THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; BILL PRESS, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST TAPED: FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF MARCH 27-28, 2010
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Obamacare Rules.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) Tonight's vote is not a victory for any one party. It's a victory for the American people. And it's a victory for common sense.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we'll see. President Obama's victory, health insurance for 31 million Americans, with 14 million yet to come, was entirely partisan. Ostensibly, it was a victory for one party. Not a single Republican voted yes on the Obama health- insurance program. One hundred and seventy-eight Republicans voted, no absentees, and they all voted no. So the passage of Obamacare in the House of Representatives late last Sunday night is an exclusively Democratic win. Two hundred and fifty-three members of the House are Democrats. Of these 253 Democrats, 219 voted yes on Obamacare. Thirty-four of the 253 Democrats voted no. And to repeat, all 178 Republicans in the House voted against Obamacare. The final tally: 219 yes, 212 no.
Let me repeat one statistic: Zero Republicans voted for this entitlement.
Question: In the past, landmark legislation has gotten bipartisan support -- bipartisan -- like Social Security, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and Medicare. Obamacare was a purely partisan victory. What does that say about President Obama's leadership? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, John, what it says is, look, the American people, in every way possible -- in polls, in demonstrations, in town- hall meetings, in elections, in surveys -- said, "Please, we don't want this bill." This is not an American victory. This is a victory of the left wing of the Democratic Party.
It was a bipartisan majority against this bill in the House. Obama had to buy and bribe his own representatives. In that sense, it is a victory for his leadership there, John. But I think this is going to inflate the deficit and the debt. I think there's a real possibility this thing could be a disaster.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Where --
MR. BUCHANAN: If it is, it belongs entirely --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Watch it.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- it belongs entirely to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
MS. CLIFT: Where to start, where to start. This bill actually mimics the bill that Mitt Romney, a Republican, signed into law in Massachusetts. It resembles the health-care proposal that President Nixon introduced in the '70s, that Ted Kennedy went to his grave regretting that he didn't partner with that president to make that a reality.
And in your introduction, Republicans opposed Medicare and Social Security. In the end, some of them did vote for it, but that was -- they did it kicking and screaming. And President --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the determinative vote included Republicans. MS. CLIFT: Right. And President Clinton's budget plan in 1993, which set us on a course to a balanced budget, did not receive a single Republican vote. So there is precedence here.
The Republicans really did decide early on that they were going to oppose this no matter what. Many of their ideas are included. They did not want this president to get an achievement that would rank up there alongside of Medicare and Social Security as an entitlement program that people would like. And it does put this country on a path toward guaranteeing health care as a right and not a privilege, and not something --
MS. CROWLEY: Well --
MS. CLIFT: -- that insurance companies decide whether you qualify or not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clinton's budget is not an entitlement. This is an entitlement. That's what we're talking about.
MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. And John --
MS. CLIFT: I'm talking about major legislation that went through without Republican support. That was my definition.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that is not the way I phrased the question --
MS. CROWLEY: You're right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because I have said that this is an entitlement. And no entitlement has gotten that zero vote.
MS. CROWLEY: To quote Eleanor, where to begin? On your point about bipartisanship, in all of those examples you mentioned, it wasn't just Republicans that went along with Democrats to expand government in those examples or do the Voting Rights Act, but all of those things had widespread public support as well. Obamacare does not.
The Republicans also were shut out by the Obama White House and by the Democrats, starting in April of last year, from any process. And they quickly realized that none of their ideas were going to be seriously incorporated.
What the Republicans understand as well as the Democrats is that health care was not about health care. Health care was about a massive new expansion of government. It was about expanding the base of people who would be dependent on the government, and ultimately then creating a permanent Democratic majority. That's why most of the American people who see this as a huge infringement on their economic and individual liberties opposed this by 60 percent, and still do. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before you get to this bill, let me get this in here, and you can address it with your wisdom.
Okay, is Obamacare prohibited by the U.S. Constitution?
