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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP



HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,


ELEANOR CLIFT, AND JAMES CARNEY



TAPED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2000


BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF AUGUST 26-26, 2000



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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.


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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: It's a man's world.



SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R-TX): (From videotape.) Women have now paid their dues. They've served on the city councils, on the school boards and in the state legislatures. They have the same credibility, the same credentials, the same experience as men. And I think you're going to see them coming into Congress, the Senate, governorships. And I think we're going to have a woman president very shortly.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison may be optimistic, but the status of women in U.S. politics is, and has been, abysmal. Consider this. Since the first Congress in 1789, there have been 1,851 senators. Of these, only 27 senators have been women. That's less than 1-1/2 percent. And among the 10,365 representatives in 1789, only 178 representatives have been female. Less than 2 percent. Appalling statistics; actually, wretched, especially when you take into account that women today make up 51 percent of the U.S. population and 58 percent of the work force. The picture on the state and local government level is hardly better; only one out of five political officials is a woman.



Internationally, the news is even worse. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Iceland, Germany, New Zealand, Mozambique, South Africa, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Switzerland, Monaco, Laos, Venezuela, Spain, Cuba, Austria, Grenada, Argentina, Turkmenistan, Vietnam, Namibia, Seychelles, Belgium, Australia, China; these countries and 25 more are ahead of the united Sates in the ratio of women serving in national legislatures. Worldwide, our nation ranks 50th in female representation in our Congress as compared to female representation in other national legislatures.



Question: What factor accounts most for America's under-representation of women in elected politics; barriers to elective office, or the attractions of the private sector? Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: Well, I think historically it's been barriers to office. In a sense, you know, in the United States the stakes are bigger than they are in some of these countries you named; Iceland, which has had a woman president, Norway, which has had women prime ministers more often --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what about France and Germany?



MR. BARONE: I think that there are some barriers there.



John, I worked in 1974, when I was working for Peter Hart, the pollster, on the campaign of Ella Grasso, who was the first woman elected governor in her own right, governor of Connecticut that year. And we took a look at voters' attitudes in that state about would they accept a woman governor or have problems, would they accept a woman -- the biggest resistance was for a woman as attorney general of the United Sates or a director of the FBI. They just couldn't understand that at all.



And what we -- what the Grasso campaign did was run ads showing Ella Grasso running a meeting, calling on different people, asserting the sort of sense of command that people wanted. I think Americans generally have -- made much progress in that year in perceiving that women can exert that sense of command and live up to these big responsibilities. Twenty-six years ago, very many Americans doubted it. Now I think that if a woman comes in with qualifications, she's going to do just fine.



MS. CLIFT: Look. If we're talking around the world, class and heredity trumps gender. If this country operated the way India does, Chelsea Clinton would be next in line to be president. So --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?



MS. CLIFT: Because you get there because you're part of a dynasty. In this country you have to run and get 51 percent -- 50-plus of the electorate. Margaret Thatcher rose to power as a party leader. She didn't have to run across England. And in fact --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about --



MS. CLIFT: Wait a second. I get to finish too.



And when she won the party post, she went around to all the men and said I'll never win, I'm safe to vote, and your favorite will win in a later ballot. And she won.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are conditions in these other countries more hospitable than here? For example, public financing of campaigns. Then there is the list system, which is the result of the seniors appointing who will succeed and who will run. Free media access is also available over there. Aren't you going to propose any of those as reasons why we rank the 50th?



MR. BLANKLEY: I suspect -- and I think it's a little puzzling -- but I suspect that we are the most democratic and the most competitive to move up the political ladder in America, more than most other countries where democracy is a little less deeply centered in --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, how do you account for the statistics?



MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know -- I don't know that I do. I mean, what's odd is that America, probably outside of politics, is more hospitable to women CEOs than Europeans, as far as I can tell. But politics clearly, I think the competition is tougher for them here.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the social welfare state -- generous leave policies and also government support of children day-care centers, et cetera. Does that figure?



MR. CARNEY: John, I think that figures, especially in the comparison with European countries where those kinds of benefits are well entrenched and help women achieve, you know, well in the private sector as well as in politics. And I think that in the United States there are still barriers, psychological barriers to the idea that women can take the reins of power in important positions, especially executive positions, which is why it's been more difficult for women to get elected governor or get on a national ticket for president or vice president, than it has been in legislative positions.



