THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY, ELEANOR CLIFT AND CLARENCE PAGE
TAPED: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2002
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 29, 2002
(C) COPYRIGHT 2002, FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC., 620 NATIONAL
PRESS BUILDING, WASHINGTON, DC 20045, USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ANY REPRODUCTION, REDISTRIBUTION OR RETRANSMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.
UNAUTHORIZED REPRODUCTION, REDISTRIBUTION OR RETRANSMISSION
CONSTITUTES A MISAPPROPRIATION UNDER APPLICABLE UNFAIR COMPETITION LAW, AND FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC. RESERVES THE RIGHT TO PURSUE ALL REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO IT IN RESPECT TO SUCH MISAPPROPRIATION.
FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC. IS A PRIVATE FIRM AND IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. NO COPYRIGHT IS CLAIMED AS TO
ANY PART OF THE ORIGINAL WORK PREPARED BY A UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AS PART OF THAT PERSON'S OFFICIAL DUTIES.
FOR INFORMATION ON SUBSCRIBING TO FNS, PLEASE CALL JACK GRAEME AT 202-347-1400.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Space Pilgrim.
Four hundred years ago, the Pilgrims said farewell to the sectarian strife and turmoil of Europe for freedom on new, uncharted shores. Their vessel: the Mayflower.
This week we celebrate the Pilgrims' triumph over hardship, and we are also in a time of sectarian strife and turmoil. Once again, religious zealots try to impose their beliefs on the rest of the world through violence. Once again, our spiritual values and our character are being tested. Instead of the Mayflower, we have another vessel
expanding our frontiers and expanding our understanding of our place, and this time, not only in the world, but in the universe -- namely, today's wayfaring pilgrim, the Hubble Telescope.
In the beginning, 1990, there was trouble with the Hubble -- malfunctions and embarrassment for NASA. The much touted, state-of-the-art telescope began to look like a turkey -- figuratively speaking, that is. But after a masterful repair in space, the Hubble began to deliver. And it's kept going and going and going into deeper
and deeper space, reporting back with spectacular images of galaxies as far as a billion light-years from earth; black holes hurling through the ether at speeds of 250,000 miles per hour, 4,200 miles a minute; and an unknown world of ice called Quaoar in our own solar system, a billion miles beyond Pluto.
Question: Are these images from space spiritually renewing in the sense that they inspire a sense of divine order in the universe? I ask you, Michael Barone.
MR. BARONE: Well, that's pretty poetic, John. I think they do. They are awesome in the literal sense of that word, I think. And this is one of the things that I think our government should be doing, which is advancing knowledge, advancing science. We're spending a considerable amount of money on this. I think it's well-spent and that we're getting something that is really awe-inspiring.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that these images put our temporal lives and our worries into perspective, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: John, you're a wonderful romantic, and if we had lots of money, I would approve of all of this. But the last time I checked, NASA's not a faith-based organization, and they're going to have to wait at the end of a very long line to get more money out of this administration. And they're still on the perennial search for their mission. They've been to the moon, the late '60s. What do they do next? And you can't do much when you're operating in a world of tightened budgets.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you get a spiritual lift of any kind out of this, independently of whether you believe in a creator or not?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, and it's not only the images that we see but the physics that is being learned from it, because the physics of the universe that Hubble is advancing nonetheless brings the physicists back to the old question that religion posed, which was, "What happened before the world we could see?" And they can't get back
So they have the same first-cause religious question posed after they've done the great search of physics to further understand the universe. So, absolutely, this is close to the religious concerns people have.
But I might point out that, notwithstanding the budgetary problems, there's probably no project -- human project less susceptible to work other than by our government than space exploration. There's no quick profit, there's no medium-term profit, notwithstanding Tang getting invented. And if there's one project the
government should spend money on, it's doing what no one else can do, which is exploring the universe.
MR. PAGE: And don't forget Teflon, without which many
presidencies would have gone under.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's get back to the philosophy and maybe the natural theology of this. Do you get a sense of uplift because of what he indicated, i.e., the triumph of man's reason, penetrating this in our age?
