinking budgets.

Yet, most observers say Dunford is up to the task. Here’s how he closed his speech when becoming commandant of the Marine Corps.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, MARINE CORPS COMMANDANT: To ensure that our Corps remains the expeditionary force in readiness that our nation has come to expect. God bless you all. Semper fidelis. And for those still in uniform, continue to march.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What does General Dunford’s nomination tell us about President Obama’s military strategy?

Eleanor Clift?

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: What it says about it is that the commander in chief, the president, feels comfortable with him, that he’s worked closely with him over the past year and a half, two years, and as you said, he extended -- convinced the president to extend the troop presence in Afghanistan. But more importantly, he’s winding down the troop presence there. He’s also a team player and very unlikely to go public with any disagreements he might have.

General Dempsey, who currently has the job, rather famously said that he wouldn’t hesitate to ask -- or tell the White House that they needed more ground troops, or needed troops. That isn’t something this new general would say publicly.

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: John, he is known as "Fighting Joe." He’s a combat marine. However, he is a very reasoned individual.

He is not a compulsive interventionist. He’s not neocon.

He’s very much in the tradition of General Dempsey, who I think was excellent and gave the president good advice to basically keep us out of those conflicts where we don’t have any real vital interest and let others do the fighting. And I think that he’s in that tradition.

And I think he’s an excellent choice by the president of the United States, and I think it’s sort of indication that we probably are not going to be intervening unless something really serious happens in any big way until or before Barack Obama leaves office.

MCLAUGHLIN: Barack Obama’s military strategy is disengagement. Dunford has managed the American withdrawal from Afghanistan to meet Obama’s expectations while maintaining a token force to inhibit an Iraqi style post-withdrawal meltdown. It’s Obama’s model.

BUCHANAN: Yes. But you’ve still got him coming out at the end of this year or next year. They’re going to be coming out.

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: And that’s why General Dunford I think is -- I think he’s a good choice. I agree with Pat. You know, General Dunford made that recommendation to keep forces in Afghanistan so that we can do things like aviation, flying helicopters, logistics and training and Special Forces that the Afghans can’t do by themselves yet. So, we can maintain --

MCLAUGHLIN: Cyber warfare?

ROGAN: Well, that’s going to be the next thing with -- you know, the evolving track. But look, Dunford has the respect of the president. That’s very important. He also has respect of the military, and that is very important. And it’s rare that you can find those two combination factors. He has a very distinguished record. I think he’s a very good choice.

CLIFT: He’s confirmable in the U.S. Senate, also.

ROGAN: McCain has endorsed him. And when McCain and Obama agreed these days, that is something.

MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, welcome.

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Thank you very much. Good to be back.

MCLAUGHLIN: What are your thoughts?

PAGE: Well, I notice that he does have on-the-ground combat experience, which we’ve seen in the past that generals who do have combat experience are the least eager to get into more wars or to expand our overseas military involvement. He is a prudent and experienced commander and he does know how to play his cards close to the chest, which the Obama administration respects.

CLIFT: Exactly.

MCLAUGHLIN: The chairman of JCS is the armed services point man for the White House. Is Dunford suited to that challenge?

What do you think of that, Clarence?

PAGE: Well, I think it’s the challenge that is going to pay off, with what sort of experience that he’s had.

CLIFT: It’s going to payoff with this White House because clearly formed a bond. But he’s term would commence -- a two-year term I believe -- would commence in September. So, he will belong to the next president as well. So, I think the president is kind of setting up the framework that he wants going forward.

BUCHANAN: There’s some neocon unhappiness I think with General Dempsey that he wasn’t as aggressive as some of those folks wanted him to be.

ROGAN: Although he did advise in terms of putting Special Forces on the ground in Iraq and stuff. I’ve actually been a fan of Dempsey. I think he’s being not as hesitant behind the scenes as some people think.

But, look, the Obama administration is very sort of fanatical about keeping things closed and they worry about leaks unless they’re the ones leaking. And I think they trust this general here, Dunford, to be part of the team player, and look, you need that. If you’re gong to have someone who can match those both sides and serve the country well, good.

