Share

THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANEL:
PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC;
ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK;
PAUL GLASTRIS, THE WASHINGTON MONTHLY;
CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

DATE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2004

(C) COPYRIGHT 2004, FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC., 1000 VERMONT AVE. NW; 5TH FLOOR; WASHINGTON, DC - 20005, 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: Bad Intelligence.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) I was disappointed that the bill didn't pass. I thought it was going to pass up until the last minute.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Congress's verdict this week on the national intelligence reform bill was negative. House Republicans blocked the bill from a floor vote. Over the past week, cries of disappointment, disbelief and outrage have rendered the Washington air, as though only a national intelligence czar would shield us from another 9/11.

Many in Congress and elsewhere think otherwise, however; namely, that the czar idea, with all its apparatus, is not only a bad idea but a counterproductive idea.

Here's one skeptic, Efraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad, national security adviser to the Israeli prime minister, and currently head of the Center for Strategic and Policy Studies at Hebrew University at Jerusalem.

MR. EFRAIM HALEVY: (From National Public Radio interview.) And I think the creation of a czar to oversee the intelligence agencies would cast a doubt as to who is in charge of what, who's responsible for what, where does the buck stop. Israel tried it after the worst debacle we had in intelligence. That was the Yom Kippur war of 1973.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur war.

MR. EFRAIM HALEVY: (From audio tape.) And the surprise was all the more, shall we say, unpalatable and unacceptable because we had all the information. We saw the enemy across our lines, and the evaluation was wrong. We were able to repulse the enemy, but the losses were enormous.

And there was an inquiry commission set up, and one of the recommendations was to set up an adviser to the prime minister on intelligence. And within a very short time, as I said, it transpired that this was not a good solution because you cannot have somebody to interpose himself between the head of the intelligence service and the political level.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Can we learn from Israel's example? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I think we should. I agree with you. I felt always this was a very bad idea to put another layer of bureaucracy between the director of Central Intelligence and the NSC. And so I think we can learn from it, but I don't think we're going to, because I think we're going to get the intelligence czar. It was stopped by Sensenbrenner and the immigration caucus and by Duncan Hunter, who was carrying water for the Department of Defense.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they'll be overridden.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think they're going to be overridden by the president. They're going to get their concerns accommodated in some way. And I think the president will win, but probably not until the new year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to develop this a little further beyond Efraim. More anti-czarist arguments: One, don't demoralize -- remoralize. Demoting the head of the CIA and America's 13 other intelligence services by subordinating them to the new czar will only demoralize our intelligence at a time when we need the opposite -- high morale. This is a de facto demotion for the entire CIA, which was created to serve the president. It is the wrong message to send at a time when we are trying to reinvigorate the CIA.

Question. The CIA is being demoted from its 57-year position at the top of the U.S. government intelligence totem pole. Is that the dominant cause of the current discontent at the CIA? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: I don't think so. I think the CIA feels that it was scapegoated during the whole debacle over the run-up to the Iraq war, and they're getting back at the president and at Porter Goss, the new director, who has brought in his highly partisan political team from the Congress and is running roughshod over some career employees. So I think that's a separate issue.

But, look, the 9/11 commission had some good ideas, and the idea to have this czar, I don't think, is not one of the good ideas. And the way it is shaking out and why I think the president favors it is that it would be just another member of the Cabinet there to advance his agenda. I mean, the intent seems to be to promote Porter Goss into that position. And it would remove whatever little independence there is in the intelligence community.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you convinced that the president likes the idea of a czar?

MS. CLIFT: I frankly think he's ambivalent. He didn't work as hard as he could to get it. He seemed to be secretly siding with Donald Rumsfeld, who didn't want it. But frankly, I think this whole operation is being run by Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and I think they don't want the czar.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, two: Real-time information-sharing exists now.

We can already connect the dots because of adopted changes made in how the government's anti-terrorism apparatus cooperates. After 9/11, the CIA and the FBI created a joint counterterrorism center. It includes a command post of all relevant federal agencies. Information is shared on a real-time basis. The lack of communication that existed before 9/11 has been fixed.

Question: The demand for a national intelligence czar stems from the failure, alleged failure, to connect the dots during the first eight months of 2001. Now the dots are being connected in real time. So why bring in a czar and another layer of bureaucracy? We already have command focus. Is that not true, Paul?

MR. GLASTRIS: You have command focus. But if you leave the bureaucracy to do what it wants to do, the FBI will go after bank robbers and the Pentagon will count tanks in Russia, and so forth. And the argument for a czar is that you need to have a heavy hand, but with budget authority, to keep people focused. And any kind of reform has good sides and bad sides.

