THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; ANNA FIFIELD, FINANCIAL TIMES TAPED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 20-21, 2010
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Political Potpourri.
Item: Speaker Nancy Pelosi then, minority leader now. Why did the Democrats keep their leader after the disastrous results of the election two weeks ago?
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From videotape.) Because I'm an effective leader, because we got the job done on health care, Wall Street reform and consumer protection -- the list goes on -- because they know that I'm the person that can attract the sources, both intellectual and otherwise, to take us to victory, because I have done it before. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democrat Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives until January, when Republican John Boehner takes over, has landed on her feet already, moving from House speaker to minority leader. She continues to be the number one Democrat in the House. She defeated her single challenger, North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler, 150 to 43.
Question: Does Nancy Pelosi's victory mean that Democrats won't compromise, that they want to stick to their progressive -- sometimes called what, Pat, progressive agenda?
MR. BUCHANAN: Liberalism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Liberalism.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the reason she's the minority leader is because Steny Hoyer didn't challenge her. He decided not to. Secondly, she has been an extremely effective leader for the Democratic Party. She got through everything Obama wanted, and then some. And the Democrats, of course, have defied basically the country, which has voted to go in another direction.
But it tells us, I think, pretty much exactly what you said, John. Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party saw that John Boehner got to be speaker of the House by leading the party of no to Obama's spending programs. Now they're going to be the party of no, Nancy Pelosi leading it, against the budget cuts. And I think it's an effective strategy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, it was a foregone conclusion that she would win the post, because the Democratic caucus is smaller and it's more liberal. And the challenge came from the conservative Blue Dog. The numbers weren't there for a credible alternative.
She's there because she's a fighter and because she's going to hold the ground that President Obama seems too often willing to concede. And the effort to repeal health care will be fought in the House, and I think she's going to be a strong leader on that.
The health-care reform bill is as much her accomplishment as it is the president's. And she's going to count on the Republicans to overdo it. And we're already seeing signs of that. They don't want to extend unemployment benefits, but they want to extend tax breaks for the rich. So it's going to be fertile territory for liberalism -- (laughs) -- the next two years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica, what do you think? Does this show that they aren't willing to compromise? MS. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, there are a lot of Democrats who would like to extend all of the Bush tax cuts.
Let's get this straight. The party that ran on change in 2008 will be led, for the next two years, by Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Reid; not exactly a lot of change in there and not exactly a lot of hope either.
The American electorate a couple of weeks ago elected for a -- they elected a wholesale rejection of what Nancy Pelosi stands for; that is that big-government, big-spending agenda. And to have her as the remaining face of the Democrats, at least in the House -- and you've got Harry Reid on the other side in the Congress -- is a huge gift to the Republicans, because what's going to happen is the GOP in the House of Representatives is going to be the real engine of change.
Every week they're going to put out new bills on repealing Obamacare, spending cuts, tax cuts or tax issues. And they are going to force the Democrats in the Senate to either stall it or kill it, or, if it does make it to Obama's desk, he's going to kill it. So very effectively, they're going to be able to turn the tables and make the Democrats the party of no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Democrats will become the party of no.
Anna Fifield, are you with us on this?
MS. FIFIELD: I think that Nancy Pelosi, even though she's come back -- she's won; she's got her mandate from her caucus -- she is going to be a much weaker leader this time around. Sure, she's an impressive fundraiser. She's been a very powerful speaker. But it's going to be difficult for her to corral her caucus in the same way that she has before, when you've got all of these lawmakers now openly challenging her and saying that she lost them the election.
I also think this is very difficult for President Obama, because how is he going to compromise and show that he's making a midterm course correction when, like Monica says, he's got all the same faces still there?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I'm not sure, for this reason. Look, these budget cuts -- I mean, the tea-party people and everybody, the country voted for them, no doubt about it. But you start going after Social Security and Medicare and unemployment insurance and some of these other things, I don't know that that's -- the Republicans, once they start the actual cutting and bleeding takes place, it's going to be all that popular.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Item: Earmarks banned. Both the Senate and the House Republicans voted to ban earmarks this week. Earmarks has become a technical term for provisions allocated for special interests or pet projects. Collectively, earmarks are sometimes referred to as pork, as in pork-barrel politics, the kind that Barack Obama knows well from Chicago politics.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) In the rush to get things done, I had to sign a bunch of bills that had earmarks in them, which was contrary to what I talked about.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why did the House and Senate Republicans move so quickly on banning earmarks? Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, said it exactly right, that they have been abused and they've become a symbol of wasteful government spending. Even though they amount to a fraction of a fraction of the overspending the government is guilty of, they've become this potent symbol. Ultimately the bridge to nowhere, Ted Stevens, is what everybody thinks of.
