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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST:
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

GUESTS:
ELEANOR CLIFT
TONY BLANKLEY
CLARENCE PAGE
PAT BUCHANAN

DATE: SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 2002

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Forecast: Warm and sunny.

DEFENSE SECRETARY DONALD RUMSFELD: (From videotape.) To be in an eight-by-eight cell in beautiful sunny Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is not inhumane treatment.

(Cuban music.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Kabul this weekend, high temperatures are in the twenties, dropping to zero at night. In Guantanamo Bay, it's highs in the eighties, lows in the seventies, and comfortably breezy. But the U.S. treatment of the 158 fighters from the Afghanistan conflict now at Camp X-Ray is drawing comment worldwide.

TONY BENN (MEMBER OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT): (From videotape.) Can you imagine American troops shaved and thrown in a cage? I mean, every newspaper has said, "This is barbarism, dictatorship, this is tyranny. We've got to crush it." But when the Americans do it, they think they can get away with it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The redoubtable and durable Tony Benn notwithstanding, British officials who visited Camp X-Ray and met with their three nationals took a different view.

BEN BRADSHAW (MEMBER OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT): (From videotape.) Our officials' reports confirm that the three are British and that they are all in good physical health. During lengthy discussions, they spoke without inhibition. None complained of any ill treatment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the U.S. secretary of Defense himself makes no apologies.

SEC. RUMSFELD: (From videotape.) Whatever one may conclude as to how the Geneva Convention may or may not apply, the United States is treating them -- all detainees -- consistently with the principles of the Geneva Convention. They are being treated humanely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Mort Halperin, a Clinton National Security Council member and State Department and Defense Department official and -- his crowning achievement -- a one-time McLaughlin Group panelist, rebuts Rummy.

MORTON HALPERIN (COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS): (From videotape.) It's not for the secretary of Defense to simply decide that a whole group of people can be treated not as prisoners of war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is there a good reason to resist granting the detainees POW status, as Mort Halperin seems to think they should have? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, there's a good reason. These are not honorable soldiers. These individuals are terrorists. Their objective is the mass murder of innocent civilians. They're very dangerous people. Some of those characters down there are like Hannibal Lecter, frankly. They've been biting Americans. They've been threatening to kill them at the first opportunity. They're very dangerous.

I think they have not been tortured. None of them has been killed. They're held in these cages, which is far better than our Special Forces right now in Afghanistan. They're preparing permanent facilities. This is the European left, John, once again trashing the United States at the first opportunity. They were silenced by what we did in Afghanistan, and now they're out of their little cages.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, Pat's hyperbole aside, the reason to not grant them prisoner-of-war status is so that you can interrogate them. If they're prisoners of war, they're entitled to legal representation, and all they have to present is their name and their rank and serial number. They don't have to ask any questions.

But the way the administration went on about this, with Rumsfeld with all those cavalier and flip comments about how they're really getting a better deal than they got in the caves in Afghanistan, he's flaunting the rules of the Geneva Convention and he's flaunting the rules of the U.S. Army, which says --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How so? How so?

MS. CLIFT: -- people are entitled to be considered prisoners of war unless determined otherwise by a competent tribunal. All they have to do is give these people a hearing. Not all of them are Hannibal Lecters. A lot of them, the administration is now saying, are going to be returned to their home countries; they're rather ordinary fighters. The administration has created an international problem for itself, lost the propaganda war unnecessarily.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Her point is well-taken with regard to the POW status permitting only name, serial number and status.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, that's one of the reasons.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But because it's Camp X-Ray, and Camp X-Ray means we want to see everything you've got inside your head to tell us where the al Qaeda components are in our society and around the world. Not bad -- not bad not to declare them POWs on those prudential grounds. Correct?

MR. BLANKLEY: There were a number of good reasons. One, Eleanor is correct that we have to be able to interrogate them, and you can't. Two, the country from which they come, which doesn't exist as a fighting entity --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct. It's not a nation-state military.

MR. BLANKLEY: Therefore, as Charles Krauthammer very astutely made the point this week, that we ought to encourage the following of the Geneva accords by fighting as nations and not reward bands of terrorists with the safety of civilized combat, which the Geneva Convention gives. So there's two reasons not to do it.

