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The McLaughlin Group

Issues: Kurdish State / Pope Francis and Capital Punishment / Britain and EU

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

Taped: Friday, February 26, 2016
Broadcast: Weekend of February 26-28, 2016

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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: Flip of A Peace Coin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace, finally, for Israel and for their neighbors. And I can’t do that as well -- as a negotiator, I cannot do that as well if I’m taking big, big sides.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Moving toward a two-state solution, trying to provide more support for the aspirations of the Palestinian people is in the long term best interests of Israel.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and Kurds in Northern Iraq and Northern Syria want independent nations. But both Palestinian and Kurdish political groups are often treated as extremists by those proximate to them, namely and respectively the Israeli and Turkish governments.

And while the GOP and Democratic frontrunners to replace President Obama are saying they will be more favorable to the Palestinians, the Kurds are increasingly ignored. Syria, it seems, is just too complicated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: Are Trump and Hillary in sync? Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: I think on the West Bank, John, they probably agree, and frankly I agree with Donald Trump on this. He said he’s very strongly pro-Israel, but if you’re going to get into a negotiation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Palestinians are going to have to give up the right to return to what is now Israel. Israel is going to have to agree to an entity, a Palestinian entity in Jerusalem. Both sides are going to have make concessions to get any kind of deal.

And while you may be pro-Israel and back Israel, if you’re going to be an honest broker, you’re going to have to push both sides to make concessions. So, I think what Trump said is not the popular thing. It’s not the political thing. It’s not going to make him any gains, but it’s the only way you’re going to get a deal.

Although frankly, after -- I think Kerry’s tried and others have tried, I think a deal is pretty much receding because there’s 650,000 Israelis in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank. and Bibi Netanyahu is not going to pull up those settlements he put down.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, actually, what Trump said is stated U.S. policy over many decades from both Republican and Democratic presidents, that we basically are an honest broker trying to bring about this two-state solution. Prime Minister Netanyahu has basically given some lip service to the two-state solution, but he doesn’t seem real eager to go along with it.

But if you want to talk about the Kurds, there are 30 million or 35 million Kurds. It’s the largest ethnic group that does not have their own homeland, and one of the reasons why the U.S. isn’t weighing in heavily on their side is because Turkey is a NATO ally and Turkey is fiercely opposed to any recognition of the Kurds. They basically consider the Kurds on their border, terrorists.

So, that’s -- so, it’s not going anywhere in terms of getting them a homeland.

MCLAUGHLIN: All right. You heard Eleanor.

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/OPPORTUNITY LIVES: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Why is there less concern for the Kurds than for the Palestinians?

ROGAN: Well, I think at the moment, the reason the Palestinians are much more in the news is because of Donald Trump, quite surprisingly on the Republican side, saying that.

But, look, I agree with Eleanor and Pat, broadly. U.S.’s long-standing policy has been opposition to settlement construction in the East Bank. Parts of the West Bank in a final status deal will remain Israeli, with associated swaps. But it is not something that is helpful to the peace process.

And I think Republicans and Democrats for a long time, President Bush, were right to condemn that, and Republicans should condemn it. So, I give Trump the only credit he’ll ever get from me.

But, you know, when we’re talking about the Kurds specifically, look, in Northern Iraq, in Kurdistan, the Kurds essentially have a de facto autonomous state. What they want and they will eventually have I suspect in Syria under a -- I think even Assad would grant that, and that’s why you see some cooperation with Russia and Assad, is the same kind of thing.

The key, though, I think for the United States there is to push Erdogan into a position where he feels some consolidation and U.S. support against the PKK terrorist group. But at the same time, he doesn’t blur the lines as Russia and Assad do with all the Sunni rebel groups, and that there is a compromise, which has happened before, with some of the Kurdish groups.

MCLAUGHLIN: When did the U.S. first back Kurdish rebels, with arms and supplies?

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: When it became apparent they were the best chance that we had to have an organized force against Assad. And it’s a difficult situation now for the Kurds, because they are an effective ally of ours, but Erdogan is just furious that we are allied with the Kurds, even though the practical reasons of it are very obvious from our point of view. But Turkey is more worried.

