THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2009 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 7-8, 2009
Copyright (c) 2009 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service, please visit http://www.fednews.com or call(202)347-1400
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Massacre in Texas.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Texas this week at Fort Hood military base, a U.S. Army psychiatrist opened fire into a soldier processing facility, killing 12 soldiers and one civilian and wounding at least 31.
The shooter has been identified as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39 years old, single, a U.S. citizen of Jordanian descent, and described as a devout Muslim. Some bystanders heard Hasan shout before he started shooting. His words were "Allahu Akbar" -- Arabic for "God is the greatest." It was the deadliest attack on an American military base in U.S. history.
Question: What kind of fallout, political especially, will there be from the Fort Hood killings? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, there may be a bit of a political backlash, I think, John, that he was an Arab-American and a Muslim. But the key question here is, this is an individual who is an Arab and an American and a Muslim, but his Arab-Muslim identity apparently during the wars, the conflicts with the Arab world, with the Muslim world, that came to overcome his American identity to the point apparently he may have been deeply radicalized.
There are reports that he wrote on e-mails saying suicide bombers are -- basically they are like men, courageous men who fall on grenades. He may have come to identify with these folks. And then he's going to be sent over there, in effect, to go to war against them, and this might have snapped him.
But John, the real problem here is there appear to be a number of signals, him showing up in his Arab garb and things like that, right there around the base, that would indicate an individual who was really losing it, as it were. And that's the key question. There are an awful lot of Arabs and Muslims who are honorable American soldiers, but there is a real problem, as we found out before the Iraq war, when one of those fellows who deployed fired some grenades in there and killed his officers before the invasion.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Congress will try to enact new guns laws because of this, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, I don't know if wearing his Arab garb indicates he's losing it. But I think we're going to have a lot of soul-searching about the military, the stresses and strains that they're under. At Fort Hood they've lost over 500 men and women in the two wars. There have been 75 suicides.
And I think when the volunteer army was created under President Nixon, it was really meant to be sort of a core fighting force, not meant really to sustain two wars. And so this comes in the context of the president deciding what to do next in Afghanistan, a Muslim country. And so I think all of these strains are going to come up.
In terms of gun laws, these weren't military-issued weapons that he had. These were handguns, Saturday night specials. Or I suppose they're everyday specials now in much of the country. And we'll probably have some discussion about that, but I don't see any indication that the Congress is going to be willing to wade into that.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What political impact do you see, Monica? MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think one of the ironies of the great success of President Bush and Vice President Cheney in the rest of the Bush administration post-9/11 in keeping this country safe from another terrorist attack on the homeland is that a lot of the American people have grown complacent to the true nature of the threat.
And I think what we're dealing with here within the military -- this is not the first time something like this has happened; this goes back to 2003, when a Muslim soldier stationed in Kuwait, on the eve of the Iraq war, lobbed three grenades into a tent and killed two of his fellow soldiers.
We have the Fort Dix jihadi plot busted in 2006, where six Muslim men were going to attack American soldiers at that New Jersey base. And then earlier this year we had another Muslim man in Little Rock, Arkansas attack a military recruitment center and shoot two military recruiters, killing one of them.
So I think what we need to really focus on is homegrown radicalization, whether it's in the military or elsewhere in the Muslim communities in the United States. And this idea that perhaps, especially in the military, that there may be many Muslim members who serve honorably, but there may be some who have been radicalized, where they look at U.S. intervention in these Muslim countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, as really an intrusion by the infidel into Muslim lands, and they might act out.
There were warning flags about this guy all over the place; yes, the Islamic garb. He was giving away his Quran before he did this. I think not just the military, but American society at large ought not to lose track of the true nature of the threat.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: In this same vein, Clarence, did the FBI arrest an Afghan immigrant in Colorado for plotting an attack?
MR. PAGE: I believe so. I'm not intimately familiar with that case, but I have been following this a number of years. Long before 9/11, I did reporting on the Arab-American community in Chicago and Detroit. And what is really remarkable -- the good news, John, is that this is a very loyal community. Our Arab-American community and Muslim communities both have been much more integrated to our society than the Europeans have had. And you can ask any security experts; they'll tell you that you don't have the alienation that has generated the kind of terrorism that we saw in Madrid, London and the conflicts up in Scandinavia.
