THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE DATE: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2010
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Afghanistan Exit Strategy.
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN): (From videotape.) There is substantial concern about our course in Afghanistan. Now, 10 years later, as we've all pointed out, we are still there. I just think we really have to begin sharpening our pencils as to what our objectives are physically, because the wealth of this country is not interminable, nor are the casualties of our forces and the number of people we have available. And the thought that somehow this sort of meanders on without there being some definition of metrics, I think, is unacceptable. And the question is, how do we end?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good question, Senator. What's the exit strategy on Afghanistan? One thousand two hundred and one U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan over the last nine years, as of July 23rd; 253 so far in 2010 alone.
Question: Does President Obama have an exit strategy for Afghanistan? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: He does not. As a matter of fact, they're moving away from the mid-2011 deadline for the beginning of withdrawal of troops in order to show that we are committed for a longer period of time. But, John, the problem is we can't win the war with the forces we've got in there. Everybody knows it.
However, the country is divided. The administration is divided. What they want is they don't want to lose this war and have the Taliban executing people in Kabul, but they don't want to keep bleeding the country either. They've got a real problem in this sense. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is moving away from the administration. And frankly, there is a small antiwar conservative movement that is growing in the media and on Capitol Hill.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MR. BUCHANAN: So we're coming to a head in December, when they have the December review of Afghanistan.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't think they're walking away from the July 2011 to begin exiting. And they do have a review planned for the end of December. And General Petraeus, in the short time that he's been over there, has adjusted the strategy. It's basically empowering these neighborhood -- they don't like to call them militias, but that's essentially what they are -- tribal areas and to not have them answering generally to the central government, but basically empowering all the local communities, which is what they did in Iraq. If that begins to show promise, I think they will try to stick with that. If that doesn't show promise, I think they will be looking for the exit ramp pretty quickly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, this is mostly for Eleanor. The question is not if, but when. Many on the left and right can agree. They are both saying that the time to demobilize in Afghanistan is now. We've heard from a distinguished Republican, Senator Lugar. Now here's a distinguished Democrat, Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton.
Question: "I believe we may now, as in 1975, be approaching a critical mass of American public opinion that after nine years in Afghanistan, there is no apparent mission that can justify a single additional U.S. life or casualty."
Hold on, Eleanor. Let me try Monica on this. MS. CROWLEY: Okay.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of Lanny Davis? We've got a prominent Republican and a prominent Democrat who know what they're talking about.
MS. CROWLEY: Right. There may be a shift now starting in public opinion, which those two men now represent, where Americans will back a war as long as we're perceived as winning it. We do have a new general in place, General Petraeus, who took a demotion from the commander of U.S. Central Command to oversee the war in Afghanistan. And he has changed tactics and strategy so that he's changed the rules of engagement to free up our troops so that they're not as hamstrung when they confront the enemy.
And he's also turned it away from being strictly population- centric, trying to protect and win over the population; couple that now, just as he did in Iraq, with an enemy-centric strategy, which means killing and capturing the enemy, which is very politically incorrect, but that's what a war is all about.
The reason we're there, John -- two strategic reasons: One, because 9/11 was launched from Afghanistan, and we don't want it falling back into the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda; and two, because of Pakistan. Pakistan is next door. They've got about 100 nuclear weapons. And we cannot afford to have that country destabilized as well.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Obama's backing into a position that Bush had in the Iraq war -- as long as it takes to get the job done? Is that the position he's now evolved into?
MR. PAGE: No, he's been very clear about beginning the withdrawal next July. And the question is, though -- he said "as conditions allow." He allowed himself that back door. There is a review coming in December which will tell us more, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Rahm Emanuel reinforce that? I think he said it pretty definitively, didn't he?
MR. PAGE: Yeah, I believe he was pretty definitive, but they still allowed themselves some caveats here. I think the real question is the metric. How do we know victory when we see it? And it is true that Petraeus is duplicating, to a large degree, the strategy that was used in Iraq. But Iraq had much more of a stable core to its central government than Afghanistan does --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --
MR. PAGE: -- where Karzai doesn't really have much power outside of Kabul. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Lanny Davis's quote is important?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, Lanny Davis repeats an anecdote that I have heard as well and many people have heard, and that is, when they did the original review of Afghanistan policy, Vice President Biden asked, "How much money are we spending in Afghanistan? How much money are we spending in Pakistan?"