The 10th Amendment of the Constitution is designed to protect the right of the states against any possible inroads by the U.S. federal government, referred to here as the United States. Quote: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people," unquote.
Here's the argument of Bill McCollum, Florida attorney general, four-term congressman, and currently seeking to be governor of Florida.
FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL MCCOLLUM (R): (From videotape.) I served in Congress. I know what that is. This is taking -- it's conscripting states' resources. It's taking the state's resources and putting it to use for the federal government's purposes and manipulating the states to their end to a degree that is just beyond the sovereign protections that are in the Constitution for states.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Attorney General McCollum has two points: One, state sovereignty. McCollum believes the federal government is forcing states to enact health-care policies they do not want and cannot afford. Two, individual sovereignty. McCollum believes the federal government does not have the power to force individual Americans to buy coverage. That's a mandate, by the way, that, if disobeyed, under Obamacare would mean fines of $2,500 per family.
Thirteen other states attorneys general are filing suit with McCollum on behalf of their states: Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington State.
Question: Is Attorney General McCollum right? Namely, Obamacare violates state sovereignty and individual sovereignty, both guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. I ask you.
MR. PRESS: The first thing I want to say is he's dead wrong. But before that, I want to say that Joe Biden is right about health care and Monica and Pat are right. This is a BFD, and you bet, and it's good for Democrats. The Republicans made a huge mistake in opposing this, a huge mistake in not voting for it. They've got nothing to offer. And the more people know what's in this bill, the more people see how it's going to help their families, the more they're going to like it. And Republicans are just going to say, "What did we deliver? Nothing."
McCollum, where he's dead wrong is in two ways. But first of all, he's running for governor. All these other guys are running for governor. What do attorney generals do? They run for governor or they run for senator. This is his chance to get his mug on television, number one.
Number two, it's without merit, because there's a provision in the legislation that says that states can opt out of the requirements of this legislation as long as they're covering everybody in their state.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, what it does have --
MR. PRESS: So he doesn't have a basis for his lawsuit.
MR. BUCHANAN: Where he's got a strong point is the individual mandate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who has?
MR. BUCHANAN: McCollum. Where he's got a really strong point -- I agree with Bill on part of it; it's going to be tough on the states' rights. But the individual rights -- you cannot force an American citizen to buy a product he does not want.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or she.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. Health insurance is a product. That's like saying you've also got to buy life insurance. I don't think the state can do that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Is Obamacare paid for by slashing Medicare?
Listen to what Obamacare does to Medicare, as seen by Senator Judd Gregg, Republican from New Hampshire. Gregg notes that the CBO says that, over the next 10 years, the payout for Obama insurance will cost $1 trillion. Now, $500 billion of that $1 trillion will come from cutting Medicare's hospital charges, doctors' fees, et cetera. Gregg says it is outrageous to slash Medicare for Obamacare.
SEN. JUDD GREGG (R-NH): You know Medicare's going bankrupt in about -- probably about 10 years. And yet, rather than resolving that problem or trying to help to resolve that problem by making these difficult reductions in Medicare and using the money to make Medicare more solvent, you're taking that money and you're spending it over here on new entitlements. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Senator Judd Gregg claims that Obamacare is de facto being paid for by draining Medicare. Is he right?
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, he is absolutely right -- a half a trillion dollars in cuts proposed in Obamacare. No Congress has ever gone down the road of slashing an entitlement that much. It's double-counted money. Nobody believes that that cut is actually going to happen. And the Democrats say, "Well, we're going to do it by slashing Medicare Advantage." Right, the one free-market area of Medicare they want to go after.
MS. CLIFT: Well, Monica's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: -- got all the Republican talking points, and you will hear that repeated over and over as we --
MS. CROWLEY: And we happen to be right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have any Democratic talking points?
MS. CLIFT: As --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We want the Democratic talking points to be registered on this program.
MR. PRESS: How about the facts?
