THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,
TONY BLANKLEY AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL
TAPED FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1998
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 27-29, 1998
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Rush to judgment. When Thanksgiving comes around each year, Americans think of tradition and heritage and those proud thoughts, in turn, call up the great figures of our nation's past. Among others, the author of the Declaration of Independence, with his exalted guarantees of human freedoms, including religious freedom, sought after so tenaciously by Thanksgiving's pilgrims.
How sad to see this Thanksgiving the besmirchment of Thomas Jefferson. Three weeks ago, a small group of British and American researchers claimed that they had uncovered DNA evidence proving that Thomas Jefferson fathered a child with his slave. As soon as the press got the word, they spread the explosive news worldwide, without taking the trouble to judge whether the scholarship was faulty or not.
In point of fact, the Jefferson research has crippling defects. One, no DNA was used from Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson has no male line. Field Jefferson's living male descendant supplied the DNA sample. Who is Field Jefferson? Thomas Jefferson's uncle, his father's brother. Thomas Jefferson himself, as noted, had no male heirs, therefore supplied no DNA. The DNA from Field Jefferson's descendant was compared with the DNA from descendants of slave Sally Hemings' son, Eston, and it matched.
Number two: At best, the DNA match means only that a Jefferson fathered Hemings' child. But here are the Jefferson males who could have impregnated Sally Hemings: Field Jefferson had four sons, Thomas, Peter Field, George and John, all of whom were Thomas Jefferson's contemporaries. Those four then had their own sons, 11 in all: Field, John, Samuel, Alexander, Archer, Thomas, George, John Garland (sp), Peter, Thomas Broom (sp), and John Picnod (sp), all of whom were Sally Hemings' contemporaries, and were at Monticello regularly, especially when Thomas Jefferson was there.
Okay, moving on. Besides Thomas Jefferson's uncle, Field Jefferson, and his male line, Thomas Jefferson's younger brother, Randolph, also figures in the picture. Randolph or one of Randolph's six sons could have fathered Eston. Randolph and his sons, Isham (sp), Thomas, Field, Robert, James and John, all Sally Hemings' exact contemporaries, lived at Snowden (sp) Plantation, fewer than 20 miles down the road from Monticello and visited Monticello all the time.
Three: Illegitimacy. Any intruder anywhere in the line of descent could invalidate the findings, showing a DNA match with no Thomas Jefferson paternity.
One distinguished Jefferson biographer has spoken out against the study's reckless conclusion:
WILLARD STERN RANDALL (JEFFERSON BIOGRAPHER): (From videotape.) And as long as there are other possibilities of people who had access to Sally Hemings, the case would be thrown out of court --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yet other historians argue in favor of Thomas Jefferson's paternity, and see it as blunting Bill Clinton's perjury, obstruction of justice, et al.
JOSEPH ELLIS (JEFFERSON BIOGRAPHER): (From videotape.) I think there are some rather stunning comparisons between Jefferson and Hemings, and Lewinsky and Clinton. It gives Clinton additional cover, and it makes it more difficult to be as critical of this kind of behavior.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Let's play jury. Would you as a juryman find this alleged DNA evidence that Thomas Jefferson fathered a child by Sally Hemings conclusive in a civil paternity suit? I ask you, Patrick. If you wish to make mention to Joe Ellis, the historian who was depicted in that videotape bite, please do so.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, John, no, clearly it is not conclusive at all, but there clearly was, at the time, contemporaneous, these allegations about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. What is taking place, though, is the prostitution of history. A lot of people today, very small people, are trying to drag down great men who may have had clay feet, but they were men of extraordinary honor and extraordinary accomplishment and to compare the present, I think, is to compare Hyperion to a satyr.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ooh, Shakespeare! "Hyperion to a satyr."
MS. CLIFT: (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Beautifully put, Pat. Reflects your good Jesuitical bringing-up.
MR. BUCHANAN: We had teachers like you, John. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor? Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: With all due respect, that's nonsense. I mean, basically, what this reminds us -- is that great men are products of their time, and what Thomas Jefferson did does not change my opinion of him one whit in what he did for this country in writing the Declaration of Independence.