This is an isolated case, I think it's important to point out. The other cases were African-American converts to Islam. This man grew up in it. He obviously is mentally deranged. He has all of those characteristics. This kind of behavior should have been spotted before. But I think Eleanor is right. The larger issue here is the kind of mental stress that's been put on our military, and that we need to --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but let's take a broader look. Aren't we living in times where ongoing war is almost a way of life? We've seen this for -- and we kind of take it -- it's almost a zeitgeist that you can expect military action. And we use terms like "the war against terrorism." It's almost as though war is an acceptable adjunct to living, and --
MR. BUCHANAN: It is not only that, John.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're right. And it is the nature of this war, which is against -- it's perceived as being against Islam and against the Arab world. And what you've got to realize is the United States has become a very multiethnic, multiracial, multicultural society, and folks have multiple identities in this society.
And when you've got a great superpower that's over there attacking some country -- suppose we hit Somalia; you've got Somalia individuals who are going back there to fight the Americans from our own country. And you realize, John, when we are all that multiethnic, whoever you go to war, you're going to have people here sympathetic to the enemy.
MS. CLIFT: Be careful, Pat.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The outbursts of violence have been one way. It's been Muslims against the United States, have they not?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think it's a mistake to conflate mental illness with jihadism.
MR. PAGE: Thank you.
MS. CROWLEY: When I was down at Guantanamo Bay and they brought us into the military hospital there for the detainees, they had a team of shrinks. And I think it's a real mistake, because the jihadists will tell you they're not mentally ill at all. They believe in the holy war. And you know what? Political correctness in this country has stopped us from calling this a holy war or a war against Islam.
MS. CLIFT: You are painting with --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. Wait.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, let me --
MS. CROWLEY: Excuse me. There are large swaths of the Islamic world --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know whether there --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know whether there is any inherent --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just a moment.
MS. CLIFT: One sentence. One sentence. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, will you let me in?
MS. CLIFT: One sentence.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.
MS. CLIFT: Let's not paint with such a broad brush.
MR. PAGE: Right.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know --
MS. CROWLEY: We're dealing in reality --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- whether there's a culture clash. Is there a culture clash between the Muslim world, particularly on the matters of women, and western society? Is there a clash, an inherent clash?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, there is an enormous clash. Quite frankly, it's between America, which is deeply secular about women's rights and all these things, and the Islamic world. There's a cultural clash there that is probably the deepest in the world. And this fellow sounded like -- he's out in Silver Spring -- very much a traditionalist Muslim. So that is going to alienate him from a large part of American society to begin with.
MR. PAGE: You know, what we're getting away from here --
MR. PAGE: What we're getting away from is what Monica said. She said what is effective at fighting terrorism. What is not effective is painting an entire community as being some kind of incubator for terrorism. That's not the way to fight it.
MS. CROWLEY: (Inaudible) -- in the community, not the whole Islamic world.
MR. PAGE: Exactly.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the inherent cultural clash I'm talking about?
MR. PAGE: Well, there are inherent cultural clashes in a lot of places, aren't there, John?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's more pronounced?
MR. PAGE: Is it useful, though? How useful is that to paint it as a big clash?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's more pronounced? And what does society -- what does public policy have to do to accommodate the clash? MS. CLIFT: Well, maybe --
MR. PAGE: Look, there are some issues involved here. It's not just the culture clash. There are some issues involved here in terms of our presence in the oil countries, how we have --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. PAGE: -- supplied --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. PAGE: -- governments that have oppressed people --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're absolutely right.
MR. PAGE: -- and how we are seen as part of their problem.
MR. BUCHANAN: But that's politics. That's politics.
MR. PAGE: Maybe that's part of it. The real nature of terrorism is --
MR. BUCHANAN: John is right --
MS. CLIFT: We have --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Let Pat --
MS. CLIFT: We have thousands --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Let Pat --
MR. BUCHANAN: It is culture.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, Eleanor, go ahead.
MS. CLIFT: We have thousands of Muslims serving honorably in the U.S. military.
MR. PAGE: Thank you.
MS. CLIFT: We have a backlash in this country invading Muslim countries, and their populations are very uncomfortable with us.
MR. BUCHANAN: But the culture is --
MS. CLIFT: And that needs to be taken into account.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?
MR. BUCHANAN: Culture is exactly right. There is a cultural war going on between the Islamic -- DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, what can public policy do to accommodate it, to ease it, to make it all work?