ROGAN: And people are worried about antagonizing Erdogan, I think, in the United States.

PAGE: Yes, exactly.

BUCHANAN: It goes back to the 1970s when Henry Kissinger and the Americans gave the Kurds weapons in order to fight Iraqis, to force them to deal with the shah of Iran, and when the shah got what he wanted, then the Kurds were abandoned, and the Kurds were slaughtered and massacred. And the Kurds have a saying, that the Kurds have no friends except the mountains.

And let me say this, that the Kurds in Turkey -- Eleanor is right. You got about 35 million of them, and they’ve got no state. But if they get a state -- and this is why the Turks are so frightened -- if they get a state, it can only be brought about eventually by amputations of four countries, Iran, Iraq, Syria and especially Turkey, where there are 15 millions, and it ain’t going to happen. And if it does happen, there’s going to be a bloody war and the United States will have to get -- intervene to save the Kurds.

CLIFT: Well, using the word "amputation" does make it sound pretty improbable. But there are -- they live in all those areas. And so --

BUCHANAN: Those countries.

CLIFT: And you’re looking at the whole Middle East kind of turmoil in breaking up anyway. So, I don’t think that’s out of the question.

ROGAN: I think Syria and Iraq, I think, there will be, that you can have a de facto autonomous state --

BUCHANAN: You got a magnet on the Turks.

ROGAN: Right.

So, that’s how you put -- and I think you can -- I think a future Turkish government, perhaps not Erdogan, because Erdogan clearly is not playing with a full deck. But you will at least want to push it.

But the Turks would accept a Kurdish government in -- on their border that was not PKK.

BUCHANAN: That guy that doesn’t -- is not playing with a full deck has an army of 3,000 tanks and 500,000 men.

ROGAN: Right. That’s why we’re important as an interlocutor, as the United States, to try and force a compromise there.

CLIFT: Yes, this is mostly --

MCLAUGHLIN: If you’re so familiar with Kissinger, how did Kissinger rationalize cutting aid to the Kurds after promising to help their fight for independence?

BUCHANAN: Because the state is a cold monster.

ROGAN: Right, realistically – a leviathan.

BUCHANAN: Including the United States of America. We’ve done that before. We push people to fight and we get tired. You might talk to the South Vietnamese who were in the South China Sea, all those boat people.

CLIFT: Yes. Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds, and President George H.W. Bush allegedly was coming to their rescue.

ROGAN: And didn’t.

CLIFT: And created a no-fly zone, encouraged them to rebel, and then walked away from it.

So, they’ve been let down by the U.S. a number of times.

BUCHANAN: They have no friends.

CLIFT: Right.

PAGE: Like the Shia in the south of Iraq, after that first war.

BUCHANAN: The Shia, you’re right. First Gulf War, they were just they rose up, we told them to. So they got slaughtered. They lost 50,000 dead, we did nothing.

ROGAN: That’s right.

BUCHANAN: I will say George H.W. Bush did some Americans into northern Iraq to say, in effect, hands off the Kurds, can’t do to them what you did to the Shia.

CLIFT: This is somewhat of a theoretical discussion because the more urgent crisis is really all of the bloodshed in Syria, and they have a tentative cessation of hostilities. So, we should all hope that that takes.

ROGAN: One positive thing in all the complexity, though, is that there are divergent political groups, right? This is like the Shia, they have the school of Najaf, you know, in Iraq, and there’s the school of Khom (ph) in Iran. And the Kurds, you know, Barzani. There are interplays that you can actually use, you can force compromise and say, American power, we’re going to side with you, do this -- you know, America with NATO.

So, it’s complicated but doable.

BUCHANAN: The truth is American power is receding, and certainly under Obama and I don’t disagree entirely. He says, look, it’s a horrible mess in Syria, we’re not going to put American forces in there. And I think most Americans fundamentally do not want to get involved in these wars.

Trump is playing on that. Cruz is playing on that. As -- Rand Paul played on that.