And you had the tea-party caucus that corralled the votes, went around the Republican leadership, and forced Mitch McConnell to do a total about-face on these earmarks. And so it's a fascinating display of the intra-party fights within the Republican Party of the --
MS. CROWLEY: And -- and --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me -- of the same old, same old Republican leadership trying to incorporate the new --
MS. CROWLEY: You will --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you this.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are earmarks as bad as we think they are or as we say they are?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, as Eleanor points out -- as Eleanor points out, earmarks represent less than 1 percent of the total federal budget. So in terms of actual money relative to the budget, we aren't talking about a lot. But what they are are important symbolically, because they essentially are the gateway drug to more and more spending. And the reason that the GOP did this -- first on the House side, and then Mitch McConnell was dragged kicking and screaming to an earmark ban on the Senate side -- is because they finally got the message that the American people want the spending reined in and cut. They've had enough. In fact, a lot of candidates went back to their districts and their states this last time around said, "Look at all the pork I've brought home. Don't you love it?" Most of the American people said, "Actually, no, we don't."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think earmarks are the victim of unnecessary rage or disappointment. Earmarks -- if you build a bridge, that bridge is going to affect the surrounding area, maybe for miles ahead. It's not going to be only in your state, barring the vaudeville that went on in Alaska, which -- did you have a hand in that?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. I was up there, though. It's Gravina Island --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When you were campaigning for president?
MR. BUCHANAN: They should have built that bridge. Going across that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, barring that --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- part of the Pacific Ocean was (a ball ?). (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Earmarks in individual states have consequences, whether it's an electrical grid, which could feed a surrounding area beyond the state limit. So why the exasperation over earmarks? But let's move on.
Okay, the GOP snubs Obama. Congressional Republicans said they were too busy to accept President Obama's invitation to a bipartisan leadership meeting Thursday of last week. The meeting would mark the first time President Obama meets with new leaders since the midterm election. The White postponed the meeting until November 30th to accommodate the GOP's schedule.
Question: Was President Obama trying to lure the GOP into a snare? And did they dodge the trap? Anna Fifield.
MS. FIFIELD: No, I don't think he was trying to lure them into a trap. I think the president is quite genuine. He's been talking all this time about bipartisanship and compromise and things. I think he's actually being quite foolish, in a way, to say so openly that he's ready to compromise. Where's his leverage going to come when this meeting actually happens?
MS. CLIFT: Right. And Senator McConnell is complaining that he'd never really met with the president, hadn't gotten any phone calls, and now he's gotten two phone calls, as though they were welcoming this. They're intimidated by the tea party. The tea party doesn't want them to do any engagement across the aisle with the president or any other Democrat.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm.
MS. CLIFT: And with all the tea-party folks in town, they postponed this meeting. I think they're going to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: They need to get their ducks in a row, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who?
MR. BUCHANAN: The Republicans do; get all their ducks in a row. You don't want to walk down there to Obama and say, "We're all going to work together. I'm going to compromise. Here you go," and be on the spot. They want to get their strategy down. They want to get their ducks in a row. They want to get together with the tea party, and they want to go in with a coordinated position. And I think they were smart to avoid this meeting.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Gropes and gripes.
JOHN PISTOLE (administrator, Transportation Security Administration): (From videotape.) Do I understand the sensitivities of people? Yes. If you're asking am I going to change the policies, no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The new TSA security policy: Full-body X-rays. If passengers opt out, they get full-body pat-downs instead of the X- rays. These measures would have prevented the failed underwear bomber, it is said -- his attack, would-be attack, on Christmas Day 2009. The TSA says privacy concerns are overblown. Currently 68 airports nationwide have 358 body scanners at a cost of about $30 million each.
question: Should celebrities and political figures be the most concerned about the abuse of body-scanning images by the TSA? Could they wind up on the Net, like Sarah Palin in the altogether on the Net?
MS. CROWLEY: Are you worried about yourself, John McLaughlin, winding up on the Net?
Look, what we have here is the Obama-Napolitano peep-show police state. The great irony is that, after 9/11, President Bush put in a series of counterterrorism measures, including Guantanamo Bay, rendition, indefinite detention and warrantless wiretapping. He put in all kinds of things related to the Patriot Act. And the left went bananas, screaming that every measure was a violation of privacy and a civil -- MS. CLIFT: This has nothing to do with the left.