BUCHANAN: I don’t see where he gets any opposition. The guy has got a great combat record.

ROGAN: Right.

BUCHANAN: And he’s a reasoned guy, and as you said look, he’s not a compulsive interventionist, but he’s also not -- he’s not what you call an isolationist.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: And he doesn’t represent dissatisfaction with his soon to be predecessor either. I mean, the president has actually gotten along better with the head of the Joint Chiefs than he’s gotten along with a lot of other people.

ROGAN: I think, look, going forward, one of the key things is that, you know we do need to have a situation in which the military maintains that position of being impartial, of not being linked to -- we don’t want to go back to, for example, to the early Bush years, where there’s such controversy with Iraq.

BUCHANAN: You’re going to have a coming battle I think over foreign policy coming up, when you got Marco Rubio out there, you got Cruz out there, and Jeb Bush out there. There’s going to be a battle over foreign policy and interventionism.

PAGE: What they don’t have is the voters out there wanting to get involved in more wars. I think the public right now wants a small footprint, do a lot with a small of a footprint as possible.

BUCHANAN: But Hillary is most hawkish candidate in the Democratic race.

PAGE: Isn’t that ironic? Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that the Obama White House is openly disdainful of the military brass, as I think Robert Gates stated in his memoir?

BUCHANAN: I think there were probably people --

CLIFT: No.

BUCHANAN: -- in and around President Obama who had never been in the military who don’t appreciate the military and don’t understand it.

ROGAN: Right.

BUCHANAN: I think Gates is one of the best public servants we’ve had in the city for a long, long time.

ROGAN: Agreed, yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Gates seems to like Dunford.

ROGAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Hillary’s Cinco de Mayo Declaration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, this is where I defer with everybody on the Republican side -- make no mistakes: today, not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship, not one. When they talk about legal status, that is code for second class status.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Hillary Clinton made her first visit to Nevada as a declared 2016 presidential candidate this week on Cinco de Mayo, the date in 1862 when an outnumbered Mexican garrison defeated a superior French invasion force at the Battle of Puebla, at Rancho High School in Las Vegas.

The former secretary of state promised a roundtable of political supporters and immigration activists that she would create a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants. The path would be her priority if she becomes president.

Mrs. Clinton contrasted her position with her Republican challengers, many of whom support a legalization route for undocumented migrants, but one that stop short of full citizenship.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Has Hillary described herself pro-amnesty?

Patrick?

BUCHANAN: One hundred percent pro-amnesty and she’s going to put them -- all the folks on a path to citizenship. No, she’s right, no Republicans has gone anywhere near that far. And so, what she’s saying in effect is that in -- you know, in the last election, Barack Obama got 71 percent of the Hispanic vote to Mitt Romney’s 28. I think she’s looking at this as a general election strategy first and foremost.

And secondly, she wants to drive a wedge straight through the Republican Party, between Marco Rubio, on one side, say, who’s now much tougher on amnesty than he was, and Jeb Bush, who does have sort of a no sending back but no path to citizenship position. She is confused at the Republicans, yes.

CLIFT: Well, Amnesty is tantamount to an epitaph, the way it’s being used. And the Democrats do not support amnesty. It’s very -- earned citizenship takes years. You have to get to the back of the line. You have to pay fees. In fact, many of the people, if they sign up today, probably wouldn’t live long enough to achieve it.

And the U.S. Senate passed with 68 votes, a lot of Republican votes, a bill that included path to citizenship. There’s no Democrat that’s going to oppose to that. And Marco Rubio, John McCain, a lot of other Republicans signed on to that bill. So, this is not some radical departure --

BUCHANAN: Rubio has got religion.

CLIFT: Well, he’s now pandering to the base.

BUCHANAN: He was honest before. Now, he’s pandering.

CLIFT: This is -- this is the correct policy and it’s also very good election year policy for Hillary Clinton to draw this very bright line against the Republicans.

