THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, ELEANOR CLIFT, STEPHEN HAYES AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL
TAPED: FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2002
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JULY 6-7, 2002
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: First 4th since 9/11.
Some things stay the same. Many things change. Fireworks and flag waving are constants. But this 4th they are joined by security everywhere, and the bedrock sense of independence and freedom that Americans hold dear is shaken. So "we, the people," are responding with patriotic displays and our government with patriot law.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) This bill met with overwhelming -- overwhelming -- agreement in Congress. It is now my honor to sign into law the USA Patriot Act of 2001.
ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT: (From videotape.) The USA Patriot Act authorized vital new weapons for us to fight the war at the borders and here at home.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The USA Patriot Act expands government powers to tap phones, seize voice messages, get library and Internet records and retrieve personal e-mails from Internet providers -- also, military tribunals.
Civil libertarians are troubled by the feds' new powers. (Quoting Jerry Berman, the executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology.) "Whether you take the wiretap provisions or the e-mail provisions on the Internet, the bureau's mission will be conducted largely in secret. We are compromising our civil liberties. We are going to be giving up our privacy rights."
Question: Have we surrendered too much of our freedom, Stephen Hayes. Welcome, Stephen.
MR. HAYES: Thank you. No is the answer, the short answer. I think the Patriot Act -- the many provisions of the Patriot Act have recognized one main thing: we're in a war. It's a serious war. There was a story recently in the Washington Post that talked about al Qaeda's efforts to infiltrate our computer systems, to bring down our infrastructure. This is a serious war. We need to be serious about it, and that was a serious law.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT: Well, if they had stopped at the U.S. Patriot Act, maybe I wouldn't be so worried, but the administration has since taken on virtual dictatorial powers unto itself, saying that the president has the right to declare whoever he wants -- not just foreigners but American-born citizens -- enemy combatants, which then gives the administration the right, apparently, he thinks, to hold these people indefinitely without any right to counsel.
And this -- you can expect some suspension of civil liberties when you're at war, but this is not a war like any we faced before, because it will have no end. And so the administration has taken on powers that will continue indefinitely, and that's frightening.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blankley?
MR. BLANKLEY: We don't know whether we've given up too much or too little of our rights yet, because inevitably new wars with new technologies and new threats create new definitions of what the government legitimately needs to do. The public will, over the next generation, define what they expect the government to do for them. My guess is that there will be a permanent contraction, to a certain extent, of some elements of civil liberties that will be demanded by the people over the generations because of the dangers that are arising now, that won't go away.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the polls are already showing what the people think of the so-called new patriotism. There's a higher confidence in government institutions and political bodies, like the Congress, the Senate and the House, and the Pentagon and the CIA. So hasn't the public spoken on this and aren't these fears of Eleanor excessive?
MR. O'DONNELL: The public has spoken as it stands so far, but we're on a slippery slope, and it's a dangerous one. It's something we should all be nervous about. But it's easy to overstate how grave the situation is or how much we've given up.
We should be looking for abuses of these new powers. We should be nervous about them. We should trust the American lawyer -- and I mean that in general -- to find them and to bring them to our attention. The press has a bigger role now to play in finding what's wrong with these new things. But these are -- they're experiments, in a way. They are experiments with taking a little bit of a lead off the base of where previously stood on civil liberties.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that feeds right into the exit question. And we can develop this a little bit as we go around the Horn. Exit: Is the U.S. in any danger of becoming a police state, as Lawrence seems to think we are? Yes or no, Stephen.
MR. HAYES: No, absolutely not. I mean, look, previous wars -- World War II -- we interned people. We suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the Civil War. We're not doing any of those things, and the threat is far more dispersed, and it's far more serious --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you think of a single constitutional provision that has been suspended?
MR. HAYES: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A single one?
MR. HAYES: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I can't think of a single one. I don't know why there is this case of jitters on the set.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the right to legal representation may not be explicit in the Constitution, but it is generally assumed that you have that right. And that has been suspended.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --
MS. CLIFT: And you're right that Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, but the Civil War had a beginning and an end. Terrorism and the fight against it is going to go on in perpetuity.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the alleged terrorist Moussaoui is getting a full panoply of all of his civil rights protected, is he not, in court today?