MS. CROWLEY: Excuse me. Let me just finish my point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MS. CROWLEY: That every little thing he did was a civil-rights emergency. Now you actually have a civil-rights emergency and this incredible violation of privacy.
And I will say, rather than scanning everybody on this panel, why don't we direct the scanning and the profiling to the people who are actually trying to kill us?
MS. CLIFT: You know, these -- there are some questions about the machines and maybe the radiation they put out. I think those are genuine concerns. But you're seen like a stick figure somewhere off by someone else. You're not identified. I mean, the privacy concerns, I think, are totally overblown.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about -- yeah. Eleanor, what about Amendment 4, the right of the people to be secure in their person -- houses, papers and effects -- against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized?
MS. CLIFT: Maybe we ought to worry about CT X-rays and so forth. You never can tell when somebody might put that out. Look, this has been done in response to specific airline threats. Maybe it's an overreaction. But I think the fact that you're going to be seen, not identifiable, in an office somewhere else by somebody who can't connect it. I mean, what are we concealing here? I don't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anna Fifield, is anything like this going on in New Zealand? I know that you're living here now, but is anything going on in New Zealand or in Australia similar to this?
MS. FIFIELD: Only if you're trying to fly to the U.S. Then you have to go through a lot of rigmarole. But otherwise, no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do they have these thermal detectors or electronic detectors?
MS. FIFIELD: No, they don't. They do in the UK now, and there's been a lot of controversy. Maybe you remember a few years ago, Diana Ross actually slapped one of the security officials when she was getting groped as she was going through. So they've had this in the UK for a while. But I think that, I mean --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think this is a pervert's refuge now? MS. CROWLEY: (Laughs.)
MS. FIFIELD: No, I don't. I think they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. If somebody gets through, they'll be accused of security --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what about the --
MR. BUCHANAN: It is an opportunity for real mischief.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: For heaven's sakes, it really is appalling.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're against the scanners?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the scanners I can understand, quite frankly. But I think, you know, your Sarah Palin is a good one. Some jerk will take a photo of some gal like that and put it on the Internet and stuff. It is a real invasion of privacy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you reject both the scan and the pat-down --
MR. BUCHANAN: Then you don't fly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- there's an $11,000 fine.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, and you could get arrested, and you have to go to court. But instead of scanning everybody --
MR. BUCHANAN: I think you ought to let them walk away.
MS. CROWLEY: -- why don't we do what the Israelis do, which is behavioral profiling so that grandma doesn't have to go through the --
MR. BUCHANAN: The Israelis have only got very few flights.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't mean to be too scholarly here --
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, but we're subjecting everybody to these outrages.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and embarrass you, Buchanan, but here is one of the greatest books published since the Bible. It's called the 9/11 commission report. And in here you'll find a lot of detail about securing identification through permitting inspectors to focus on greater risk to daily -- blah, blah, blah. But anyway, they recommend this kind of scanning --
MR. BUCHANAN: Do you know what --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- but they want an iris scan that cannot be duplicated by anyone else in the world, matching -- MR. BUCHANAN: I think that's a good idea. But look what happened out in Saudi Arabia as we were talking. This guy put an explosive into his body cavity, his rear end, walked in and tried to blow up a Saudi ministry.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're not going to get everybody. Exit question -- (laughter) -- who won the week? Who won the week, the Democrats or the Republicans? One-word answer. We've got to get out.
MR. BUCHANAN: I'm going to give it to Obama.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Democrats.
MS. CROWLEY: The Republicans.
MS. FIFIELD: Democrats.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democrats.
Issue Two: Another Front -- Yemen.
JOHN BRENNAN (chief counterterrorism advisor to President Obama): (From videotape.) Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a group that we've been following for quite some time. This is something that we've worked very closely with Yemeni officials to go against, and we need to find these individuals who are responsible, bring them to justice.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yemen is a country in the Middle East that is roughly the size of Nevada. It has a coast on the Gulf of Aden and lies under Saudi Arabia, our ally. The United States is focusing big on Yemen. The goal is to dismantle the Islamic terrorist organization al Qaeda in Yemen.
Earlier this month, al Qaeda in Yemen sent explosives to the United States. They were inserted into printer cartridges. The explosives were destined for synagogues in Chicago. Thanks to a tipoff from Saudi Arabia, they were intercepted by U.S. security -- some in London, some in Dubai.
Behind the attempt was Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Muslim cleric who is revered by Islamic terrorists, including U.S.-born Nidal Hasan, psychiatrist who killed 13 of his comrades at Fort Hood, Texas. Al- Awlaki was also an imam at a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia at the time of the 9/11 attack. He fled to Yemen in 2006, where he is now specifically designated by President Obama for assassination.