PAGE: You know how far rationale they will get to you when it comes to sanctions. This is not amnesty. It doesn’t matter. You know, on the right, it’s amnesty. Anything that even moves the direction on the pathway to citizen --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: It’s ollie-ollie in free into the country -- you have had an invasion of this country after the 3 million amnesty. You get this one, and there will be end to --

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: The other thing, you don’t hear Hillary Clinton talking about border security, which has to be part of the deal, and that’s always been part of the deal, going back to the Republicans --

CLIFT: It’s so ‘90s, Tom.

ROGAN: Oh, come on!

CLIFT: The border is so secure now. They come across and they hand their teddy bears to the border agents.

PAGE: That’s right.

ROGAN: I mean, if we’re going to have serious comprehensive immigration reform, that is not what Hillary Clinton is talking about.

PAGE: Well, you’re on the right of the panel there with Pat. Now, tell me -- tell me how many fences do you want to build parallel --

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: Electronic cameras --

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: I’m not talking about a static fence. I’m talking about cameras.

BUCHANAN: We’ve got African-American unemployment at about two or three times --

PAGE: I know.

BUCHANAN: -- regular employment, and these folks coming in are taking those lower level, menial, entry level jobs that African-American teenagers used to get.

PAGE: You and I both know, at least half of the undocumented immigrants in the country come and they just overstayed their visas. They aren’t coming over the border. You don’t know -- you throw all the barbed wire you want – you’re still going to have --

ROGAN: No barbed wires. This is the left saying that it’s -- it’s the language, isn’t it? The barbed wire versus amnesty?

MCLAUGHLIN: All right.

PAGE: I’m in the middle. We don’t need barbed wire, just a shark pit, right? That’s all you need.

CLIFT: Well, again, the bill that the Senate passed with 68 votes had border security.

MCLAUGHLIN: Hello, hello, hello. Hello, Eleanor.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, hold on. Undocumented immigrants have heard these promises before. When Mr. Obama ran for president in 2008, he told Hispanic audience he would make immigration reform a priority. But after his win, President Obama deferred pressing Congress for a legislation until his second term. At the Rancho High School roundtable, Mrs. Clinton carefully declined to commit making immigration reform her top priority with Congress.

And Hillary has her own credibility concerns. In a recent "Wall Street Journal"/NBC poll, only 25 percent of respondents rated Hillary Clinton as honest, 25 percent.

ROGAN: Yes. Well, that’s about e-mail --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Can Hispanic voters trust Hillary to follow through on her promises?

PAGE: Well, they trust her more than other contenders. This is the way it boils down to, you know? It’s all relative. But, yes, you’re right. Obama made that promise and then he ran up against a brick wall there in Congress.

CLIFT: It was the end of his first term --

BUCHANAN: George Bush couldn’t get through -- George Bush couldn’t get through amnesty. And if you got a Republican House or Republican Senate, President Hillary Clinton is not going to get amnesty.

CLIFT: George Bush didn’t call it amnesty. Nobody calls it amnesty, except people who aren’t going to favor anything.

BUCHANAN: That’s why George W. Bush didn’t get it through.

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: She’s talking about executive action, which is just a continuation of Obama’s policy.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Russia on Offense.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Putin insists that no Russian military forces are operating in Ukraine. But Ukraine’s war-torn southeast again has erupted in violence. Donetsk, a city held by pro-Russian rebels, was reportedly attacked by forces loyal to the Ukrainian government in Kiev. But Ukraine’s government insists pro-Russian rebels are working alongside Russian special forces to seize new territory. Collectively NATO believes that Russia is carving out certain Ukrainian cities and villages and turning them into de facto Russian territory.

NATO’s military response reflects that fear -- 300 elite U.S. paratroopers are now training Ukrainian soldiers in Western Ukraine.

Here’s U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.

GEOFFREY PYATT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: The most valuable asset of the U.S. Army are the men and women in uniform. And one of the most powerful tools that the U.S. military has developed over the years is the training, the doctrine, the skill set that our military enjoys. This program here at Yavoriv and the series of training exercises that we’re going to be involved in over the next few months is about helping to impart some of those lessons.