MR. PAGE: Well, I think the themes you hit on earlier, the exploration theme and expanding our imagination. Astronauts from the very beginning have said it's very hard to float in orbit above the Middle East, say, and look down and see the Middle East without
boundaries, without conflict and without the suicide bombers and all, and not be reminded of the real unity of humanity around this planet. At the same time, though, Eleanor "Scrooge" -- excuse me, Clift, is right --
MS. CLIFT: I'm the only realist here. (Laughs.)
MR. PAGE: You are not the only realist. In fact, there are realists in the administration, of course. And the folks at NASA are --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think -- Eleanor's not overpowered by the politics of NASA.
You do sense the moral uplift of this, do you not, even in the sense of breaking into new frontiers.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The expansion of space.
MS. CLIFT: In a perfect world. Do you know who the head of NASA is? Sean O'Neill (sic/means O'Keefe) used to be the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget at the White House. He is a bean counter. This is all wonderfully lofty talk, but the real question is, if you go for manned flight, do you try to put people into space? And --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to go back to my point. Do you think that a sense of frontier has built into it both perspective and elan, as we've had in the United States geographically?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, of course. I mean, the whole concept -- we're a frontier nation. Humanity is a species --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It invigorates, does it not?
MR. BLANKLEY: -- that seeks the frontier. Having explored the world, we now have to have a frontier.
Let me just make a point for Eleanor's side on this, arguably. The environmental movement got launched more fully after the photograph of Earth floating as that blue ball in the sky. That, plus Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" were the reason why, I think, the politics of environmentalism shifted in favor of the environment. So
I would think that you would be particularly in favor of --
MS. CLIFT: Well, let's take some NASA money and put it into protecting the environment.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MS. CLIFT: John, it was your president, Richard Nixon, who said we're not going to Mars. And I don't think anybody's revived that as a goal since.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. But before any further defamation of that exalted leader, a Hubble update. Ten days ago at a NASA press conference, it was revealed that two super-massive black holes in a galaxy 4 million light years away, like a pair of cosmic Sumo wrestlers, are warily approaching each other for a titanic collision
that will shake the very fabric of space time. So described by the Christian Science Monitor on November the 20th.
Speaking about Sumo wrestlers, do you have anything to say about this further, other thoughts on this matter?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. They're apparently going to be able to measure a gravity wave, which is something that Einstein predicted, one of the many things that he predicted that now Hubble and other scientific inquiries are proving, you know, generations after his death.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it's not going to take place in the immediate future, though. It's about, what, a hundred million years away?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. We'll still be on the show here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Cloned or real?
Exit: Do the Hubble's impressive results show NASA does not need man's space missions to fuel public support? Yes or no.
MR. BARONE: I think it does show that, John. I think that a lot of the money spent on the space shuttle has really not been useful, and that this does inspire awe, and should.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the space shuttle has gone into huge cost overruns; mind-boggling cost overruns, and they've really got to curb that. The technology should go forward, I'm all for that. But I don't see any grand new mission at NASA.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I just thought of something else, though. Do you think it's possible that all of this massive, massive universe that we have; do you think it minifies the individual, and there could be a deleterious psychic experience from it? Namely, that you don't
count. You're too small. You're infinitesimal. (Laughter.) If that, in the whole scheme of things, and therefore you have no self importance?
MS. CLIFT: I don't think --
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I think it dilates our -- it shrinks our ego a little bit, but that's a healthy thing. Let me just say, to answer your question, by the way, Hubble has to be maintained every two and a half years, and the way to maintain it is by the manned shuttle. So yes, space exploration with men in it must and shall go on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer?
MR. PAGE: Well, there's a lot of concern at NASA about the militarization of space, which we haven't mentioned. But this administration, of course Donald Rumsfeld and others, have been wanting to push for a missile defense system in space, which would not need humans to maintain up there, but you would need perhaps a robot-like system of satellites, so I think that's the direction we're going to go in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that the telescope does serve the purpose of fueling public support for the time being. But ultimately, we need a manned mission. We need space pilgrims to truly energize, as has happened yesteryear, when NASA was so strong.