The U.S. military is building several military bases in Yemen and augmenting intelligence operatives. The Yemeni government welcomes increased surveillance but is said to be hesitant about U.S. military operatives in country. Directly across the Red Sea from Yemen is the Republic of Djibouti. The U.S. has some 1,500 troops stationed there. Troops were dispatched to Djibouti in 2002 to track al Qaeda operatives and oversee development projects.
Question: Is the operational center, operational, of al Qaeda now in Yemen? Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: Largely yes. After 9/11, the United States-led forces went into Afghanistan and largely disrupted al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
They had to find another base of operations. Some of them went into Iraq. We've been able to largely dismantle al Qaeda in Iraq. And now they've found this base in Yemen, which is essentially a failed state. There's a huge problem between the north and the south, so it's very disjointed; very weak central leadership. And al Qaeda has found a real home there.
I think we run into a real problem, though, when we talk in the West about the al Qaeda threat. We tend to talk about it in geographic terms -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen -- when we should be talking about it in ideological terms, because this kind of radicalization is everywhere.
MS. CLIFT: Yemen is not --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Al-Awlaki has been destined for assassination, named for assassination, by President Obama. Does anything go on like that in your part -- in any other part of the world that you've lived in? You've lived in quite a few areas. Do you think designating someone for assassination -- and he's a citizen of the United States, by the way, al-Awlaki --
MS. FIFIELD: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- do you think that's okay?
MS. FIFIELD: No, I don't think it's okay. I mean, he is an American citizen, like you say. It's very bizarre that they would target somebody --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know the ACLU is mulling a case against this, even though -- (inaudible) -- probably to zero?
MR. BUCHANAN: You know, John, Maggie Thatcher had the IRA folks assassinated, and the Israelis assassinated the guys involved in the Munich massacre. And a lot of folks --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, by order?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, sure. That was right out of Mossad, sure.
But let me talk about Yemen. That was one of the most tribalized societies in the world. There's 25 million. The population is going to double, John, in 40 years. It's going to break in half, south and north. They've got these Houthi rebels in the north, who are Shi'a, as opposed to Sunni.
The problem with the Americans is -- it's the old problem. Do you go in and do we kill the guys and reduce al Qaeda, or do we do collateral damage and create more al Qaeda than we kill? It's the problem Rumsfeld --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Brzezinski has an answer to that. He says the more we resist, the more their recruitment goes up.
MR. BUCHANAN: If you do collateral damage, that's exactly -- it's tribalized. The tribes will say, "We're going to pay those SOBs back."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Yemen is not new on our radar screen. I think the USS Cole bombers when Clinton was president came out of Yemen. So this is a longstanding problem. And there's a big Afghanistan review coming up at the White House. They ought to look at our whole strategy of propping up governments that are not exactly with us, but they're not against us, and where the population doesn't like them. And that's what we're doing in Yemen. And then we pretend we're fighting terrorists.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there's a vague odor here of designated assassination trumping human rights?
MR. BUCHANAN: We're at war.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, look, to Obama --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're at war. We're at war. That's the answer. We're at war.
MS. CROWLEY: We are at war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we in that kind of a war?
MS. CROWLEY: We are dealing with enemy combatants. We're dealing with terrorists that don't wear a uniform of any given nation. So to Obama's great credit -- I disagree with Anna on this -- I agree with the assassination order. And the other very effective thing he has done is escalate the drone attacks, not just in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also targeting in Yemen.
MS. CLIFT: There's a cost to all that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's functioning as commander in chief. He's not functioning, so to speak, as president. He's commander in chief. He's ordering it because we are at war. MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does that get us out of the smell?
MS. FIFIELD: No, I think we need to look more at the situation in Yemen. This is a very good cover for the president of Yemen here, who's fighting all these wars in the north and the south, the secessionist movement. This provides a lot of cover for him to put down his own political foes, I think, rather than fighting al Qaeda.
MR. BUCHANAN: John -- the United States, John, assassinated Yamamoto, you remember, in World War II. And the Brits sent in those Czechs to assassinate Heydrich in Prague. In wartime, people do those things.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, we've resolved all these Yemen matters.
Issue Three: Royal Engagement.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
PRINCE WILLIAM: (From videotape.) We met at the university, St. Andrew's. And we were friends for over a year first, and it just sort of blossomed from then on. We just spent more time with each other and had a good giggle, had lots of fun.