MR. BUCHANAN: Number one --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are we lacking in public policy?
MR. BUCHANAN: Nothing. Look at what comes through that television set into these guys' homes.
MR. PAGE: How (painful ?) is that, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: In England -- in England, John --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We are feeding it with our --
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
MS. CROWLEY: Wait a minute.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- our cultural laxity.
MR. BUCHANAN: We're in their face.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will President Obama's plans for immigration reform be set back by the fallout from the Fort Hood killings? Yes or no.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's not going to go forward with immigration reform. If he did, it would be set back.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Immigration reform is a next-year project at the very least. And they will continue with it. We're still dealing with 12 million people in the country. We need to know more about who they are. This would give impetus. This was a U.S. citizen.
MR. PAGE: Thank you.
MS. CLIFT: He was born here. He grew up in Virginia. It has nothing to do with immigration.
MR. PAGE: Second generation.
MR. BUCHANAN: But he's a Muslim.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know.
MR. PAGE: So what?
MR. BUCHANAN: He believes --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on.
MR. BUCHANAN: He doesn't believe as you do.
MR. PAGE: In what way, Pat? How is that dangerous, to be a Muslim is dangerous? MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it's dangerous -- go down to Fort Hood.
MR. PAGE: Well, how about Christians? Don't Christians ever kill each other for religious reasons?
MR. BUCHANAN: But they don't go down there and say, "Allahu Akbar" and kill 12 guys.
MR. PAGE: Have you heard of the Irish Protestant-Catholic clashes?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, sure.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, will you stop baiting?
MR. PAGE: Are you going to say that that's irrelevant --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stop baiting Buchanan. (Laughter.)
MR. PAGE: Well, he's baiting me, John. (Laughs.)
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.
MS. CROWLEY: It is not going to have an effect on the president's immigration initiatives. But I think, you know, this whole conversation about "Well, it's America's fault -- we're on the ground in Iraq; we're on the ground in Afghanistan" -- they hit us on 9/11 before we were in any of those countries. There is a jihadist mindset.
MR. PAGE: We've been in those countries a long time, Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: It is not the entire Islamic world. It is a narrow, radicalized --
MR. PAGE: Fault-finding isn't the issue here.
MS. CROWLEY: -- section, but we're talking about tens of millions we need to be concerned about.
MR. PAGE: Fault-finding isn't the issue here.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MR. PAGE: Fault-finding is not the issue. This has nothing to do with immigration. And I think anybody who thinks it does has a very poor understanding of a couple of very separate problems here, immigration versus terrorism. Those are separate issues.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The reason why it's not going to affect immigration is because the Democrats are going to drive the reform forward. Issue Two: Democrats Sober Up.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) Election Day was a day of hope. It was a day of possibility. But it was also a sobering one.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sobering indeed, the president says, citing last year's election, relating it to this year's election, and giving his view on the Democratic Party's loss of two governors' races -- the two, in both Virginia and New Jersey, a sweep.
In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell won big, an 18-point margin over Democrat Creigh Deeds; McDonnell 59 percent, Deeds 41 percent.
Question: Is the political coalition that elected President Obama one year ago now disintegrating? Clarence Page.
MR. PAGE: I think people didn't have a good understanding of it. Obama has got short coattails. He doesn't just anoint people with Obama mania. The fact is, the Virginia race, you had a very weak Democratic candidate who tried to distance himself from Obama at first. Then New Jersey, nothing was going to save Corzine.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The youth didn't turn out.
MR. PAGE: Right.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The African-American community didn't turn out.
MR. PAGE: That's right. That's right.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why?
MR. PAGE: They didn't turn out because there was nothing really to excite those voters this time, whereas on the right there was lots -- older voters who've never been --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama was on the trail trying to hype that audience, and he didn't do it. He didn't have the magic.
MR. PAGE: He was doing his duty.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's lost the magic.
MR. PAGE: He hasn't lost the magic. He never had it for that audience. You've got to have a reason to come out.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean? He never had it for the youth? They came out in droves.
MR. PAGE: You've got to have a reason to come out. Where was the excitement of last year as far as any of this campaign was concerned, John? MR. BUCHANAN: John, if he's not on the top of the ticket, they ain't coming out. Young people didn't come out in that Georgia runoff race. African-Americans didn't come out in that race. People who are angry --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why can't he motivate them by these personal appearances?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because nobody -- very few guys can --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's been on the trail constantly.