MCLAUGHLIN: Ukraine is on thin ice. Watch how the Ukrainian press reacted to their president, Petro Poroshenko, when he took a photo with U.S. Army trainers.

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Defense Secretary Ash Carter testified this week that Russian separatists, with Putin’s backing, are preparing a new offensive in Eastern Ukraine. Is the U.S. military training aid too little and too late?

Tom Rogan?

ROGAN: Well, no, it’s not too little, too late. I think it’s unfortunately late.

But, look, there are American troops on the ground. I wish there were more, 300, I worry, sends a message of American disinterest to President Putin, which I think has pervaded throughout this. But look, it is good that we’re on the ground, in Western Ukraine. We’re talking calibrated steps. I think the key to stopping President Obama is actually to enforce the European Union if you can, to put a transactions lockout, a financial lockout of Russian business.

But again, President Putin is trying to carve out that space, southeastern Ukraine, Rostov-on-Don just across the border, big military base, and get Mariupol, right?

CLIFT: He wants to make it clear, Ukraine is in his sphere of influence, and the U.S. does not want to get into a proxy war in that area. I think he’ll only go just so far. He’s not going to cross any NATO redlines. And I really hate the way --

MCLAUGHLIN: Why not --

CLIFT: -- we tend to glorify him on this program.

BUCHANAN: He doesn’t --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: King of the world. He has plundered his country. He’s one of the richest, if not the richest person in the world.

BUCHANAN: If he wanted to annex eastern Ukraine, he could march in and do it. He could take Mariupol in a day. He hasn’t done it. What he wants is a deal which leaves him with Crimea and leaves eastern Ukraine nominally under the Ukraine, but more autonomous, because he doesn’t want a war with the West basically. He could have that any time he wanted.

I think President Obama has wisely kept us out of there militarily and I think it’s a mistake to send in troops, start training troops for Poroshenko, so he can restart the war, which has been basically in abeyance since February.

PAGE: Let’s mark the calendar. This is the day that Pat Buchanan approves of Obama’s policy in the Ukraine. I think you’re right on, though. The fact is --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: I think he’s right on Iran.

MCLAUGHLIN: Why --

PAGE: We have to show some measure of the fact that we do care, that we’re not disinterested. But at the same time, I’ll --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: The war is not going to be good for the Ukrainians. Their economy is a basket case.

ROGAN: Right. But we do have to accept that, you know, NATO Baltic states are very, very concerned about Russian movement.

Ash Carter has, by the way -- Ash Carter has improved things a lot with U.S. force presence there.

CLIFT: Sure. If Putin crosses that line, then we have a different conversation.

ROGAN: But does he believe that?

CLIFT: He does -- I think he does.

MCLAUGHLIN: Why hasn’t President Obama agreed to provide U.S. weapons to the Ukrainians? I don’t get it.

BUCHANAN: He doesn’t want to expand the war.

CLIFT: He doesn’t want a proxy war.

BUCHANAN: He doesn’t want a war at all. And that’s the right thing, to stop this killing of Ukrainians, whether they’re in Eastern Ukraine, or Western Ukraine, because, look, if you get in an all-out war, Russia will win it.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is Obama paralyzed --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: United States cannot beat Russia --

CLIFT: We’re not --

BUCHANAN: -- in a land war in Ukraine. Are you kidding?

CLIFT: We’re not.

ROGAN: I mean, it would take us time, but we could beat them. The Russian military could not sustain the supply lines. The U.S. Air Force will destroy them.

CLIFT: We’re not going to get in to a land war in Ukraine. Forget it.

ROGAN: And we don’t want to be.

PAGE: Thank you, thank you.

ROGAN: But financial lockouts, that’s the way to hurt Putin. That’s why I agree with Pat. We disagree --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Is President Obama intimidated by Putin? I’m not getting an answer.

BUCHANAN: No, he’s not intimidated.

CLIFT: He’s not intimidated. He’s winning in the world stage.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: I worry that he is slightly intimidated by Putin.

BUCHANAN: That is their sphere of influence, like Mexico is ours.