Sally Hemings was the half-sister of his wife. They shared a father. She was, I guess, one-quarter African American blood. Thomas Jefferson later wrote treatises on how, if you got more so-called white blood in you, you therefore became white. Sally Hemings was even listed "white" in the 1830 census. He changed some of his attitudes --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: -- about race-mixing, probably because he had this long-term relationship with this woman.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me get this straight now. Yes. Despite the other opportunities for impregnation of Sally Hemings, are you contending -- is it your view that despite those other individuals mentioned and the limitless number, almost, of potential contaminant intruders --
MS. CLIFT: No --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- you believe that this is, without a shadow of a doubt -- she --
MS. CLIFT: Well, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that without a shadow of a doubt, Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings' child?
MS. CLIFT: -- if we had more time here, we could speak about the Y chromosome, which is what they traced. The science here is overwhelming, and has -- and the research began when Ronald Reagan was president. This wasn't an effort to exonerate William Jefferson Clinton. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, the fact that they used the Y chromosome does not increase the odds, nor diminish the odds, that it's Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson. The question is whether there are other Jeffersons who could have done it, or even other non-Jeffersons who could have done it, with a Y chromosome.
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me try to actually answer your question, which was, in a civil court, what would you decide? Preponderance of the evidence would be the test, not beyond a reasonable doubt.
I think, with the preponderance of the evidence, looking at the DNA and the whole history, you might be able to just be on the edge of making a case.
But the larger reason why this was brought up and clearly released just before the impeachment business is -- it was political, but it doesn't work, because Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and Clinton wrote a declaration of perjury. And there's no comparison. The issue is perjury. The issue isn't sex. And so it's a non sequitur.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that you could reach conclusive -- that this -- you could regard this evidence as conclusive in a paternity civil suit?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I said that I think combined with all of the non-DNA evidence, you get to about a 50-50 chance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At best?
MR. BLANKLEY: At best.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think the odds are a thousand to one in a civil suit.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, no, no.
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's go on to a criminal suit, though, since you were a prosecutor where? In Los Angeles?
MR. BLANKLEY: Los Angeles.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Los Angeles. How many years?
MR. BLANKLEY: Eight.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MR. BLANKLEY: Seven and three-quarters, to be precise. I'm under oath. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we can take your word, then, quite seriously.
What about in a criminal suit?
MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, not a chance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For example, if you compared this to the O.J. Simpson DNA, that -- all of that --
MR. BUCHANAN: You can't put him in jail. (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: No, no, you have -- just in your quick description, you have already raised the shadow of a doubt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BLANKLEY: There is no question that in a criminal suit, this would fall.
MR. BUCHANAN: But, John --
MR. O'DONNELL: And the scientists involved, the scientists themselves, have refused to use the word "proof." They are simply saying this evidence increases the likelihood of this kind of paternity.
MR. BUCHANAN: You know, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Am I delighted you brought that up! Take a look at this frame, this chyron, of what U.S. News and World Report says, quote: "The evidence here, in other words, removes any shadow of a doubt that Thomas Jefferson sired at least one son by Sally Hemings." That's the vaunted --
MS. CLIFT: Well, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that's the vaunted Mort Zuckerman publication -- who sometimes sits in that chair.
MR. O'DONNELL: The scientists who did the test retain doubt. They are simply saying it increases the likelihood.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: John? John?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But that's a terrible overstatement, is it not?
MR. BUCHANAN: That's an overstatement.
But, look, Tony's right. The preponderance of the evidence does point to Thomas Jefferson. And if you're in a civil suit and there are other claimants, I think you probably would decide that Jefferson was the one. I would settle out of court, if I were Jefferson. (Laughs.) (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Thomas Jefferson denied it in public. He flatly denied it.
MS. CLIFT: Well, because --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I want to -- there was another publication that I want to call attention to. And clearly --
MR. BUCHANAN: Did he deny an affair? Did he deny an affair?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- we are missing Tina Brown.
MR. BLANKLEY: He didn't deny it under oath, though.
MR. BUCHANAN: He didn't deny --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (To staff.) Can I see that second one?
Look at this. He was 65 when Eston Hemings Jefferson, whose paternity has now been definitely established, was born. What arrant nonsense!
MS. CLIFT: Well, what does that say? What does that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What arrant nonsense!