MS. CLIFT: Do I get to finish?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead. Go ahead.
MS. CLIFT: As we go through this year, we will hear more of this as the Republicans campaign on a repeal platform, asking people if they can take away their health insurance and popular insurance provisions.
In terms of the Medicare provisions, what it does is it ends the subsidies to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage to encourage more seniors to get into managed care and HMOs.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MS. CLIFT: And insurance companies --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, these are abuses, or what?
MS. CLIFT: No, no. And insurance companies, in order to attract customers, added things like gym memberships and added vision care. Some of the benefits are very good. But the administration is not cutting traditional Medicare. And it will be up to the insurance companies --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her in.
MR. PRESS: Hey, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish her point.
MS. CLIFT: And it will be up to the insurance companies to decide if they want to cut those benefits and lose clients in what will be a much more competitive insurance environment.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, is this a buyout of the insurance companies? Is Obama --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, they are double counting.
MS. CLIFT: It's a tightened regulation of insurance, which is needed.
MR. BUCHANAN: They are double counting. They're taking --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's they?
MR. BUCHANAN: They are -- the Obamaites. They're taking the Medicare --
MR. PRESS: This is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish. Let him finish.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're going to take care these out of here. We're going to repair Medicare with them. And we're also going to cover 30 million people. They are double counting the Medicare savings.
MS. CROWLEY: Correct.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that?
MR. PRESS: First of all, the supreme irony cannot go unnoted here that the Republicans, who wanted to kill Medicare just a couple of years ago, are now screaming because Obama is at least getting some -- making -- putting some sense into the economics of Medicare. There are tremendous savings in Medicare --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When did that occur? MR. PRESS: First of all --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When did the Republicans take that position?
MR. PRESS: Under Newt Gingrich.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Under Newt Gingrich?
MR. PRESS: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many years ago was that?
MR. PRESS: Well, I don't care. That's been the Republican --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When people become vested in it, it becomes immovable. That's why the Republicans have backed off.
MR. PRESS: John, that has been their mantra until this bill. And then suddenly, when Obama is for actually making some sensible cuts in Medicare coverage -- I mean, there's a lot of waste in Medicare; all the different -- the procedures that people have to go through. You clean that up and you save billions of dollars.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have the retirement communities communicated with you on that?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, that's why the older people --
MR. PRESS: You think they're against saving money?
MR. BUCHANAN: The older people --
MR. PRESS: Prevention -- wait, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: The older people are up in arms. The older people --
MR. PRESS: Let me make one final point, Pat --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him address my question.
MR. PRESS: -- which is prevention. Now, seniors get all these preventative steps without having to make one co-payment or any fee or anything.
MS. CROWLEY: Seniors --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MR. BUCHANAN: Quickly. Ask yourself why the older people are out there fighting it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. MS. CROWLEY: Tooth and nail.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- and who gets the benefits and who pays the --
MR. PRESS: Why did AARP support it, Pat?
MS. CROWLEY: Because they sell insurance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Arguably --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- arguably, under Obamacare, seniors will lose $500 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare, while the uninsured, mostly young people ages 18 to 29 -- his voters, Obama's voters -- will get federal subsidies to buy mandated health coverage. So is this the biggest intergenerational wealth transfer since the creation of Social Security? Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's also an ethnic wealth transfer, John. That is why you're seeing all your tea parties are middle-aged and older white folks, and the beneficiaries are the poor, and a lot of them are minorities. And that's the clash you've got on this bill.
MS. CLIFT: Did you just say 18 to 29 get subsidized? That's because 18 to 26 can stay on their parents' policy. Is this all considered part of the redistribution of wealth?
This is a big social movement away from the Reagan era, which basically did redistribute wealth to the upper reaches of the income chain. And it does give more people a shot and brings them into the American dream. And it's what this president --
MS. CROWLEY: Oh, come on.
MS. CLIFT: What do you mean, "Oh, come on"?
