THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF MAY 31-JUNE 1, 2008
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DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: The Supremes.
The Supreme Court is just what its name suggests -- supreme; supreme over all the other 16,000 judicial bodies in the United States. The court's nine justices interpret law and they set precedent for years to come. The nomination of these justices is by the president, and it is arguably his or her most enduring power.
These justices commonly outlive the nominating presidents' terms. All nine of them serve for life, if they so wish. Thirty-two percent resign or retire. As a consequence of lengthy service, the justices' age can be quite seasoned. In the current court, one of the nine is an octogenarian, John Paul Stevens. Three of the nine are in their 70s -- Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy.
The next president of the United States can reasonably expect to name four Supreme Court justices. The next president could be Senator Barack Obama. He says this about what's needed on the high court.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL, Democratic presidential candidate): (From videotape.) And we need somebody who's got the heart to recognize -- the empathy to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Barack Obama voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and against Justice Samuel Alito, and he joined in the effort to filibuster the Alito nomination.
In commenting on that, Obama said, quote, "The critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart," unquote. One commentator, Edward Whalen, says that no clearer prescription for lawless judicial activism is possible.
Question: Does Obama favor judicial activism, which some see as the rewriting of the Constitution from the bench rather than convening a constitutional convention and passing an amendment in the political process? Mort Zuckerman.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, look, all judicial appointments to the Supreme Court are political appointments as well as judicial appointments. Every president that you could imagine today is going to appoint somebody who shares in some ways his concerns. So Barack Obama mentions one. Here he has stated very specifically he's going to appoint people to the bench and only those who really understand how important Brown versus Education is, and therefore they will support busing or whatever it takes, and he has said that.
Hillary Clinton will do the same thing. She'll appoint people who, in a sense, support Roe versus Wade. That's her issue.
And, of course, John McCain is going to say, "I don't want judges to be involved in, in a sense, making legislation. They basically are to be more distant from it. They shouldn't be making law or even interpreting law; just applying law." Everybody approaches it --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is your personal view? Which would you favor?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Me? I would favor -- I personally wouldn't like somebody who's just sort of interpreting law. The reason I say that --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You like Obama's statement. MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm not sure I would go as far as he goes. But I do think our political system is so gridlocked that we cannot ignore the role of the judiciary, in a sense, in dealing with certain issues that can only be dealt with through the judiciary.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we're surprised at Mort's view, aren't we?
MS. CLIFT: It's the first time I've heard a reference to busing in a long time, but otherwise I think his views are reasonable. The two --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I expect that from you. I expect you to agree with Obama. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: The two justices that Senator Obama voted against -- one a corporate lawyer, one an academician -- and I think the point he's trying to make is that he would look for judges who have a little more connection with life, who are not elitists.
And I think one of the best Supreme Court appointments made in recent decades was Sandra Day O'Connor, who had been a politician. She had been, I believe, the speaker of the Arizona legislature. And her decisions -- she frequently was the fifth voice, and she made a lot of critical decisions on social policies that were really in tune with where the country is. Now, she would say she was ruling on the law, but she understood our culture. And culture matters.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that actually Obama's rather autocratic in that view, that he wants to appoint, quote-unquote, "enlightened" judges, enlightened by his norms, rather than going the popular route of convening a constitutional convention if he wants to change the Constitution?
MS. CROWLEY: I think that when you elect a president, you're electing a political philosophy, okay? And presidents have the discretion to appoint somebody who reflects their ideological view on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Barack Obama is a liberal. There is no mystery here, so he will be in favor of appointing liberal judges. There is no coincidence that that clip that you showed of Barack Obama making the comments about what he would look for in a Supreme Court justice took place in front of the Planned Parenthood group; that is, that he would use Roe versus Wade as a litmus test. There are a whole slew of liberal agenda items that he would certainly call into play when he's looking at potential judges for the Supreme Court. The question is --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, he would not disturb Roe v. Wade.
MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely not. I don't think Hillary would do that either. But I do think that -- DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that he would want to extend it into the second trimester?
MS. CROWLEY: I don't know about that, but I think that when you look at -- I mean, that's a very specific issue. But when you look at what he would look for in a judge for the Supreme Court, this is all about -- and this applies to Hillary too -- it's about importing a social agenda and turning the judicial nominating process into an exercise in social engineering. As a conservative, I take issue with that. I want a strict constructionist, somebody who's going to interpret the law and not legislate.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does Obama sound like he does not think that the Constitution is up to date?
MR. PAGE: He's not a crit, as they say, like, at Harvard Law School. He's not that kind of a radical at all. He is a liberal -- busted. You're absolutely right, Monica. You know what? He's pro- choice too -- on record, has been. His voting record shows it.