We are spending billions upon billions more in Afghanistan, where there are between 50 and 100 al Qaeda, and Pakistan has the nuclear weapons, and that's where the real threat is. And he says there's something -- he said, "There's something wrong with this picture." And Vice President Biden has been pressing for a more minimalist approach in Afghanistan. He lost out in the review. But I think his views are still very much alive.
MR. BUCHANAN: Obama's problem is this. He has gotten rid of McKiernan as a general. He has fired General McChrystal. And now he has the most famous general in America in charge in Afghanistan. He cannot not give Petraeus what he wants. If, in December, he says, "General Petraeus, I think we've got to move them out," Petraeus will say, "You will lose the war, Mr. President. I'm not losing this war." So Obama's got a terrible political problem. He is the prisoner of General Petraeus.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he get any help from Zbigniew Brzezinski, who is the former national security director, et cetera, the extremely famous and renowned foreign-policy scholar? He says the more troops you put in there, the more the Taliban respond with the counter then. And therefore --
MR. BUCHANAN: I agree with Brzezinski.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- it's a self-defeating proposition.
MR. BUCHANAN: I agree with him. We can't put enough -- you could win that with 500,000 guys. We're not going to put those guys in there, John. But I think that Obama's problem is if he starts pulling these guys out, you risk a bloodbath at the end -- a Taliban victory and people beheaded in Kabul -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think the American people would swallow that easier than they are the perpetuation of human misery over there --
MR. BUCHANAN: I think they want --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the deaths of the troops that they see?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're right. I think they want to come out. I think they want to come home.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Right.
MR. PAGE: Americans are growing weary. And I think Michael Steele had a point when he said this is Obama's war, because in many ways it is becoming Obama's war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --
MR. PAGE: The strategy has changed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He doubled up.
MR. PAGE: The goals have changed. Right. I mean, we pushed al Qaeda out years ago.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he also --
MR. PAGE: This Taliban is not the same as the old Taliban. The strategy's different now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, and I think Obama -- you correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Obama, when he was campaigning for the Senate, he said that this is a war of choice.
MR. PAGE: That was the old war.
MR. BUCHANAN: War of necessity.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The old war, the Iraq war.
MR. PAGE: It was a war of necessity, exactly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Afghanistan, he said, was a war --
MR. PAGE: That was the good one. Now, though, he's nation- building. This is the thing. He doesn't want to admit to it, but that's what they're doing.
MS. CLIFT: You've got to have a political settlement there, and you now do have talks between President Karzai and the Taliban --
MS. CROWLEY: Well -- MS. CLIFT: -- and between the Pakistanis and the Taliban.
MS. CROWLEY: That --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Monica --
MS. CLIFT: Let me finish my thought.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, go ahead. Go ahead.
MS. CLIFT: And the U.S. has been cut out of those. I say fine. Cut us out. (Laughs.)
MS. CROWLEY: Well, look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.
MS. CROWLEY: -- if we withdraw in toto from Afghanistan and we get another 9/11-scale attack, we'll be right back in there.
MR. PAGE: Who's going to launch it?
MS. CROWLEY: One of the things that --
MR. PAGE: Al Qaeda's not there.
MS. CROWLEY: One of those things that Obama -- look, Obama is in two political boxes. One, as Pat points out, he's got General Petraeus in there, and he can't say no to Petraeus. And two --
MS. CLIFT: He can say no to General Petraeus.
MS. CROWLEY: -- when he was campaigning and throughout his adult political career, he has made Iraq the bad war, Afghanistan the good war. And so now he is forced to prosecute it. The question is, how is he going to do it, and how is he going to do it effectively?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is Obama now the victim of his own rhetorical excess about the war in Afghanistan from the 2008 campaign? Is he caught in a trap of his own devising? Yes or no. Pat Buchanan.
MS. CROWLEY: That's what I just said. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: That is exactly correct.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I think that we needed to put troops in Afghanistan. I think President Bush squandered several years by misdirecting American attention into Iraq. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: And this president is trying to clean up the mess. He's doing it imperfectly, but he's not going to stay there forever.