MR. BARONE: But no longer impossible.



MR. CARNEY: No longer impossible.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the other factor, and that is the factor of our economy? Our economy makes it very attractive for women not to go into politics but to go into business and the professions; correct?



MS. CLIFT: This is all relatively recent. Let's remember, women only got the right to vote in 1920. And barriers now are falling faster in the corporate world, and it's a lot nicer to go into private life where you don't have to release your tax returns, you don't have to put your family under a microscope. So women are reluctant to go into public life because of the demands.



But we're beginning to see young women make this as a career choice. For the first time, we have two female senators with young children -- Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. That's a first. So there are still thresholds to cross here.



But, John, it's not as depressing as you make it sound and --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think so?



MS. CLIFT: Well, I'd like faster progress. But, you know, when you figure Barbara Mikulski is the first female Democratic senator to be elected in her own right, she didn't have to wait for her husband to die, you know, this is all recent progress.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm amazed that you're speaking the way you are. There's no question the situation is wretched.



One of the other factors is, of course, apparently -- soften out the blow here -- is that unemployment in some of these other countries is very high and that drives people into government, where that's not the case with the economy here. That plays a role.



Also, there a quality of politicization which exists in these other countries which doesn't exist here. Politics is more important, and it's demonstrated by voter turnout, it's demonstrated by party identification that's clearer and more pronounced in these other countries --



MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, I disagree --



MS. CLIFT: It's important here too!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, this is true --



(Cross talk.)



MR. BLANKLEY: No, wait, wait. I disagree.



MR. CARNEY: (Inaudible) -- because men go into politics because it's less important over here?



MR. BLANKLEY: No, no, no. Look --



MR. CARNEY: Is that what you're --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, no, no. I'm saying that the culture of politicization reaches further and wider in other countries than it does here.



MR. BLANKLEY: No. No. I mean, Sweden may have a higher voting percentage, but less Swedes care about their politics than Americans care about American politics because it's less consequential, it's more bureaucratized, it's less vigorous --



MR. BARONE: And it's a culture that's homogeneous, John.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. When, if ever, will America close the gap, bearing in mind what the gap is.



Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: Oh, I don't think we'll ever close the gap with Iceland and Norway. They're going to have a higher percentage of women than we are --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, "close the gap" means an equal percentage.



MR. BARONE: No.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Never?



MR. BARONE: Never -- well, equal percentage --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're never going to be on the same percentage, say, bar as Denmark, which is 45-55?



MR. BARONE: No. Answer, no. Although parts of Minnesota will.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?



MS. CLIFT: The good news is we have two states today each with two female senators -- California and Maine. And Arizona, the five top elected officials are women.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.



MS. CLIFT: So there is progress.



But, John, I know you're dying to give my book a plug. "Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling" examines this issue. And at the rate of change that we're seeing now, it will be 250 years before women achieve parity. So you won't get to see it! (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On that show from which those bites were taken, it was estimated it would be 400 years.



What do you think?



MR. BLANKLEY: I think the conditions that block women from coming into the political system are falling so fast that it could be fairly soon that there will be equal access. How many women choose to go in that process, I have no idea.



MR. CARNEY: I think the rapidity of change, the speed of change is such that it won't take 250 years, it won't take 100 years. We may never reach parity, but the barriers will be non-existent, I believe, certainly before the end of this century.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm going to be far more optimistic. I think we'll have a woman president by 2020, and that, of course, will pull other women into the political arena.



When we come back, the baby boomers are the first generation of women to grow up liberated. They're entering their 50s. So will more women get into politics when more women will become empty-nesters?



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Why aren't there more?



SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): (From videotape.) When you're a female challenger, it's still harder to raise money.



But I also want to say that sometimes society at large holds women to a higher standard.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's been more than a generation since women shattered career barriers in business, law and medicine. Most of the graduate degrees awarded each year are now earned by women. From the military to Silicon Valley to Wall Street, women hold leadership positions in every walk of American life.