MR. O'DONNELL: To go back to your question about us being jurors, remember who the most important witness would be; Thomas Jefferson. What would his testimony have been? He might have said, "Yes, I am the father."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he denied it. Why did he --
MS. CLIFT: Well, he denied it.
MR. O'DONNELL: He was never asked under oath, though.
MR. BLANKLEY: Never under oath.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --
MR. O'DONNELL: But when you go for the Clinton comparison --
MS. CLIFT: Oh, come on.
MR. O'DONNELL: -- when you go for the Clinton comparison, the issue is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, come, come, come.
MR. O'DONNELL: -- what would he --
MS. CLIFT: This story --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We already know; you're comparing a Hyperion to a satyr. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: This story --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. The --
MS. CLIFT: I want to get a turn to speak. (Laughter.)
This story was handed down through generations of black families and has a great deal of credibility. Why are you so threatened by this?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I am not threatened by it, but I think it's a "besmirchment."
MS. CLIFT: It's not a "besmirchment" at all.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will you listen to me for a moment?
Sally Hemings was his slave. Do you realize what that power relation --
MS. CLIFT: Maybe -- right, right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- you have no idea.
MS. CLIFT: There were a lot --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have no idea. He owned the slave. And you're telling me --
MS. CLIFT: I think I know what it feels like to be a slave. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you're telling me, especially with your knowledge, your profound knowledge of the fact that his wife's father -- his wife's father --
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Thomas Jefferson's father-in-law --
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- he generated Sally Hemings.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In other words, what I am saying is there was quite a bit of this activity going on. Correct?
MS. CLIFT: Precisely. And that's my point.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it was extremely reprehensible in view of the power relationship.
MS. CLIFT: My point --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That is a "besmirchment."
MR. BUCHANAN: But, you know, I don't agree. I don't agree.
MS. CLIFT: My point is that these are men of their times.
This was going on. And maybe I would prefer to think that they loved each other across racial lines and he --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, this is an extraordinary lapse on your part --
MS. CLIFT: You don't tell me what I think!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- into some kind of bogus romanticism.
MR. BUCHANAN: What would you rather believe? What would you --
MS. CLIFT: I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just a minute! I want to get to this: The halls of academe. On a related note, Joseph Ellis, the distinguished historian we heard from a moment ago on videotape saying that Jefferson gives Clinton political cover during his impeachment, is one of a group of historians who placed this full-page ad in the New York Times and elsewhere. They call themselves, "Historians in Defense of the Constitution." They say that impeaching Bill Clinton is wrong and has no historical basis.
Look at this. "The theory of impeachment underlying these efforts is unprecedented in our history. The new processes are extremely ominous for the future of our political institutions. If carried forward, they would leave the presidency permanently disfigured and diminished, at the mercy, as never before, of the caprices of any Congress."
You watched the impeachment proceedings in the Judiciary Committee yesterday, Pat, notably Ken Starr. Question: Are Historians in Defense of the Constitution, those historians who signed that statement, are they defending the Constitution or are they really defending Clinton and trampling on the Constitution?
MR. BUCHANAN: These are historians in defense of Clinton. Quite frankly, John, what will change America is if the president of the United States can commit perjury, obstruction of justice, lie to a grand jury, commit crimes that would send others to prison, and gets a walk. These historians are defending a perversion of the American Constitution.
MS. CLIFT: These are historians who are able to take a longer view of what's going on -- (laughter) --
MR. BUCHANAN: These guys are hacks!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: These guys are not hacks! They come from prestigious institutions. And if you can stop laughing -- if you can stop laughing for just a minute --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, stop laughing at Eleanor!
MS. CLIFT: They are making the point that whatever Clinton did, you may not like it, but it was not a crime against the state or the republic and is not impeachable. And frankly, that is the view that's going to hold in the Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I don't think you heard what they said. They condemned this whole process.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They regard it as subversive of the Constitution. What nonsense! It's an orderly process. Despite the wrangling of yesterday -- of Thursday, rather, it was an orderly process, and there was a certain amount of --
MS. CLIFT: The orderliness didn't show! (Laughs.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Do you know what this reminds me of? Back when Goldwater was running for president, a whole long list of psychiatrists said he was insane, and they said it just before the election.
MR. BLANKLEY: And these historians remind me of those lunatic psychiatrists.