And this all depends on what you think the big problem is. If you think the big problem is terrorism, and that's going to be the big problem for the next 20 years, it's a good idea. If you think there are other things we have to worry about, it's not so good of an idea.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. But the budget authority of the United States Congress and the Office of Management & Budget is not being surrendered under the proposed new plan. So, therefore, it can be argued that this can all be handled through the OMB and the NSA by a coordination which already is in existence. We'll get into that in a moment. As a matter of fact, I'll get into it now and then give you the opportunity, Clarence, to shine.

MR. PAGE: Thank you. Look forward to it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, three: Power is already in place.

The intelligence czar has no real powers not already held by the White House and the Office of Management & Budget. The president and the national security adviser can get anything he or she wants from the intelligence community. The OMB controls the budgets. And the combination of an assertive NSA and OMB can result in all the coordination necessary.

Question: Our mid-level managers, who were at fault in 2001, are now working together to connect the dots. So is the rationale for a czar thereby nullified? Clarence Page.

MR. PAGE: Well, not totally, although I'm not saying a czar is the best idea. But the czar idea comes about in response to some natural competitiveness between agencies. If you're working for the FBI and you're working on a really heavy secret -- some terrorist cell, say -- you don't want to let the CIA guy get credit for it. I mean, it's just a natural kind of competitiveness that occurs when you've got 14, 15 different agencies all about the same mission. And that was the problem with connecting the dots in 2001. It has been ameliorated to a great degree. But still --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, let's see what happens if we bring one into existence. Four: Confusion breeds vulnerability.

An intelligence czar will cause bureaucratic uncertainty, confusion and inter-agency jockeying for position. This is a huge drawback. Radically restructuring the intelligence community now will actually make us more vulnerable, certainly in the short term. Put simply, it increases the danger now without any promise that it will improve matters long term.

Question: That's what goes with putting in a layer of bureaucracy, Clarence. So is it true that the 8/11 structural reform short term will actually make us more vulnerable?

MR. PAGE: Well, in the short term it can cause some confusion, and long term is the test.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The jockeying for power.

MR. PAGE: But, yeah, jockeying for power is the problem that you have with 14, 15 different intelligence agencies, as well as turf battles and just competition between one agency and the other that just happens on the ground. I've had former FBI agents talk about how, "Hey, even though we're told to cooperate," still you've been working on this project; you don't necessarily want to share it with some CIA guy who's going to take the credit. It shouldn't happen, but it happens.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. But we're not going to get the panacea by a vast structural reform at this time.

Okay, five: The Fig Leaf Czar. The post of intelligence czar is a fig leaf to satisfy Congress's political imperative to be seen to be doing something, anything at all, even if it doesn't work.

Question: Why is Congress so gung ho to pass this legislation in the lame-duck session? Paul Glastris.

MR. GLASTRIS: I think what we're seeing, sadly, is the end result of President Bush's refusal to engage on intelligence reform for three years, and now we're having to shove it in in the last month. And this is something that should have been started the day after 9/11, and he pushed it off and wouldn't engage with this 9/11 commission and turned the 9/11 commission into a god that nobody could touch, and now he's stuck with it. And it does need some changes, but this is politicizing the war rather than focusing on reform.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think those in Congress who want this reform are engaging in political insurance because they feel that if there is a terrorist attack between now and when we have this vast new structural reform, if it occurs before then, they're going to be vulnerable, so therefore we go forward with it even though it is bound up with so many deficiencies and so many disablers within the legislation? Do you follow me?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, it gives the perception of doing something.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. And that --

MS. CLIFT: I think what's particularly telling is the fact that the president signs this executive order commandeering the CIA to triple resources with intelligence agents, with language skills, when the CIA has been operating under that same order for the last three years. I mean, that was a pure CYA order coming out of the White House.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why has the press fallen right in line with the cry for this new vast structural reform?

MR. BUCHANAN: The 9/11 commission is -- I mean, look, I'm sure they did a good job. They came out unanimously. But in my judgment -- I agree with Paul -- I think they were overrated. They are not the divine providence. But Congress feels, as you pointed out, one, it's got to get something done to give itself political cover. Secondly, there's pressure out there from the women, the wives and the others, to get this done. A lot of them haven't studied the issue. They just say, "This is good government stuff; everybody loves it. Do it and get it out of here."

