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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT TAPED: FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2007 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF MAY 19-20, 2007

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Let's Make a Deal.

SEN. JON KYL (R-AZ): (From videotape.) I just finished a tough campaign a few months ago. And if there was any message from Arizona voters, it was, "Do something about illegal immigration."

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D-MA): (From videotape.) The agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders, bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A bipartisan Senate compromise on immigration was reached this week, one that may offer the best hope in years of reforming America's broken immigration system. The challenge of the deal is to reconcile two critical and new phenomena: One, America's mushroomed dependence on immigrant labor; and two, after the harrowing atrocities of 9/11, the nervous public fears about insecure borders.

The deal was hammered out over the past month by 10 senators, including Ted Kennedy, the Democratic dove, and Jon Kyl, the Republican hawk. The new arrangement would provide a, quote-unquote, "pathway" for U.S. citizenship for the 12 million undocumented workers already in the U.S.

These illegals would become eligible to attain full legal status after paying fees and a $5,000 fine. They would be issued a, quote- unquote, "Z visa." Persons with a Z visa seeking citizenship must return to their country of origin to apply in the proper way for a U.S. green card, then come back and gain citizenship in eight to 13 years. Also the deal would shift the criteria for immigration to job skills; in other words, skills-based immigration more, family-based immigration less.

President Bush really likes the plan. This proposal delivers an immigration system that is secure, productive, orderly and fair.

Question: Is this an amnesty bill? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Of course it's an amnesty bill. It's an amnesty for all 12 million illegals in the United States, and 20 million if that many are here, John.

What this is is an insider's secret Beltway deal done for amnesty for the illegals, amnesty for the businesses that hire them, and massive legal immigration, and does nothing really, truly to secure the border.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is an attack, John, by the administration and the Republicans in the Senate on the Republican base and on the Reagan Democrats, and this could cost the president the election. Romney has come out against it. Fred Thompson says, "Kill the bill." Newt Gingrich has come out against it. It is not going through, but it will hurt the party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You sound like you're saying that this could destroy the Republican Party.

MR. BUCHANAN: This will tear the Republican Party apart if it's not killed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Look, this is a very hard-line bill. I don't see how you can call it amnesty when the people who are here would have to pay fairly exorbitant fees, would have to go back home, would have to wait eight to 13 years. I don't think that's any kind of a free ride.

But it's hard to see how this gets through the Congress. It is such a jury-rigged piece of legislation. It has compromises that a lot of people don't like and that would be impossible to implement. And it has Pat and his friends absolutely in orbit.

And I think it does have an impact on the Republican race. I think it really hurts John McCain, who partnered with Kennedy in this bill. And I think the right is looking at this like a replay of the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination or the Dubai Ports deal. I mean, they are absolutely determined to kill it and anybody associated with it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: I associate myself with Pat's description. I can't disagree with a word of it. Let me take a little bit about what's going to happen or what might happen. It's clearly going to pass the Senate. There are not enough Republican senators to do a filibuster. So that's going to happen before Memorial Day next week.

Then in July there will probably be a vote in the House. Pelosi has said that she wants at least 70 Republicans to be with her. She's going to lose some Democrats, conservative Democrats, and she wants to have Republican fingerprints. She wants it to be a bipartisan bill so any blow-back will hit both parties.

While it's very early to tell, I think they can get the 70.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BLANKLEY: I think -- and I talked to a couple of Republican congressmen who are strongly against it, and their hunch and my hunch is that there are at least 70 who are going to see the political logic, if not the policy logic, of supporting it.

Now, a lot can go wrong. It's going to sit out there for a month and a half. And a lot of people, both on the left and the right, are going to attack it. And that's the vulnerability of the bill. But there's a real chance that this thing could pass. And, of course, the president would sign it. And I completely agree with Pat that if this thing becomes law, we're going to have a civil war in the Republican Party and Bush could go down as the new Hoover of the Republican Party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The policy shift in this bill is to a skills- based immigration versus a family unification-based immigration policy. Are the Hispanics happy with that? MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, they're not as happy with it as they would have been if you had the kind of family unification as the major criterion for allowing people into this country.

But from the overall perspective of the country, that is the most important policy initiative here. It is a merit-based bill. It is based on education and business skills that we need in this country. And I think it is a terrific addition to any of the immigration bills that have come forth.