MS. CROWLEY: You cannot have a political reconciliation without changing the balance of security forces on the ground.
If the Taliban and the other radical forces believe that they can wait out the American forces, then they will certainly do that. If we are in this and fight it to win it, then eventually you can have some relatively political resolution to this, but not until you go in and you crush them. And if you're dealing with radical Islamists, there is no negotiation to be had.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a no-win situation?
MR. PAGE: The question is, how stable --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can he pull the -- can he pull the -- what's his name out of the flames?
MR. PAGE: (Laughs.) Oh, Karzai, pull Karzai out. Karzai is already cutting deals. We don't know the full extent of it all. But he sees the handwriting on the wall as well. We do have to strengthen those militias or tribal leaders, whatever you want to call them, in some way. But at a certain point, you do have to cut the cord.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think he is hoisted by his own petard. Is that Shakespeare?
MR. PAGE: Sounds like it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you understand the meaning of it, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, hoist. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Pat has it. We all have it. (Laughter.)
I don't think he is. I think he can say that circumstances have changed so dramatically that it's in our interest now to leave and go.
MR. PAGE: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I don't think it's regarded as leaving like, you know, his tail between his legs.
MR. BUCHANAN: What will Petraeus say? What will Petraeus say when he says, "General, we're getting out"? MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Petraeus is going to be part of the whole scheme.
MS. CLIFT: Petraeus --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Petraeus is a good player. He reports to the commander in chief.
Issue Two: Race Card.
REV. AL SHARPTON: (From videotape.) The tea party as a political philosophy is to reverse what civil rights did, and that is saying the federal government must protect people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The NAACP has agitated the racial waters. And now the river of agitation has grown turbulent. The association took aim at the tea-party movement. At its annual convention this year, over 2,000 delegates to the NAACP unanimously passed a resolution condemning, quote-unquote, "racist elements within the tea-party movement."
They pointed to an incident in March where tea-party supporters are said to have uttered words racially offensive towards African- American members of Congress. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous stated the association's complaint: "We take no issue with the tea-party movement. We believe in freedom of assembly, in people raising their voices in a democracy. What we take issue with is the tea party's continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements," unquote.
Deroy Murdock, a conservative African-American columnist, criticizes the NAACP, calling it, quote-unquote, "delusional. The NAACP once was totally justified when it decried the racism and bigotry that the Jim Crow South's Democrat-led governments mandated by law. In 2010, however, screaming 'racism' sounds increasingly delusional, given that America is governed by a black man whom voters comfortably elected in November 2008 and wished well, largely across the political spectrum, on Inauguration Day 2009," unquote.
Question: Did the NAACP play the race card against the tea-party movement? Clarence Page. Is that what's going on here?
MR. PAGE: Well, you know, a year ago, John, we were asking can the NAACP stay relevant after the election of the first black president. Now they're back on page one again by going after the biggest opposition to the first black president, which is the tea- party movement.
If you want to call that the race card, so be it. But it's a very common view in the black community when they watch tea-party demonstrations and they hear some of the rhetoric. When they see some of the people involved, like the Council of Conservative Citizens and other folks like that who, in the past, have had racial agendas, then you can see where the NAACP is coming from. I don't blame the tea-party folks, though, unfamiliar with black history as many of them are, who think that this is just a race card and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that the NAACP is something like the appendix, a vestigial organ?
MR. PAGE: Not at all. They're doing a lot. They just don't get the white media until they attack white people. (Laughs.) They passed over 100 resolutions at that convention, but everybody talks about one, which was the tea-party movement.
MS. CLIFT: Right. And this resolution called upon the tea party to repudiate the racist elements in its midst. It didn't call the tea party racist. And, in fact, after the resolution came out, Mark Williams, who is a tea-party leader and who has said some pretty disgusting things about the president, they did wipe him away from their midst. I don't know how you do that in a movement, exactly, but --
MR. PAGE: The Tea Party Federation.
MS. CLIFT: Okay. Exactly.
MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- organization.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get in on this thing.