So where are all these qualified U.S. women when it comes to running for office? The only woman in the political running in last year's presidential primaries was a Republican, Elizabeth Dole.



Here are the hurdles which trip up female candidates:



Hurdle number one, money. The root of all political candidates' complaints, male and female, is the high cost of campaigning. Fund-raising is harder for women, especially challengers who face an uphill battle to persuade donors that they are politically viable and a good bet.



Hurdle number two, conflict. Juggling careers and domestic bliss is a breeze compared to juggling a political campaign and a family life. The grueling, all-consuming demands of running for office may prevent many women from leaping into the political arena.



Hurdle number three, self-esteem. Research shows that many women won't consider running for office, despite the fact that they are successful leaders in business or their community. It's psychological. They don't think they are qualified. Women have a higher internal threshold than men in terms of viewing themselves as leaders, so they screen themselves out of the pool of qualified applicants. Men, it seems, are not so inhibited.



Question: Is the higher internal threshold the real barrier, do you think, Eleanor Clift?



MS. CLIFT: I think it is one of the factors. Somebody says to a guy, "Hey, why don't you run for the Senate?" and the guys says, "Sure. I'm ready. Where do I go?" You present that same question to a woman and she'll say, "Oh, I can't possibly do it. I have to -- you know, I have to do all my homework, I'm not prepared." And so --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I've got a question for you. Is it because women tend to overvalue authority, and therefore they feel that they're not ready for quite the assumption of that? Do you follow me?



MS. CLIFT: Mm, I don't know if that's it. I think women tend to overprepare for public roles. I mean, the classic example, you look at Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole; Bob Dole wings every speech he gives.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.



MS. CLIFT: Elizabeth Dole, it's got to be perfection. She's not going to go out there and take the risk.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.



MS. CLIFT: So I think that's a cultural --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the money question, why is it that Republicans are inferior to Democrats in raising money for women? Or did you not know that?



MR. BLANKLEY: I worked for a congresswoman candidate, Bobbie Fiedler, running against (Coleman ?) in 1980, and she was very aggressive and successful at raising money. I think you've got to be aggressive to raise the money.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard of EMILY'S List?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, of course.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They do a much better job than their Republican counterparts, do they not?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, they got into it earlier.



MR. BARONE: This is the feminist left, and they do an excellent job of raising money and are a good source of money for women candidates --



MR. BLANKLEY: That's not on the basis of women.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why?



MR. BLANKLEY: They're raising money for liberals who happen to be women. They're not raising money for women.



MR. BARONE: Yeah.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know why? I'll tell you why. Because Republicans, it has been noted, too, in research, Republican women don't even like to vote for Republican women, because Republicans have a tendency to think, more so, by far, than Democrats, that Republican women don't really have the justification. Is that true or false?



(Cross talk.)



MR. BARONE: I doubt that.



MS. CLIFT: I don't know if this is Republican versus Democratic. I think women are harder on women in public life than men are. And maybe it's we think if somebody gets out there and she fails, we somehow all fail. Maybe it's a psychodrama we're playing out against the backdrop of women in public life. But there is some truth to that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about privacy? Women don't like to have their privacy invaded.



MR. CARNEY: I don't think anyone does, but I think women are less prepared generationally -- they haven't been out in the public sector or public sphere that long, and certainly not as long as men have -- to experience that intrusion. But John, I think the irony of the Democratic, you know, success in fundraising is that they sell women as a cause in and of itself -- right? -- elect women because they're women, which is why I think that when we do have a woman president, it's far more likely to be a Republican.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. If women could peer into the men's psyches and see the true extent of their qualifications to lead, would dramatically more women run for office? Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: I think we'll see more women running for office. I don't spend a lot of time looking into people's psyches, so I couldn't say.



MS. CLIFT: You don't have to peer into psyches, you just have to hang around men in the legislature. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison first ran for office in Texas after working as a reporter and observing the male legislators and concluding, "Hey, I can do that."



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good point. Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: I don't think the men's attitude is what's deterring women. Whatever is deterring women from entering, I think it has more to do with raising families and all the time it takes to be --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're talking about whether men are far less inhibited than women in the assumption of authority. The answer, obviously, is yes, don't you think?