As a policy matter, I think it's an excellent bill to have this in this new compromise. I hope it gets through. I do think it will get through, as Tony is saying. I have much more faith in that bill than Pat and Tony do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Business is ecstatic with this. I presume that includes you, Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gates must be ecstatic with it, being able to get Indian-proficient computer geeks who are paid far less than Americans.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They're not paid far less than Americans. In India they're paid far less than Americans. And if we don't have them here, we're going to be shipping a lot of those jobs to India.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a difference between --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: So we have to find a way to make America competitive against countries like India and China. This is one of the key bills that's going to make that possible, because we have a shortage in this country of employees at the high end and at the low end of the skill set.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before you make your point, I want to ask you about John Sweeney and the AFL-CIO and American labor and what he thinks about this bill and what impact it's going to have.

MR. BLANKLEY: The unions are split. And I think a lot of the industrial trade unions are against it because it's going to be --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He thinks it will create a permanent underclass. MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. And I agree with him on that point.

But I want to make a point about analyzing the bill just for a second. You can't just look at what the bill says it's going to do. You've got to say, can it be implemented? The bureaucracy necessary to process 12 million people doesn't exist and won't exist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point?

MR. BLANKLEY: My point is that once they make them provisionally legal under the Z provision, they're legal forever and we're never going to be able to process.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: John, this is --

MR. BLANKLEY: And then the next 12 million are going to come up.

MS. CLIFT: Well, and then there's the provision to allow 400,000 guest workers in who can have a total of six years in the country split into increments of two years at a time, after which they have to go back home.

MR. BLANKLEY: They're all going to --

MS. CLIFT: They're going to go back home. And how do you implement that?

MR. BLANKLEY: I agree with you.

MS. CLIFT: It's totally unworkable.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're not going back home, John.

MS. CLIFT: It's political compromises in order to get a deal without much thought given to how you actually implement it.

MR. BLANKLEY: You're right, Eleanor. You're completely right.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, it is a complete --

MS. CLIFT: Thank you. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: -- a complete sellout of working America. The vast majority of these 12 million folks are uneducated and unschooled. They compete directly against African-Americans, single moms, people who didn't get out of high school.

This is part of the war on the middle class. And let me tell you, you're part of it too, Mort, when you say, "Go out to India and bring these guys in," because you can hire them for $25,000 instead of American for $75,000. You are killing the middle class in this country. You're putting them on a treadmill. MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is absolutely wrong, based on the facts. We are sitting here with the conditions that you are describing and we have a four and a half percent unemployment rate, okay? So those jobs, in fact -- the real problem we have is that more and more of the jobs --

MR. BUCHANAN: Mort --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Just a minute.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: More and more of the jobs that we are concerned with, that represent the future of jobs in America, are going to be going abroad. This is one way -- if you can bring that talent in here --

MR. BUCHANAN: But you're --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- that is one way of keeping those jobs here.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're driving American talent -- American auto workers are now working in Wal-Mart. They're working in McDonald's. And they're auto workers.

MS. CLIFT: That's another problem. That's another problem.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Most Americans today graduate from high school.

MS. CLIFT: That's not the fault of the immigrants.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: High school --

MR. BUCHANAN: Half of the --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Just a minute.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Mort finish.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: High school graduates do not want to take these menial jobs. We have a shortage of employees at the low end of the employment spectrum and at the high end. And this bill is going to help us in both areas. It's exactly what we need.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, let me tell you --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's the first rational bill we have, instead of pandering to all the people who just want to condemn immigration, which has been the DNA of this country.

MR. BUCHANAN: You made your point. You made your point, Mort. Half the African-Americans in this country and half the Mexican- Americans don't graduate from high school. And the ones that do have got eighth-grade educations. You're taking their jobs away and you're bringing in millions of workers to compete with them. You're betraying these people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also, to add to what Pat's saying, teenage unemployment is at its highest level ever. Do we really need to bring in unskilled workers to take the jobs right out of the hands of those teenagers?

MS. CLIFT: I would suggest that the American corporate class pay people a little more and do a little training, and maybe they would do better with the people who are already here.

MR. BUCHANAN: If you seal the borders, they will have to. They will have to.

MS. CLIFT: But the 12 million people here are not all uneducated people. They've been here, some of them, for a generation. They've raised their families here.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: In addition to which --

MS. CLIFT: They're mixed legal status.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: In addition to which, all the projections --

MS. CLIFT: They're not the stereotype you --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: All the projections of employment show that we are going to have a shortage of people at the low end, somewhere between 500,000 and up, every year over the next decade. You look at the Department of Labor projections. The same thing is true at the high end. The people in this country who are educated do not want those jobs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask Tony a question. Tony, do you think that this could lead to the destruction of the Republican Party?