ROGAN: But is Estonia their sphere -- you know, where does it end?

BUCHANAN: It certainly is their sphere.

ROGAN: Well, so, that’s a NATO. That’s --

BUCHANAN: It shouldn’t be a NATO state.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is Putin a macho man?

BUCHANAN: He’s a macho man but --

CLIFT: A macho man that shouldn’t be glorified.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is Obama a mama’s boy? President Obama?

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Obama isn’t.

PAGE: No, he is not. But Putin is following a long tradition, going back through Stalin and the czars et cetera. If you don’t look tough and act tough in Russia, you get no respect.

ROGAN: The Russian people really do like that strong authoritarian leader.

CLIFT: Nothing wrong with being a mama’s boy on the eve of Mother’s Day. Mama’s boy is really tough.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Who would you vote on to win in an arm wrestling contest, President Putin or President Obama?

Pat Buchanan?

BUCHANAN: I’m afraid I’ve got to go with the Russian on this one.

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: Of course, you’re presuming it’s a fair contest. I think Obama --

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: A game of chess, I’ll go for, and Obama will win that.

MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

ROGAN: I think President Putin would. But to fair to President Obama, I think President Putin would beat just about every U.S. president, or every sort -- President Putin is in exceptionally physical shape, because on his photos and judo experience.

PAGE: Obama needs to do the Chicago option.

MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama shoots too.

PAGE: Oh, yes, he does.

ROGAN: He would win that.

PAGE: Yes, yes.

ROGAN: Bush would win throwing pitches.

MCLAUGHLIN: He wins shooting hoops and the arm wrestling would be won by Putin.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Bernie’s Revolution.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: The wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations have got to join the United States of America and come back to this country, and they’ve got to maintain and respect their responsibility. So, their responsibilities are not to ship jobs to China. Their responsibilities are not to avoid paying federal taxes.

So, we need real tax reform which says to the wealthiest people and largest corporations, you’re going to stop and get fair share of taxes.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): He’s a proud socialist, and a proud independent voice in Congress. And this week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced he’s proudly running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States. He’s running to the left of Hillary on virtually every issue. Alongside his desire far higher taxes and far greater spending, the senator is a vigorous opponent of free trade and wants major environmental regulations to prevent climate change.

But in a dig against Hillary who wants to raise $2.5 billion for her presidential campaign, Bernie says he’s running so that a non-millionaire can lead the American people in a, quote/unquote, "political revolution".

SANDERS: And this is in a sense what my campaign is about. Can somebody who is not a billionaire, who stands for working families, actually win an election in which billionaires are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the election?

It’s not just Hillary. It is the Koch brothers. It is Sheldon Adelson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Senator Sanders’ campaign good news or bad news for Hillary Clinton?

Eleanor Clift?

CLIFT: I think it’s good news. Also, Bernie Sanders was bragging he raised several million dollars over the Internet in small donations. I think he’s going to do better in New Hampshire than expected. He’s got some name recognition there.

And, frankly, a lot of Democrats are with him on the issues and they like the fact that he’s going to force a discussion. I think Hillary Clinton agrees with him on much of his views concerning inequality in this country. But how is she going to shape that into policy?

And I also think he’s going to be a send-a-message candidate. I think in New Hampshire, there’s a "Run, Warren, Run" group, and Elizabeth Warren is not going to get in the race. It was this thought that those people would move to Martin O’Malley. He’s been damaged by the events in Baltimore.

So, vote for Sanders in the primary and vote for Hillary in November. A lot of Democrats are saying that. So, he has the potential to make a bit of a showing in some states.

BUCHANAN: John, Bernie Sanders and I were -- fought shoulder to shoulder against NAFTA, and GATT and the WTO back in the 1990s with Ralph Nader and the union guys and Hoffa and everyone.

PAGE: And a lot of muskets there.

BUCHANAN: Yes. But I will say, Bernie -- I mean, he’s standing up and he’s right about the transnational corporations. They take all these jobs abroad and they bring their products back free of charge, and everybody at the top makes an awful lot of money. But the way to change that is put a tariff on the products coming back into the country, cut the taxes on small businesses that produce in the country, and some of these fat cats will come running home.