CLIFT: In the next debate, somebody should ask Donald Trump what he would do as president, whether he would get more engaged in Syria, or less engaged, because the status quo is not going to work. And frankly, I don’t know which way he would go.

He’s got a lot of bellicose rhetoric, but basically, he doesn’t seem all that interested in getting involved in overseas engagements.

BUCHANAN: I mean, in the Middle East, who is anxious and enthusiastic about sending another American Army?

PAGE: Nobody.

BUCHANAN: We do in Afghanistan, in Libya and Iraq, or Yemen, or all these places. Why?

PAGE: That’s right.

BUCHANAN: They are horrible messes and we ought to try to resolve them and stop the wars, but send an American army in there, nobody wants it.

PAGE: Yes, there’s a long of hand wringing going on, but among the Republican candidates, they all criticize Obama’s action, but none of them want to put American troops in either. So --

BUCHANAN: You know, I think Trump, when he does speak, so does Cruz. They say, look, don’t get involved there.

MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: will the dream of Kurdish independence ever be realized?

Pat?

BUCHANAN: I -- there’s not going to be a single Kurdish state without an all-out war. But I do agree, there are autonomous sections of Syria and Iraq. But right now, the Turks are really cracking down on the Kurds in the southeastern quadrant of the country.

CLIFT: I think eventually, it will be codified what they basically already have.

ROGAN: Yes. Look, I think what -- basically what Pat said, semi-autonomous.

PAGE: Yes. I think what you won’t see, though, is part of Turkey being part of Kurdistan, because that’s the main thing that Turkey does not want to have happen. And as long as the status quo exists, you’re going to have Kurdistan, or a theoretical Kurdistan divided between Turkey and every place else.

MCLAUGHLIN: What I show here, is given deteriorating events in the Middle East, redrawing of boundaries and political jurisdictions is more probably now than ever before. Does that float your boat?

PAGE: I think --

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: That floats pretty well. I think it makes as far as the near future is concerned.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Pontificating the Death Penalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Speaking at the Vatican last Sunday, Pope Francis called for a global ban on the death penalty. Capital punishment is, the pontiff says, a breach of the biblical commandment, Thou shalt not murder. And in no small part, the pope’s words are aimed at the United States. Today, nearly 3,000 prisoners remain on U.S. death row.

But the Catholic death penalty debate is nothing new. Fourteen years ago this month, Patrick J. Buchanan defended his fellow Catholic, just deceased Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, for the justice’s support for capital punishment. Mr. Buchanan asserted, quote, "The death penalty has been supported by the Catholic Church since the first Pentecost," end quote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: So, Pat, who was your right, yourself or the popes?

BUCHANAN: Well, the pope is speaking not ex cathedra on faith and morals. He’s giving his opinion. Several previous popes have opposed the death penalty, but Vatican City had the penalty up until 1969 -- Vatican City.

MCLAUGHLIN: What this ex cathedra business?

BUCHANAN: That’s when the pope -- I mean, what he’s given you is his political opinion and his moral opinion on what is right. But Catholics do not have to -- they’re obligated to respect what he says, but not to follow it.

Now, John, look, I mean -- the death penalty, take the Inquisition, a number of folks died under the Inquisition. And the Fifth Commandment says thou shall not murder. Murder is the killing of the innocent. And that’s right. Nobody recommends the killing of the innocent.

But you take a person like Charles Manson, or some of these killers today, that murder all these children and things, I think it remains the proper punishment. It is up to the state to decide, it is up to the individual states to decide, and nations to decide. And I think Scalia was right, although my guess was, what Scalia did was basically say the states have the right to decide, and that nobody can outlaw it at the federal level.

CLIFT: Well, a number of people have been sent to their death wrongly, and we’ve had some people on death row, and it’s been discovered through DNA evidence years later that they were innocent. So, you’re not always 100 percent certain you’re sending the, quote, "right person" to their death.

As long as I’ve been politically aware, the Catholic Church has been opposed to capital punishment, and I think that’s the moral position. And in fact, I have some good Catholic friends who oppose abortion, and felt that it was logically consistent to also oppose capital punishment.