MR. BLANKLEY: Not the destruction, but it'll be a very bloody division within the party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, the majority of Americans are opposed to this. They see it as a de facto amnesty. MR. BLANKLEY: Of course. And it's not just Republicans. A majority of the country is opposed to it. I don't think it's going to destroy the party, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it demoralize the GOP base? Will they stay home in 2008?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no, no. The GOP base is inspired by the Iraq war. Why do you think they're going to be demoralized?

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, look --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: What are you talking about?

MR. BLANKLEY: -- we're going to fight each other over this a lot, and it's going to demoralize it. The magnitude is hard to tell, but it's a destructive event for the party. But it's not going to destroy the party.

MR. BUCHANAN: You know, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is this legislation opening the doors to the largest influx of immigrants in our history? Yes or no. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: If it passes -- I don't think it will; Tony might be right, though -- it will change America forever, and irretrievably.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: No, I think it doesn't alter the flow. It probably regulates it to some extent. And America is a diverse society, and these people have been a benefit to us, just as all the previous generations of immigrants.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: If we legalize 12 million, it'll tell people that you should come here again -- come here anew if you haven't got here yet. So they'll continue to come in unless we can secure the border. And I don't think there's any likelihood that 18,000 security people added on to this is going to genuinely secure the border.

Yeah, I think it's going to be a constant flow of more illegals, understandably, coming into the country. I came as a legal immigrant. I understand why a billion people on the planet want to come here, and this is going to only encourage them more and more.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On this point -- this is either for Tony or for Mort -- what was left out of the bill that ought to be in the bill with regard to securing the borders? MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I do think that there is a tremendous expansion of the security of -- the border security to the south. The one thing we haven't protected, of course, is against Canadians. I'm a Canadian, which --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I'm saying, what was left out of the bill in order to secure that Mexican border?

MR. BLANKLEY: A national ID card.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was left out of the bill was the Mexican government. Why aren't we leaning on the Mexican government?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You can lean on the Mexican government all you want. Mexico's population has gone from 20 million in 1940 to 110 million today. No Mexican president can survive --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Calderon might do it. Fox wouldn't do it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is the second-largest --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, why don't we try to do it? We have trade relations with them.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have tried to do it. And the only way that we're going to be able to do this is to have some kind of rational system here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know the principal reason is the repatriation of money to Mexico. The Mexican government loves that. Am I right or wrong?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And no Mexican president can walk away from that.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, you're wrong. The reason is --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is impossible for them. Nobody can survive.

MR. BUCHANAN: The reason is the lack of courage in the executive of the United States. We have enormous leverage on --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- (inaudible). Twenty-three billion goes in remittances every year down there. We buy their oil; our tourism. I mean, we own Mexico. You could get something done if you had courage at the presidency.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's nonsense, Pat. We don't own Mexico.

MS. CLIFT: Mexico is a developing society. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MS. CLIFT: And as they develop more, they will control their family size. And that's part of it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The last thing in the world we need is for Mexico --

MS. CLIFT: The Catholic Church plays a role in that too.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- to become a radical left-wing government, which the policies which you are talking about would accomplish.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Eyeless in Gaza.

In Israel and Palestine this month, both governments veer towards dissolution. In Palestine, the brief solidarity between Yasser Arafat's Fatah and the radical group Hamas was shattered as supporters of the two parties clashed in gun battles on the streets of Gaza.

The carnage blasted hopes that the Fatah-Hamas unity government could quell violence and effectively govern.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI (Palestinian Authority information minister): (From videotape.) This internal fighting, if it continues, it could lead to the destruction of the whole Palestinian Authority.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And as the Palestinian state verged on internal anarchy, fighting escalated when Hamas began rocketing southern Israel, action that triggered an immediate response from Israel.

