THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; GILLIAN TETT, FINANCIAL TIMES TAPED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 7, 2011 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 8-9, 2011
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: The "R" Word. Realignment?
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From videotape.) I now pass this gavel and the sacred trust that goes with it to the new speaker. God bless you, Speaker Boehner. (Cheers, applause.)
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) As speaker, I feel part of my job is to help each of you do your job well, regardless of your political party. Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112th Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eight weeks ago, November 2nd, 2010, the Republican Party gained 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before the election, the count in the House was Democrats 256, Republicans 179. After the election, the count in the House was 242 Republicans, 193 Democrats.
November 2 was a wave election -- a tidal wave, in fact -- that gave the Republicans in the House of Representatives their largest majority in 52 years, dating back to 1948, when Democrat Harry Truman defeated Republican Thomas Dewey for president.
All in all, the November election was a major course change for Congress, and maybe even more. Some say it was a political realignment, a massive change of political direction in the United States that will have prolonged staying power, even generational -- a long, dominant period for Republicans and a long recessive period for Democrats -- realignment.
At least three factors substantiate to that realignment analysis. One: Democrats poll low. Self-identified Democrats today are at their lowest ebb in over two decades, 22 years, since 1989. Today Democrats make up less than one third of the population, 31 percent.
Two: Independents flee the Democratic Party. Independents vote Republican. Over the last two years, Democratic voting by independents has sunk by 12 points.
Three: 26 out of 50 state legislatures are Republican; 29 governors out of 50 governors are Republican. Both give Republicans the power to influence, redraw and control state and federal districts to produce Republican victories and consolidate Republican power.
Question: That's the argument for realignment. But wouldn't it be a political miscalculation for the Republicans to believe that a real realignment has occurred? Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: It certainly would, John. We've had three straight repudiating elections. Republicans were repudiated in 2006, lost both houses. Their president was defeated, as it were, in 2008. Now the Democrats were repudiated in 2010.
In the short run, we are in a conservative era, because big government is unpopular. It's too costly, too intrusive, too expensive. People want to cut back on it. So the liberal hour is basically over, and that's good for the Republicans in the near term.
In the longer term, demography is destiny, John. The Republican Party, 90 percent of its votes are based on white folks. They used to be 95 percent of the electorate. They're down to 75 percent. They're 65 percent of the population. They're diminishing toward 50 percent at mid-century.
In the longer term, the Republican Party has a deep demographic crisis because the minorities -- Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans -- are growing in number, and they vote between 60 and 90 percent Democratic in every presidential election. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: The current Republican majority is there because the electorate in 2010 was smaller, whiter and older than the electorate that voted in 2008. And I agree with Pat that the Republicans are on the wrong side of the demographic divide. They don't do well with young people and they don't do well with African-Americans. They don't do well with Hispanics. And some of their issues, their rhetoric about immigration and the pursuit of trying to get away with -- to abolish birthright citizenship also falls -- all falls on the ears of Hispanic people, telling them that that party is not welcoming to them.
So I think the Republicans are having a wonderful moment enjoying their majority in the House. They may likely take the Senate in two years. But if they don't figure out how to govern in a way that reaches beyond their base, they're going to get slapped back just as quickly as they rose to power.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the independents? Self-described independents are now 38 percent of the electorate, compared to 31 percent who are Democrats and 29 percent who are Republicans, according to an aggregate of 21 separate USA Today and Gallup polls done in 2010.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the independents?
MS. CROWLEY: Independents as a voting bloc are the decisive voting block for any election, presidential all the way down through your local elections. So it's incumbent on any presidential candidate or any political party to go for that center, to go for that bloc of voters.
What we saw in 2008 was that independent voters went in huge margins for Barack Obama, for the Democratic Party, largely because of Bush fatigue and because the economy had already teetered off of the cliff by the time the election occurred. But what we saw last November, in 2010, was a hemorrhaging away from the Democratic Party of that crucial independent voting bloc.
And what's so interesting, what you were mentioning about realignment is that these changes in the political cycles now are moving at a much more rapid and accelerated pace. So Democrats controlled Congress for decades until 1994. The GOP took it over '94. They only controlled it for 12 years before the Democrats took over after the '06 election. Democrats only controlled it for four years. Now the Republicans are back in power. So you have this much more rapid turnover. And what I would also add to this, though, is that we are still a center-right country. So even though Pat is right that the Republican Party has some built-in challenges demographically, the message of the Republican Party, if they can stick to it, about limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets, those are the messages that resonate with the majority of the American people.