And throughout this country, it’s difficult to get pharmaceutical companies to even make the mixture to kill people. The states are bailing out, out of this. I mean, it’s costly. They have years of appeals on death row. So, I think capital punishment is a bad idea, whose time has long gone.

PAGE: You know, my opinion -- look, I think, I agree with Pat -- and I was reading some of the death penalty cases. And there are some crimes so abhorrent -- and President Obama I think, you know, he said this, that there are some crimes that are so grotesque, such an insult both to the nature of society, to what all of us, whether secular or religious, would call actually a kind of natural human law or a natural law, depending on a philosophical perspective.

But, you know, one of the specifics I looked at, where children are involved, with aggravating factors, without going into the details, and then murdered, that is where I think the death penalty has a smaller role to play than it – it should be more restricted than perhaps it has been in the past, more forensic evidence or rightful appeals, but it is very expensive and in some cases, it should be there on the books for a jury to decide.

MCLAUGHLIN: How long did the Inquisition last?

BUCHAHAN: Three hundred years. Spanish Inquisition, or which one? They’re all --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Inquisition.

CLIFT: Right.

BUCHANAN: I would say 300 years. The most famous member of it was Don Thomas de Torquemada, as you know, John.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

BUCHANAN: I think he was a Dominican, wasn’t he?

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, 600-year-long inquisitions, plural.

Gregory IX created the Inquisition in 1231, to deal with the Cathar heresy and --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: -- until the 19th century.

Historians rate the death toll at 5,000 on the low end, and get this, 600,000 on the high end.

BUCHANAN: I’ve never said that. I’ve seen, I’ve seen, look, Lenin --

MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute -- has the pope specifically advocated the death penalty?

PAGE: I don’t know, John, but I do know that while Cardinal Joseph Bernadine, the late Cardinal Bernadine, in Chicago, used to speak of the seamless garment, meaning that you respect life at the beginning and at the end. And thus, he was opposed to abortion and to the death penalty. I think that was important --

BUCHANAN: But, Clarence, you would agree that an unborn child is totally innocent?

PAGE: Yes.

BUCHANAN: And you’re killing -- when you kill some like that. Charlie Manson --

CLIFT: Yes.

BUCHANAN: -- is not totally innocent.

PAGE: I don’t know about the nature of the unborn child, though.

CLIFT: What about loving the --

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: You are too certain about the mystery of life before birth than I am.

BUCHANAN: Let’s say an infant is innocent, and there’s a difference between killing an innocent person and executing Charlie Manson, is there not?

CLIFT: Yes, I thought --

PAGE: Yes. There’s also a difference between Charlie Manson and a lot of these Innocence Project people, prisoners, who have been released from death row because of faulty convictions. And we’ve got a lot of those. And that’s a good reason right there to be opposed to it.

BUCHANAN: Look, I supported the guy, I supported John Demjanjuk, who they were going to send to death as the death guard at Treblinka, and they discovered he was never even at Treblinka.

CLIFT: Right. Well, I thought church doctrine was you hate the sin but you love the sinner, isn’t that what the religion teaches people to believe?

BUCHANAN: You can pray for his soul – you can pray for his soul, but you expedite his passage to the next world.

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: It doesn’t say kill the sinner because you hate the sin.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if that’s what you believe -- bear in mind that Pope Innocent III, among others, advocated the death penalty, specifically, quote, "Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God, which conflicts with church dogma, must be burned without pity."

PAGE: It’s probably good thing in those days.

BUCHANAN: But, John, popes preached the Crusades, which resulted in many, many deaths of Muslims and others. They preached wars. And in wars, people get killed and there’s collateral damage, where innocent people unintentionally get killed.

CLIFT: Yes.

BUCHANAN: I do agree if you ought to, if there’s any doubt about the guilt of an individual, if I were a governor, any doubt, I would say life, switch it to life imprisonment.

ROGAN: And that’s why you have that vigorous appeals process. But I think, you know, when we’re talking about the Inquisition, we’re talking about the Crusades, we’re talking about the central reality – we were just talking about Israel, Jerusalem -- that all these under currents of theological struggles over centuries and centuries, to some degree, have relevance today. But where do we focus?