MIRI EISIN (spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert): (From videotape.) Today in Israel, we have had enough. Israel will take every defensive measure to stop these rocket attacks. We will defend our citizens against the rockets, against the weapons, against the Iranian-backed Hamas who are attacking Israel.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Palestinian physical turbulence comes as Israel faces its own political turbulence. This month Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Israeli government were slammed by an Israeli government commission study, the Winograd report, that unsparingly criticized Olmert's handling of last year's July-August military action against Hezbollah. The Israeli incursion into Lebanon killed hundreds, injured thousands, and was seen by many Israelis as an embarrassing defeat. The commission's damning conclusion prompted protests against the Olmert government, votes of no confidence in the Knesset, and calls from the prime minister's own foreign minister for Olmert's resignation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, you just got back this week, right?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Winograd report was unbelievable. The prime minister made up his mind hastily, despite the fact that no detailed military plan was submitted to him and without asking for one. He did not adequately consider political and professional reservations presented to him before the fateful decisions of July 12th.

The prime minister did not adapt his plans once it became clear that the assumptions and expectations of Israel's actions were not realistic and not materializing. And its conclusion is all of these add up to a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence.

I really have to congratulate Israel for, first of all, developing this type of self-analysis and then presenting it to the Israelis and the world.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it's a very, very tough report.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a devastating report, not just on the prime minister but on the defense minister, Amir Peretz, who had no knowledge whatever of the national security or military issues, and indeed, on the chief of staff, Dan Halutz, who was what they call a blue uniform man or an air force man, who somehow or other seemed to think that air power would be decisive and they wouldn't even have to organize the ground troops. He was forced to resign as chief of staff.

Amir Peretz, in effect, is going to be out as of May 28th from the leadership of the Labor Party. And Olmert is hanging on by a thread. I don't know whether he will survive. It was a devastating critique of this trio -- a perfect storm in terms of leadership, or lack of leadership.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you of Tzipi Livni, his foreign minister, telling him he ought to resign?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It was about as badly handled by the foreign minister as you could imagine. In fact, when she got up there and she said, "He can resign, but I'm going to stay in office," she was literally shivering under the pressure of the press and the media attention, and she was devastated in Israel. She collapsed her political prospects dramatically in that one moment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two questions, and then I'm going to turn this loose to the group. But the first question is, is there a war imminent? And secondly, is any kind of peace talk off the table for as far as the eye can see?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is no war imminent in the sense that we understand the word war. The Israelis have got to find some way to respond to the absolute deluge of Qassam rockets coming out of Gaza. Gaza is becoming an area of total chaos. There's a total breakdown. You have criminal gangs, family gangs, Hamas -- different terrorist organizations going on. Fatah is gradually collapsing. The Fatah people are in control of the West Bank, and Hamas is clearly going to be in control of Gaza. And there is no such thing as --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have anarchy?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Anarchy -- you have anarchy on the ground there right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know, but is it contained?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's not -- it's contained because Gaza has borders. It's only --

MR. BUCHANAN: Forty-five dead this week.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has it spread to the West Bank? It's not in Ramallah.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No. That's one of the things the United States has put forward, a plan in which you can bus people from Gaza to the West Bank. The Israelis are objecting because they're afraid this kind of terrorism will be transported to the West Bank.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see this as inflaming the sector, the Middle East, in any part? Do you see this as functioning as any kind of a bad lever, certainly a bad omen on the peace process?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is no peace process. You have people on both sides who are incapable of making the kind of concessions that are necessary for an agreement, because these are literally existential issues for both peoples. So you have very weak governments --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If Olmert goes, who's going to take his place?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This helps Netanyahu, doesn't it? MR. ZUCKERMAN: If there is -- there are two parts to it. One is, will there be a new election? There will only be a new election if there's a vote of no confidence. Just because Olmert -- he may not remain as the leader of the Kadima party, but it doesn't mean that there will be a change in the coalition, because nobody in the coalition wants to go to an election because the beneficiary of the election will be Netanyahu. He wants an election. Nobody else does, for just that reason.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do the people want it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The people -- I'm not sure. Right now, all the polls indicate that Bibi's party, the Likud party, would emerge in an election as the overwhelming victor of the election. But they don't have a chance, any more -- (inaudible). You don't have a choice. As long as you have a majority in the Parliament, they will stay in government.