And they can continue to win national elections if they stick to it and they don't cave.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gillian, how do you see this?
MS. TETT: Well, I think the one thing that unites 2008 and the midterms is a wave of revulsion amongst a significant part of the population against government and against politicians in general. And that is happening across the western world. It's not just an American phenomenon.
And the bigger question is, how on earth do you get young people to actually believe in politicians and believe something positive can be done? It's one thing to have a very negative vision. And a lot of what the Republican Party thus far has been campaigning on has been quite negative. But to get the population to believe in something positive is going to be very difficult, and that's going to be the challenge for this year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it exclusively a political phenomenon, but is it also cultural?
MS. TETT: I think it's also cultural, and that makes it so pernicious in some ways.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think there's something about group adhesion or group involvement that is politically incorrect? We don't group anymore. So the very idea of a political party --
MS. TETT: No, I think it's a culture of instant gratification. It's a new generation coming up that expects instant answers to everything. And part of the problem is that politicians have been pandering to that. And on things ranging from debt to structural reform to joblessness to remaking government --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So now we're into matters of trust. They don't trust politicians --
MS. TETT: It's also about the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- as a class. MS. CLIFT: Yeah, there's a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see that in London?
MS. TETT: Well, yes. It's right across the western world. They've been looking for instant solutions the whole time.
MS. CLIFT: Well, there's a contempt --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I mean in the existing government, in the new government, relatively new.
MS. TETT: Surprisingly, the new government in London has actually managed to defy expectations by not merely putting together a coalition, but showing cooperation.
MS. CLIFT: There's a contempt for how government operates, and it's because the ordinary people see it as government just slapping each others' backs, and the special interests winning out, and they're being left out. They're not rebelling against health care, Social Security. They want their benefits from the government. So all this rhetoric about big government and the deficits and all that, it's nice rhetoric, but to figure out how to accomplish those and those campaign promises --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it is a crisis.
MS. CLIFT: -- is going to be a civil war within the Republican Party.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's not government. It's a crisis of democracy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you hear that? A civil war in the Republican Party. Are you ready for that?
MR. BUCHANAN: The Republican Party is fairly united, John. There is a crisis of democracy going on right now, quite frankly. I don't think politics can solve all of these problems. I think it's deep in the culture. You take the whole white American community. The masses of it have never been more alienated. They were asked in 2009, "What institution do you trust?" They said none. And this is the independents. They've moved back and forth and back and forth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has anybody -- is everybody neglecting the force of the financial crisis we are still in?
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure. It's economic uncertitude.
MS. CLIFT: Why do you single out white people? A lot of people across the board --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, they're the ones that -- MS. CLIFT: -- are frustrated at government.
MR. BUCHANAN: They moved from Obama to the Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If this were a period of prosperity --
MS. CLIFT: If the Republicans don't deliver, they'll move right back.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would we be seeing this if it were a period of prosperity?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think there's tremendous alienation on the part of people from the system.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is this Republican realignment, or is it partisan dealignment?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's neither. I think there's a sense of this, John. People have moved to be -- they don't trust either party. They'll move from one to the other.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's dealignment.
MS. CLIFT: Exactly. The Republicans control one house. The Democrats still have the Senate and the White House. So it's way too early to pronounce this any kind of triumph for the Republicans. They've got a lot to prove to show that they can govern and that they can incorporate the tea party populism within their ranks.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes. And the Republicans acknowledge that. They understand that the 2010 vote was not a great embrace of the Republican Party. It was a wholesale rejection of the big-government, big-spending Obamaism of the last two years.
The question for them is, are they going to be able to stick to their guns? There's a huge infusion of tea party favorites, over 80 of them coming into the House of Representatives, a number coming into the Senate. So I have some cautious hope, John. And that's where the country is. And if they can stick to their guns on that, they will --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that reductively dealignment?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I -- yes. I am too cautious to say that there's a Republican realignment. It is not that.
MR. BUCHANAN: They have a two-year --
MS. TETT: Right now you have a bunch of voters looking for another set of quick-fix solutions, looking for instant gratification. And that ain't gonna happen.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's not going to happen. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The clear trend is dealignment.