MS. CLIFT: Well, he is, but you can look at Jose Padilla, the gentleman allegedly involved in talking about a dirty bomb. Another American citizen, a Mr. Hamdi, is being held incommunicado, without any contact with a lawyer.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say to that, Stephen? Do you think that actually potential terrorists who are in the United States today or real terrorists have too much latitude? Are the borders still much too porous?
MR. HAYES: Mr. Hamdi is an enemy combatant. I mean, I don't understand why we're bending over backwards to protect his rights. He was found fighting --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, are we entering into a police state? Is that possible?
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I gathered from you that you're concerned about this.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I was sort of -- I'm not overly concerned. I think we're going to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're backing off from your original concern.
MR. BLANKLEY: No, no. No, what I said was, we don't know whether the -- whether we need more or less freedom than we currently are exercising in order to respond to the external threat.
I don't think we're going to turn into a police state as we think of it, in fascistic terms. But yes, I think it's likely that intrusions into our privacy, that more supervision by law enforcement is likely to be a permanent condition of our society because --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But that's not a police state.
MR. BLANKLEY: No, that's not. That's -- my point is, it's not a police state in the nefarious sense. But it'll -- our e-mail will not have the privacy that our regular mail has had for 200 years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we may have compromised too much of our freedom in the airport security program, with everyone being treated as an equal risk and ladies -- and ladies submitted to having their eyelash curlers removed -- ladies in their 90s, sometimes. I mean, clearly there should be profiling that is done the way the Israelis do it.
MR. O'DONNELL: Oh, that's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we should not treat everyone as though they were created equal risks. They're not.
MR. O'DONNELL: The airport is the only place anyone can feel any of this, so far, and it's actually rather minor. And it's an example of a very inefficient police-state mentality. But this country has never --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we're all asking -- even you -- you ride the planes all the time.
MR. O'DONNELL: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you act like a blind sheep like everybody else. Correct? Thanks to Norman --
MR. O'DONNELL: Well, you know, the little secret is that there are people getting special treatment at the airport -- (off mike).
MS. CLIFT: Well, technology will eventually save us all from having to take our shoes off at airports. That's not really where the problem is.
But the fact that people in Washington are now calling the attorney general J. Edgar Ashcroft --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: -- I mean, he has become the lightning rod for the administration, and George Bush should be glad he's there, because otherwise the president would be taking the heat.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, we can only hope that he will prove to be as effective a law enforcement official as J. Edgar Hoover was over, what, 40 years.
MS. CLIFT: Whoa! (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have, on the matter --
MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't be out there defending J. Edgar Hoover's tenure.
MR. BLANKLEY: There's a lot to be said for that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the matter of a police state, we have the separation of powers to prevent the accumulation of too much power anywhere. Secondly, we have the Bill of Rights and the insuring of our rights. And none of that even comes into play in any of what's taken place so far.
MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: Not for you and me, John, but for other people. There have been over a thousand people detained without any charges brought against them, after September 11th. They've faded in the newspaper pages, you know, so we don't read about them. But when --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that true, Stephen?
MR. HAYES: The problem is --
MS. CLIFT: You know, the point is, if it happens to them, it can happen to anybody.
MR. BLANKLEY: Those are material witnesses --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear from Stephen. I want to hear from our guest here.
MR. HAYES: If Padilla were successful in detonating a dirty bomb, a radioactive bomb, we would all be sitting here laughing at the conversation we're having today about the Bill of Rights and these things. As important as they are, we want to -- we're --
MS. CLIFT: Let's see the evidence against him. That was the thinnest case I've ever seen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back: Does cloning hold more potential for harm or for good?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Stop cloning around.
(Footage of Dolly, the first cloned sheep.) Hello, Dolly! Hello, trouble. Five years ago, this cloned animal was born, and that spawned the prospect that humans might be next.