MS. CROWLEY: You've been filibustering this whole time.
MS. CLIFT: This is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let her finish. Quickly.
MS. CLIFT: This is what this president campaigned on. You should not be surprised.
MS. CROWLEY: I agree --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The 18 to 29 is the assumption that the parents don't have insurance to take the kids on board.
MS. CROWLEY: Well -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Continue.
MS. CROWLEY: -- wait a minute. Wait a minute. The whole point of -- I agree with Eleanor that nobody should be surprised about this. Barack Obama was the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate when he was running for president.
There's not a big mystery here.
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on.
MS. CROWLEY: He was the number one ranked top liberal in the U.S. Senate. Anyway, that's an indisputable fact.
MS. CLIFT: By one survey.
MS. CROWLEY: Indisputable fact.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let people finish.
MS. CROWLEY: Wait. Let me make my point here, because everybody else filibustered. The whole point of health care was about redistributing wealth. It was not about health care, John. And now we get, in The New York Times this week, after it's passed and become law and too late to do anything about it, The New York Times saying the whole objective of Obamacare was to address wealth inequality. It was not about health care --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.
MS. CROWLEY: -- or the American dream.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say to that?
MS. CLIFT: That's --
MR. PRESS: Now, look, let me just say --
MR. BUCHANAN: Socialism, Eleanor.
MR. PRESS: I've got --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Socialism or fascism?
MR. PRESS: Look, here's the reality.
MR. BUCHANAN: Socialism. MS. CLIFT: It's called preserving the middle class.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. PRESS: (Laughs.) Here's the reality. Thirty-two million people who could never afford to buy health insurance before can today. Ninety-five percent of Americans are covered. This is good for doctors. It's good for hospitals.
MR. BUCHANAN: Why are doctors against it?
MR. PRESS: It's good for patients.
MS. CLIFT: They're not against it. They are --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's good for Medicare?
MR. BUCHANAN: Every doctor I talked to was.
MR. PRESS: And it's good for people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Cleans up Medicare.
MR. PRESS: It's good for seniors. And by the way, John, I hate to correct you, but seniors also voted for Barack Obama.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: What's the Forecast for the U.S. Economy?
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: (From videotape.) This Social Security measure gives at least some protection to 30 millions of our citizens.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Social Security into law 75 years ago. Social Security provides pensions for retired Americans. It is funded largely by payroll taxes. This week, Social Security reached a milestone, and it was not a good one. Social Security this year will pay out more in benefits than it will receive in payroll tax revenues. It's the first time this has happened in the 75-year history of the system.
This critical marker was not expected to be reached until at least 2016, says the Congressional Budget Office. Analysts say that this is a tipping point that makes the first step in a long, slow march toward Social Security insolvency unless Congress figures out a way to expand the program's funding.
Item: Housing. New-home sales last month fell to the lowest point on record, going back nearly 50 years.
Item: Gasoline. Gas prices have climbed one dollar in the past year and poised to reach three dollars a gallon. Item: Unemployment, currently 9.7 percent, will remain at 9 percent or above until 2012, two years from now.
Question: Does the Social Security debacle underscore Obama's failure to create the policies needed to put Americans back to work? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it sure does. Let me tell you about Social Security. Ten thousand Americans every day about 18 months from now will be retiring, every day going on Social Security. Besides that, people say, "Well, we're going to have the money up till 2037." Look, this thing starts adding to the deficit right away. We used to have $100 billion a year surplus which we used for general expenses and things. This is -- the country, John, is Greece writ large.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bill.
MR. PRESS: Let me tell you about Social Security. There are 13 million American seniors who'd be living in poverty today were it not for Social Security. Number two, there's a $29 (billion) -- you're right -- $29 billion shortfall in Social Security this year. The trust fund has a two-and-a-half-trillion-dollar surplus.