And I would say the key thing at the moment, looking around the world, is that you try and forge consensus where you can -- we’re talking about the Turks and the Kurds -- but you also identify those people on the fringe element.

And I would say the key here is really the people like ISIS, Salafi jihadists, that -- grapple with that as their essence, and you identify the unique tenets, where they place in Islam, but why they usurp the decency of Islam.

MCLAUGHLIN: How many states have the death penalty?

ROGAN: I think about half.

PAGE: About half, I think.

BUCHANAN: I would say 20 to 25.

ROGAN: Yes.

PAGE: Yes, even more important --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: And they rarely exercise it.

ROGAN: You’ve got to give me the answer.

BUCHANAN: You came on the set without --

ROGAN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: He’s the failed inquisitor.

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: The states to do of the death penalty have been actually executing fewer and fewer. So, it’s hard to keep count, because a lot of states haven’t executed anybody in years, because it is so expensive and impractical for a lot of different reasons.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, 94 countries have the death penalty, but of those, seven allow it only for crimes against humanity, such as war crime or genocide.

BUCHANAN: What about the guy Breivik, up there in Norway, what’d he kill? Seventy-four kids, and they gave him 22 years or something. This is insane.

PAGE: That’s as much as their law allows there, because they have so few homicides.

ROGAN: And I think that’s one area where --

BUCHANAN: But that’s injustice.

ROGAN: And that’s one area where I think American liberals who have advocated against the death penalty are actually much more persuasive on paper than liberals in Europe, because liberals in Europe have to look at that.

People should go and Google Ian Huntley, who murdered two 10-year-old school girls in the U.K., and he’s on a 40-year term. Anyone in the middle in the United States said, this is a joke.

CLIFT: Yes, before we criticize Norway, why don’t we look at their track record, in terms of violent crime? They’re probably doing pretty well. So, I think --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Right, exactly.

ROGAN: So anxious about the executions up there.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Brexit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

BORIS JOHNSON, LONDON MAYOR: But after great deal of heartache, I don’t think there’s anything else I can do. I will be advocating Vote Leave or whatever the team is called.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, hopes that on June 23rd, British referendum voters will pull their nation out of the European Union.

But Prime Minister David Cameron disagrees. He says that he has won E.U. guarantees on Britain’s sovereignty and its economy, and that voters should thus decide to stay in the E.U.

But while the polls suggest a small majority of Britons favor continued E.U. membership, Mr. Johnson’s leave campaign is increasingly confident.

That worries Secretary of State John Kerry. Speaking this week, Mr. Kerry called for a, quote, "strong U.K., staying in a strong European Union", end quote.

International businesses are also warning that a so-called "Brexit" will force them to reconsider their investments in the United Kingdom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: What’s in the U.S.interest, an independent Britain or Britain subordinated to the E.U.? Eleanor Clift?

CLIFT: I think a unified Europe is in the U.S. interest, especially with all of the problems that Europe is facing, not only the economy but the flood of immigrants. If they’re having trouble struggling to deal with it as the E.U., they’re going to have more trouble dealing it individually. And I think the U.K. is the big dog over there and it would be a huge loss to the European Union and I think to the whole essence of collective action, which -- and I think the U.S. is counting on that.

BUCHANAN: It’s a struggle of the head --

MCLAUGHLIN: Six of his cabinet members want to leave the E.U.

CLIFT: Well, but the prime minister doesn’t.

And former Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t, and I don’t know, six out of how many. So --

BUCHANAN: It’s a very big cabinet, that’s right.

CLIFT: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN: John, this is a matter of the head versus the heart. The Americans broke away from Great Britain, the greatest empire in the world. The Irish broke away in 1921 when Britain was the greatest empire in the world, victorious, and they were the poorest country in Europe.

What is happening across Europe and Great Britain is the predominance of ethno-nationalism over collectivism, the idea the nation state getting back to your roots, country, and things like that, over the whole idea of the E.U., which was dominant since 1950 on.