Last year, a corporation, Advanced Cell Technology, ACT, announced it had cloned the first human embryos, for purposes of research, not for reproduction.
DR. MICHAEL WEST (Advanced Cell Technology): (From videotape.) Our purpose here is not to clone humans but to make new technologies available to cure presently untreatable diseases.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Last winter it appeared there was considerable momentum for a ban on cloning. What happened, Tony Blankley?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I think there still is a lot of opposition to cloning -- human cloning. You do have the adult cell stem (sic) hopefulness, the recent research that suggests that you can get a lot more out of adult cells than people thought, and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And then the advocacy groups came forward -- J. Michael Fox (sic; means the actor Michael J. Fox) and Chris Reeve.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. Yeah. Well, but the larger point is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that really slowed this ban down, didn't it?
MR. BLANKLEY: It slowed it down, but there's an awful lot of opposition to the Advanced -- I think it is hopeless -- the opposition. I think inevitably the promises of science will be sought by mankind, Americans, and we will get whatever it is that science offers, and the question is, when does religion retreat from its principal positions?
MS. CLIFT: Well, you could get a hundred votes tomorrow in the Senate against human cloning.
MR. BLANKLEY: For the time being.
MS. CLIFT: But the opponents don't want to stop there. They want to ban all kinds of research not using fertilized embryos, but any kind of research that involves cloning cells. And that's why you can't get an agreement in the Senate.
But I agree with your basic point; science, in the end, will trump the religious and ethical objections.
MR. O'DONNELL: And science doesn't know any borders, so the American legislature can do whatever it wants, and this science will advance. It did, after all, advance in England before it did here, anyway.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Europe and Great Britain are going full steam ahead in this sector, and our pharmaceutical companies and our scientists are saying, "If they're doing it, and they don't have the ethical concern about research cloning, therapeutic cloning" -- we're not talking reproductive cloning here -- "then that puts pressure on us."
Do you take a position in your esteemed journal, the Standard -- the Weekly Standard?
MR. HAYES: Yes, we do. We take a strong one against cloning and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Including therapeutic cloning?
MR. HAYES: Including therapeutic cloning.
And the answer to your original question of what stopped it is Tom Daschle. I mean, there was an original agreement between Tom Daschle and Sam Brownback to bring to the floor of the Senate for a vote this ban on human cloning, and it was slated for February. And it's now June and we don't have a vote.
MS. CLIFT: Well, that's because there aren't 60 votes on either side.
MR. HAYES: There would have been --
MS. CLIFT: You could get a clean ban on human cloning, but your side wants to attach all their other kinds of conditions. It's not going to get through the Senate. And the Senate should keep hands off. It's none of their business.
MR. HAYES: Well, there would have been. I mean, it passed the House by more than 100 votes, which obviously means that a fair number of moderate and even liberal Democrats voted for it.
MS. CLIFT: (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is organ transplants -- is that lobby slowing Congress down? Is it impeding the Brownback bill and the -- that -- I'm trying to think of the woman senator of Louisiana who's joined --
MS. CLIFT: Mary Landrieu.
MR. HAYES: Mary Landrieu.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Landrieu.
MS. CLIFT: Mary Landrieu.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that being slowed down by the organ transplant lobby?
MR. HAYES: Well, the biotech lobby is coming up with all sorts of silly and fanciful arguments against cloning, against reproductive cloning and in favor of therapeutic cloning that simply just are red herrings.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what is your position?
MR. O'DONNELL: It just doesn't matter what the American government does on this. It'll be done offshore, if necessary. The American companies will do it offshore. It's a meaningless exercise.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So the government is sandbagging against the tide.
Exit question: Does cloning hold more potential for harm or for good, Stephen Hayes?
MR. HAYES: Harm.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Far more potential -- far more --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For good?
MS. CLIFT: -- for good.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: For good and for ill.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here we go.