MS. CLIFT: And I think --
MR. BUCHANAN: Look --
MS. CLIFT: I also think Mr. Jealous felt like he was pushed back by the establishment media and by the conservative media, which was why he overreacted when that tape came out about Shirley Sherrod. And he repudiated what she was saying as black racism.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get into this.
MS. CLIFT: It turned out it was totally wrong.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat -- we'd better get Pat in here.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's gagging. (Laughter.)
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, here's the thing. The thing is, the NAACP is irrelevant. You've got 15 percent unemployment among black folks. Fifty percent of kids aren't even graduating high school. They're dropping out. So what do they do? They attack the tea party to get in the news. They say, "You're harboring racists and you're cowards about it." That's not starting a conversation. That is a smear.
MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- but the white media didn't cover it.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's a smear to get on the front page. It's a smear by an irrelevant organization.
MS. CROWLEY: The tea party --
MS. CLIFT: Do you defend Williams? Do you defend Mr. Williams?
MS. CROWLEY: Excuse me.
MR. BUCHANAN: I defend the tea party.
MS. CLIFT: Do you defend Mr. Williams?
MR. BUCHANAN: There are racists in the NAACP, and I'm sure there are similar --
MS. CLIFT: What is wrong with calling --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: Thank you.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let's get Monica in.
MS. CROWLEY: Thank you, Clarence, my hero.
MR. PAGE: You're always welcome, Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: Look, the tea party has an issue with the content of Obama's policies, not the color of his skin. And I find it amazing that the NAACP would waste its time on non-existent racism in the tea party when there are so many problems that still plague the black community, like black-on-black violence, like fatherlessness, like education and drugs and guns in the inner cities. And so it seems to me to be a straw man that the NAACP set up because they are less willing to really confront all of those vexing problems in the black community.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --
MR. PAGE: Well, they are confronting them, but they don't get the publicity -- MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. PAGE: -- until they attack the tea party. But, believe me, there are --
MS. CLIFT: Let's have you do a radio show on what they're doing on all those other issues.
MS. CROWLEY: And I have, Eleanor. I have. You clearly don't listen to it. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) On a race-relations damage scale, zero to 10, zero meaning zero damage, 10 meaning cataclysmic damage, how much harm has the NAACP allegation done to race relations in the United States? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: I don't think the NAACP is all that relevant or important, but it's -- I think the damage is probably a two or three.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two or three. Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: The NAACP is not hurting race relations. We have a very active faction on the right using racial issues as a wedge to try to defeat Democrats and a black president. And I think that is --
MS. CROWLEY: Oh, boy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say --
MS. CLIFT: You're going to say that's not true?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I'm saying that you're making our point that when the left goes out there and stokes these kind of racial issues when they don't exist, what happens is it dilutes real racism. And that's the danger.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama --
MR. PAGE: This is --
MS. CROWLEY: Yes.
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. PAGE: Let me get my chance, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please relinquish. Please. MR. PAGE: Let me get my chance. Okay.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead, Clarence.
MR. PAGE: Well, I was just going to say, these are kind of a smokescreen. They're kind of totems. The NAACP is as important to the base of the Democratic Party as the tea party is for the base of the Republican Party, so never the 'twain shall meet. But for you to say racism is not a problem anymore, that's exactly the kind of thing --
MS. CROWLEY: No, no, no. That's not what I said. That's not what I said.
MR. PAGE: -- (inaudible).
MS. CROWLEY: I was saying non-existent racism in the tea party. I didn't say racism doesn't exist in America.
MR. PAGE: Non-existent in the tea party. The same thing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me.
MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- from the vantage point of most African- Americans --
MS. CROWLEY: That's not what I said.
MR. PAGE: -- and most liberals.
MS. CROWLEY: That's not what I said.
MR. PAGE: They would say, "No way."
MS. CROWLEY: Be clear. Let's be clear about the point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we restore order, please?
MS. CROWLEY: My point was that when we start slapping on the racist label, whether it's on the right or the left, we end up diluting real racism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama said he was --
MS. CROWLEY: And that's a real danger.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama said he was introducing a post- racial America. Do you think this action by the NAACP --
MR. PAGE: When did he say that, John? (Laughs. )
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- has torpedoed that?