So this is a problem. It's not a huge problem. It will be fixed. And the debt commission is the first one that's going to address it. Obama appointed -- called for the debt commission. They're going to come up with some solutions, which I think are going to include raising the retirement age and a means test for Social Security.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A means test?
MR. PRESS: Yeah -- both of which are important.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, it ought to be made clear that the Social Security fund -- your contribution to it does not have your name on it. It goes into a fund, and the fund is distributed according to the formula used by Social Security.
MR. BUCHANAN: The fund is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not a means test. If it were a means test, it's quite possible that you could have lived a frugal life, worked very hard, and you are paid what your proportionate amount is, which may not be appropriate in view of the fact that you made savings. Do you follow me?
MR. PRESS: No, it's not a means test now, but it could be run with a means test --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see the means test as Obama's solution to the -- MR. PRESS: No, no, no. I'm saying --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, you do not.
MR. PRESS: I would. The debt commission will make some recommendations on how to fix Social Security.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't see the inequities attached to the means test.
MR. PRESS: I see the inequities today of someone who doesn't need it taking it from someone who does.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it becomes welfare then.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a welfare --
MS. CLIFT: Social Security --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It doesn't degenerate, but it becomes welfare.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's a welfare program.
MR. PRESS: You can't have it both ways. You want to extend the program; you're going to have to make some changes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are there other ways to extend the program?
MS. CLIFT: Well, Social Security can be fixed relatively painlessly. President Reagan did it with Tip O'Neill, the Democrat. You can raise the retirement age. You can probably trim the benefits for people -- younger people. You can raise the cap on the amount of income where you collect Social Security. You could eliminate the cap and make all of those higher-income people pay Social Security without imposing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let her in. We're almost out of time.
MS. CROWLEY: The newest --
MS. CLIFT: -- a means test. The president has made a commission that will report in December. MS. CROWLEY: Well, if he were really serious about addressing the deficit and the debt, he wouldn't have jammed down a $2.6 trillion new entitlement this week.
The Social Security news this week reminds us that this country is on the edge of a fiscal precipice, number one. Number two, the CBO said that this wouldn't happen until 2016. CBO got it wrong. All of the Democrats relying on these CBO numbers about health care -- guess what -- they are often proven wrong. No new entitlement stays within the original CBO estimates. Health care is going to explode the deficit and the debt. And the debt commission is just going to be a fig leaf for raising taxes and instituting a value-added tax.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly. Quickly, Pat.
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat in. Let Pat in.
MR. BUCHANAN: This country is Greece writ large.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes.
MS. CLIFT: You already said that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Greece?
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MS. CROWLEY: Greece writ large.
MR. BUCHANAN: What's happening there --
MS. CLIFT: You've already said that.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- is going to happen here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Same-Sex South.
MAN: It feels great.
MAN: It's exciting to finally be married in the place that we live and work every day.
WOMAN: We now have the full support of our community.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gay couples lined up outside the D.C. Superior Court over the past three weeks to get married, the first time that gay partners have been able to do so in the District. The District of Columbia is below the Mason-Dixon line, the border line that separates pre-Civil War North and South. That means that Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, is the first jurisdiction in the South to recognize gay marriage as legal.
The traditional South is the political home of American conservatism. So the D.C. gay marriageship is big, so big that instead of 13 D.C. city council members deciding the issue for the 600,000 residents living in Washington, D.C., plus its bounce effect on the nation at large, that decision should have been made by the D.C. voters themselves.
REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): (From audiotape.) They should put it up on a referendum and up or down. And every place that the people have had an opportunity to weigh in -- and that's 31 states -- they've all voted for traditional marriage.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Washington now joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont where gays can get married. Republican Congressman King, whom you just saw, says let the people of D.C. decide whether gays should have the right to marry. Do you agree? Bill Press.
MR. PRESS: Hell, no. Look, first of all, I don't want anybody from Iowa telling me how to run the District of Columbia. I don't want anybody from Utah telling me how to run the District of Columbia.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You live in the District.