Issue Two: White House Shakeout.
So who's coming? Who's leaving?
Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, gone. Austan Goolsbee takes over.
Peter Orszag, chief of the all-power Office of Management & Budget, the OMB, gone. Replacement: Jacob Lew.
David Axelrod, senior White House advisor, gone. His successor: David Plouffe, the architect of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, going; replacement yet to come.
Larry Summers, chief economic advisor, gone; replacement yet to come.
Paul Volcker, chair of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, gone.
General James L. Jones, national security advisor, gone. Replacement: Tom Donilon.
And, of course, Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff. Emanuel left the office three months ago and is running for mayor of Chicago in its election six weeks from now, February 22.
William Daley, secretary of Commerce for Bill Clinton, was appointed White House chief of staff by President Obama this week.
WILLIAM DALEY (White House chief of staff): (From videotape.) You, Mr. President, have proven your strength, your leadership, your vision, during a most difficult time for our nation and for the world. And I am pleased to answer your call.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Friday, the president announced that Gene Sperling will be the new director of the National Economic Council, replacing Larry Summers. Sperling held the same job under Bill Clinton. Question: Is this high-volume staff turnover typical for a presidency not yet two years old? Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: This is not very high-volume turnover. In fact, most of these people are just changing seats. The only outsider really is Bill Daley. And he's a Chicagoan, so there's a cultural affinity.
I think these moves are good. I first met Gene Sperling in the '92 Clinton campaign. He was the economic advisor. And he used to sleep in his clothes with the lights on, an alarm clock next to his bed and one across the room. He was only getting two or three hours' sleep a night. He's a real workaholic. He's a real straight-shooting guy. And he helped craft the tax compromise before the holidays. And apparently that's what won him over in Obama's eyes.
This president is redesigning his staff, I think, in a positive way. And all the talk about shakeup, I think, helps him. I think the political system kind of demands a shakeup.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's also adjusting --
MS. CLIFT: And Daley is a very good emissary to the business community --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, really --
MS. CLIFT: -- which has been suspicious of this White House.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- he's more than that. I think Daley --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Meaning that he was a CEO.
MR. BUCHANAN: Daley is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Daley.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, he's not only a businessman. Look, this is the Daley family, the Daley machine. This is a tough customer. He's a moderately conservative guy. Barack Obama is making a clear move to the center because he's got to work with the Republican Party.
The people out in the cold here are the Nancy Pelosi Democrats, not only in appointments but in policy. They are deeply unhappy. And they're going to remain unhappy, because Obama sees his road to victory on the center-right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he's more centrist than Obama.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure. He kicked Gibbs out. But he's going to have trouble with Valerie Jarrett. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, you like him.
MR. BUCHANAN: I like him.
MS. CLIFT: This is going to work on the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it's his best move.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's an excellent move.
MS. TETT: He's already rebuilding bridges with business, and that's pretty important right now.
MS. CROWLEY: That is absolutely the critical move for President Obama right now, because he needs -- he understands now -- he suddenly hasn't just become a free-market Milton Friedman devotee, but what he does understand is that he has got to get this economy moving. Otherwise he's going to go down in history as a poor one-term president.
The connection with Daley, who did NAFTA under Bill Clinton, that has the left wing and the unions going bananas. The left wing is going bananas now, but what else is new? Obama has his eye clearly on re-election. And the outreach to the business community is going to be so critical, as well as outreach to the independents, which is what we --
MS. CLIFT: There is modest grumbling on the left. But you have Howard Dean, who's a progressive; Robert Reich, who was the Labor secretary in Clinton's term, who's very much a progressive. They're all supportive of Daley. You haven't had any complaints from the Democratic senators. So I think this is a broadly well-received --
MS. CROWLEY: But remember that Daley --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Howard Dean was not a light dusting. Howard Dean is very tough on the White House. He says it's the whole aura, the whole atmosphere, the whole --
MR. BUCHANAN: He likes Daley.
MS. CLIFT: He likes Daley.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He likes Daley. He approves of Daley.
Do you want to get into this, Gillian?