MS. CLIFT: Well, to bring us back to the here and now, the U.S. and Israel, working in concert, have arranged for 400 soldiers trained in Egypt to come in and try to help Fatah, which is getting clobbered by Hamas.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fatah -- Arafat's party.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Only in Gaza.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, only in Gaza. And Gaza is imploding. And, you know, the Israeli population certainly is not -- there's no consensus on what to do. They don't want to get drawn into the battle in Gaza.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we excluded from that sector? Because you know what the Palestinian --

MS. CLIFT: But, you know, Gaza is a million and a half people living in a too-small area with no water, no resources, no money. I mean, it's going to continue to implode.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have no leverage over there in the United States.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When Arafat came, the president wouldn't see him. In addition to that, you have him relatively putting aside this whole problem over there.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's the same problem, John. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Bill Clinton bent over backwards to make a deal with Arafat, and Arafat lied to him and broke apart that deal --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- even when they had --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know. I know.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- the whole Arab world ready to support it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are times when you see people on a diplomatic level, in order to preserve the relationship with the group, the Palestinians.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get into this, please. Look, it's the problem we've had from the beginning. George Bush put the franchise for Israel in the hands of Ariel Sharon, he and Elliott Abrams. They gave him complete veto over what we do, and we have done absolutely nothing. The president of the United States has given up all our leverage and done zero in seven years.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, we've never had leverage. The problem has always been the fantasy that there was a Palestinian group capable of negotiating an enforceable peace. And what you're seeing in Gaza this week is the anarchy that a lot of us have been predicting was inherent in the situation. Now, according to news reports on Friday, you've got Israeli tanks having to cross over into Gaza in a limited way to try to contain it.

MR. BUCHANAN: But Tony, why did they vote for Hamas? You know why? Because Fatah was a disaster. They had no other choice.

MR. BLANKLEY: I understand that.

MR. BUCHANAN: We drove them into this position.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will the Palestinian government survive this crisis? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: Not as a unified entity. It'll be there. A shell will be there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking about Mahmoud Abbas. Will Mahmoud Abbas --

MR. BUCHANAN: Hamas and Fatah are at war with one another.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He will survive.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I want Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Well, there'll be something that's there. And then I think the U.S. has to make some decisions. Do we try to bolster a government or do we continue to try to isolate them out of existence? It doesn't work. Isolation does not work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Calling it a government is to compliment it too much. The problem is, as I've said, that you can call it a government. It's a handful of people with some security guards around them. They cannot function because they're overseeing a people who are divided amongst themselves, and their leadership is completely divided and they're killing each other. That's not a government.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: See, this fight takes the pressure off Rice to negotiate.

MR. BLANKLEY: What is there to negotiate?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: With whom was she going to negotiate?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It takes the pressure off.

MR. BUCHANAN: There wasn't any pressure.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have no choice but to support Fatah. At least they are a more or less secular nationalist group, whereas Hamas is a radical religious group who make no compromises. Read what they say and listen to what they say and listen to what --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that true of the leadership of Hamas?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All the leaders of Hamas?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely, every single one -- Haniyeh, the prime minister; the foreign minister, Meshaal, who runs the place in Syria. These are radicals that you and I are not accustomed to.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were they elected to office or was the Fatah unseated?

MR. BUCHANAN: Both.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It was one of each. Pat is right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but was it principally the unseating of Fatah? They were fed up with Fatah?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, it is because the Muslim world has become increasingly radicalized, especially those in Gaza. MR. BUCHANAN: Why is that?

MS. CLIFT: Well, and the Hamas --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Why do you think it is? Why is it in Iran? Why is it in Iraq? It's all over the Muslim world.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why are Palestinians --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Because they do not like modernity.

MR. BUCHANAN: Palestinians aren't killing people here in America. They are over there. And it is --

MS. CLIFT: I don't know that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We did have. They were Arab radicals who came to kill people in America. It's called 9/11.

MS. CLIFT: I don't know that it's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, quickly.

MS. CLIFT: I don't know that it's because they don't like modernity. This is a generation of leaders who were born in refugee camps. That does tend to shape one's world view.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My feeling is it will burn itself out and this Fatah government will survive.

Will Sarkozy become an international star? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: He is one.

MS. CLIFT: Why not? (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: He's a nationalist. He's not a conservative in the Thatcher tradition.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he going to become an international star?

MR. BLANKLEY: He's going to be a big player.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's the first president of France who doesn't hold the United States guilty until proven innocent, so I think he'll be much more effective than any previous French president. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes, Sarkozy is headed for international stardom.

Bye-bye.

(PBS segment.)

Issue Three: No Space for MySpace.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON (Wired Connected): (From videotape.) I think the military is making a big mistake. And I think a lot of soldiers and their families are frustrated. What the military is doing is they're isolating soldiers from their families and friends.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Family and friends will have less contact with American troops overseas. The Pentagon is banning the use of a dozen social networking websites such as YouTube and MySpace.com. With these sites, military personnel can use the Defense Department network to trade photos, videos, audio clips and messages with friends and family in the States.