MR. CARNEY: Yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.



Issue three: The myth of the female monolith.



GERALDINE FERRARO (Former Democratic vice presidential candidate): (From videotape from 1984.) Being the candidate for vice president of my party is the greatest honor I have ever had. But it's not only a personal achievement for Geraldine Ferraro, and certainly not only the bond that I feel, as I go across this country, with women throughout the country. I wouldn't be standing here if Fritz Mondale didn't have the courage and my party didn't stand for the values that it does, the values of fairness and equal opportunity.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro made history as the first female vice presidential nominee. This historical first led political insiders to forecast a tidal wave of support from women voters. It was the Reagan era. He had just finished his first term. And Ferraro was supposed to deliver the women's vote to the Democrats. The Ferraro tsunami crested long before the November balloting that year, leaving her and running mate Mondale high and dry in all but Minnesota and the District of Columbia.



This fiasco gives rise to a dilemma. In every presidential election, the majority of voters are women. So why don't women band together to dictate the outcome? This year maybe they will. Another high-profile political amazon, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will test the underlying feminist thesis; namely, that most women will vote for another woman when given the choice. This thesis holds that gender -- not income, not race, not education, not age, not ethnicity, but gender -- defines a group of voters sharing common interests and motivations, and gender transcends all other characteristics; hence, there is a, quote, "woman's vote," unquote.



What do you think of the problem as stated?



MR. BARONE: Well, the problem is, to expect all women to band together voting for women, I think, is as silly as expecting women to vote for a male candidate because he's good-looking. You know, people used to think that --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that seems to have been the expectation among a lot of political analysts when they talk about a monolithic gender gap.



MR. BARONE: Well, it's patronizing and stupid. What we're talking about as a gender gap is that a larger percentage of women tend to vote for Democrats than do men, or a smaller percentage for Republicans. Even that has been somewhat wiped out in this election. The initial polls after the Republican convention showed Bush about even with men and women against Gore. So let's see what happens on that.



As for Hillary Rodham Clinton, I know a lot of people in New York, a lot of women who are successful who say, "I don't like her at all. Her success is derivative from her husband's. What's she done in her own right?"



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got 70 percent of women who live in the general area where her home is now, near Westchester, in New York, 70 percent of white women, are not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. Also, we haven't said about the shattering impact of ethnicity on the so-called "female monolith." You have 70 percent of minorities who will vote Democratic. You follow me? And then -- and the Westchester thing shows that class is established by economics, and the economic factor also tends to fragment the so-called "gender monolith."



MR. CARNEY: Of course.



MS. CLIFT: Of course. I don't see why that is so surprising. I think women and men vote on a cluster of issues, and women tend to vote for Democrats because they like their issues.



MR. BLANKLEY: No, look --



MS. CLIFT: And with Hillary, she's a special issue because she does have to prove that she has earned this Senate seat and she's not just riding on her husband's job.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, so we all agree that it -- we all agree that it is time to de-list "gender gap" from the political lexicon.



MS. CLIFT: No, we don't! It'll -- it'll --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We do not?



MR. CARNEY: No.



MR. BARONE: Not clear.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not -- well, there's a little ambiguity, but it's better to get the --



MR. CARNEY: It could be a gender gap without monolith.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if it means monolithic. Okay.



Issue four: Mares only, please. Week after week in June, July and August, George W. and Al Gore pondered their vice presidential picks, and the handicappers worked fast and furiously to keep up with the torrent of names. Despite differences in geography, ideology and age, anyone who made it to the starting gate in this first vice presidential veepstakes for this first election of the new millennium had one thing in common: They were all studs and geldings, but no mares, even though a bevy of thoroughbred mares stood ready on both sides of the aisle -- women like Elizabeth Dole, Christine Todd Whitman, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jennifer Dunn, Mary Landrieu, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Madeleine Albright, Jeanne Shaheen, Donna Shalala, among many more -- but neither Bush nor Gore seriously considered picking a female running mate.



Well, it's up to the group to make up for their errors of omission. Question: Choose a female running mate for Bush or for Gore or for both, and tell us why she or they would have been right for vice president and arguably better than Joe Lieberman or Dick Cheney.