Third, the protective reason -- we're not in this as a game. These people, several of them, if we release them, they'll go back to killing Americans. There's no country where they're going to go back to like Germans or Japanese after the war and go back into their countries and behave like citizens. They are without citizenship.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Tony Benn needs to be reminded that Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, had British citizenship, and that three of his people --

MR. PAGE: Commonwealth citizens.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- are now there?

MR. PAGE: That's right, although I think Tony Blair is the one who's really the person we ought to be thinking about here. I'm wondering, why is our administration so concerned about this controversy? It really was generated in the British press. They had a picture and a headline that said, "Tortured." There's no evidence of torture.

And yet our administration has told us that we're not bringing any more prisoners to Guantanamo for a while. Why is that?

MR. BLANKLEY: I agree with Clarence --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- the fact that they haven't got enough barbed wire. I think they're worried about pressure on Tony Blair. They're worried about this political controversy spreading to our allies.

MS. CLIFT: All they have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, actually, Blair defused everything with that report from --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Should the detainees be given POW status? Yes or no. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: They should be treated as POWs but should not be given that status.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: They should get a hearing before a competent tribunal, and if they do not merit POW status, then they perhaps should be treated more like spies. But if we're going to be fighting a war against terrorism for the rest of our natural lives, this government is going to have to put in place legal machinery to handle this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, they should not be treated as prisoners of war because they're not prisoners of war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should they be treated any better than --

MR. BLANKLEY: They should be treated with a minimum humanity that we should give to any human.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should they be treated any better than FDR treated the Nazi saboteurs whom he executed peremptorily?

MR. PAGE: Well, I --

MR. BLANKLEY: It depends.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can't do that?

MR. BUCHANAN: You can't execute people who have been captured. They didn't sneak into the country in wartime.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So they should get better treatment, but this is it.

MR. BUCHANAN: They should not be executed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They should not be executed.

MR. PAGE: Give them a trial before you hang them, other than a trial by media. But we do need to re-address the status of people as terrorists, not as PWs in the traditional sense.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No further addressing is needed: No POW status.

When we come back, Martin Luther King achieved black empowerment through protest. But has this tactic been trumped by a new model for today?

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Patrick, here it is; the latest literary triumph. What's the box office on this book?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, we got 115,000 printed and --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where are you on the New York Times hit parade?

MR. BUCHANAN: Number four on the New York Times.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where were you last week?

MR. BUCHANAN: Number 11.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleven to four.

MR. BUCHANAN: Thanks to Matt Drudge and our good friend, Mr. Blankley, who did a better summary of my book than I did myself in his column.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, I noticed in the book that you got a lot of help from the United Nations to do this book -- a lot of help.

MR. BUCHANAN: I wrote them a letter.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you sold out, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: I wrote them a letter. I said, "Since Palm Beach came in, I'm not going to be president. The U.N. is not going to be leaving the United States. So I need some help with my book."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Joe Chamey (sp) did a wonderful job at the U.N.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Joe Chamey (sp). Who is he?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's the population guy, and all the demographers use his numbers. He's excellent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's at the United Nations.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. When we visited --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has anyone attacked -- this book is built largely on statistics put in very readable form, in very cogent form. Congratulations on that. But has anybody attacked the statistics in this book?

MR. BUCHANAN: Not one person so far.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's very sobering.

Issue two: They're back.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) My call to Congress is not let the year 2002 become a bitter political year. Now, I know a lot of them are running for office, and that's fine. But there are some things that are more important than political party. The national security is more important than political party, and I appreciate the way Democrats and Republicans have worked together. Energy is more important than political party. Jobs are more important than political party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Congress is back. But as for Mr. Bush's bipartisanship -- dream on, sir.

Key issues before this session: One, Enron; eight committees holding hearings. Grave and sickening as this debacle is, on an importance scale it's a distracting sideshow as compared to the vital initiatives in public policy that the nation is crying for.

Two, fast-track legislation, a/k/a TPA -- trade promotion authority -- giving the president the power to negotiate trade agreements without fear of delaying congressional amendments, passed by the House last year but sidelined in the Senate by Majority Leader Daschle, notwithstanding the measure's massive economic and jobs benefits.

Three, Energy Act of 2001 -- a Daschle stall since August.