MR. BLANKLEY: For good in a technical sense. It could transform the nature of humanity, which is either going to be good or bad. We don't know.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So I interpret that as more potential for good. I mean, if it's more -- that's on the side of good --
MR. BLANKLEY: Unless we change our nature by changing our chemical structure. Who knows what'll happen then? But -- you know, down the line. But yeah, I think general --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I hope nothing changes your structure, Tony. I mean --
MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughs.) It can get a little smaller. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, I see you -- yesterday -- (referring to Mr. Blankley's attire) -- last week you had the rhapsody in blue.
MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now you've got the rhapsody in brown here.
MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. O'DONNELL: You know, my initial reaction to cloning years ago was extremely negative. It was a gut reaction. But I am now very much on the side of that there's more benefit here than harm.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think much of the argument on this subject is based on dogma, and I think that this is a time for very clear thinking. And I think, on the matter of therapeutic cloning, a strong case can be made in favor of it, in view of the fact that it occurs before the insertion of blastocysts into the uterine wall -- not to get overly technical.
But to move on, I would say that clearly cloning, in my view, within proper limits, holds much potential for more good.
Okay, another McLaughlin Y-2-0 Moment, to celebrate our 20th anniversary year. The event: Dolly the sheep, the first adult mammal cloned, debuts. The place: Edinburgh, Scotland. The date: February '97, five years ago.
(Begin videotape segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It took him 17 years using a Mediterranean fruit fly, similar gene transfer, as opposed to a U.S. fruit fly.
MORTON KONDRACKE: Yet -- look, look, look, it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you understand? And that's the same species.
MR. KONDRACKE: Just a minute. Just a second. Just a second. John --
JAMES GLASSMAN: I'm following you, but we just saw a mammal cloned.
MR. KONDRACKE: Exactly. Exactly so.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. GLASSMAN: That's a big deal. This is a big deal.
MS. CLIFT: And --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But he says cloning exists today in the interests of -- (inaudible). (Cross talk.)
MR. KONDRACKE: John, I just want to say --
MS. CLIFT: I can think of some people who would come under the fruit fly category. (Laughter.) That's all I want to say.
MR. KONDRACKE: I haven't -- John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Referring to panelist Fred Barnes.) You shouldn't treat Freddie that way.
MS. CLIFT: I didn't treat -- oh -- (chuckles) --
MR. KONDRACKE: John, I haven't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to do -- I want to know this: Can I clone you somehow --
MR. KONDRACKE: No, you cannot.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- so as to develop within you a distaste for hideous neckwear?
MR. KONDRACKE: No, you cannot. No. No, he can't. (Laughter.)
(End of videotape segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You see the esteemed Mr. Barnes on that program --
MR. HAYES: I did indeed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and what we did for him and Mr. Kondracke, now gone on to other triumphs?
Issue three: The millionaires' club.
(Music: "Money" from the musical "Cabaret.")
Money. Everyone knows that money, political contributions play a role in elections -- donors' money. But what about candidate money, his or her own personal worth? Does private wealth play a role in getting elected to public office? You be the judge. In the U.S. Senate today, 40 percent, four out of 10, and climbing, of the 100 senators are millionaires. Twenty-six are multimillionaires. Ten have $10 million or more.
These figures are those listed by the senators themselves in their 2001 disclosure forms. Here are the wealthiest top 10: John Kerry, $139 million; Kohl, 113 (million); Corzine, 94 (million); Rockefeller, 82 (million); Chafee, 54 (million); Feinstein, 38 (million); Fitzgerald, 25 (million); Frist, 17 (million); McCain, 14 (million); Edwards, 13.6 (million).
Of the millionaires, 23 are Republican; 17 are Democrats. But get this: The average worth of the Democrat millionaires is 11 million. The average of the Republicans is 2.9 million.
And it's not an all-boys club. Out of the 13 current female senators, seven are millionaires.
What do you think of that, Eleanor? Seven out of 11.