KATE MIDDLETON: It was a total shock when it came, and very excited.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Euphoria rules in the UK. Twenty-eight-year-old Prince William of England will marry 28-year-old Kate Middleton.
What explains the American fascination with the royals? Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, they've been together for, like, nine years, so they're not rushing into it. And I think it looks like a fairly stable union. And I think Americans are fascinated by the monarchy, because they do everything to such excess. But given the hard times that the Brits are going through, I think they're going to be careful about not spending lavishly. And it's going to be a great tourist bonanza, because Americans and people all over the world are fascinated by this family.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let me try this. Euphoria is not universal in Great Britain, however. One out of five Brits says the monarchy doesn't cut it anymore. In fact, they want to eliminate the monarchy and replace it with an elected head of state and a codified constitution. These people call themselves -- get this -- republicans. No kidding.
This is why British republicans want to abolish the monarchy: One, monarchy fosters elitism. It grants power for unearned heredity, not earned merit. Two, monarchy answers to no one. Three, monarchy grants power to the prime minister and privy council, and that power allows either or both to circumvent Parliament. Four, monarchy is expensive. Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding cost 30 million English pounds, about 47 million U.S. dollars. The William-Kate wedding will likely cost over 60 million U.S. dollars.
In addition, the royal family ongoing budget cost taxpayers 40 million English pounds a year, or $64 million in U.S. currency, not including security and lost revenue from tax-free properties owned by the royal family. All together, this brings the total to the equivalent of about 300 million U.S. dollars for the Brits to sustain the British monarchy.
Question: Is the monarchy, A, a civic blessing, B, the opiate of the people, or C, an atavistic throwback? Anna Fifield. MS. FIFIELD: I think all three. For the British government right now, it's a blessing, make no mistake, because they're making these stringent budget cuts. All of a sudden there's a very welcome distraction to the news there with this wedding.
For the people, I think it an opiate. You know, if it's like this here, imagine what it's like in the UK. People are going crazy right now. They've even started printing commemorative plates and things for the wedding.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have any history over there?
MS. FIFIELD: Yes. I'm a British -- I'm a subject of this queen. And so I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you a republican?
MS. FIFIELD: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you a republican?
MS. FIFIELD: I'm a republican with a small "r," definitely. So I would --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're against monarchy.
MS. FIFIELD: I am. I fall into that third camp. Look at how much money that they cost the taxpayer. And what do they do? What purpose do they serve, apart from being tabloid fodder? MR. BUCHANAN: But, you know, that's republican as in guillotine, excuse me.
MS. FIFIELD: No.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure, it is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What, are you objecting to the term republican being used by those who are anti-monarchy?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, you have a genetic problem with the monarchy -- (laughs) -- that dates back to the potato famine.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I love the monarchy because it's great TV.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's got history. It's got tradition. It's the personification of the British nation. It's got an enormous amount to it. What do you want to make it, another dull democracy?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monarchy was bred on your -- (inaudible). You know that.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You could be invited to do what you're doing now.
MR. BUCHANAN: I'm an empire man, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The monarchy is great.
MS. CLIFT: It seems to me that Kate Middleton is a better subject for adoration than Bristol Palin is on "Dancing with the Stars." So we have our own sort of worship here in the States. And so every society --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.
MS. CLIFT: -- is entitled to someone to look up to, even if it's silly.
MS. CROWLEY: The monarchy does -- well, the monarchy does cost the British taxpayers a lot of money, but it also brings in a lot of money into the UK through tourism and the rest.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CROWLEY: And I think our own American fascination goes back to the fact that we broke away --
MR. BUCHANAN: Why is it all about money, John?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is the coronation going to occur? Westminster Cathedral. MS. CROWLEY: Well, Kate Middleton --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Americans can't wait to see it.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, she was seen touring Westminster last week.
MS. FIFIELD: (Inaudible) -- that the UK is just one big period drama. I think that's why Americans --
MR. BUCHANAN: All we're talking about is money.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Better look at this through the lens of capitalism.
Predictions, Pat. Five seconds.
MR. BUCHANAN: Berlusconi will be out of power by year's end, if not by the end of the month.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Republicans will quietly defund the Office of Congressional Ethics that was established by Nancy Pelosi.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: The Republican governors, especially the newly elected ones in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Maine, will lead the charge against Obamacare.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anna Fifield.
MS. FIFIELD: Tim Pawlenty will be the first to declare he's running for the Republican primary, and he'll do it by the end of the year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that when the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, decides to leave his post, his successor will be President of Chile Sebastian Pinera.