Pentagon officials say troops are clogging the military Internet with videos. Also commanders are concerned that information sent by soldiers over the Internet could pose security risks for the military.

Question: Will this banning be bad for troop morale? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. I mean, it is one way that they can keep contact with their friends and families, and it's also a way to pass the time. This is really about censorship and an administration trying to control the public relations. It's in the same category as banning photos of returning coffins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, do you think the military should tolerate --

MS. CLIFT: The danger of bad videos.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- should tolerate posting on the Web of fire fights with Iraqis to the tune of rock music?

MS. CLIFT: Well, I guess that's --

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, the problem --

MS. CLIFT: -- reality --

MR. BLANKLEY: The problem --

MS. CLIFT: -- for people over there. And I don't think we should be shielded, necessarily. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?

MR. BLANKLEY: The problem is, there are legitimate concerns about operational details getting out. I think it's impossible to put that back in the tube in this technological time, and I don't think the policy can be implemented. And instead the administration -- not particularly this administration -- the Pentagon is going to have to develop a new doctrine for how to manage warfare in this kind of an information age. And they don't have it yet.

END.

an government loves that. Am I right or wrong?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And no Mexican president can walk away from that.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, you're wrong. The reason is --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is impossible for them. Nobody can survive.

MR. BUCHANAN: The reason is the lack of courage in the executive of the United States. We have enormous leverage on --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- (inaudible). Twenty-three billion goes in remittances every year down there. We buy their oil; our tourism. I mean, we own Mexico. You could get something done if you had courage at the presidency.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's nonsense, Pat. We don't own Mexico.

MS. CLIFT: Mexico is a developing society. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MS. CLIFT: And as they develop more, they will control their family size. And that's part of it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The last thing in the world we need is for Mexico --

MS. CLIFT: The Catholic Church plays a role in that too.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- to become a radical left-wing government, which the policies which you are talking about would accomplish.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Eyeless in Gaza.

In Israel and Palestine this month, both governments veer towards dissolution. In Palestine, the brief solidarity between Yasser Arafat's Fatah and the radical group Hamas was shattered as supporters of the two parties clashed in gun battles on the streets of Gaza.

The carnage blasted hopes that the Fatah-Hamas unity government could quell violence and effectively govern.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI (Palestinian Authority information minister): (From videotape.) This internal fighting, if it continues, it could lead to the destruction of the whole Palestinian Authority.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And as the Palestinian state verged on internal anarchy, fighting escalated when Hamas began rocketing southern Israel, action that triggered an immediate response from Israel.

MIRI EISIN (spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert): (From videotape.) Today in Israel, we have had enough. Israel will take every defensive measure to stop these rocket attacks. We will defend our citizens against the rockets, against the weapons, against the Iranian-backed Hamas who are attacking Israel.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Palestinian physical turbulence comes as Israel faces its own political turbulence. This month Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Israeli government were slammed by an Israeli government commission study, the Winograd report, that unsparingly criticized Olmert's handling of last year's July-August military action against Hezbollah. The Israeli incursion into Lebanon killed hundreds, injured thousands, and was seen by many Israelis as an embarrassing defeat. The commission's damning conclusion prompted protests against the Olmert government, votes of no confidence in the Knesset, and calls from the prime minister's own foreign minister for Olmert's resignation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, you just got back this week, right?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Winograd report was unbelievable. The prime minister made up his mind hastily, despite the fact that no detailed military plan was submitted to him and without asking for one. He did not adequately consider political and professional reservations presented to him before the fateful decisions of July 12th.

The prime minister did not adapt his plans once it became clear that the assumptions and expectations of Israel's actions were not realistic and not materializing. And its conclusion is all of these add up to a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence.

I really have to congratulate Israel for, first of all, developing this type of self-analysis and then presenting it to the Israelis and the world.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it's a very, very tough report.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a devastating report, not just on the prime minister but on the defense minister, Amir Peretz, who had no knowledge whatever of the national security or military issues, and indeed, on the chief of staff, Dan Halutz, who was what they call a blue uniform man or an air force man, who somehow or other seemed to think that air power would be decisive and they wouldn't even have to organize the ground troops. He was forced to resign as chief of staff.

