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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANEL:
PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC;
ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK;
TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES;
JAMES WARREN, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

DATE: FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2005

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Split the Difference.

Viewers of this program will recall that over six weeks ago, I stated that President Bush's plan for private Social Security accounts would do nothing to fix the basic eventual problem; namely, insolvency.

Viewers will also recall that there were those, Pat and Tony, who disagreed, saying that private accounts would help prevent Social Security insolvency.

Well, it looks like true wisdom has prevailed.

SENATOR BEN NELSON (D-NE): (From videotape.) What I think we have to do is split the Social Security issue into two parts. One is deal with insolvency. On the other hand, the private accounts are a separate matter that don't solve and aren't intended to solve the Social Security solvency issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham calls the private accounts plan, quote, "a side show." "It's always been a side show, but we sold it as the main event. That's what frustrates me, that we're off in a ditch over a side show." Now, this week, the president himself seems to be coming around.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) Personal accounts do not solve the issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why did it take so long for the public to realize that the Social Security problem should be split in two -- one part insolvency, the other part personal accounts? Was the public gulled? Patrick Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Personal accounts are a good idea. Young people like them -- even, John, if the senior citizens in Bal Harbour do not like them. The president wanted to keep them together in order to win both of them. It was a good idea. Medicare and Social Security, however, are Louise and Thelma, and they are headed for the cliff, John. And you and I are in the back seat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see the central point, that the insolvency issue is separate from the personal accounts? Personal accounts, he says, does nothing to resolve the insolvency issue.

MR. BUCHANAN: In the long run, personal accounts are the way to go. It is a wholesale reform of the system. It is a great new bright idea.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't we do it in sequence -- one, insolvency, and two, personal accounts? What do you think, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, well, I think the public figured this out pretty quickly, which is why the numbers have been dropping for the president's plan. The private accounts carved out of Social Security increase risk, do not solve the problems of Social Security.

And the president is planning on spending $200 million to try to gull the American people, but they've figured out that this is a Trojan horse, putting something out there like you're getting something for nothing, and putting off the fact that they're going to have to make real benefit cuts or tax increases if they really want to save Social Security.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, I'm going to go to you next, but I first of all want to set up this next part of this issue. Okay, the president says that Social Security is in crisis. What he should be saying, some believe, is that economic assumptions are key to whether Social Security crisis -- is in crisis, will go into crisis, or even be a problem at all. It all depends on your economic assumptions for the future.

One, the Bush view: Social Security goes broke in 2042; true if the U.S. economy faces decades of its lowest growth since the Great Depression.

Two, the Congressional Budget Office view: Social Security goes broke in 2052, 10 years after the Bush doomsday. The CBO projects a growth rate on the low end of the middle range, slightly more optimistic than Mr. Bush.

Three, the 75-year-history view: The economy continues to grow at the same rate as it has over the last 75 years, including the Great Depression years, which means that Social Security does not go broke at all.

Question: Which view is most accurate -- broke in 2042, broke in 2052, or the 75 years will prevail during the foreseeable future and it won't go broke at all?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the vast majority of the experts, including the trustees, do not go with the doesn't go broke at all. One of the problems with that is it assumes a constant increase in our population. If we ever secure our borders and we don't have more immigrants coming in and we have a flat birth rate, which is what we've got, 2.01 birth rate, then we don't have a population sufficiently to grow the aggregate economy, or even if per capita income goes up. So prudence suggests to take the one sort of to the conservative side but not necessarily the lowest growth rate.

I want to go back for just a moment to the private account. What the private account does, it helps solve solvency in the long run for this reason: It doesn't solve it by itself, but because it'll generate higher benefits for younger people, who start retiring in 30, 40, 50 years, at that point it will contribute substantially to the cost of paying out the benefits, as opposed to if we don't have it, we have the lower yield that comes out of the current system.

So it's part of the long-term solvency problem. It's not an entire solution, and it's no part of the short- and medium-term solvency problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, isn't that also built on three assumptions? One assumption is that the three and a half growth rate that Social Security currently provides per year, plus the increase that goes with inflation, plus the administrative cost, which means that you've got to really be earning about 5 percent with your stocks and bonds.

MR. BLANKLEY: The administrative cost has been exaggerated by a lot of people. In fact, it can be down below a third of 1 percent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think? What do you think about this layout of the economic assumptions being essential to whether or not we are going into crisis or even a problem?