MR. PAGE: Don't believe the hype, John. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I was with Reagan in '86. He was at 70 percent and we lost 10 Senate seats. It's non-transferable.
MR. PAGE: That's right.
MS. CLIFT: Jon Corzine was a lousy governor. He deserved to lose. And Creigh Deeds was endorsed by the NRA four years ago, or two years ago, when he ran. And there was nothing to get young people and minorities and new voters excited.
But, listen, there is another message there for Democrats, and that is that if you're not working on the number one issue that the voters care about, they will punish you.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --
MS. CLIFT: And the 10.2 percent unemployment rate that came out on Friday, coupled with those election losses, should light a fire under this White House.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's an excellent point.
Okay, New Jersey. In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie defeated incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine by four points; Christie 49 percent, Corzine 45 percent.
Did you notice the (avoir du foie ?)? And do you remember what Corzine -- the trouble he got in with that --
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, he attacked Chris Christie for being overweight. And Chris Christie says, "Yeah, I'm fat. Man up and call me fat." That was actually a very humanizing moment for Christie.
Look, Jon Corzine lost in New Jersey for a couple of reasons. First of all, the state's public finances are in a complete mess -- property taxes through the roof. He has done nothing to bring the income-tax burden down on the residents of New Jersey. But, look, the White House injected itself into both of these races, New Jersey and Virginia, and in particular Virginia, to the extent where the president --
MR. PAGE: As if they weren't -- (inaudible)? (Laughs.)
MS. CROWLEY: -- had his primary political strategist running the Corzine campaign.
Look, I remember a year ago, that side of --
MR. PAGE: They didn't inject themselves.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. MR. PAGE: They were desperate. Corzine was desperate.
MS. CROWLEY: Hang on.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now you're baiting her.
MS. CROWLEY: I remember a year ago, that side of the panel was dancing on the grave of the Republican Party, saying it was a regional party, couldn't win --
MS. CLIFT: Well, I intend to do a little dancing --
MS. CROWLEY: They won in New Jersey and they won big in Pennsylvania.
MS. CLIFT: I intend to do a little dancing on the grave of the Republican party because of what happened in that upstate New York district, where the far right killed off the moderate Republican --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: -- drove out the chosen Republican from the district and allowed a Democrat to win for the first time in 100 years. That kind of --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. Excuse me. That kind of intra-party civil war is going on in Florida, in California.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's called a primary fight.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, this was a fire bell in the night -- a fire bell in the night for the Democratic Blue Dogs, especially --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, wait a minute. Give me -- is this code?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, what it -- look up in New Jersey.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, the fire bell in the night? You're yelling at me. What is this?
MR. BUCHANAN: All right, Jon Corzine; he's got huge Democratic registration. He outspent the guy three or four to one. He's got the president behind him. He's got a candidate siphoning Republican votes. And he lost.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear the view from the top.
Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele said the results in Virginia and New Jersey were evidence that rumors of the GOP's demise had been greatly exaggerated. MICHAEL STEELE (Republican National Committee chairman): (From videotape.) As recently as a couple of months ago, Republicans were written off. Many of you were writing our epitaph.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But were the elections a referendum on President Obama, Mr. Steele?
MR. STEELE: (From videotape.) I don't think it's so much a referendum on the president. It certainly is, I think, a checkpoint on the policies.
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why did Steele want to dismiss the idea that Tuesday's voting was a referendum on the Obama presidency?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because it's not.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: He was right to say that it was a referendum on the president's and the congressional Democrats' policies. This was all about the economy, stupid, and it's all about the spending, stupid.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Debt. Debt.
MS. CROWLEY: The American people -- we have now become a nation of Howard Beales. We're mad as hell. We're not going to take it anymore -- oppressive tax burden, big government, $2 trillion health- care entitlement.
MR. PAGE: Yeah! Yeah! (Laughs.)
MS. CROWLEY: The American people -- I'll tell you, the coalition -- this is the first question you asked --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.
MS. CLIFT: I --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. I'll let you in in a minute.
Go ahead. Finish your thought. Finish your thought. Hurry up. Hurry up.
MS. CROWLEY: The Obama coalition of the independents -- suburban voters, African-Americans --
MR. PAGE: It's a fractured coalition, though.
MS. CROWLEY: -- and senior citizens -- MR. PAGE: It's a fractured coalition.