We'll start with you, Barone, and go around the horn.



MR. BARONE: Well, I think the fact is that each of those candidates had a particular problem or reason, including Madeleine Albright, who is not a native-born U.S. citizen and not be eligible to be president.



Condoleezza Rice for George W. Bush. Now, she hasn't held elective office, she has got good expertise at foreign policy. If she'd been appointed a U.S. Senator by Pete Wilson 10 years ago when he was elected governor and vacated his Senate seat -- (laughter) -- she might have been the nominee this time.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's never had elective office.



MR. BARONE: Well, that's why I said that "if."



MR. CARNEY: Big "if."



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She'd be fascinating, though, because she's African American, in addition to the fact that she's a fully tenured professor at Stanford.



MS. CLIFT: Well, for the Republicans, Governor Christie Todd Whitman. Actually, she'd be a good Democratic vice presidential candidate, too. I mean, she's the only woman to be elected and reelected in a major electoral state like New Jersey. She's proved her toughness to the point where she stares down critics on the right and the left, and I think if Bush had picked her, it would have shown a courage that would have won over a lot of swing voters and a lot of Democrats -- well, especially women. But --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, her principal quality you haven't even mentioned. She's a tax cutter. Right?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, but -- yeah. Christie Todd Whitman is a wonderful governor and would be an excellent person on the ticket but for the fact that she's in favor of partial birth abortion, which disqualifies her in the Republican Party.



And the fact is, to answer your question, if there was a woman who was better qualified as a politician than the men who were appointed, either Bush or Gore would have picked her. The fact is, of the group you list and anyone else you can look at, nobody was likely to be a good candidate. That's why no one was chosen.



The pool --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you want to attack the proposition which was stated in the brilliant setup that no woman was considered seriously?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. No woman was -- I agree. No woman was considered seriously. The pool is too small. It was very hard to find a couple of decent men out of a huge pool of 98 percent men.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: See, that goes to the point we've been making throughout this show, that the level of women in political life is so -- is so low --



(Groans.)



MR. CARNEY: John, I --



MS. CLIFT: Wait, John. All right, if you look -- if you look at where our recent presidents come from, they've been former governors. And when you have only three female governors out of 50, I completely agree that the pipeline is too thin.



MR. CARNEY: Right. The pool is small, the bench is thin, but I think it will be improving. We talked about Kay Bailey Hutchison --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a name.



MR. CARNEY: Well, I think, for the Democrats, if you discount Senator Dianne Feinstein, who's already got a long record, that if Kathleen Kennedy Townsend can manage to become elected governor --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is she?



MR. CARNEY: -- she is currently lieutenant governor of Maryland -- and continue to establish a solid record in that office, she would be viable.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's talented. She's got the magic of the Kennedy name.



MR. CARNEY: And she's -- she's smart.



MR. BARONE: The oldest grandchild of Joseph P. Kennedy.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dianne Feinstein wouldn't be bad. She's every bit as talented as Joe Lieberman, is she not?



MR. BARONE: She has one problem, that her husband has a lot of business dealings with China. She's up for reelection this year, as is Lieberman, but in a more contested thing. I think that she really didn't want to be seriously considered.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with predictions.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions.



Michael?



MR. BARONE: There will be no peso devaluation in Mexico as Vicente Fox becomes president.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Whichever party loses in November will put a woman on the ticket in the number-two spot in 2004.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: The exit polling after the November election will show that the gender vote was not decisive.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jay?



MR. CARNEY: Well, in keeping with the subject of the show, the first female president by 2024, and it's a Republican.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A Republican? Really?



MR. CARNEY: I think it's the only way.



MS. CLIFT: It's a Republican? She's a Republican! (Laughs.)



CARNEY: SHE'S a Republican. (Inaudible) -- Republican. (Chuckles.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You sound as though you know who it is.



MR. BARONE: Well, like Margaret Thatcher in England.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Camp David talks will reconvene before September the 13th, which is the date that Arafat has said that the state of Palestine would be declared.



Bye-bye.



(Announcements.)