Four, economic stimulus package, creating jobs in America, another Daschle stall.

Beyond that, Mr. Daschle wants to call off the Bush tax cut law passed by the House, 230 to 198, and the Senate, 62 to 38, last spring and signed by the president.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER TOM DASCHLE (D-SD): (From videotape.) We are in a position that could be very similar to what Enron did to its people -- the way we look at the impact of the tax cut, the impact of the budget, the impact of what the Bush budget is having today on the American people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The arguments are not restricted to these key issues. In fact, 50 bills -- that's 5-0 -- passed by the House are still frozen in the Daschle-manipulated Senate.

Question: Will the Democrats actually try to roll back last year's enacted tax cut? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, Bush is going to get the trade authority. He's not going to get drilling in ANWR and he's not going to get his economic stimulus bill, which is a giveaway to corporations. And Enron, thank you, has made that impossible.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Voided that, huh?

MS. CLIFT: Right, exactly. In terms of the tax cut, why should the Democrats commit hari-kari and try to repeal a tax cut that the president has the votes to continue and that he said he would veto if they tried to repeal it? Let that tax cut hang like a millstone around President Bush's neck, because he's going to have to go up there and defend all the red ink in that budget. And if it weren't for that tax cut, the government would have finished with a small surplus this year.

MR. BLANKLEY: I'll tell you something funny. The Enron scandal is sucking all the oxygen out of other domestic news stories, so that when, on February 4th, the budget is put in and the issue that Eleanor and others would like to see elevated to prime observation occurs, there will be very little coverage. We're only a long week away from it now.

Normally in the budget cycle we'd be hearing story after story. The Washington Post would have front-page stories on leaked budget numbers. But it's all Enron, Enron. Now, this works actually to the White House's advantage, because they're confident, I believe, that there is no scandal there that's going to tinge them. So this is simply a large storm to the side that's sucking attention away from the one embarrassing issue they have to face this season.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting. Okay, as we noted, there are eight committees at least that are going to be focusing on Enron. Now, in the matter of Enron, there is a new poll. "Did the Bush administration do anything wrong in connection with the Enron bankruptcy?" Answer: 7 percent yes, the administration did do something wrong; 73 percent say, "We don't know enough to judge." So the jury is still out. What does this poll tell you? I ask you, Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: What it tells me is that the work of the New York Times and Washington Post hasn't yet succeeded.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Are you talking about that long editorial in the New York Times?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, they're all just -- story after story after story.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the LA Times editorial?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, they've got -- first, it doesn't have anything explosive, no sex appeal in it now. But it is doing this. They're hauling journalists into it, all these -- Ralph Reed is in there; all these people in both parties. It looks like sort of the scandal of an entire government and capitalist class and political class. But the Bush people have come up clean. The only problem is, I do think Mr. Cheney is probably going to have to give up the names to that little commission that put together his energy package.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Billy Tauzin has a good idea on that. He can talk to the GAO, the government administration --

MR. BUCHANAN: Right -- General Accounting Office.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and he can tell them who was there and what was generally said at the meeting, and this will satisfy the requirement without getting into who said what.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who will that satisfy, John? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit: Will Enron turn into a partisan blame game, especially in Congress? This is an exit question. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's too amorphous now. The Democrats will try. It won't work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it become a blame game?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. Democrats will try. It won't work.

MS. CLIFT: Enron is the gift that keeps on giving, and we've already gotten campaign finance reform now. There's going to be a vote forced in the House. We're going to get changes in the law in 401Ks and pensions. And the era of deregulation, Pat, is over.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you say that despite Robert Rubin's calls into Treasury to suck up for Enron?

MS. CLIFT: You cannot deflect the calls to Mr. Rubin.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you say that --

MS. CLIFT: This administration is filled with Enron ex-employees, stockholders.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- knowing that Chuck Schumer got $320,000 from 1995 to the present, last year, from the accounting association?

MR. PAGE: Are you trying to make this a partisan --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you trying to say that Joe Lieberman, who got $250,000 from Enron for his various organizations, including his own --

MR. BUCHANAN: He ought to recuse himself. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- this therefore is going to be all a load dumped on the Republicans?

MR. BLANKLEY: Terry McAuliffe --

MS. CLIFT: More Republicans than Democrats.