MS. CLIFT: Well, money is the ticket to political office. And if you look at 2004, everybody is expecting President Bush to ignore the federal limits and to raise money on his own, and he could raise $300 million, probably easily.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, let's keep it with the Senate now. Aren't there new laws that protect the senators from restricting their own campaign finance on the basis of personal funds, that there's no restriction on personal funds in their own campaign finances? Isn't that correct?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, it is. And you can have --
MR. O'DONNELL: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you can have as much money -- Corzine spent 65 million --
MR. BLANKLEY: I mean, that's the problem with, I think -- one of the problems --
MR. O'DONNELL: However, Corzine's wealth, like all of them, is grossly understated in these Senate financial disclosure forms.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In all of them --
MR. O'DONNELL: These are not real numbers.
MR. BLANKLEY: Very low numbers.
MR. O'DONNELL: They are all much, much higher than that by gigantic multiples in several cases.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you don't want to suggest there's duplicity in the way they filled out their records.
MR. O'DONNELL: No, no, no. The forms do not require specificity above a certain number, and so they give categories in these forms. And there are checklists. They're not real declarations of wealth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's safe to say we can double what we see on the screen?
MR. BLANKLEY: More than that. More.
MR. O'DONNELL: No, some -- in some cases, multiply it times 10.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Times 10?
MR. O'DONNELL: Yes, and more.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That means that your friend John Kerry, if he's listed at 139 million, well, my word, it would be -- what would it be if you had -- it would be a -- he'd be a billionaire, wouldn't he?
MR. O'DONNELL: Well, that's recent in the fact that it -- that's money through marriage that is a recent marriage of his.
But Jon Corzine's, for example -- he spent 60 million on a campaign. Do you think he's only worth $90 million?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if it's John Kerry's wife's money, then it should be $650 million. Where does this 139 (million) come from?
MR. O'DONNELL: It has to do with the nature of Senate disclosure forms, which are very complex.
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make a point. One of the problems is -- I think it's a terrible thing that more and more -- both parties are looking for millionaires to run for office, because they don't need to obey the campaign finance regulation limitations. That's why both parties have these programs, the millionaires' campaigns, that they look for. I think it's terrible for democratic politics -- small d -- to have to resort to wealthy men and women, rather than --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have a serious question. I have a serious question.
MS. CLIFT: Actually, the voters love it, because then they figure they're spending their money, they're not spending public money. (Chuckles.)
MR. BLANKLEY: You wait a while --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should the salary of senators be means-tested so they're -- if they are multimillionaires, they don't get any salary?
MS. CLIFT: No --
MR. BLANKLEY: That's inconsequential --
MR. O'DONNELL: They can hand back their salaries.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dick Cheney should work for zero.
MR. O'DONNELL: They don't have to take their salaries.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?
MR. O'DONNELL: The senators themselves can hand back their salaries. They don't have to take it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they take what -- they take it if it's offered. Do you --
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. O'DONNELL: Their salaries should be raised. The problem is, you need -- the reason why millionaires are in there is because normal people cannot afford to do this job for 150,000 --
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. BLANKLEY: That's right.
MR. O'DONNELL: -- maintain a home in Washington, maintain a home in another expensive real estate market, send children to school. That's why millionaires are attracted to it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm not talking about the millionaires. I'm talking about -- I'm not talking about the salaries of those who are not millionaires, below millionaires.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, in favor, too, of really raising their salaries.
MS. CLIFT: You know --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But millionaires ought to be means-tested. Why should --
MS. CLIFT: Well, we ought to have --
MR. O'DONNELL: (Inaudible) -- means-test themselves. Corzine can just say, "I'm taking a one-dollar salary." He can do it.
MR. BLANKLEY: They're elected officials. They can do what he wants.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why isn't it enforced mean-testing? It would be good PR for them, too.
MS. CLIFT: We have a minimum wage in this country. We ought to have a maximum wage. And I'd rather see it -- I'd like to see --
MR. BLANKLEY: No, no, no, no, no. That's crazy.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.
MR. BLANKLEY: I'm sorry. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: I'd like to see it applied to CEOs who are showing daily what a lousy job they are doing, and look at the money they're making --
MR. BLANKLEY: And who's going to enforce maximum wealth --
MS. CLIFT: The senators are pikers compared to CEOs.
MR. HAYES: The real problem here --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stephen, quickly.