MS. CLIFT: As is most of the country.
MR. PAGE: Thank you -- as is most of the country. And, you know, it's a fundamental issue among Democrats. And also, Mort is right, it is a political process that selects the justices.
Then they can sit on the court for life and decide which way they want to go, as Sandra Day O'Connor did, turning out to be too liberal for a lot of conservatives who initially supported her.
I expect Barack Obama not to make any radical moves. He's a good friend of Laurence Tribe from his Harvard Law faculty. I doubt that he's going to try to appoint Laurence Tribe. I don't think it would be politically expedient.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. PAGE: The Senate would have to be more liberal than it is now, I think, to confirm him. I may be wrong, but I don't think that that's going to happen. I think he's going to go for someone more moderate.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think that Obama sounds like he's more activist than Tribe?
MR. PAGE: You know, I love this term "activism." It's like "constructionism." They're all activists, John. You know, Justice Scalia -- I'll never forget when he virtually rewrote the Constitution in order to overturn California's marijuana laws. It was grown in the state, consumed in the state, and yet he somehow used interstate commerce to justify federal intrusion on that. That's activism. You know, it happens on the right and the left.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did Obama oppose Alito and oppose the chief justice in their nominations?
MR. PAGE: Well, he thought that -- well, you would have to ask him, I would say, but --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We know. We know. We know the answer to that.
MS. CLIFT: They've both given us plenty of evidence. They're pretty doctrinaire conservatives. And --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, please.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, please? Oh, yes, they are. MR. PAGE: They're smart, but they're conservatives.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But that's --
MS. CLIFT: And I might also point that John McCain, who's advancing himself as a maverick, is on record saying he favors overturning Roe v. Wade, which is a controversial position. And if he does get to the presidency, there will be more Democrats in the Senate, and his chances of getting somebody who would actually do that are quite remote.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll get to McCain in a moment.
Okay, Hillary's legal criterion.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY, Democratic presidential candidate): (From videotape.) When I am president, I will appoint judges to our courts who understand the role of precedent, that it actually does mean something, and also the importance of Roe v. Wade, that it truly is the touchstone of reproductive freedom and the embodiment of our most fundamental rights that no one -- no judge, no governor, no senator, no president -- has the right to take away.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Hillary promising an abortion litmus test for her prospective Supreme Court justice nomination? Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: Get ready for the phrase "stare decisis." And you heard that a lot even from the Republican appointees. Roe v. Wade is now established law in this land. And to overturn that would not eliminate abortion. It would throw abortion back into all the state legislatures, guaranteeing plenty of fighting. We'd probably have a few states that would be abortion mills and other states -- it would --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can't you --
MS. CLIFT: -- it would put us back in the dark ages.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can't you tie this to the current election?
MS. CLIFT: Tie it to --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who do you think Roe v. Wade appeals to?
MS. CLIFT: It's a settled issue on the Democratic side, and I guarantee you --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gender-wise -- who does it appeal to gender- wise? MS. CLIFT: -- John McCain is not going to be making this --
MS. CROWLEY: Of course.
MR. PAGE: Women --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It appeals to women.
MS. CLIFT: John McCain is not going to be making it the central issue.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So she's cultivating her woman base.
MS. CROWLEY: Of course she is.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But John, 60 percent of Republican women support Roe v. Wade.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's not just something that women --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: She wants them to vote in her column.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No doubt. But as Eleanor says, if anything happens to Roe v. Wade, even if John McCain appoints the judge, I believe all they will do will be to constrain it and restrict it, not to eliminate it entirely.
MS. CROWLEY: Look, and, of course, it's her right to make Roe versus Wade a litmus test. You showed that clip. She was also standing before the Planned Parenthood organization. Any presidential candidate has a right to pander to whatever group or express their ideology in whatever way --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Like Obama pandering to African-Americans.
MS. CROWLEY: -- including in judicial nominations.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He mentioned them by name, did he not?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, Obama would make Roe versus Wade a litmus test too. Look, I think the reality in this country -- and Mort cited the statistics here; 60 percent of Republican women also believe in pro-choice -- the reality is, if there were ever a president that would try to overturn Roe versus Wade on a philosophical basis and had the Supreme Court to do it, it was Ronald Reagan, and he did not do it.
I think that all politicians, and this includes John McCain, even though he's pro-life, understands that Roe versus Wade is not going to be overturned in the United States of America. Will there be perhaps additional restrictions on abortion, waiting time, counseling, parental notification? Yes, that's what they fight for. But the political reality is it's not going to be illegalized in the United States.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's also settled law, is it not?