MR. BLANKLEY: Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, set the record straight this last Sunday, I believe.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did he say?

MR. BLANKLEY: He said that he certainly hopes there will be no political advantage to the Democrats from the Enron scandal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think we should turn that videotape over to Eleanor?

MR. PAGE: It's not a partisan struggle you need to be concerned about. It is the fact that campaign finance reform, deregulation, and Social Security, the whole notion of putting all of your nest egg into Wall Street, doesn't look as attractive now --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So can we --

MR. PAGE: -- (inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we say that Enron for the Democrats is flag-waving in the dark?

Issue three --

MS. CLIFT: No, we can't, John. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- achievement over protest.

CORETTA SCOTT KING: (From videotape.) His dream of brotherhood and sisterhood included all Americans of every race, united as one people, determined to fulfill the promises of our great democracy and to build the beloved community.

FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH: (From videotape.) Dr. King exerted a tremendous influence on his time, and he continues to speak to ours as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No question, Martin Luther King speaks as much to our time as he did 30 years ago to his -- in his spirit, influence, and philosophy of non-violent social change. And there has been change. So the time has come to ask if King's style of leadership -- the politics of protest -- remains the appropriate model for the black community. "King's protest model is proving obsolete, trumped by a culture of achievement." So writes black columnist Robert George.

Some of the achievements:

Item: Black leaders in corporate America: Merrill Lynch -- Stanley O'Neal, CEO; American Express -- Ken Chenault, CEO; AOL Time Warner -- Richard Parsons, CEO, incoming.

Item: U.S. government: Secretary of State Colin Powell; National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice; Secretary of Education Roderick Paige.

Item: Positive trends: Black poverty rate, 1959, 55 percent; 1999, 24 percent.

Item: Income gap: 1940 to 1997, black earnings as a percent of white earnings almost doubled.

Okay, the bad news:

Item: Ongoing inequalities: Joblessness, December 2001: Whites, 4.8 percent; blacks, 9.4 percent. Average annual income: Whites, $42,000; blacks, $25,400. Also, out-of-wedlock births: Whites, 27 percent; blacks, 69 percent.

Many say these hard statistics show it is too soon to shift gears. The spokesman for this less optimistic view increasingly is Al Sharpton, who seeks to take the crown of national black leader from the tarnished Jesse Jackson.

New York's Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently sees the drift. He shocked elements of New York's political community when he schlepped uptown to spend King Day with Sharpton, something Rudolf Giuliani, over eight years, sedulously refused to do. Bloomberg, by the way, won almost 25 percent of the black vote in New York's recent mayoralty race -- unprecedented for a Republican.

Equally astonishing, if not more so, was the array of influential black capitalists, all invincibly Democrats, who endorsed Bloomberg: Earl Graves of Black Enterprise Magazine; Ed Lewis of Essence Magazine; and, most incredibly, Pierre Sutton of Inter City Broadcasting. Pierre is the son of black Democratic political titan Percy Sutton.

Question: By battling segregation, Dr. King opened doors. No one can diminish that. But has King's tactic of non-violent social change -- which is fine; that's more of a philosophy -- through protest, which is a tactic, to achieve black empowerment, has that become obsolete by reason of achievement trumping it and by reason of the slackening impact of protest?

MR. PAGE: Not entirely, John. I don't have anything to disagree with in your report. That was a very good summation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you like the report?

MR. PAGE: I really liked it, especially that part about the progress we've made over the last 30 years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thirty years.

MR. PAGE: I'll talk to you about a raise later. (Laughter.) But one of the things you didn't mention was that on Martin Luther King Day, Mayor Bloomberg did not meet with those black capitalists. He went to Al Sharpton.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I did. I thought I made that clear. He was with Sharpton.

MR. PAGE: On King Day.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On King Day, right.

MR. PAGE: He went to Sharpton's headquarters, right. And this means that the politics of protest still has some leverage when time comes to get votes in the black community. Why is that? Because it's a voice of anger and discontent. As long as you've got some gaps out there and some fear, resentment, you're going to have protest leaders.