When we come back: Leading lady in the House, Nancy Pelosi. Will the Democratic spin machine try to make us believe that she's really not that liberal?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Leading lady.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From videotape.) It's like the Thanksgiving turkey -- you bring it out; you get this great honor; everybody oohs and ahs at oh, how wonderful, we have a woman leader in the party, and this or that; and then they begin to carve you up like the Thanksgiving turkey.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Meet the number one Democratic member of the House of Representatives: Nancy Pelosi, elected by her Democratic peers two weeks ago overwhelmingly -- 177 to 29 -- their new House leader. Despite the huge vote margin, it's not all sweetness and light for Minority Leader and former Democratic whip Pelosi, who succeeds Dick Gephardt. Pelosi is being described too much by the "L"
word, liberal -- ultra-liberal -- even by her own party. The fear is that she will drive away moderates and swing voters when the Democrats are still reeling from a disastrous midterm election.
Here's a few of Pelosi's liberal credentials:
A phenomenal 100 percent perfect liberal rating, as graded by the nation's premier liberal rating system, the ADA, Americans for Democratic Action. Also, a 100 percent rating from NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League. Also, 100 percent from the AF of L-CIO.
Presidential military force resolution, empowering the president to use such force against Iraq, Pelosi votes no. Also, by the way, in '91 on the Gulf War resolution, voted no.
Homeland Security Department Act, no.
Defense of Marriage Act, denying that marriage can exist in any union other than between a man and a woman; a "blatant act of discrimination" Pelosi calls it.
Welfare reform, the initiative that puts limits on welfare programs, under Bill Clinton, no.
Question: Assuming that the ultra-liberal label is a handicap, what does Nancy Pelosi have working in her favor to relieve that handicap?
MS. CLIFT: Well, the expectations are now so heavily weighted that she's this wild-eyed liberal, that it gives her maneuvering room to lead her party into the mainstream. At the risk of another reference to Richard Nixon, it's the old "Nixon goes to China" analogy, that she as a liberal can get her party to move to the center.
Secondly, if you balance where she is with all of those rating groups, she's no more to the left than Denny Hastert is to the right. And in fact, she's not as liberal as Tom DeLay -- who really does run the House for the Republicans -- as far as he is to the right.
So she is a smart woman, and the first thing she's going to do is she's going to quit all of the post-election recriminations among Democrats and say let's put together an economic package. Democrats -- news flash -- are for tax cuts, they just want tax cuts for the middle class, and maybe we should cut the payroll tax. And so I think she's going to really focus on the economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. The Democrats will be back in town December 9th and 10th, at the call of Nancy.
Is it possible that, since she has no national name
identification to speak of, she can make -- remake her image in whatever fashion she wants, and now is the time to do it?
MR. BARONE: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, I put some things on the board, but that's pretty much inside the political community.
MR. BARONE: John, look, she's going to get better. No, she brings a couple of assets to this. She's got a family political background. Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro, was a congressman and mayor of Baltimore. Her brother served a term as mayor of Baltimore. She's got a base in the Democratic fundraising community, which is
really how she moved up in politics, until she ran in this special election in San Francisco and won the seat in 1987. So she's politically adept. She understands that her constituency is way far left of the American center.
I think one problem for her -- and it's a problem for politicians of both parties -- is if you're a Republican or a Democratic politician, you tend to live in a cocoon and you hear mostly from people who share your views. And in that Democratic cocoon today there is an awful lot of expressions of contempt for George W. Bush, belittling him as a moron, seeing him as an illegitimate president.
She has to avoid that kind of tone out in public, or it will cost her party something.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (To Mr. Blankley.) You worked for Newt Gingrich, and he had a fiery brand of conservatism, and he never tried to mask it. Why would Pelosi really want to mask the fact that she's a true liberal?
MR. PAGE: And where's Newt today? (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, first of all --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, actually, I think that fiery conservatism worked for Newt.
MR. PAGE: It did not work for Newt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it work for Newt? You tell us.
MR. PAGE: John, look what happened to his support in Congress! Why did he leave a few years later?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. The Republicans -- Republicans took over the House and Senate and held it every election since in the House.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. You remember how masterfully he did that?