MR. WARREN: First of all, I think we have to get back to your very, very modest declaration of the prescience of your prediction of six weeks ago, even though I do forget it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you for recognizing that. Do you also wish to scorn Buchanan and Blankley?

MR. WARREN: Whatever happens, you're going to have to ultimately either decrease benefits or raise revenues. I don't know whether it's going to happen in 2042 or 75 years out, but there's no way you're going to be able to do anything without doing those.

And I think the president has done a very good -- I think a better job than most give him credit for in outlining the problem. He has been very, very muddled, atypically, for a crew that is lauded by us in the media for the brilliance of their dealing with the media, I think he's been quite muddled in offering a solution.

He has conceded this week, as we know, that private accounts are not going to be any help to the solvency question. But after that, it is highly unclear what he's going to do. And I think it's really interesting, and I wonder what Tony thinks or Pat thinks: What minimum achievement does he have to gain to be able to claim a victory out of this?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has to get the Congress to at least give him the opportunity to let the younger generation use about one and a half percent of their Social Security tax to play around with.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you are --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The problem with that is you have to create an enormous bureaucratic superstructure to handle all of that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Two thousand forty-two is ridiculous. You've got a situation in 2009 where Social Security --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is the president's view.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's not the president's view. It's the accounting view.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He says 2042.

MR. BUCHANAN: In 2009, Social Security surplus diminishes. It disappears in 2018. You have to go out and borrow to pay the benefits of Social Security then. The federal deficit will go past $1 trillion like Seabiscuit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your economic assumption for that for the future? What's the growth rate going to be for the general economy?

MR. BUCHANAN: The point is, we're talking about the federal budget deficit is going to explode.

MS. CLIFT: But you can't stop --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thanks to him.

MR. BLANKLEY: No --

MS. CLIFT: You can't solve it with private accounts. And that's the fallacy.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're right --

MS. CLIFT: And the public has figured that out.

MR. BUCHANAN: Your two points are right, Eleanor -- a tax increase or benefit cuts.

MS. CLIFT: All you have to do is a little -- that's right, a little jiggering. But President Bush is so cowardly, he won't even put out any kind of plan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MS. CLIFT: He wants the Congress to walk the plank.

MR. BLANKLEY: He's too smart.

MS. CLIFT: Cowardly.

MR. BLANKLEY: He's too smart to come up with the details --

MR. BUCHANAN: They're all cowardly, Eleanor. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Too smart.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- until he's worked all the different members and found out what they support --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Well, he --

MR. BLANKLEY: -- which is what he did on prescription drugs, and it worked and it passed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, he wants to be able to say, "Look, I proposed a renovation of Social Security. The Congress voted it down." And that'll be based on what the Congress comes up with.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yep.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is President Bush demagoguing the Social Security issue? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: He has been courageous on this issue. And it may not go through, but it is a win-win, because if it goes down the tubes, he can say, "Young people, I did my best to save your system. They were obstructionist and would not help."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: But who is "they"? It's the Republican Congress. Republicans are against this as well. So the president saves his legacy. What does he do for the party? Nothing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, obviously he's not a demagogue. He's one of the few who's not a demagogue on this issue. And as far as the win-win, I think it's most likely, given the fact the Democrats are in a total denial and obstruction mode, that they will get the bulk of the credit for killing it if they kill it. But I think he's going to pass something.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think this is a domestic application of this foreign doctrine of preemptive strike? We saw what happened in the last preemptive-strike exercise in that doctrine -- weapons of mass destruction, they've got a nuclear capability, and on and on. We saw how wrong that was. Is this another erroneous preemptive strike?

MR. WARREN: The answer to your question, no, because this is a problem we've known about for a long time. We've had to deal with it a long time. But the answer to the question at hand is that both sides are demagoguing, the Democrats more than the White House.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And who has usually done it? The Democrats, right?

MR. WARREN: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So it's the Republican turn. It's Buchanan's turn, right, or the Republicans' turn to demagogue it?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, the Republicans -- the president, I think, is courageous. At least he's out there fighting for it. I do agree he's got to come up with something --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the demagoguery issue, my belief is that the president wants to convert this part of our society from a welfare society to an ownership society.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In any event, however, it does not emanate from a crisis. It emanates from ideology.