However, you know, Sharpton and Jackson seem to be having trouble finding enough causes to keep going. I mean, this week they were down in Houston protesting Enron. That's not exactly --

MS. CLIFT: I want to point out that Newsweek's cover story this week has those three African-American chieftains on the cover, and the theme is this very same theme that you have just mentioned, the culture of achievement. But the point is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did they talk about the culture of achievement trumping the protest technique of --

MS. CLIFT: No. But also there's an awareness here on the part of white Americans. I mean, Martin Luther King was the most prominent black leader, but there were a lot of other voices out there as well. And, in fact, the black community is as complicated and diverse as the white community, and we shouldn't be shocked that we've got people achieving in all sorts of fields.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, there's a tremendous segment of the black community that's moved into middle America, but there's still hyphenated Americanism, which Sharpton represents, which tries to move politically by coalescing the black vote sort of against the white community, if you will. And New York ethnic politics has got to be played.

So there's two things going on here. One is a tremendous move into the middle class, the achievement culture. The other is this thing that Jackson and Sharpton are working. I think the civil rights movement has degenerated in many cases into a business and where you get Sharpton and Jackson into a racket.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Bloomberg err politically in legitimizing, if that's what he was doing, Sharpton?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, no, they all --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: Democrats -- they've all got to do that in New York.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. BUCHANAN: They have to do it.

MR. BLANKLEY: Sharpton --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has to do it and he did the right thing.

MR. BLANKLEY: Sharpton proved the power of his black vote control in the last election, because Green, the Democrat, wouldn't kiss his ring. And then he released the votes, as much as he could. That's probably one of the reasons that Green lost. He's now a power player.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a --

MS. CLIFT: New York is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, hold on. This is a fascinating subject. We've got to get back to it. But now, we'll be right back.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, fast. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: By the middle of the decade, Japan will be forced to default on its public debt, bringing a gigantic crisis into the global economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Frightening. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: More fallout from Enron: The administration will back away from trying to get rid of the corporate minimum tax because Enron didn't pay federal taxes in four out of five years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, do you agree with that?

MR. BLANKLEY: I think that was probably the case before Enron.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, quickly.

MR. BLANKLEY: Gary Condit is not out of the legal woods yet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: India's new missile tests are really aimed to impress China, not Pakistan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting. I predict that, thanks to Enron's 881 offshore dock havens, the government will regulate offshore banking soon.

Next week, on television Tuesday night, President Bush speaks to Congress and the nation with his State of the Union address. Bye bye.

(End of regular program.)

(Begin PBS segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: We the People.

First, changing sides. For the first time in recent history, maybe all of American history, more Americans consider themselves -- get this, Eleanor -- Republicans rather than Democrats. The bipartisan Battleground poll released this week shows that 40 percent of Americans now identify themselves as Republican versus 35 percent Democratic.

Okay, what does that tell you? I ask you, Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, first, John, there was about a 72-year period where Republicans were the dominant party in America. But secondly, it tells me that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What years?

MR. BUCHANAN: It was 1860, about the mid-1860s, to 1930, '31, '32.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that in your book?

MR. BUCHANAN: That was in a previous book, John. It was badly reviewed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think this. Look, one thing, it is George W. Bush is on top of the mountain. He's at 90 or 85 percent. Everybody thinks he's done a great job. And that's carrying the Republican Party up. And if the Republican Party thinks otherwise, I think they're mistaken.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he can hold that lead?

MR. BUCHANAN: He cannot hold that 80. The question is whether he can hold up in the 60s or something like that. If he does that by November --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he could revert back to pre-9/11 form?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he's reached -- he's ascended to a new level. You know, "Winter shall abate; the springs increase."

MS. CLIFT: The same polls say that when people vote for Congress this fall, the economy is going to be the dominant thing. So I don't know that his wartime aura will translate. But what those numbers say to me is that the New Deal Democrats are dying off. The Reagan generation is here and in charge. But party identification is weak. The biggest segment is independents, and most people say they don't care about party label. They care about other (attributes?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MS. CLIFT: So I don't think the Republicans should be all gleeful about this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Tony. Okay, the sleeper issue -- deficits. Poll question: "As you may know, the federal budget was running a surplus but is now running a deficit. Do you consider this a problem?" Answer: Very serious, serious, or somewhat of a problem, all together 83 percent.

Question: What does this poll tell you? I ask you, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think it overstates the concern the public has with deficits. My experience in politics over the years is

(End of PBS segment.)


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