MS. CROWLEY: And I know a lot of pro-life people --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it settled law?
MS. CROWLEY: -- are very upset about that, but that is --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Huh?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's five to four.
MR. PAGE: This is a fundamental core issue with both parties and it is a decisive issue when you're shopping for someone to nominate for the Supreme Court. You try to predict somebody --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Roberts or Alito would like to disturb it if they thought they could do it?
MR. PAGE: I think they would like to, yeah, because --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm not sure they would.
MR. PAGE: -- because Roe versus Wade in itself -- there are so many issues not having to do directly with abortion that Roe versus Wade involves, like overturning states' rights, that sort of thing, that you can justify saying that it overreached and they ought to pull it back and that kind of thing. I think they're the kind of conservative intellectuals who like to do that sort of thing.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, John McCain's Supreme Court criterion: "Our freedom is curtailed no less by an act of arbitrary judicial power as it is by an act of arbitrary executive or legislative or state power. For that reason, a judge's decisions must rest on more than his subjective conviction that he is right or his eagerness to address a perceived social ill."
Question: Whose arbitrary act of judicial power is McCain referring to? Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: (Laughs.) I think --
MS. CLIFT: He's probably talking about Harry Blackmun and Roe v. Wade.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think he deliberately left it unclear for a reason.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who do you think he's referring to?
MS. CROWLEY: But I think there he's directing his fire toward the liberal candidates in this race, and that is Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, because, look, McCain is saying, "I don't want judges who are going to import a freewheeling social agenda in their interpretation of the law."
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who was that lawyer who worked for the president of the United States in this term?
MS. CROWLEY: The attorney general?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, the lawyer, the general counsel. Was his name Yoo? Y-O-O. MS. CLIFT: John Yoo.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: John Yoo.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he had Yoo in mind? Y-O-O? (Laughter.)
MR. PAGE: Are you Abbott or Costello in this skit? (Laughter.) It's possible. It's possible. But I think he really had in mind --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yoo is the one who arranged for the wireless -- what do they call it -- the wiretapping without the --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The ability, under conditions of national security, Yoo made many arguments that expanded the role of executive power. And I'm sure John McCain, by the way, feels that that is an issue that he will be concerned with in any judge that he appoints to the Supreme Court.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Which presidential candidates come closest to the tradition of appointing judges based on judicial temperament and qualifications? Is it an Obama or a Hillary or a McCain or some combination of the above, or is it none of the above? Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I would say it's either St. Peter or none of the above. (Laughter.)
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: None of the above.
MS. CLIFT: I think Monica said it earlier, that when you vote for a president, you vote for a political philosophy, and the philosophy gets advanced. And I think the labels of activism are totally meaningless. It depends which side of the issue you're on, whether you think it's an activist decision or not.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which do you think comes closest to the --
MS. CROWLEY: The answer is C, John McCain.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: John McCain.
MS. CROWLEY: If you're talking about strict constructionist, a strict interpretation of the Constitution, it would be McCain. That would be his standard.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.
MR. PAGE: I think polls show most people believe that. I don't know where it comes from, though. But a lot of pro-choice people like McCain saying they don't think he's really serious about being anti- abortion, you know, because he's got that engaging personality. But I would say none of -- DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're saying McCain.
MR. PAGE: I'd say none of the above, because they're all -- you could trust them all to pick someone that will be consistent with the core values of --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're really talking about which one is the most old-fashioned. That's McCain, right?
Issue Two: First Lady Versus First Laddie.
In the style pages and magazines of Europe, from Hola in Spain to Perrimac (sp) in France to the Tatler in Great Britain, people are still intrigued by France's new first lady, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Carla has even invited favorable comparison to Princess Diana and Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
In the U.S., we have our own new first ladies in waiting. One is a Republican, Cindy McCain.
CINDY MCCAIN (wife of Senator and presidential candidate John McCain): (From videotape.) I think the American people truly are -- take this in the right word -- electing both people.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does Cindy McCain have the je ne sais quoi of Carla Bruni Sarkozy? I ask you, Clarence.
MR. PAGE: Many of us Americans think so, John. But I don't know of any nude photos of her that have appeared or are likely to appear. But she certainly, during those times when she has spoken out in public, she's carried herself very well, no question about it.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Cindy can -- she can kick up her heels.
MS. CLIFT: I want to say, first of all, Carla has abs to die for. (Laughter.) And I'm sure you just want to run that video. But, look, Cindy McCain has done something very concrete that will play well on the world stage. She adopted a child from Africa and raised this child. And so she, I think, has creds. She has street creds around the world.
MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, and she did it before Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt went and adopted somebody from a Third World country. I think the comparison is a little unfair. You know, Cindy McCain is -- she's been through this political life. Carla Bruni is a former supermodel who dated rock stars like Mick Jagger. But Cindy McCain carries herself with great grace --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, she's a lovely lady.
MS. CROWLEY: -- and elegance on the campaign trail. MR. ZUCKERMAN: She's a wonderful lady.
MR. PAGE: That Budweiser fortune certainly fits with the party. (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: She's a lovely lady.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: She also has CEO talent too. Did you read that piece in USA Today?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah. No, she's a very talented lady. But she's also a terrific lady and she's a terrific partner for John McCain.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't more American politicians marry celebrities? Don't you think that our American politicians look a little dowdy?
MR. PAGE: Mort can speak to that.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is not my field, as you probably know. Nevertheless, I do think that some of them sort of do get involved. I mean, look, Jackie Kennedy was an extraordinary-looking woman and a great presence, okay. And everybody in their own way -- I mean, you think of Mamie Eisenhower. She wasn't a model, but she was a wonderful, wonderful lady on the national stage.
MS. CLIFT: Well, Jackie Kennedy was in her early 30s, the fact that she carried herself with such class through such extraordinary times.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: She really sets an example that everybody has a hard time --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. She helped the country through a very difficult time.
MS. CLIFT: But, look, I think Cindy McCain would be a much more traditional first lady. I don't see her forging out on policy prescriptions. I think she would be more ceremonial. But she would advance the issues she cares about, adoption, and also addiction, which she's had some experience with.
MS. CROWLEY: That's right, in sort of the Betty Ford mold on talking about addiction.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Our American politicians stay in office a long while. And with that, of course, comes conformity, and our politicians are very conformist. Is that another reason why they don't marry celebrities?
MS. CROWLEY: (Laughs.)
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that too much for you?
MS. CROWLEY: It's a little too much --
MS. CLIFT: Who are you angling to get in the White House?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I rue the days that we no longer have a Ronald Reagan and a Nancy Reagan. I mean, that was the last --
MS. CROWLEY: Oh, so you're coming out of the -- (inaudible) -- culture. (Cross-talk.)
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. There's a lot to be said for that.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Most of the people come to office as -- they're married. They are couples. So they don't get married after they are in office, the way Sarkozy did in France.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: His wife left him because she didn't want to be -- and she got remarried too. And he somehow or other met this fantastically attractive and intelligent and talented woman, I might add.
MS. CROWLEY: And you know the old adage that politics is show business for ugly people. So you're trying to turn the whole thing upside down, John. (Laughs.)
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Which of the three -- Cindy, Michelle and Bill, or Bill -- would offer the most promise as first spouse? Mort Zuckerman.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I'm going to duck this thing. They will all offer different things to the nation. Some of them have already been offered to the nation.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know the condition of the United States around the world.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You travel a lot.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have your own jet. You have also the creature comforts of wealth, right? So it's easy for you to travel. You travel extensively.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're in and out of Israel a lot and you go elsewhere.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you know that we are very unpopular around the world, this country.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's an enormous repair job that has to be done. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The BBC has just done a horrid picture of the United States and where we stand in the public view around the world. Now, which one of those -- is it Michelle or is it Cindy or is it Bill -- that could do the best job around the world?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I would say that Bill Clinton is probably as popular an American around the world as we have had in a very long time.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that another reason for voting for Hillary?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Because the much more important decision is who is going to be the best president. This is a subsidiary role. The president, he or she, will still carry the basic image of the United States around the world.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what is this "subgigiary" (mimics Zuckerman's mispronunciation of "subsidiary") role you speak of? Subgigiary? What is that?
MS. CLIFT: Subsidiary -- secondary.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Subsidiary. Did I say "subgigiary"?
MS. CLIFT: Look, Bill Clinton would be an ambassador to the world. He'd be a combination vice president and secretary of State, and the world would love it. Michelle Obama would be a much more activist first lady, I believe, than Cindy McCain. And if America elects the Obamas, I think that in itself would be a huge signal to the world that we are a diverse country.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Gender Skewed.