MR. PAGE: And overreached, didn't they?
MR. BLANKLEY: But let me -- let me make --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, well, we're talking about taking over the House in giant fashion.
MR. PAGE: And we'll talk about Pelosi -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.
MR. BLANKLEY: The problem that Pelosi has that Newt did not have is that the positions that she takes are unpopular with the public. The Contract with America, the 10 items in the Contract with America, that Newt was for a while famous for --
MR. PAGE: And nobody read.
MR. BLANKLEY: -- were all popular -- at least 60, 70, 80 percent of the public supported them because this is a right-of-center country. It's not a hard right, but it's a right-of-center country and moderately conservative --
MS. CLIFT: Wait a second!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, hold on there! One at a time.
MR. PAGE: Newt and his gang kept throwing around the term --terms like "revolutionary," which alienated them from the middle.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well --
MR. PAGE: I don't think Nancy Pelosi is going to make that kind of mistake.
MR. BLANKLEY: She just has the wrong policy.
MR. PAGE: And number two, let's remember the Democratic base, ladies and gentlemen. You know, "liberal" is not a dirty word with half of this country. You know, this is only here in Washington that people see it --
MR. BLANKLEY: Only with 18 percent -- only 18 percent of the public --
MR. PAGE: Yeah, people who read polls say that -- polls.
MR. BLANKLEY: No, no, not polls. Only 18 percent --
MR. PAGE: Let me finish my point here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Quickly!
MR. PAGE: The country is really divided into thirds. You've got liberals, you've got conservatives --
MR. BLANKLEY: No it's not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, now --
MR. PAGE: -- and you've got the middle swingers who --
MR. BLANKLEY: No, it's not!
MR. PAGE: -- who must be reached out to.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --
MR. PAGE: But the Democratic Party forgot their base in this midterm, and that's why they lost in the midterm.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. In Column A --
MR. PAGE: -- and that's why they lost --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Column A --
MR. BLANKLEY: (Inaudible) -- almost twice as many conservatives as liberals.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, not so fast with the liberal rap against Pelosi.
Republican California representative and steadfast conservative Christopher Cox says this about the new Democrat leader, quote: "It's good news for human rights, and it's good news for people living under repressive regimes around the world," unquote.
Cox and Pelosi have been championing the rights of dissidents all around the world, notably China, for more than a decade. What do you make of that?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I mean, Chris is right. He has been a strong advocate of human rights. She has also been. She's -- that's been why she's against some of the trade policies with China. That is a position that both the right and the left agree on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. To introduce her a little bit more, here's the Pelosi Esquisse:
Born: Baltimore. Sixty-two years of age. Five children. Five grandchildren. Husband: Paul. Catholic. Trinity College, Washington, B.A.
California Democratic Party, northern chairwoman, four years; state chair, two years. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, finance chair, one year.
U.S. House of Representatives, 16 years, representing
California's 8th District, mostly San Francisco. House Democratic whip, eight and a half months. Now, House minority leader, the first woman ever to become such.
Did you observe anything in that bio that you would like to pick up and move around?
MR. BARONE: Well, I already talked about how she has the political background --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, you were quite erudite on that.
MR. BARONE: -- and a fundraiser -- and I think she's a pretty politically capable person.
MS. CLIFT: She --
MR. BARONE: We'll see if she's able to do the kind of work in keeping her caucus together that Dick Gephardt did a very good job of.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that the principled people in the parties are on the margin, like Cox, conservative -- very conservative and are very liberal, and they're the ones who stand up for their principles, as opposed to the mushy middle, who would be Clinton and
Bush? (Laughter.) True or false?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't think Bush is the "mushy middle." I think he's pretty far to the right, frankly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there's --
MS. CLIFT: And I think he had a pretty clear position in this last election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, then go to my point.
MS. CLIFT: I think Pelosi can clarify where Democrats are on economic issues.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't it true that it's on the margins where you find principled people?