MS. CROWLEY: -- did not come out in these races for the Democrats. That is a huge warning sign.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're sending a signal to Obama.
MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Cool it on the socialism, right?
MS. CROWLEY: Yes.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I'm gagging on all the red meat she just threw out. (Laughs.)
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, quickly.
MR. PAGE: It's a fractured coalition.
MS. CROWLEY: It's all true.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her in. Hold it.
MR. PAGE: It's a fractured coalition, though. That's the best advantage Democrats have right now is the fractured Republicans, because --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I can see the mail coming in now telling me I've lost control of this panel, and I think I have.
MR. BUCHANAN: The chief question here is --
MR. PAGE: I've got a new whipping chair for you, John. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: The key point here -- John, the key point here is this. The country -- the tea party and the other types are willing to vote Republican again. The whole Bush incubus is gone. They don't like the Republican Party; it's at 20 percent. But they voted Republican. That's the key point of this election.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The independents.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes.
MR. BUCHANAN: Independents will vote Republican again.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wow.
MS. CLIFT: I think, in addition --
MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead, Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: In addition to the warning fire bell in the night to the Democrats, I think the Republicans also have some troubles here. There is a populist energy on the right, but as it's displayed on Capitol Hill in the house calls this week, where Michele Bachmann made all sorts of allegations that this was Hitler socialism, that populism has the danger of really devouring itself, just going way too far for the independents, who are the key to victory.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's a popular attraction to the right on a temporary basis, or do you think that there's a lot -- well, let me get to the exit question. Is 2010 shaping up to be an anti-incumbent year? Yes or no.
MR. BUCHANAN: Fifty percent of the country would like a new party. Fifty percent of the country will vote for the new guy against the incumbent.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, a new party?
MR. BUCHANAN: That's the poll.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean a Republican --
MR. BUCHANAN: They're so anti-Washington and anti-incumbent and anti the guys running the show, if you're in, you've got problems; even some Republicans.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, you know what that means for you.
MR. BUCHANAN: I know what it means.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You got the call. You got the call.
MR. BUCHANAN: The pitchfork is being sharpened. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, and Republicans --
MR. PAGE: Which part are you -- (inaudible) -- Pat?
MS. CLIFT: The Republicans -- (inaudible) -- Wall Street, those early doses of the H1N1 vaccine that Goldman Sachs got this week, that got everybody fired up -- fired up and ready to go.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CROWLEY: Look, yes, there is a huge anti-incumbency wave. You saw it in New York City on Tuesday. Michael Bloomberg spent $85 million. He only won by five points. The Democrats need to be very worried.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, quick answer. We're out of time.
MR. PAGE: As long as the economy is bad and joblessness is up -- DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anti-incumbency?
MR. PAGE: Of course there is, as long as the economy's bad.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.
MR. PAGE: If it improves, though --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: An anti-incumbency mood is sweeping the land.
Issue Three: One Thousand Two Hundred Unnecessary Deaths?
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS (secretary of Health and Human Services): (From videotape.) We do have a vaccine that works.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's the good news. The bad news is there's not enough to go around. Over the summer months, President Obama said the U.S. would have 120 million doses of the H1N1 swine-flu vaccine by October 1, five weeks ago. It's now November, five weeks later, and instead of 120 million doses, we have 32 million, about 25 percent of the Obama total. And it gets worse. Listen to this.
DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN (Centers for Disease Control): (From videotape.) We have substantial amounts coming available, but not nearly as much as we thought would be available or hoped would be available.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So even when it gets here, there's still not enough vaccine to go around. Team Obama blames the vaccine manufacturers. They overpromised. Well, others say forget the manufacturers. Blame Obama and his government.
ANNOUNCER: (From political advertisement.) If the government can't run a flu program, can we trust it to run America's entire health-care system?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Obama's tendency to overpromise due to the fact that he lacks executive experience? What do you think of that question, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think there's some real validity to the fact that Obama -- one of his problems is he can't meet his hopes and expectations he raised. I was down on the Mall when he was inaugurated. This country was full of hope. And it's gone through some very tough times. And, quite frankly, this is another example of it, if you will, that not only the government, but everything -- they never meet what they promise.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, let me direct this at you. With the job-stimulus bill, he was supposed to create or save 3.5 million jobs.
MR. PAGE: Okay. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Instead the number appears to be more like 650,000.