MR. PRESS: I live in the District. What I would like is for my vote in the District to count. And, by the way, we elect our representatives. They make decisions. They made the decision to allow same-sex marriage in the city. It is great for the local economy. It's, I think, a civil right. And it's about time.
MR. BUCHANAN: Bill's afraid of it, John.
MR. PRESS: And I wish other states would join.
MR. BUCHANAN: Bill's afraid of a vote. I was born and raised in D.C. This is a city that went 94 percent for Barack Obama. The city council is terrified of a vote. Why? African-Americans in California voted 70 percent for Proposition 8 to outlaw gay marriage, and they killed it. They won't let the black Christian citizens of Washington, D.C. have a vote, because they would put a stop to this outrage --
MR. PRESS: Pat --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish. Let him finish.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- which is being imposed on them by people who are afraid of the electorate, just like -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there an economic --
MR. PRESS: It is representative government.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there an economic component here, meaning that --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the gays are very --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- meaning that the position taken by the council on permitting gay marriage here helps the economy terrifically in D.C.?
MR. BUCHANAN: It helps the councilmen. They give heavily. They're a very powerful community. The councilmen are terrified of the gay community.
MS. CLIFT: Well, Pat is opposed, but I do not see any great outcry here in the District. I happen to live here. And I must say, I don't really think of it as a southern town, but I appreciate the Dixie music.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well --
MS. CLIFT: Look, this is a generational thing that's happening across the country. People are much more tolerant of gay people and gay marriage. We're now, what, the sixth or seventh jurisdiction that has adopted it. If it were to put a vote --
MR. BUCHANAN: Voting would go down.
MS. CLIFT: -- there would be a lot of people spending a lot of money to defeat it, and it might be defeated. But I don't see any outcry. People are accepting this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her in.
MS. CROWLEY: Pat raised the issue of African-Americans, which, by and large in this country, they're still culturally and socially very conservative. He left out a group in California. Another big cultural group that torpedoed gay marriage was Hispanics. Upwards of 70 percent of Hispanics also opposed gay marriage.
But every single time you have seen one of these states or now the District go down the road of legalizing gay marriage, it's either been through judicial fiat or through the legislature or city council doing it. Every single time it has come up --
MR. BUCHANAN: Thirty-one states. Thirty-one states.
MS. CROWLEY: -- for a vote --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.
MS. CROWLEY: -- 31 states -- every single time it has come up for a referendum, for a vote, the American people have voted it down. And you also have liberal states like New Jersey and New York where their state legislatures have voted it down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this larger than even a state phenomenon? Is this a global phenomenon? Mexico City and Buenos Aires both permit gay marriages. I don't know what --
MR. PRESS: I was going to say, I'd like to just remind people, we have representative government in this country. It works at the state level, at the city level. The idea we have to have a plebiscite on every issue is just --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, who's saying that?
MR. PRESS: Well, they are.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a very sensitive issue.
MR. PRESS: Well, any issue that they don't like what the city council does, we have to have everybody vote.
MS. CLIFT: And to the extent --
MR. PRESS: Let me make another point, if I can, which is -- here's the deal. What I want to know is, what harm has this done? What I want to know is, name one straight marriage in this city that's been upset or ruined --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or feel threatened.
MR. PRESS: -- because of this?
MS. CLIFT: Right. And to the extent that Monica makes --
MR. BUCHANAN: You can't change human nature, Bill.
MS. CLIFT: And to the extent that --
MR. BUCHANAN: This is "Let's pretend."
MS. CLIFT: No. MR. PRESS: No, it's not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "Let's pretend"?
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
MS. CLIFT: This is going along with human nature.
MR. BUCHANAN: You remember that.
MR. PRESS: No, it's not.
MS. CLIFT: This is accepting human nature.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "Let's pretend"?
MR. BUCHANAN: The show, the radio show. You remember that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was the point of that?
MR. BUCHANAN: They're pretending to be married.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Bye-bye.