MR. BLANKLEY: No. I mean, there are different ways of defining principle. But I think Pelosi's major problem is she's not going to be competitive with Tom DeLay in the media. She's going to compete with President Bush, who is not seen as a hard-right guy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One-word answer. We're very over. What kind of leader will Pelosi make in opposition to majority leader RepublicanTom DeLay? Will she be an accommodationist or a confrontationalist?
MR. BARONE: More confrontation.
MS. CLIFT: She's going to do both when needed, and she's not going to be seen as out of the mainstream the way Tom DeLay is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. BLANKLEY: I would think almost completely confrontational, but in a pleasant manner.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. PAGE: I think less confrontational, but she'll pick her targets very carefully.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think she's going to be accommodationist, too, in the spirit of public good sense.
Issue three: Bloom's Gloom, Part II.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (New York City-R): (From videotape.) I like noise. I like the hustle and bustle. But it's at 3:00 in the morning that you don't want to be woken up. Something like 85 percent of all the calls to our quality-of-life complaint line are about
NEW YORK CITY RESIDENT: (From videotape.) Sirens.
NEW YORK CITY RESIDENT: (From videotape.) Car alarms.
NEW YORK CITY RESIDENT: (From videotape.) It makes me feel very nervous.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The noise-makers should be very nervous, too. Mayor Bloomberg is cracking down on people who make too much noise. Dubbed "Operation Silent Night," this is no Christmas carol. New York's finest are roaming noisy neighborhoods with decibel meters and tickets to be handed out. Specific targets? Those who misuse car
horns, car alarms, car stereos, boombox radios; plus noisy nightclubs, street drag racers, loud motorcycles, street-corner singers, barking dogs, backfiring engines.
Individuals can be fined up to $70 and -- get this -- up to $25,000 for the business owners of rowdy cafes and bars. In extreme cases, noise-makers can be arrested, and when car alarms can't be shut off, the vehicle is towed.
Question: What's the principal negative of noise reduction? I ask you, Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: I think Mayor Bloomberg has bigger problems to deal with; the city is in a financial crisis. He's trying to get everybody to stop smoking. I think this should be way down on his list of things to do, and I think the police ought to have better things to do. I mean, New York is a noisy city, and, you know, if the car alarm goes off repeatedly, you know, maybe tow the car. But beyond that, I wouldn't obsess about it the way he seems to be.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, does anyone realize that noise draws people, and that shopping malls thrive on noise? Where there is noise, there is commerce; where there is silence, there is little commerce. (Laughter.) It's even piped into suburban malls -- that and loud music and jugglers and performers.
MR. BARONE: Well, John, John --
MR. PAGE: What did you say, John? I'm sorry -- (laughter) -- couldn't hear you, John!
MR. BARONE: The fact is that we on this program have a vested interest in the propagation of noise. (Laughter.) You know, look, I think this is in line with the sort of things Rudy Giuliani did as mayor to try to encourage more civility in daily life, and that to hold down the noise, as it were, to some extent it is probably a worthwhile thing to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, what --
MR. BARONE: What Bloomberg shouldn't be doing is raising taxes the way he is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is he going to do? Is he going to look like Scrooge at Christmas time? What is he going to do with the Salvation Army bell ringers? Is he going to shut them down? (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: I'm confident he's not going to shut them down. I think this is a project that has limited but measurable utility. Some people do abuse noise. But there are whole areas of the city that like noise. Greenwich Village is not going to want to be quiet at 11:00 at night, and I'm glad it won't be.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's he going to do, put the carolers in jail?
Quick one-word answers. Bloomberg's noise initiative: Much ado about nothing, or is it a sound idea?
MR. BARONE: Sound.
MS. CLIFT: Much ado about nothing. (Laughs.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Little ado about little.
MR. PAGE: I still can't hear you, John. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Right! (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is it? Quick!
MR. PAGE: I think it's a half-sound idea.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Half-sound?
MR. PAGE: Half-sound. You know, if he's going to stop them -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, that's an evasion. It's much ado about nothing.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two women are running for the United States Senate seat in Louisiana: Mary Landrieu, the incumbent -- she's a Democrat -- and Suzanne Terrell. She's a Republican. Who's going to win?