MR. PAGE: Okay.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the H1N1 vaccine was supposed to supply 120 million doses by now instead of 32 million.
So why did he overpromise?
MR. PAGE: Well, H1N1, for one -- there was a Wall Street Journal piece the other day, which is not a paper that friendly to Obama, but they said that his administration acted correctly in ordering the vaccine last spring, but because of regulatory measures, this country cannot put the additive into the vaccine that the Brits, for example, can, that would quadruple the dosage as far as the --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he creates a credibility gap by overpromising? And isn't the --
MR. PAGE: Well, you're saying that he didn't investigate the --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- first law of politics don't overpromise? If you overpromise and then you can't fulfill --
MR. PAGE: You're saying after the supplier has told you they're going to deliver 120 (million) and they only deliver 30 (million) that you should have investigated the supplier before? I mean, where'd the administration go wrong here?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I don't know. There was a lot of money put out there. There was something like $6 billion, and that adds up to about $4 million a day being spent.
MR. PAGE: For the H1N1.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. PAGE: Right, right.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Four million dollars a day.
MR. PAGE: It's in the pipelines. It just hasn't come as fast as the administration promised.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, why don't we follow the money and find out where the money's going.
MR. PAGE: Well, you don't have any evidence that the money is going in the wrong place. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, but there's a smell --
MR. PAGE: We should follow -- you should always follow money. But getting back to the administration itself, though --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a smell someplace.
MR. PAGE: -- the administration has done what they were supposed to do. But they did overpromise, because the supplier didn't meet the supply.
MS. CLIFT: There is --
MR. PAGE: Now, as far as the stimulus goes, stimulus money is still being spent.
MS. CLIFT: There is a lag time. And, in fairness, a lot of it is outside of the president's control. This virus grows more slowly than they anticipated, and they have to grow it in eggs. And secondly, I think he did the right thing in alerting people about the dangers of the virus. And everybody's run out now and got the seasonal flu. Twenty-five million more people go the seasonal-flu virus than before.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You heard the science --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. I want to finish this.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, go ahead.
MS. CLIFT: But in fairness, in fairness, they are going to look at this as a test of competence of the Obama administration. And, you know, he's got a lot vested in this, and I sure hope a lot of that vaccine arrives. And I said that on last week's show too.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The first role of government is to protect human life -- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We've lost 1,200 people because of a lack of --
MS. CROWLEY: And a lot of children.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- maybe because of a lack of swine flu.
MS. CROWLEY: Vaccine, yeah. No, and the politics of this will hurt President Obama, I think, because we are talking about human life. We're talking about people's health. We're talking about getting a vaccine to them in time. And the problem here is that they did have a running start. We had this first wave of the swine flu in the spring. They had some time.
I understand the science of it; it does take some time. But trying to explain that to the American people, they don't really want to -- they don't want to hear that when they're standing in line. The other problem here is that the H1N1 vaccine was put into immediate production, and now we've got a shortage of the seasonal-flu vaccine, the regular flu shot. So now people are waiting for that. This is turning into an epic medical --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think there's --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute.
MS. CROWLEY: -- mess that I think will bleed over into the health-care reform debate.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think there's a smell here?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're unfair to Obama.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Money?
MS. CROWLEY: Of money? Well, they did allocate $6 billion.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a lot of money being spent.
MS. CROWLEY: They did. They did.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, you're unfair to Obama.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're spending $4 million a day and they don't have enough swine flu.
MS. CLIFT: They're both unfair.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: A day. A day.
MS. CLIFT: They're having this conversation, Pat. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: But John, you're unfair to Obama for this reason. The average flu season kills 35,000. And to say those 1,000 died for lack of a vaccine is grossly unfair.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, I retract it.
Predictions, Pat. Fast.
MR. BUCHANAN: The Democrats will not take up that immigration reform bill you were talking about, John.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Republicans in Florida, Illinois and Connecticut, senatorial candidates, are going to move so far to the right for fear of Sarah Palin that they're going to damage themselves for the November election.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: Wishful thinking.
I predict that the Republican National chairman, Michael Steele, his job is safe.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is safe.
MS. CROWLEY: Safe.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Great.
MR. PAGE: I predict that Kindle will be replaced by a more modern color reader by this time next year.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eunice Kennedy Shriver died recently. I predict that the Vatican will beatify her and canonize her a Catholic saint.