ROGAN: The issue with Bernie Sanders, though, is that he talks about the language about making the rich pay their fair share. So, it sounds great. But they’re already 70 percent at that top rate.

The way to address income inequality is to have social mobility. And the problem, he also, you know, he has this idea of this kind of socialist utopia. But the problem is, you know, it doesn’t work in Europe. Capitalism --

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: The real problem is the simple upward mobility we had when I was a kid, we haven’t got anymore.

ROGAN: Right.

PAGE: You know, college is too expensive. Training is too expensive.

ROGAN: Right, I agree. Health care is too expensive.

PAGE: All these barriers, and this gap keeps getting wider.

ROGAN: But taxes is not going to solve that.

PAGE: And nobody -- but there are ways. No, well, money is going to solve it. So, we’ve got to raise money one way or the other. And that’s the reality, the most voters understand.

ROGAN: Cheaper education and health care would solve it.

PAGE: That would be great. Let’s talk about some realistic policies that aren’t happening now, you know? And just dismissing these folks as isolationists and that sort of thing doesn’t really solve the problem.

I think Bernie Sanders has the right kind of rhetoric and ideas to appeal to much of the discontent out there and maybe move us toward a more honest discussion.

CLIFT: Although he’s not perfect.

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Bernie Sanders is not perfect for Democrats who worry about gun control. He’s got some -- he likes the muskets in Vermont.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: on a political probability scale, from zero to 100, zero meaning no likelihood whatsoever, and 100 meaning metaphysical certitude -- what’s the likelihood that Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic nominee, zero to 100? Give me a number.

Pat?

BUCHANAN: Somewhere between one and five.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: I’m going to give it a zero.

MCLAUGHLIN: A zero?

CLIFT: Yes.

ROGAN: Four.

MCLAUGHLIN: Four.

PAGE: No, it’s zero, but he’s going to help get a more honest debate, better campaign, and help sharpen Hillary Clinton. She needs some competition.

MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of a number?

PAGE: Zero.

ROGAN: It’s four if he turns out he’s something, a secret Jack Bauer who saved the nation?

PAGE: You see, I’m not hung up --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: I’m giving Bernie a 25.

Prediction, Pat?

BUCHANAN: The Turks are aiding the radical leftists in Syria, directly aiding them. The Israelis are bombing them, occasionally, the pro-Syrian forces, pro-government forces. Saudis are attacking in Yemen. I think there’s a real danger, one, that Assad’s regime could be in very grave trouble, and if that goes down, I think I’d be a disaster, considering -- and I also think there’s a greater chance of expansion of this whole Sunni-Shia conflict, and it’s really metastasizing.

MCLAUGHLIN: It’s an ugly --

BUCHANAN: No, I think it’s realistic.

CLIFT: Right, right.

Well, I’m going to go with a happier prediction. David Cameron won big in the U.K. The conservative party has another five years. I think he won because he listened to the voters. And the voters were demanding a referendum on whether they say or get out of the European Union.

MCLAUGHLIN: Uh-hmm

CLIFT: And Cameron does not want that to happen. So, now, he’s going to have to embark on his next campaign, which is to convince the U.K. to stay in the E.U.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom Rogan, be quick.

ROGAN: Yes, in the coming days, David Cameron is going to make major concessions to the Scottish Nationalist Party in order to try and keep them in the European Union. And I also want to say happy Mother’s Day to my mother.

PAGE: Watch for the Justice Department’s report on Baltimore police patterns and practices, to confirm what the "Baltimore Sun" reported last year about a pattern of rough rides and other bad practices.

MCLAUGHLIN: I predict the prospect of a Senate vote on nuclear agreement with Iran will force President Obama to insist on concessions the Iranians have long been resisting. And the result will be a prolongation of the talks with a new deadline in December of this year.

Do you get all that, Pat? You can use it in your column.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend. Bye-bye!

END