Issue Two: 'Roid Rage.

High drama on Capitol Hill Thursday; hearings on steroid use in major league baseball, all-day hearings.

Should the federal government regulate steroid use by the players? They began with testimony from parents of children who died from steroid use.

DONALD HOOTON SR. (FATHER OF STEROID USER): (From videotape.) I believe the poor example being set by professional athletes is a major catalyst fueling the high usage of steroids amongst our kids. Our kids look up to these guys. They want to do the things the pros do to be successful.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Past and present baseball superstars, six of them, testified later in the day, but not Barry Bonds.

RAFAEL PALMEIRO: (From videotape.) I have never used steroids, period. I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that.

MARK MCGWIRE: (From videotape.) Asking me or any other player to answer questions about who took steroids in front of television cameras will not solve the problem. If a player answers no, he simply will not be believed. If he answers yes, he risks public scorn and endless government investigations.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Former Chicago Cubs slugger, superstar slugger Sammy Sosa, whose groupie is sitting at my right right here, answered questions from the committee in his own voice but gave his opening statement through his attorney.

JAMES SHARP (ATTORNEY FOR SAMMY SOSA): (From videotape.) To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything. I'm willing to work with you and the Congress as a whole to educate kids and young athletes about these serious issues. To the extent that I can help in these efforts, I'm anxious to do so.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does the federal government have any business regulating steroid use in professional baseball? Tony Blankley.

MR. BLANKLEY: I tend to not like to see the government regulating the private sector. The argument for it is that baseball alone among all sports has the anti-trust exemption so they're allowed to be a monopoly. That gives the government a bigger role in them.

The 'roids are, in fact, a Schedule 2 drug. It's a felony to have them and to use them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does the federal government exercise its wisdom over Ecstasy or marijuana? The answer is yes, it does.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if what you say is true, and it is true, that it's an illegal drug to use without prescription and the federal government gets in the act, is there anything wrong with that?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I was getting to the point of saying that because we've given them -- the government has given them the exemption, because it's the national pastime, they have some responsibility not to be using drugs so the kids see that. And if they're not going to manage it themselves, the government's got a right to step in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why not let baseball regulate itself, declare stadiums and baseball areas as a sovereign state?

MR. WARREN: They should. What you saw play out here was a typical Capitol Hill circus. It was a typical unenlightening, superficial, pandering hearing by a bunch of guys who, as Tony suggests, normally the Republicans are inclined to let the free market itself deal with self-destructive behavior. And, you know, you had the parents who were with their kids who supposedly had been hurt by this.

But I think, no, absolutely stay clear of it. But I also think guys who didn't come off very well were the union. And even though this is one of the strongest unions in the country -- it has outnegotiated consistently management -- I think they've got to be concerned about a little bit more than just benefits and --

MS. CLIFT: This is primarily --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, I've got a question --

MR. WARREN: -- but also the physical health of some of these guys.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, I've got a question for you. There's another view on why this congressional hearing was held, and that is to lend some backup, some support, some shoulder strength to the baseball commissioner, and that they did it as a favor, and it was a generally friendly hearing. There were some subpoenas that didn't go out.

MS. CLIFT: So Congress is providing the spine for Bud Selig? I don't think so. I mean, is Selig now going to act more forcefully because he's afraid of congressional intervention? This was primarily grandstanding, because it's a lot more fun to listen to Curt Schilling than it is to listen to Alan Greenspan. And it's more fun than most of the hard stuff they have to deal with.

But if they really want a government role, they should take away the anti-trust exemption. They should take away the tax breaks instead of just flirting around the edges with what's essentially a designer issue.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is ridiculous. Look, you ask many of those congressmen up there, "Did you guys use any illegal substances when you were the age of these players?" They shouldn't be using them. They've shamed themselves. They've destroyed the whole record system. They've damaged baseball. But it is none of the business of the Congress of the United States to ask them what they were taking when they hit these home runs. They should stay out of it. They've got enough things to do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want them to dope up as much as they want, the players?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's none of Congress's business. It's baseball's business.

MR. WARREN: I'd like to know --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, wait a minute. We just went through all that. It is the Congress's business.

MR. BUCHANAN: It is not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's the federal government's business.