MS. CLIFT: Well, you know -- if you think these historians influenced the election --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to comment on this?
MR. O'DONNELL: This is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor! Can we hear from Lawrence?
MR. O'DONNELL: This is clearly the politicization of history, and it's a sad thing to see. It's a sad thing to see academic groups taking political positions that are not based in their disciplines, and that's what this bias is all about.
MR. O'DONNELL: Of course these are impeachable accusations.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, there's one of them I won't mention who just writes political history and, you know, and uses it to hatchet --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're thinking of Arthur -- you're thinking of Arthur.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I'm not. No, Arthur Schlesinger has written some pretty good histories of Roosevelt and Jackson --
MR. BLANKLEY: Not in the last couple of decades though.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, not in the -- I mean, the Kennedy thing, quite frankly, was a defense -- all-out defense of Jack Kennedy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the myth of Camelot, that Arthur has been trumpeting for so long?
MR. BUCHANAN: "A Thousand Days" is a wonderful read, but it is political propaganda --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't hear anything about any sign of decadence in JFK from Arthur Schlesinger. You know that.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well look, that was a political defense. That was not history like his other books.
MS. CLIFT: We're going to besmirch Thomas Jefferson but not Jack Kennedy?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's get to the nub. Let's get to the nub. The nub is this: Exit question: Are academic historians good guides to the intentions of the Founding Fathers?
I ask you, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: This crowd is anything but! (Laughs.) This isn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Generally speaking, are they good guides?
MR. BUCHANAN: These aren't the greatest American historians. I mean, I've read a lot of those -- you've got one or two names on there that are big names, the rest are second-raters.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?
MS. CLIFT: Last time I checked, we had free speech in this country.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: These are academics, political scientists. They have every right --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they good guides? The question was, are they good guides?
MS. CLIFT: Yes. And the country seems to be following their lead! (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ah.
MR. BLANKLEY: History -- the study of history, as a general proposition, is a good guide to understanding the Constitution. But the study of these particular historians and this advertisement is a terrible guide.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they good guides?
MS. CLIFT: Who would you put on the list, Newt Gingrich?
MR. BLANKLEY: It'd be a good start.
MS. CLIFT: Right, I know! (Laughs.)
MR. BLANKLEY: It would be a good start.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they good guides? Are historians generally good guides? Academic -- living within the academe.
MR. O'DONNELL: Generally, yes, they are very good guides. But then the question becomes, what does original intent have to do with the current situation? And the fact of the matter is the Constitution is a living document; it is interpretable in current terms. And in current terms, it is very clear that perjury is an impeachable accusation.
MS. CLIFT: So the heck with the framers? (Laughs.)
MR. O'DONNELL: You might vote against impeachment, based on the quality of this particular perjury, as I would; I would not impeach this president over it. But I object to no one suggesting that it is worthy of an impeachment proceeding.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The only thing that's reliable, I think, are the primary sources. Academics, like everybody else, have their biases and their axes to grind.
When we come back: Will the Kyoto treaty, with its stringent environmental controls, ruin America's pocketbook?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Kyoto chaos.
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: (From videotape.) The nine hottest years on record have occurred in the last 11 years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The mercury is rising. Scientists predict that over the next century worldwide temperatures will rise by 2 to 6 degrees. It's called global warming, and it has environmentalists very worried, even hot under the collar. For over a decade they and like-minded scientists and the arch-global-warmer himself, Vice President Al Gore, have predicted that the warm-up will have dire consequences: sea levels rising, polar ice caps melting, cities and even entire continents submerged, frequent droughts, frequent floods, intense heat waves.
Global warming scientists say that the heating phenomenon is caused by an increase in greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide -- not to be confused with the poisonous carbon monoxide. Carbon dioxide is a harmless, benign gas released from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil. Most carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants to produce oxygen, but some carbon dioxide collects in the Earth's atmosphere and acts as a blanket, trapping heat.
To turn back the tide of climate change, 150 nations have hammered out a treaty called the Kyoto Protocol, named after a hosting city in Japan. The treaty commits the U.S. -- get this -- to a 33-percent reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2012.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, over the next 12 years the Kyoto reforms could have extreme impact on our pocketbooks: one, GDP hit hard, down by almost $400 billion; two, gas prices up 66 cents per gallon; three, electricity prices up, 86 percent increase; four, family incomes down. A family of four stands to lose $2,700-plus per year.