ROBERT MASSA (Dickinson College): (From videotape.) A campus that has a very skewed gender balance or gender imbalance is going to be less appealing to men and women.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Girls in college have vastly increased in number. In fact, a gender gap now exists in favor of girls. The ratio of girls to boys is almost three girls to two boys in college today. Girls constitute 58 percent of the student body and continue to grow. The problem is so great that colleges are now trying to find new ways to appeal to boys. Now, get this -- unfortunately, that (hyped ?) male recruitment means that more and more qualified girls are being rejected. UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (From videotape.) Colleges are admitting boys with lower grades and lower scores relative to the girls they're admitting, and in essence that's rewarding boys for underperformance.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How do we address the current gender imbalance in college? I ask you, Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I'm not sure that it deserves to be addressed, as you say. I mean, I think colleges, by and large, should admit people on the basis of merit. What's happening is that a lot of girls are studying much more effectively and efficiently and harder than their male counterparts, and they're doing much better in these exams. And that's why they're going to be admitted disproportionately to the colleges and universities.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How long have you supported this pattern of discrimination? (Laughter.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: As long as I've known about it. As long as I've known about it. I've actually preferred intelligent women to other creatures on earth for as long as I can remember.
MS. CROWLEY: Smart man.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You realize that this is really moving rather fast; it could be as low as 55-45 pretty soon?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's now above 55-45. It's 58 percent, I think, are girls, and 42 percent are men, and the rest are anonymous.
MR. PAGE: And among black students, it goes more like three to two in undergrad and as much as four to one in grad school. But one reason, though --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you explain that?
MR. PAGE: Well, a number of things. For one thing, being a father of an 18-year-old boy, I can tell you, boys are harder to settle down and to focus than girls are. Boys don't assimilate into the classroom structure as easily as girls do.
But what's interesting is that there's a strong economic incentive for girls to go to college and stay in, because the high school boys tend to make about as much money as a female with two years of college, and it kind of moves up that way. So there's a much stronger incentive for young women to go to college and to stay in.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the natural term of this if it continues?
MR. PAGE: Natural --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Term. Where is it going to end?
MR. PAGE: Eventually?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is it going to end?
MR. PAGE: Well, you know, where do economies end? I think that --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where do civilizations end when women are dominant in politics?
MR. PAGE: Well, won't that be terrible? It's already starting to happen, isn't it? (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, actually, I think if women get dominant in politics, that's a good thing. But I agree with Clarence. The educational system is really geared more to girls -- the contained classroom, the ability to sit and focus longer. As the mother of three sons, I've had some experience with this as well. But, you know, I think not everybody needs to go to college or should go to college. And our higher education system really should accommodate people, training them for trades and for jobs that exist. I mean, I think our education system is totally outdated.
MS. CROWLEY: And also there are two big demographic changes that explain the bigger influx of girls into college. One is that there are more girls than boys being born, so now the majority of Americans are actually women by 51 or 52 percent.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That doesn't account for the percentage, though.
MS. CROWLEY: But also, on Clarence's point about the economic incentive, women are marrying much later. Therefore they see the incentive of having a career and developing themselves outside of the family unit right away, and that's why more of them are going to school.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but this pattern of discrimination starts early, and white males are discriminated against from the time they're born.
MS. CROWLEY: Oh, sure. Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, come on.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's true. Boys are fed Ritalin because they're overactive, and there are too many pharmaceuticals for boys.
MS. CROWLEY: Girls get Ritalin too.
MR. PAGE: Yes.
MS. CROWLEY: Come on, John. I mean, it's still a white man's world, for all intents and purposes. Come on.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. PAGE: Some day white guys won't get a chance to be heard, John.
MS. CROWLEY: You're not going to sit here and seriously argue this to me.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: White boys do not get affirmative action admissions to college.
MS. CROWLEY: But what you're saying is that --
MR. PAGE: Actually, they may be.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What? MR. PAGE: Actually, they may be.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, you're agreeing with me.
MR. PAGE: A lot of white males probably are getting affirmative action, but the colleges --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not in proportion to females. True?
MR. PAGE: In proportion -- well, it's not as strong of an issue, really. I mean, what's the harm of having more females than males?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Boys developmentally are being neglected because of the fact that girls are preponderantly getting more benefits in society.
MR. PAGE: I think boys are neglected for different reasons in the middle school and high school --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Your point was that they cannot be controlled easily. They don't fit into organizations.
MR. PAGE: That's right. They're more hyperactive.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That is not -- I mean, therefore their leadership skills are being denied development by reason of your view.
MR. PAGE: Well, for some reason, males seem to do better in the corporate world, though, don't they? I mean, look at the end product.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, look at the Fortune 500. Men are not underrepresented there. And I think that's a measurement as well. Look at academic faculties. Men are not underrepresented.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's about three to one favoring men still.
MS. CLIFT: Yes, yes.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you want to overturn all that.
MS. CLIFT: No, I don't think women are going to take over. (Laughs.) There's room for us all. There really is.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I must say, I'm not sure I agree with you that financial incentives is diminished. We are in a world in which a college education is becoming such an absolute necessity for a decent life. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Bye-bye.