MR. BARONE: If I had to bet a thousand, I'd bet on Suzi.
MS. CLIFT: Abortion rights are going to turn that election: Suzi, Ms. Terrell, is for a constitutional amendment banning abortion. She'll probably win.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One word, please. We're almost out of time.
MR. BLANKLEY: Terrell. It's a Republican win.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Terrell? Terrell? Really?
MR. PAGE: Landrieu comes through.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Landrieu comes through; that's what I say.
By the way, for our domestic and international viewers, you can watch "The McLaughlin Group" on our website with streaming video; current and archive shows. McLaughlin.com.
Happy Hanukkah! Bye-bye.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Giving Thanks for What?
In the post-September 11 era, America has seen a series of unsettling events: handcuffed CEOs, a declining Dow, lost 401(k)s; church scandals; an increasing murder rate, snipers; anthrax, smallpox, West Nile virus; shoe bombs, pipe bombs; Axis of Evil, Saddam; Osama, al Qaeda; terror attacks; terror warnings; wars and rumors of wars. With all of this, do Americans have anything to be thankful for on this 2002 Thanksgiving?
What do you think we should be thankful for, Anthony? Is your proper name "Anthony," by the way?
MR. BLANKLEY: Anthony is my full name. I go by "Tony."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You prefer "Tony."
MR. BLANKLEY: I have since I was about 12.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Now, what's the answer to my question?
MR. BLANKLEY: But then it would be "Antony," actually, rather than "Anthony."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What on the domestic scene should we be thankful for?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think the single thing we have to be most thankful for, obviously, is there hasn't been another terrorist blow in this country. We've held our breath for a year and a couple of months, and by luck and by the hard work of counterintelligence folks, so far we've been saved. I hope we can be as thankful next year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: We're relatively at peace, and I'm thankful for that. And I'm also thankful that we still have the strongest economy in the world and it's been able to withstand all of the abuse heaped upon it by the Bush administration, beginning with the tax cut, which helped
squander the surplus that they started with.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you see in our domestic scene, Michael, that we should be thankful or?
MR. BARONE: Well, I think not just the fact that we have economic growth, though it's sluggish, but basically that we have a system in this country that works, our system of human freedoms, market economies tempered by welfare-state protections, freedom of expression, and tolerance of all sorts of diversity of opinion. This
is a country -- a lot our media people seem to fear somehow that the American people are a great beast who would, you know, tear Moslems limb from limb or something. That's not the character of the American people. I think that we're doing well in this crisis period.
MR. PAGE: Don't run down my clock there, Michael.
MS. CLIFT: Right. Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very quickly.
MR. PAGE: But very quickly, I'm thankful for the resiliency of this country. I mean, Michael is right in all of those virtues. And we do have a remarkable resiliency that has borne fruit. What does concern me is some of the new tactics of domestic spies that are getting some discussion now. And we haven't resolved that yet, and
that's going to be a big issue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're a little concerned about people prying into your private life; is that it?
MR. PAGE: Yeah, our private lives, and database files being kept on all of us and under the wrong name, et cetera.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think -- I am grateful on the domestic scene for the ordinary consumer, who has kept our economy very much alive, buying homes still at a great rate, through their credit cards and refinancing their homes, and for their faith in the future.
On the international scene, what do you see? And be very brief, we want to go all around the hall and we've only got about 40 seconds.
MR. BARONE: That President George W. Bush is leading the world in a war against terror and the things that threaten our civilization.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The commander in chief. Gives you comfort.
MS. CLIFT: Well, that the president has allowed the U.N. to go forward with its work and that a hot war might still be averted with Iraq.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are you grateful for?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I'm grateful for good old England standing by America during this war on terrorism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, there are obviously --
MR. BARONE: Britain.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, Britain.
MR. PAGE: Scotland and Wales.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we're hearing Tony's DNA at work here.
MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to speak to this?
MR. PAGE: I'm grateful for multilateralism and that the world and the U.N. are beginning to gain some semblance of a new order.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm grateful for the United Nations Security Council because without it, America might be at war, and at this Thanksgiving time we might be seeing wounded and body bags. I'm grateful for that.