Other arguments against the Kyoto treaty include inconsistent enforcement of emissions reductions. For example, India and China are exempted -- two big countries. Global warming is natural, many scientists say, and widespread harm is bogus specter-raising, many scientists say.
Question: So did President Clinton make a serious mistake when he had signed the Kyoto treaty in Buenos Aires, especially in view of the fact that the U.S. Senate is opposed unanimously? I ask you.
MR. O'DONNELL: I don't think it was a mistake to sign it, which was not signed by him but signed by mid-level --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he has got all these senators now up in arms. He has got Bob Byrd up in arms; he has got Chuck Hagel up in arms.
MR. O'DONNELL: And what that means is that we will not agree to this treaty. This country will not be a part of this treaty in the end.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If what? If what?
MR. O'DONNELL: Because the Senate will not approve it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will not ratify it?
MR. O'DONNELL: There is no chance of that.
But what's good about it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are we doing then? For PR, is that why you're defending it?
MR. O'DONNELL: We are beginning the establishment of the correct structure to address pollution because pollution does not respect borders.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but you are -- what you are doing is you are -- trying to suck in these other nations with overpromising, which is what Clinton did when he went to Africa on that trade mission. (Chuckles.)
MR. O'DONNELL: No. The other nations are demanding this kind of restraint, that we will -- and remember; we will not provide it. But they are demanding it of us because they are in the formative stages of their economies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't see the slightest duplicity in us -- through the administration of this country -- the president saying --
MR. BLANKLEY: I feel -- (inaudible) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- we signed the treaty with the certain knowledge that the entire Senate has voted 95 or 97 to zero, already?
MR. O'DONNELL: I see a little useful duplicity that allows us to be participants in this --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. He is on the side of duplicity. Where are you?
MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughs.) Well, I think obviously that Clinton-Gore -- and you have to use both of those words in this sentence -- Clinton-Gore see this as a politically useful position to take, notwithstanding the very serious questions as to whether the science supporting the conclusions are true and even to the point that from their point of view, they are doing damage to the process -- it's going to be defeated in the Senate -- because the concept of being able to trade off pollution rights around the world, which is part of this treaty, is going to be disparaged by the failure of the treaty. So they are defeating even their own view in the short-term interests of their own public relations.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's very nuanced, and it's very penetrating, Tony. I commend you.
MS. CLIFT: There is such a thing called leadership. And this country has created much of the pollution, as have all the industrialized nations. And we need to get out there and set some targets and get technology working. And this is an appropriate position to make.
MR. BUCHANAN: John?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat.
MS. CLIFT: Lawrence is absolutely right. This is a long-term education program to address this question.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this driven by science or our commitment to it, or is it driven by politics?
MR. BUCHANAN: First, the science is bogus. There is no evidence global warming is occurring. There is no evidence, if it does, it's harmful. This is rooted in Western guilt. It is moral capitulation of Clinton-Gore --
MS. CLIFT: One hundred and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- to globalist international opinion --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out. We've got to get out.
MS. CLIFT: Over --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- surrendering the sovereignty --
MS. CLIFT: Wait a second.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- and industrial independence of this country --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Over a hundred --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- to a bunch of Third World bureaucrats.
MS. CLIFT: Over a hundred Nobel laureates in science endorsed this --
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, they can go with those historians -- (laughs) --
MR. BLANKLEY: And they're the same ones that signed the -- (inaudible due to cross talk and laughter) -- right? (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, that's right. And you can find a handful of people who are a tool of industry on the other side and give them equal credence.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Exit -- look, we're way over; you've got to be very brief. If Al Gore runs as the Green Man, the green candidate, how does Kyoto help him, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: It'll be the Kyoto albatross that takes him down right into the sea.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, there's a lot of Republicans that appreciate the environmental record of this administration.
MR. BUCHANAN: But this is environmental extremism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: It's not extremism. Just look at the violent weather around us, and the statistics bear it out. Being on the side of a responsible pro-environment policy is good politics.