John, you saw, the Soviet Union came apart, 15 countries, Yugoslavia came apart, Czechoslovakia came apart. And what is happening with this invasion of Europe by these mass migrations from the Middle East and the rest of it is the European Union is coming apart. The Schengen Agreement is going down. Borders are being set up all through the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

I mean, the break up of countries and -- or excuse me, the break up of collectives is the main driving force of the age.

ROGAN: I think in the U.K., the issue is more nationalism than ethno-nationalism. I think that’s much more of an issue actually in places like Germany, because they frankly allowed too many immigrants in, but also Scandinavia.

But what you’re going to see here I suspect is that Britain will stay in the European Union, because ultimately, unlike Pat -- most --

CLIFT: It’s an economic decision.

ROGAN: Yes, exactly. Most Britons believe there is a mutual free trade benefit by that membership. But the absolute point here is that the sovereignty issue has quite frankly been settled. I think the E.U. project has a problem. I think the United States recognizes that and we recognize it is in our interest to have Britain as part of the E.U., so, for example, Britain can influence Germany against, for example, Russia, and there’s that anchor point in American favor because of the special relationship.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is it appropriate for the secretary of state to meddle in a British referendum?

PAGE: He’s not meddling too deeply, and we have a special relationship anyway with Britain, and they understand that. I think David Cameron will probably be able to stave this off with enough incentives. But it is true, though, I must concede to my friend Pat that there is indeed a rethinking across Europe about ethno-nationalism, about sovereignty, about obligations. And part of it is Angela Merkel’s problems there in Germany now.

BUCHANAN: If Britain goes, leaves Europe, Scotland will leave Great Britain. As for Merkel, she’s Person of the Year in "Time." I would be surprised as I said in my predictions at the end of the year that she survives this year, because of her mishandling of the migrant crisis, and because of what John said. They’re going to start pouring in, in the spring.

CLIFT: Yes. You call it mishandling -- you call it mishandling. I think she handled it correctly.

BUCHANAN: Good, because Angela --

(LAUGHTER)

CLIFT: And she’s doing the right thing in standing up for treating these people respectfully.

BUCHANAN: Good liberal. Good liberal.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Pat --

CLIFT: And that’s a good thing and --

(LAUGHTER)

CLIFT: And let’s see, yes, yes.

ROGAN: It’s a good moral thing, though.

CLIFT: So, it’s a political -- it’s a good moral thing. It’s a political crisis. I don’t think they’re going to oust her over that. And I think your -- you make a good case, but you way overstate it.

BUCHANAN: There are Donald Trumps in Europe, Eleanor.

MCLAUGHLIN: Prediction, Pat?

BUCHANAN: The Ides of March, March 15th, we will know exactly who the nominees for both parties are, and it will be Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: It’s not too soon to predict that the Democrats will take back the Senate on the strength of the Republican obstructionism to the president’s Supreme Court appointment and how it will affect seven Republicans running in swing states, states that Barack Obama carried.

ROGAN: I predict Pat will long retain his exceptional hearing, but also in the coming weeks, the Islamic State’s threat with chemical weapons will become much more on the radar, including with terrorism plots in Europe.

PAGE: I predict a rare bipartisan consensus is building for legislation in regard to how the government can persecute, using data from cellphones, which is the issue with the current Apple case, and expect legislating over doing this next year.

MCLAUGHLIN: I predict as warm weather returns to Europe, so will the flood of Middle Eastern immigrants. The resulting border chaos will be the vivid illustration of the impotence of the E.U. and give a huge boost to proponents of Britain’s exit.

I also have a forced prediction: Chris Christie’s endorsement to Trump will be a big win for him on Super Tuesday -- for Trump that is. Yes or no?

Pat?

BUCHANAN: Trump is going to sweep 10 out of 11 states or so, but Texas is still open.

CLIFT: Christie deals death blow to establishment efforts to take over Trump.

ROGAN: I don’t think it will be that important. I think in the coming days, you’re going to see Jeb Bush make a very profound statement about Trump’s negative role in the Republican Party.

PAGE: I think Trump is peaking out. He’s still going to get the nomination anyway. So --

MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

PAGE: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.

Bye-bye!

END