Amir Peretz, in effect, is going to be out as of May 28th from the leadership of the Labor Party. And Olmert is hanging on by a thread. I don't know whether he will survive. It was a devastating critique of this trio -- a perfect storm in terms of leadership, or lack of leadership.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you of Tzipi Livni, his foreign minister, telling him he ought to resign?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It was about as badly handled by the foreign minister as you could imagine. In fact, when she got up there and she said, "He can resign, but I'm going to stay in office," she was literally shivering under the pressure of the press and the media attention, and she was devastated in Israel. She collapsed her political prospects dramatically in that one moment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two questions, and then I'm going to turn this loose to the group. But the first question is, is there a war imminent? And secondly, is any kind of peace talk off the table for as far as the eye can see?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is no war imminent in the sense that we understand the word war. The Israelis have got to find some way to respond to the absolute deluge of Qassam rockets coming out of Gaza. Gaza is becoming an area of total chaos. There's a total breakdown. You have criminal gangs, family gangs, Hamas -- different terrorist organizations going on. Fatah is gradually collapsing. The Fatah people are in control of the West Bank, and Hamas is clearly going to be in control of Gaza. And there is no such thing as --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have anarchy?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Anarchy -- you have anarchy on the ground there right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know, but is it contained?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's not -- it's contained because Gaza has borders. It's only --

MR. BUCHANAN: Forty-five dead this week.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has it spread to the West Bank? It's not in Ramallah.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No. That's one of the things the United States has put forward, a plan in which you can bus people from Gaza to the West Bank. The Israelis are objecting because they're afraid this kind of terrorism will be transported to the West Bank.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see this as inflaming the sector, the Middle East, in any part? Do you see this as functioning as any kind of a bad lever, certainly a bad omen on the peace process?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is no peace process. You have people on both sides who are incapable of making the kind of concessions that are necessary for an agreement, because these are literally existential issues for both peoples. So you have very weak governments --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If Olmert goes, who's going to take his place?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This helps Netanyahu, doesn't it? MR. ZUCKERMAN: If there is -- there are two parts to it. One is, will there be a new election? There will only be a new election if there's a vote of no confidence. Just because Olmert -- he may not remain as the leader of the Kadima party, but it doesn't mean that there will be a change in the coalition, because nobody in the coalition wants to go to an election because the beneficiary of the election will be Netanyahu. He wants an election. Nobody else does, for just that reason.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do the people want it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The people -- I'm not sure. Right now, all the polls indicate that Bibi's party, the Likud party, would emerge in an election as the overwhelming victor of the election. But they don't have a chance, any more -- (inaudible). You don't have a choice. As long as you have a majority in the Parliament, they will stay in government.

MS. CLIFT: Well, to bring us back to the here and now, the U.S. and Israel, working in concert, have arranged for 400 soldiers trained in Egypt to come in and try to help Fatah, which is getting clobbered by Hamas.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fatah -- Arafat's party.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Only in Gaza.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, only in Gaza. And Gaza is imploding. And, you know, the Israeli population certainly is not -- there's no consensus on what to do. They don't want to get drawn into the battle in Gaza.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we excluded from that sector? Because you know what the Palestinian --

MS. CLIFT: But, you know, Gaza is a million and a half people living in a too-small area with no water, no resources, no money. I mean, it's going to continue to implode.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have no leverage over there in the United States.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When Arafat came, the president wouldn't see him. In addition to that, you have him relatively putting aside this whole problem over there.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's the same problem, John. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Bill Clinton bent over backwards to make a deal with Arafat, and Arafat lied to him and broke apart that deal --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- even when they had --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know. I know.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- the whole Arab world ready to support it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are times when you see people on a diplomatic level, in order to preserve the relationship with the group, the Palestinians.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get into this, please. Look, it's the problem we've had from the beginning. George Bush put the franchise for Israel in the hands of Ariel Sharon, he and Elliott Abrams. They gave him complete veto over what we do, and we have done absolutely nothing. The president of the United States has given up all our leverage and done zero in seven years.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, we've never had leverage. The problem has always been the fantasy that there was a Palestinian group capable of negotiating an enforceable peace. And what you're seeing in Gaza this week is the anarchy that a lot of us have been predicting was inherent in the situation. Now, according to news reports on Friday, you've got Israeli tanks having to cross over into Gaza in a limited way to try to contain it.

MR. BUCHANAN: But Tony, why did they vote for Hamas? You know why? Because Fatah was a disaster. They had no other choice.