MR. PAGE: When did he ever say that?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In his speech, his speech on race.
MR. PAGE: No, he didn't say this is a post-racial America.
MS. CLIFT: The media announced that.
MR. PAGE: The media said that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the basis of his speech.
MR. PAGE: No, this is important, John, because Barack Obama --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean he doesn't stand for a post-racial America?
MR. PAGE: Throughout Barack Obama's campaign, I defy you to find me where he ever said it. No, he only talked about race when he had to, and that was after Reverend Wright.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he gave about a 35-, 45-minute speech on race. Do you remember that?
MR. PAGE: Yes, he did. He never said --
MR. BUCHANAN: He said, John --
MR. PAGE: -- we're in a post-racial society.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think he said it --
MR. PAGE: Go back to that speech and find me --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he, in the mind of Americans, stand for a post-racial America?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, he does. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.
MR. PAGE: That's different. And you know why?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did the NAACP torpedo it? Yes or no?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
MR. PAGE: They did not torpedo it, not at all.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think they torpedoed it, not that torpedo --
MR. PAGE: Americans still view Barack Obama visually as the embodiment of racial progress. He didn't have to say it.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, you're exactly right. Stick to your guns. You're exactly right. It damaged the whole idea of a post-racial America for no reason whatsoever.
MR. PAGE: We'll be post-racial when we're post-racism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On a 10 scale, is it cataclysmic damage?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think the series of things. It's not only Reverend Wright. It's -- Sergeant Crowley and this and the Black Panther thing has severely damaged what everybody hoped would be a post-racial --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It does rub off on Obama, unfortunately -- unfortunately.
MS. CLIFT: When a political party stops using race as a wedge, not because that party is racist --
MR. BUCHANAN: You all don't use race as a wedge? For heaven's sakes.
MS. CROWLEY: Right. Eleanor, come on. The left --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- they blamed it on Bush.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Divided We Stand.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) There are some folks who want to go back, who think that we should return to the policies that helped lead to this recession. Some of them made the political calculation that it's better to obstruct than to lend a hand.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As midterm elections loom and Republicans and Democrats battle for supremacy, is something going by the wayside? What's happening to good fellowship? Is reaching across the aisle a thing of the past? Is President Obama himself more of a divider than a uniter? The recent election of David Cameron, the new British prime minister, may offer us something; namely, coalition government, a government contingent on the cooperation of all major parties when disparate political elements fuse together to form a working majority.
With the approval ratings of the House and Senate at a dismal 16 percent, is it time that the U.S. go back to the drawing board? It wouldn't be the first time. During the Civil War, Lincoln ran at the top of the Unity Party, alongside Democrat Andrew Johnson.
During times of war and hardship, coalition governments have formed in countries like Germany, Japan, Israel, Switzerland. Do we need a coalition government, American-style? Or are we going to sit back and watch the bad blood between the parties grow worse?
Question: Will voters demand coalition government this November by delivering the House and Senate to the Republicans? Yes or no? Pat, what about Abraham Lincoln running with --
MR. BUCHANAN: I told you that Tennessee Johnson as vice president was vice president for a month, and he got completely bombed at the inaugural. (Laughter.) And Lincoln was ticked off at the guy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point? Coalition government doesn't work?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, no, he got him out of Tennessee. He was a unionist in Tennessee.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, you know what the elements are. Do you know what the elements are for --
MR. BUCHANAN: But here's the thing. No, no, John, I think you miss the point. This is not coalition government we're going to get in November. There is a tremendous drive on for a divided government to make sure the Republicans have a check on the power of the Democratic Party, which has dominated this city for two years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about if we had a conservative party and a Democratic Party where the Democrats behaved like Democrats and the Republicans behaved like Republicans, just two parties? Two parties.