MR. BUCHANAN: What are they going to do about it? What are they going to do, put somebody in jail because he takes steroids?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are a lot of things they can do about it. There's a long list of things they can do about it, and you know that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Get them out of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Who was the most stand-up guy in this congressional hearing? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Unfortunately it was Canseco, who ratted everybody out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of California, who was not awed by these superhumans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. BLANKLEY: Canseco, if anyone was. I thought everybody came off pretty poorly. Most of the ballplayers, I thought, were very unheroic in their posture.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did you think?

MR. WARREN: Biggest loser, Mr. Mark McGwire. And the biggest weasel, capital 'W', Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sammy Sosa came off best. He says, "I'll do everything I can to help you with this. Just tell me what to do."

Issue Three: Toweling Off.

What defines indecency? Apparently not a naked back and titillating innuendo. The Federal Communications Commission ruled this week that a Monday Night Football TV ad did not violate decency standards when it showed Nicolette Sheridan, a star of the ABC risque hit show "Desperate Housewives," leap into the arms of Philadelphia Eagle Terrell Owens.

Why was Monday Night Football spared a fine? "No sexual or excretory organs are shown or described, and no sexual activities are explicitly depicted or described."

The ruling comes exactly one month after the House of Representatives voted to raise the fine for using swear words up to $500,000 per swear-word violation. It comes eight months after the FCC recommended that CBS be fined a record $550,000 for Janet Jackson's Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.

As a consequence of these fines, 66 ABC stations kept the motion picture "Saving Private Ryan" off the air on Veterans' Day because of the movie's gritty, profane dialogue. More recently, PBS told its affiliates that it would offer no legal support to its stations if they aired a documentary of soldiers coping with life in Iraq without editing out profanity.

Question: In the Monday Night Football TV ad just shown, is the FCC saying a little titillation is fine but a glimpse of a little titillation is not? Warren.

MR. WARREN: You allude to Miss Jackson at the Super Bowl halftime show, I see, presumably, and a little you-know-what. This was very reassuring. It shows us that the blue-nosed FCC is not totally, absolutely nuts. (Laughter.) This is a government which controls the broadcast spectrum, parcels it out to companies like ours. It should not be controlling the message, period.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the argument what is left to the imagination then is the responsibility of the beholder, and therefore we'll stay out of it, and what is naked before the television lens is clearly our domain? Do you follow me? Do you want to speak to that?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I think I do.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, look -- yeah, go ahead.

MR. BUCHANAN: Go ahead.

MR. BLANKLEY: Okay, I'll jump into this pile of salacious material. Look, obviously you can't show breasts and other parts of the body. So that's an easy call. The rest of it, I don't think the FCC can hold back this sewage of salaciousness that we have.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't hold back.

MR. BLANKLEY: And they might as well just give up on all the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just because porn is readily available on the Net, on DVDs, on cable.

MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't equate --

MR. BUCHANAN: American culture is Love Canal. I admire some of these guys, Powell and the others, who are at least trying to hold the little boy with his finger in the dike. But this garbage is flowing into our culture.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't equate breasts with sewage.

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm talking about all this language --

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. And when the right wing --

MR. BLANKLEY: Believe me, I love breasts.

MS. CLIFT: When the right wing gets as excited about violence as they do about sex, then I'll be listening.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, in cowboy movies --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should the FCC get out of the business of trying to legislate morality? Yes or no. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: They should take some stations away from some of these networks, and then these sleazeballs would behave for about a week.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: They should get out of morality and they should worry about Clear Channel and some of the big media imposing their ideology on the country.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Cable can do whatever they want. I think they should, by and large, get out of the business of regulating.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. WARREN: Despite Tony and Pat's desire to have the FCC act as if they were the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, the answer is they should stay away from this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The decency standards of the FCC are antiquarian in today's age. This is quite a problem we have on our hands, depending upon how you view the effects of pornography and the volume of it.

Issue Four: Arctic Drilling, Yes.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may be open for business. By a vote of 51-49 on Wednesday, the Republican Senate allowed oil drilling in the 1.5 million acres of wilderness on Alaska's north slope, about 8 percent of the 19-million-acre refuge.