MS. CLIFT: I'm agnostic on the details. I mean, I think you can make arguments pro and against this kind of reform. But I don't like the way it's being torpedoed; I mean, Congressman Sensenbrenner putting in an anti-immigration clause to kill it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, border security has to do with national security.

MS. CLIFT: It has nothing to do with this intelligence reform. There are lots of things that impact on homeland security.

MR. BUCHANAN: It has to do with real security, though. This has to do with real security.

MS. CLIFT: Well, let him do it on his own time instead of trying to pull down a major piece of legislation with his own wish list.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, and also Sensenbrenner has been abused in this process. Sensenbrenner is one of the most honorable men in the United States Congress.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't like his views on immigration.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he was treated by remarks by Susan Collins in the Washington Post that were entirely off the field.

MR. BUCHANAN: And so was Duncan Hunter, who is a solid guy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely.

MR. BUCHANAN: Green Beret, Armed Services. Those guys care about national security. They're willing to take the heat. They're willing to stand up to the president. And thank goodness we've got a couple of them there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is it that if you take a position against this vast structural reform -- and we see what's happening at Homeland Security. What has that become? Is that a white elephant? But now we see this. And if you take a position against it, you're automatically a militarist and you're automatically behind Rumsfeld. Why is that the case?

MR. GLASTRIS: Because you had five Republicans and five Democrats in the 9/11 commission who did their level best to come up with reform. And you had nothing coming out of the Republican Party, nothing coming out of the president. This has become the standard, the litmus test. And now, late in the game, you're trying to change the rules and say, "We're going to have a nice open debate and come up with the perfect solution." It's very late in the game to do that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Does America need an intelligence czar? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think we need a tough guy at the CIA, or person; tough person at the FBI. And you ought to have -- the NSC ought to knock heads together if Paul's problems occur and the FBI's not doing what you want it to do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: No czar, and a national security adviser who does his or her job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. GLASTRIS: You need a czar. I'm agnostic on the budget thing. But you cannot let the bureaucracies go the way they want to go.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear the esteemed general that I played for you earlier from Israel? Didn't that --

MR. GLASTRIS: I don't think it's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- do anything for you?

MR. GLASTRIS: I don't think you can compare it. You know, the size of the American bureaucracies are so much bigger than what you have in Israel. This is a very brave man, a smart man, but, you know, czars have been important in other areas, from drugs to terrorism. It will probably help here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think that the undergirding principles remain exactly the same in Israel as they are here? They lost 2,000 in that Yom Kippur war. They went through their 9/11. They went through their towers explosion, comparably. And they came out with this idea, and it was a bad idea, and he said so.

MR. PAGE: But it doesn't necessarily mean --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We all listened to that.

MR. PAGE: You can have good czars and bad czars. You can have czars with power and czars that don't. What we need is coordination. We need better coordination. We need to stop the information falling between the cracks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The reason why --

MR. BUCHANAN: The NSC --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Rumsfeld doesn't like --

MR. PAGE: It's supposed to be the NSC, but we all know the NSC has not been performing --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, if the NSC failed -- Eleanor is right. If the NSC failed, get a new director. I mean, Henry Kissinger would have banged heads together.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Exit question --

MR. PAGE: The NSC was created because we were making these same complaints in the early Cold War. And now we're beyond the Cold War. We're in the war against terrorism. And we still have these same problems of redundancy and too much information falling between the cracks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you say you want a czar or you don't want a czar?

MR. PAGE: Well, we need better coordination. If that takes a czar, I want a czar.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, what we need to do is rehabilitate the CIA, make it what it was. The problem with the CIA is group-think. The problem with the CIA is underfunding. Those ought to be repaired or the czar will have czarist power over nothing.

Issue two: Disorder on the Court.

At the end of an Indiana Pacers-Detroit Pistons basketball game, and out of the blue, a Pacer was hit in the chest with a full cup of beer. In reprisal, he and other players bounded up into the stands, throwing punches at the rabid, heckling spectators.

The seating area erupted into a brutal, drink-hurling, fist-throwing brawl. The upshot: Miraculously, no serious injuries, but nine players suspended and fines all around. Criminal charges are pending.

The high-intensity love-hate relationship between athletes and their fans is nothing new. In September, a baseball pitcher flung a folding chair into the stands, breaking a woman's nose. Earlier, at another baseball game, a father-and-son duo bolted onto the field and beat up a baseball coach.

Elsewhere, a deranged tennis fan jumped from the stands and attacked tennis player Monica Seles, stabbing her in the back. And the attacker, by the way, was given a suspended sentence by a German court. Then there was the Pittsburgh Pirates slugger who swung his bat at a parade of mascots wearing food costumes.