MR. HAYES: The real problem here is that we're going to see more of these, not fewer of these cases, with campaign finance restrictions --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because personal wealth will have to be used.
MR. HAYES: -- because there can't be restrictions on personal wealth --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct.
MR. HAYES: -- and then putting restrictions on how much you can raise.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Give me -- exactly. Give me a quick answer to this. Will campaign finance reform change the proportion of millionaires in the Senate? And if so, which way, more millionaires or fewer?
You've answered it.
What do you think?
MS. CLIFT: I think more, as long as television advertising is expensive --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And as long as you have to rely on your personal finances?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Exactly.
MR. BLANKLEY: As I said before, obviously more.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obviously more.
MR. O'DONNELL: I don't think it'll have any real effect. The phenomenon was already occurring. We have a majority of millionaires in the Senate now. It's not 40 percent. It has been for a while.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the millionaire status -- 40 percent -- affects the representative nature of that body?
MR. O'DONNELL: Yes. The United States Senate was not designed to be representative. That's why there's a body called the House of Representatives.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's designed to represent the states.
MR. O'DONNELL: It represents land, in effect, because you get two in South Dakota and two in California, which is anti-democratic.
MS. CLIFT: The land and elite.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it can be said that they don't represent the states, they represent the elites of the states?
MR. O'DONNELL: No, they do a reasonable job of representing their states.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Indeed they do.
MR. O'DONNELL: But the people you're getting now have no real connection to the experience of the average New Jerseyan.
MS. CLIFT: Neither did the Founding Fathers.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Are they -- is the wealth comforting to the taxpayer in the sense that if you have that much money, you seem to be insulated from corruption and graft, because you don't need money?
MR. O'DONNELL: Well, you're also insulated from the normal human experience. It should not be gratifying to the voter.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. The Founding Fathers were also insulated.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back.
MS. CLIFT: The Founding Fathers were also insulated.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction. Will the U.S. Coast Guard maintain its independence of the homeland security administration?
MR. HAYES: No.
MS. CLIFT: Yes. (Chuckles.)
MR. BLANKLEY: No.
MR. O'DONNELL: No, it will not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes, it will. Bye-bye!
END OF REGULAR SEGMENT PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Voucher victory.
CLINT BOLICK (vice president, Institute for Justice): (From videotape.) This was the most important education decision in the last 50 years. This was the Super Bowl for school choice, and the kids won.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By a vote of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court this week stipulated that government funding of school vouchers for parents to pay for tuition is constitutional. As long as parents have a wide choice of schools, such as religious, secular and charter schools, then the issue of government sponsorship of religious indoctrination does not exist. It's the parents who choose to send their children to religious schools, says the high court, not the government.
The new ruling has its critics. Voucher opponents decry the loss of public money.
ROBERT CHANIN (general counsel, National Education Association): (From videotape.) They may or may not do something for the 5 or 6 percent of the people who will use vouchers. They do absolutely nothing for the 95 percent of the students who remain in public schools, with less resources.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How big a victory is this for the voucher movement? I ask you, Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: Well, it wipes away the ambiguity about whether it's constitutional or not.
But the voucher movement still has a long way to go. First of all, when it's been tested with the voters, it's been defeated by wide margins in Michigan, California; hasn't gotten off the ground in many state legislatures.
MORE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
MR. HAYES: They do, and it's great --
MS. CLIFT: Let's see if they go along with that. (Chuckles.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, let me tell you, these are all going to be tail-gunner arguments made by the anti-voucherists, and it'll be an effective defense. The Germans, as they retreated, were very effective in their defense, but they eventually lost. The anti- voucherists will eventually lose.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!
MR. HAYES: But it's important to remember that when you hear from the NEA, you're hearing from a group that's a teachers' lobby.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. HAYES: I mean, there's no doubt that the teachers care about the students --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. HAYES: -- but their first and foremost obligation is to the teachers.
MR. O'DONNELL: And for the teachers' salaries, and they are a hugely biased player in this thing.
MR. HAYES: Absolutely.