MR. BLANKLEY: I understand that.

MR. BUCHANAN: We drove them into this position.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will the Palestinian government survive this crisis? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: Not as a unified entity. It'll be there. A shell will be there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking about Mahmoud Abbas. Will Mahmoud Abbas --

MR. BUCHANAN: Hamas and Fatah are at war with one another.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He will survive.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I want Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Well, there'll be something that's there. And then I think the U.S. has to make some decisions. Do we try to bolster a government or do we continue to try to isolate them out of existence? It doesn't work. Isolation does not work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Calling it a government is to compliment it too much. The problem is, as I've said, that you can call it a government. It's a handful of people with some security guards around them. They cannot function because they're overseeing a people who are divided amongst themselves, and their leadership is completely divided and they're killing each other. That's not a government.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: See, this fight takes the pressure off Rice to negotiate.

MR. BLANKLEY: What is there to negotiate?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: With whom was she going to negotiate?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It takes the pressure off.

MR. BUCHANAN: There wasn't any pressure.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have no choice but to support Fatah. At least they are a more or less secular nationalist group, whereas Hamas is a radical religious group who make no compromises. Read what they say and listen to what they say and listen to what --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that true of the leadership of Hamas?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All the leaders of Hamas?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely, every single one -- Haniyeh, the prime minister; the foreign minister, Meshaal, who runs the place in Syria. These are radicals that you and I are not accustomed to.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were they elected to office or was the Fatah unseated?

MR. BUCHANAN: Both.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It was one of each. Pat is right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but was it principally the unseating of Fatah? They were fed up with Fatah?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, it is because the Muslim world has become increasingly radicalized, especially those in Gaza. MR. BUCHANAN: Why is that?

MS. CLIFT: Well, and the Hamas --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Why do you think it is? Why is it in Iran? Why is it in Iraq? It's all over the Muslim world.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why are Palestinians --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Because they do not like modernity.

MR. BUCHANAN: Palestinians aren't killing people here in America. They are over there. And it is --

MS. CLIFT: I don't know that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We did have. They were Arab radicals who came to kill people in America. It's called 9/11.

MS. CLIFT: I don't know that it's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, quickly.

MS. CLIFT: I don't know that it's because they don't like modernity. This is a generation of leaders who were born in refugee camps. That does tend to shape one's world view.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My feeling is it will burn itself out and this Fatah government will survive.

Will Sarkozy become an international star? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: He is one.

MS. CLIFT: Why not? (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: He's a nationalist. He's not a conservative in the Thatcher tradition.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he going to become an international star?

MR. BLANKLEY: He's going to be a big player.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's the first president of France who doesn't hold the United States guilty until proven innocent, so I think he'll be much more effective than any previous French president. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes, Sarkozy is headed for international stardom.

Bye-bye.

(PBS segment.)

Issue Three: No Space for MySpace.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON (Wired Connected): (From videotape.) I think the military is making a big mistake. And I think a lot of soldiers and their families are frustrated. What the military is doing is they're isolating soldiers from their families and friends.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Family and friends will have less contact with American troops overseas. The Pentagon is banning the use of a dozen social networking websites such as YouTube and MySpace.com. With these sites, military personnel can use the Defense Department network to trade photos, videos, audio clips and messages with friends and family in the States.

Pentagon officials say troops are clogging the military Internet with videos. Also commanders are concerned that information sent by soldiers over the Internet could pose security risks for the military.

Question: Will this banning be bad for troop morale? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. I mean, it is one way that they can keep contact with their friends and families, and it's also a way to pass the time. This is really about censorship and an administration trying to control the public relations. It's in the same category as banning photos of returning coffins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, do you think the military should tolerate --

MS. CLIFT: The danger of bad videos.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- should tolerate posting on the Web of fire fights with Iraqis to the tune of rock music?

MS. CLIFT: Well, I guess that's --

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, the problem --

MS. CLIFT: -- reality --

MR. BLANKLEY: The problem --

MS. CLIFT: -- for people over there. And I don't think we should be shielded, necessarily. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?

MR. BLANKLEY: The problem is, there are legitimate concerns about operational details getting out. I think it's impossible to put that back in the tube in this technological time, and I don't think the policy can be implemented. And instead the administration -- not particularly this administration -- the Pentagon is going to have to develop a new doctrine for how to manage warfare in this kind of an information age. And they don't have it yet.

END.