But last Friday's melee sounded the shock-and-awe buzzer that was heard around the sporting world.

Question: Have we tolerated too much clearly criminal activity on our playing fields, with minor fines and suspensions, when we ought to have been charging assault and battery and prosecuting? Clarence.

MR. PAGE: I don't know, John, but I went to a fight last week and a basketball game broke out. (Laughter.) But seriously, folks, let this be a lesson to all hecklers, if you want to have a 300-pound seven-footer running after you and punching you out.

But there's something rather "circusy" about this. The real degradation is that basketball is beginning to look like professional wrestling. Even Artest, the great star who was in the center of all this, was interviewed on TV the other day and spent the whole interview plugging his new CD. It's like there's not -- there's a crazy surrealism to this whole thing. I suspect, though, NBA ticket sales are just going to go up, if anything.

MS. CLIFT: Well, these guys make more money in one game than most of those fans make in a year, maybe even in a lifetime. I think they ought to be able to endure a plastic cup of beer thrown at them. I think it's no excuse to then go up there and basically assault people. I mean, I think they're a bunch of spoiled athletes. And I think the excess of the salaries and the way we glorify athletes is coming home to remind us that we've gone too far. I wouldn't go to an NBA game.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think a lot of these fans, though, are really outrageous. When you throw a beer on somebody and you -- I mean, a 23-year-old kid is out on a basketball court; he's all hyped up. If you get a beer in the face, you're liable to get your face punched in. That's what happened. The guys should have controlled themselves.

But let me say this, John. This reflects, really, a general coarsening of the culture, I think. You didn't have this in the 1950s. We now -- people win World Series and everybody goes out and riots and rapes women and burns cars and turns them over.

I think what's happened is your culture has been polluted with all this violence and raw sex and all this garbage into it. And these athletes are kids that grew up in it. They're drinking that stuff in nightly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We don't have to spin it out that far. We don't have to spin it out.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- decline of civilization.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got criminal conduct on the court.

MR. BUCHANAN: You've got a civilization in decline. Look, charging people with crimes isn't going to solve it.

MS. CLIFT: They're polluted by big salaries and an exalted sense of who they are. I mean, you know, I'm not defending throwing a cup of beer. But I've been to soccer games where things get thrown from the sidelines. I mean, grow up.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I mean --

MS. CLIFT: It's not the general coarsening of culture.

MR. BUCHANAN: That nonsense should not happen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's fall in, please. We have a guest here. Paul.

MR. GLASTRIS: It's the false macho of the American male. Men love this stuff. And I was at an airport bar and they were watching the tape loop, and people love those fights. I mean, you're right. This is the hockeyification of basketball. And it's throughout our culture. I think Pat's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have the leagues --

MR. GLASTRIS: I don't care about the players, but the fans have it coming.

MR. PAGE: The real problem is the NBA does have to have strict enforcement, which they're doing, and heavy fines and suspensions.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, they're doing? When did they start doing it?

MR. BUCHANAN: You've got the guy out for the year.

MR. PAGE: You've got nine people. You've got Artest locked out the rest of the season, et cetera.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There hasn't -- let me ask you a question.

MR. PAGE: You've got to do that. Otherwise the whole NBA --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you a question. Has the NBA accepted loathsome conduct by players and hit them with a slap on the wrist?

MR. PAGE: Well, this is not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you started prosecuting the players, then there would be less transfer of what's going on on the field, on the court; then they wouldn't be going back into the stands.

MR. BUCHANAN: Take away the season tickets and those clowns up there who provoke people all night long on there. Look, these guys get hot in the middle of the game, and at the end of the game you've got guys throwing stuff at them, calling them names. And some of these players are young kids.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. We have nationally the lowest crime rate in 45 years, major crime rate, and even minor --

MR. BUCHANAN: That's simply because the population is aging, for heaven's sakes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't care what it is. It's a lower crime rate. Why don't they enforce the law on the basketball court, on the bleachers crowd, and also on the players?

MR. BUCHANAN: You're a liberal, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All you have to do is enforce the law.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're a liberal that thinks that all we need to do is start enforcing laws.

MS. CLIFT: And since when do conservatives --

MR. BUCHANAN: There's something behind the lawbreaking.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, there's something behind it. That's a cop-out.

MS. CLIFT: Since when do conservatives excuse that boorish behavior --

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm not excusing the guy.

MS. CLIFT: -- under the fact that "Oh, it's the culture that made me do it."

MR. BUCHANAN: The guy got thrown out of the league for the entire season. It cost him $5 million.