An estimated 10.4 billion barrels of crude lie beneath the tundra. Proponents say domestic drilling reduces dependence on foreign suppliers.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): (From videotape.) It's enough fuel to replace all of our imports from Saudi Arabia for 25 years -- 25 years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Opponents say such thinking is myopic.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA): (From videotape.) You can't drill your way out of America's predicament. You have to invent your way out of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Wednesday, oil hit a record high of $56 a barrel. Actually, the Senate voted 51-49 to adopt a budget line for revenue projections for ANWR drilling. Technically, this means that the Republican Senate can now vote on ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and that majority vote cannot be filibustered. So there is a de facto adoption. That was compressed in the intro.

Question: Will final approval pass the Congress? Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Not necessarily, if the Congress cannot agree on a budget. But whether it does or not, this is the beginning of the end for ANWR, because the president has the votes to impose his pro-business agenda in the U.S. Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will drilling in ANWR help reduce our dependence on foreign oil? Yes or no. Patrick.

MR. BUCHANAN: It will help to some degree. It doesn't solve the problem. But, John, the caribou herds are increased about 10 times when we built that pipeline, you and me and Mr. Nixon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct.

MR. BUCHANAN: And they said it would kill them all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct. And now they --

MR. BUCHANAN: They're drilling in a tiny, tiny section of Alaska.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now those caribou, the mothers, the fathers, the little ones --

MR. BUCHANAN: They all hang out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- they hump up against it because they want to create warmth, because friction creates heat as it passes through the immaculate pipeline, which I've seen up there in Prudhoe.

MR. BUCHANAN: So have I.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, no, it's a six-month supply. OPEC will just withhold some oil to keep prices high. This is a short-term non-solution.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, it contributes to the solution. We have to have more nuclear, more coal, more gas, more oil. And every one alone doesn't solve the problem, but they all together might.

MR. WARREN: I feel like I've just been dropped into the National Geographic channel, but thank you for the seminar on the caribou. I appreciate it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MR. WARREN: The answer is no, this doesn't help at all. Tony sort of gets at it. We've got to look at alternative source of energy. And a gluttonous society must deal with the issue of fuel efficiency.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a major help and probably as much of a help as Senator Murkowski says.

Issue Five: Commandments Under Attack.

THOMAS VAN ORDEN (PLAINTIFF): (From videotape.) That display sends a distinct message that the state of Texas has aligned itself with a fundamental religious text of Christianity and Judaism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Ten Commandments display is a six-foot stone monument on the grounds of the Texas state capitol. Mr. Van Orden sued to have it removed, and that suit is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Former Texas Governor George W. Bush supports the display.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) We had a display of the Ten Commandments on the statehouse grounds at Texas, and I supported that display.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is the mere presence of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of a public legislature an infringement of the constitutional separation of church and state? I ask you, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I don't think it is. By way of example, by the way, on the east face of the Supreme Court building, chiseled into stone, is the image of Moses holding the Ten Commandments. It's in that building they have to decide --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you're overlooking something, Tony. What you're overlooking is --

MR. BLANKLEY: No --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What else is up there?

MR. BLANKLEY: All the other --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Code of Hammurabi is up there, isn't it?

MR. BLANKLEY: All the other codes, which is why Justice Souter said, "Maybe we could have glued just the last five commandments, which tend to be more about law, and not the first five." (Laughter.) That's the mentality of our --

MR. WARREN: The major problem is the Supreme Court verges on the clueless on this issue. It doesn't want a wholesale removal out of these things. At the same time, it let that two-ton monument go on its way in Alabama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The heart of the matter is, as long as they have something else up there besides the Ten Commandments, then it's okay.

Predictions, Pat. Tight.

MR. BUCHANAN: Jacko walks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MS. CLIFT: Condoleezza Rice wants Japan as a member of the Security Council in the U.N. It won't happen under Bolton's watch.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Partial privatization of Social Security will be in the president's Social Security proposal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: James.

MR. WARREN: Short of an indictment, embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is not moved on and moved out by his buddies. He stays.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He stays? He stays.

MR. WARREN: He stays.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Japan, under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, is becoming a surprisingly outspoken ally of the United States. This higher Japan profile will neither displace nor destabilize the U.S. relationship with China. The Bush administration will welcome, under the commander-in-chief and the president, Bush, and (digest?) both China and Japan.

Don't forget, you can watch the McLaughlin Group on streaming video worldwide at McLaughlin.com. Next week, Wolfowitz to the World Bank. Will Europe veto his nomination? Bye bye.


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