PBS SEGMENT



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue five: "In God We Trust." The House of Representatives gave its blessing in July to a measure allowing the national motto, "In God We Trust" -- get this -- to be displayed in public buildings. The measure passed with only one representative speaking against it. It's also the latest push to give religion a more prominent role in society.



The Ten Commandments can be publicly displayed, according to a bill approved last year by the House of Representatives.



"With God, All Things Are Possible" -- the motto of the State of Ohio, was given support in June by the House of Representatives.



"In God We Trust" -- the long-standing motto -- can now be displayed in all Colorado public schools following a ruling in July by the state school board.



These measures are all non-binding, meaning it's up to individual institutions to decide whether to feature the messages. Critics say these statements violate separation of church and state. Proponents say the utterances unite people and serve as a moral compass.



Question. George W. Bush mentions Jesus on every third page, and Joe Lieberman mentions God every third paragraph. Will there be more prayer in the public schools during our next presidency, and is that a good idea?



I ask you, Tony.



MR. BLANKLEY: I would like to see people acting in a more religious way without being quite as explicit about it as Lieberman and other politicians have been. I think there's every right to have prayer in the school and references to God on our currency. I don't see any problem with that. But the displaying -- the verbalizing of secular religious -- of a particular religious faith I think is -- it may be constitutional, but it's not recommended.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Bill Clinton's misbehavior is the precipitant for all of the God reference in current presidential rhetoric?



MR. CARNEY: No, I think it preceded his bad behavior. Clinton himself brought a certain measure of that to the office and to the Democratic Party, as did Jimmy Carter before him.



I think, John, we're in an age of confession when successful public figures wear their emotions on their sleeve, and this is true of old-line WASPs, like George W. Bush, as it is of Orthodox Jews like Joe Lieberman. Anyone in public office now, if they look around, is seeing that the way to succeed is to have an emotional catharsis behind --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, why doesn't the Supreme Court go along with this shift in the culture, if that is what's going on, the political culture is changing in this regard?



MS. CLIFT: Because the Supreme Court is right to hold the line.



But what's happening here is an extraordinary rise in spirituality, and I think it has to do with the aging of the baby boomers, who are beginning to understand they're not immortal --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now where are you -- where are you seeing -- where are you seeing that, the rise in spirituality?



MS. CLIFT: It's across the country. I mean, the baby boomers raising children are interested in instilling religious values.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, people today are having an uncontrollable love affair with money. You've got "How to Become a Millionaire" -- "How to Marry a Millionaire."



MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)



MR. BARONE: John, I think you're also seeing -- you're seeing a decline in certain kinds of behaviors that most of us consider to be bad. You're seeing an increase in charitable contribution and giving. I think there's a lot of evidence of what Eleanor is talking about. You've seen surges in the membership of Evangelical churches, of certain kinds of Roman Catholic churches, you've seen surges in Orthodox Judaism, and the Mormon -- the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



Since Jimmy Carter came along the scene and proclaimed himself a born-again Christian, our politicians --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you a baby boomer?



MR. BARONE: Am I a -- it depends on when you start the baby boom, John.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right --



MR. BARONE: I don't think we want to get into birth dates here, you know? (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. How politically correct can you get?



MR. BLANKLEY (?): Yeah. Boy.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He won't reveal his birth date. What I want to know from you is -- as you, as a baby boomer, if what she's saying is true?



MR. BARONE: Yes. I --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you experiencing any kind of a spiritual attraction that you'd care to talk about?



MR. BARONE: No. I think that -- that I care to talk about? No, not that I care to talk about, but I do see evidence around --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see it in your peers?



MR. BARONE: I see it a lot in peers. It's interesting; you talk to members of the press about this sometimes, and you find out that a lot of people that seem to you to be very secular in fact have strong --



MS. CLIFT: Well, and Democrats --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And they want to take -- and they want their children to be brought up in habits of religion.



MR. BARONE: Very often, yes. It's an interesting surprise to me.



MS. CLIFT: And Democrats don't want to concede the values debate to Republicans.



MR. BARONE: Yeah.



MS. CLIFT: Ever since Michael Dukakis lost, there was a sense that he was too secular.



MR. CARNEY: Right.



MS. CLIFT: Democrats have been wrapping themselves in religion in public.



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