MR. BLANKLEY: She confuses --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this boost Al Gore's prospects, taking this strong Green Man position?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think it does help him, because the images on environment -- they've poll-tested this thing.
But I would remind you that you do the same thing Gore does; you confuse weather with climate. The fact that it's hot tonight doesn't mean the climate's changed.
MS. CLIFT: Yes, it's been hot for the last 10 years!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another good distinction. He's hot.
What about you?
MR. O'DONNELL: Gore will not run as the green candidate. He never was a green senator or a green --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, more duplicity? More duplicity or what? You mean he's falsified --
MR. O'DONNELL: Listen, I -- one of the jobs I had in the Senate was I was the chief of staff of the Senate Environment Committee. Al Gore was not a member. There is no federal legislation that came out of Al Gore's Senate career that has anything to do with the environment. You will not hear anything out of him about the environment when he's running for president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean this is a pose?
MS. CLIFT: No, that's not true.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. O'DONNELL: This was a pre-92 pose that was -- that's -- it came out of a -- (inaudible due to cross talk).
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, it's -- he's a believer. He's a believer.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he has a problem with it now, because he's going to need union money to run again, correct?
MR. O'DONNELL: But he knows how to get away from previous positions.
MR. BUCHANAN: This will cost him the industrial Midwest, just like his attacks on the engine do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You are all correct. (Laughter.)
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Brazilian bailout collapses next year.
MS. CLIFT: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: (Chuckles.) Now that the Dow has hit 9,000 once again, I'm ready to declare us safe from the Asian flu. (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Minimum wage will pass with 100 Republican votes next year.
MR. O'DONNELL: Citizen Bill Bradley will not run for president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Al Gore's lecturing of the constitutionally elected prime minister of Indonesia last week on the need for political reform is dangerous but welcome, and it's right, and it will boost Gore's presidential bid with pundits and editorialists.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Thanksgiving 1998.
In an age of doubt and cynicism, of fallen heroes and broken institutions, has the meaning of Thanksgiving in American been lost? Do Americans have anything left to be thankful for? On this 1998 Thanksgiving weekend, the McLaughlin Group will ask whether the key assets of American life are underappreciated, taken for granted or otherwise overlooked.
Question: What should we be thankful for on the domestic scene, Patrick Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: We've got extraordinary prosperity, the budget is balanced, and crime is going down. In some ways, not all -- certainly the social problems are terrible -- in some ways, these are the best years of our lives for a lot of Americans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Right. And the good sense and the sound judgment of the American people, expressed in poll after poll this year, and in the November elections -- (laughter) -- basically putting the scandal in a perspective that nobody here in Washington has been able to do. (Laughs.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Partisan gratitude. Let me -- let me --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you -- wait a minute now. Are you challenging her?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. I mean, that kind of partisan gratitude is ugly, ugly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Challenging the American people? (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: But let me bring it to a higher level. Let me bring it to a higher level, if I can. I'm grateful for the fact that because of the perfect political equipoise between the two parties, that almost nothing got passed by Congress or signed by the president and, therefore, no more damage was done to the country.
MS. CLIFT: And that's not partisan? (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Republic was thereby rendered, for a few additional months, safe.
MR. O'DONNELL: All right, here's one we'll agree on. We have to be grateful -- Pat said the budget's in balance; the budget is actually in surplus for the first time in my adult lifetime, which allows both parties next year to have a serious discussion about fixing Social Security and Medicare.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we should be grateful for men of principle, like Kenneth Starr, who is willing to face the abuse of an ungrateful nation to preserve the rule of law.
Pat Buchanan, what should we be grateful for on the international scene? We've got 45 seconds.
MR. BUCHANAN: That American fighter bombers are not killing Serbs or killing Iraqis.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excellent.
MS. CLIFT: Peace in Northern Ireland, and the fact that President Clinton has so far governed for 6-1/2 years and not embroiled this country in war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the Tory Party in Britain is down. At least it's not yet out!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) I'm sure we can take heart from that!
MR. O'DONNELL: The great positive achievement of the year -- Eleanor is right -- is the march towards peace in Northern Ireland.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we should be grateful to our men and women in uniform from Diego Garcia to Korea, who continue to serve in remote places, far from the family, to keep us free.
I believe that we have now given our tributes to the subject of Thanksgiving, and that's it.