MR. BUCHANAN: We had that in Eisenhower's era. I think it was the last time we really had, if you will, a sort of unity government, with Ike and two -- Democrats controlling both houses, Sam Rayburn and Johnson working with Ike and getting something for their parties.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a good idea in theory or is it a bad idea for the following reason --
MR. BUCHANAN: I think the '50s were -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When you have conservatives -- when you have Republicans who are conservative Republicans, liberal Republicans and middle-of-the-road Republicans, that's good, because if you had the other kind of all conservative, all Democrats, that would be -- I mean all Republicans, all Democrats, all conservative, all liberal --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I get the point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- then that would create division.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I get the point. The 1950s were a great unified era. We haven't had the unity since. Now we are ideologized. Both parties are. And they're at each others' throats.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, the last time the two parties got along was when the Democrats really were clearly in the majority and the Republicans had a lot of moderates, and they were just happy to go along and get along. And I think the last moment that we had where there was a sense of unity was immediately after 9/11. And I think President Bush squandered it, because he then used the leadership boost that he got out of that by pushing far-right policies. And that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. What is the -- what are Americans fed up with now? Are they fed up with one-party rule?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The same party has the legislative --
MS. CROWLEY: Yes. But I also think, moreover, they're really fed up with far-left governance. I think this is going to be a referendum on liberalism.
MR. PAGE: You hope.
MS. CROWLEY: No, because I think when you look at these poll numbers across the board, independents -- not just conservatives -- independents are hemorrhaging.
MR. PAGE: It's anti-incumbency -- anti-incumbency.
MS. CROWLEY: It's a referendum on liberalism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the American people believe that divided government is the way to go?
MR. PAGE: Well, as a fundamental principle, they tend to see it that way. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because they see that as a check and balance.
MR. PAGE: We tend to have a pendulum electorate. It's the people in the middle who decide. They voted for Obama last time. This time it looks like they're going to be voting Republican. But that's because the Democrats are in power. Americans like to swing back and forth.
MS. CROWLEY: But it's a reaction vote. It's a reaction vote.
MS. CLIFT: And a lot of the hemorrhaging of support is actually among Democrats, who are disappointed that Obama hasn't been able to deliver more. He's actually had a very successful legislative agenda, but the impact of those bills do not filter down for months, if not years. And the Republicans have --
MR. BUCHANAN: The problem is, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking about Yellow Dog Democrats.
MR. BUCHANAN: But it's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, they vote for anybody.
MR. PAGE: What about Blue Dog Democrats?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you put a yellow dog up there, they'd vote for him because he's got a Democrat sign around his neck.
MS. CLIFT: Obama won with 53 percent --
MR. PAGE: It's the Blue Dogs --
MS. CLIFT: -- of the electorate.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the problem --
MS. CLIFT: He got a lot more than yellow dogs.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's perceived as socialism is the problem Obama's got.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Because of the heat we all had here on the set about that last issue, John, this November what's going to happen is the Republican Party is going to get an enormously high percentage of the white vote and a diminished percentage of Hispanic votes because of the immigration issue. And, of course, they can't go any lower in the African-American community. But I think it's going to be a racially polarized electorate in November. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wow. Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Pat's dream, I think.
I think you're going to see the Democrats really try to encourage Charlie Rangel to resign and leave the scene gracefully, as opposed to go through a trial by his peers because of ethics violations. Charlie Rangel has got a long and storied career. He's pretty stubborn. I don't know if he's going to take the advice. But it would be a good idea for his party if he did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it all go away then?
MS. CLIFT: Nothing ever goes away. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it go beyond the ethics --
MR. BUCHANAN: Not as long as we're here. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Once he's out of Congress, he would not be pursued.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He would not be.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, not by --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, then, I think, you know, it's clear what he ought to do. He's had, what -- he's 80 years old.
MS. CROWLEY: Eighty, yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, the European Union is now considering additional and tougher sanctions on Iran, targeting their oil and gas sectors, as well as shipping and finance. And if they go ahead with this additional set of sanctions, that'll put more pressure on the Obama administration to take more aggressive action too.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll give you five seconds.
MR. PAGE: Five seconds?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MR. PAGE: John, the new Black Panther party case that's causing a lot of hubbub on the right, the Civil Rights Commission is going to come out with their findings in September. And I think you're going to -- as you hear more about the Black Panthers, you're going to be hearing more about the Minutemen cases where Minutemen at six different polling places intimidated Hispanic voters. And that was also dropped by the -- by the Bush administration, and the Obama administration did not pick it up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, quickly, proof will emerge that some of Iran's nuclear-power installations have been sabotaged. But by whom?
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