MS. CLIFT: Well, appropriate -- appropriate.

MR. BUCHANAN: If you give me $5 million, you can throw beer on me all year. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Right, exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you start handing out sentences to offenders, they will behave like Emily Post graduates.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, these guys have gotten hit hard, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good. Good.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it might have been too hard, but okay, they got hit. Deal with it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe there's even a criminal prosecution that's possible --

MR. BUCHANAN: Stop criminalizing everything.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- for those in the stands and those in the field.

MR. BUCHANAN: Stop criminalizing a fist fight, for heaven's sakes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before we go all-out in the kind of a reach you want to do, let's first of all enforce the law.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who got hurt?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Enforce the law.

MR. BUCHANAN: A couple of guys got punched in the head. That one guy that threw the beer should have been decked.

MS. CLIFT: Spoken by a brawler who remembers fondly his college days.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look --

MS. CLIFT: I've read your books, Pat. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this an indictment of American society, as Pat believes?

MR. GLASTRIS: I think there's a coarsening. I think there's a false macho that's taken hold of the American male. We need to figure out ways of getting guys to understand that physical courage is not the same as throwing a beer cup at a basketball player.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't this more an indictment of the NBA than it is the American --

MR. PAGE: Oh, the NBA didn't throw that first container of liquid at the player.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. PAGE: But, you know, it's one thing to yell from the sidelines --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They've encouraged it by letting the players off when they should have pressed criminal charges.

MR. GLASTRIS: Well, we have an experiment now, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Treat everybody the same. The uniform does not give you a shield.

MR. PAGE: Right. Well, punishment is appropriate, for the player and for the fans too.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Thanks But No Thanks.

It was a time of terrorism and war, bloody urban battles, mounting casualty reports, beheadings, famine, genocide, faltering global alliances, looming nuclear showdowns, yellow alerts, orange alerts, deadly hurricanes, surging deficits, unsteady markets, 45 million Americans without health insurance, chronic joblessness, a shrinking middle class, and in many foreign quarters the American flag reviled.

With all of this, do Americans have anything for which to be thankful on this Thanksgiving? Or is 2004 annus horribilis?

Question: What is it, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Sursum Corda, John. Lift up your heart. For heaven's sakes, you are one of those fellows, I think, that has been driven into despair because you believe the exit polls. (Laughter.) Look, this is a --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You'll do anything for a laugh, won't you?

MR. BUCHANAN: Listen, no, John, look, this country is in great shape. We haven't had any --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You just finished your -- (inaudible).

MR. BUCHANAN: The culture is in the sewer. But as for the condition of America, America is in pretty good shape. We've got some serious problems. We're headed in the wrong way. Terrorism is not going on here. I mean, the hurricanes were terrible, but look how well Florida came through them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we don't have any foreign invaders in our cities and towns like Iraq, right? What do you think of that?

MR. GLASTRIS: Well, you know, you count all the people that weren't beheaded in Iraq, you can be very thankful in a given day, but it doesn't mean it's a good thing. I think -- look, what I'm thankful for is the color purple, because I think the majority of Americans are neither as blue or as red as the politicians make them out to be. The system is trying to push polarization, and the public is still resistant. There is a moderate majority waiting to be had out there someday.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, is that what purple represents?

MR. GLASTRIS: Yes, purple is -- I'm sort of color-blind, but yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's no malnutrition. There's no hunger in the United States. That's to the good. So what do we suffer from? Obesity.

MR. BUCHANAN: No cold war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The cornucopia is full. Right? Can we conclude that?

MR. PAGE: One more bit of good news, John. Home ownership is up. Even though home prices are at record levels, so are homeowners, especially among African-Americans and other groups that have been low --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MR. GLASTRIS: It's a bubble and it's going to fall, but --

MR. PAGE: That's next year.

MR. GLASTRIS: Yeah. For the moment, it's good.

MS. CLIFT: We can be grateful for the 25th Amendment. There's no third term for George W. Bush. And I think I'm grateful for living in a country where there's broad acceptance of an election, but dissent and disagreement is still alive.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will George Bush's guest-worker program go down the tubes, notwithstanding what he said to Vicente Fox?

MR. BUCHANAN: You're right. I guarantee you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The right-wing network is staging the backlash as we speak.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a yes?

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. GLASTRIS: He'll get it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He'll get it?

MR. PAGE: I think he'll get it. He's going to spend the political capital to get it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It will go down the tubes. Happy Thanksgiving Weekend. Gobble, gobble.


####
®FC¯END
®FL¯_