MS. TETT: No, I was going to say, I think it's very welcome that he's actually reaching out to business and trying to build bridges. And there's been too much finger-pointing in the last year. And so much of what's happening right now in the American economy depends on animal spirit and competence. And actually having somebody who's pragmatic, who talks and looks like a CEO, is just so important in terms of symbolism and trying to reach out and build bridges.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have we seen any evidence already of a touch of centrism in Obama's thinking?
MR. BUCHANAN: You certainly saw it when he said, "Look, get Pelosi and Reid out of the way. I'm going to cut the deal with the Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: "I'll give them their tax cuts for two years, and give me what I want."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That was a Daley-sponsored idea.
MS. CLIFT: But the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. On a political probability scale, zero to 10, zero meaning zero probability, 10 meaning metaphysical certitude, rate Daley's prospects for transforming Obama into a centrist. Zero to 10.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think Daley will take Obama where he wants to go, which is to the center.
MS. CLIFT: Obama --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because he wants re-election.
MR. BUCHANAN: He wants --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants re-election.
MR. BUCHANAN: Obama and he are all aligned on that one.
MS. CLIFT: Obama made the turn before he chose Daley. Daley reinforces it. The next two years are not about more progressive legislation. They're about holding the line on what he's accomplished and trying to get some progress on energy and climate change.
MS. CROWLEY: There has been no change in Barack Obama's ideological heart or thinking. However, he has been mugged by political reality. He saw what happened to his party in November. They absolutely got decimated. And remember that he brought in Bill Daley. Bill Daley opposed major elements of "Obamacare," including the individual mandate and the public option. And he opposed big chunks of the financial regulatory bill. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gillian.
MS. TETT: Here's something --
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Gillian in.
MS. TETT: This is unusual. We can all agree to agree that basically Daley is a good thing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, yeah.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Spendthrift Nation.
REP. MIKE KELLY (R-PA): (From videotape.) Running something $14 trillion in the red is not impressive.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fourteen trillion dollars in debt -- the ongoing national debt. The national debt is the amount of money the United States has borrowed from sovereign nations, like China, from banks worldwide, including the Federal Reserve and foreign banks, state and private, as well as from individuals.
The national debt amounts to $45,000 of debt for every man, woman and child in the nation, and $130,000 of debt for every taxpayer. And every day, the debt grows by $4 billion per day. The debt is so big that Congress has to put a limit on borrowing. It's called the debt ceiling. It's now fixed at $14.3 trillion.
Congress votes this session on whether to raise the debt ceiling -- get this -- to permit the further borrowing that keeps the government functioning this year. Three hundred billion is the maximum before the limit is reached. Without raising the debt ceiling, a government shutdown and/or a default on the government's obligations could happen, including no funding for Social Security, for Medicare and for Defense.
But many Republicans in the House and Senate, cued by the tea party, are not taking the new debt ceiling Kool-Aid. Fourteen-point- three trillion is their limit -- no new ceiling.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): (From videotape.) I will not vote for the debt-ceiling increase until I see a plan in place that will deal with our long-term debt obligations.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is a showdown looming over the debt ceiling, the kind of showdown that produced a government shutdown the last time the Republicans took over Congress? Pat, quickly. MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't think so. But the Republicans will get a pound of flesh for signing on and getting it through, but it's going to go through.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gillian.
MS. CLIFT: New Speaker Boehner is saying that the Republicans have to act like grownups, which means they have to pass this. And it'll be the tea party's turn to be mugged by reality.
MS. CROWLEY: The main message coming out of the voters last November can be summed up in two words: Stop spending. I think ultimately you will get an elevation of the national debt ceiling, but it will come with a price for the Democrats, because the Republicans now have a ton of leverage to extract real, serious and deep spending cuts.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gillian, you're the editor of the Financial Times. You must know all the answers to this.
MS. TETT: (Laughs.) I only wish I did. But, hey, the bad news is this is very bad timing, because the markets are very nervous right now. I mean, you've seen what's happened in Europe, and investor sentiment can turn on a dime. And uncertainty about what the U.S. is going to do -- words like default are scary.
The good news is that at last there is something to concentrate minds in America, because for far too long the debt issues have been shelved, partly because Greece is a long way away.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: U.S. Citizen by Birthright?
SEN. GRAHAM: (From videotape.) If someone is here illegally and they have a child, that child is automatically granted U.S. citizenship.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's right, Senator Graham. That's because of a legal doctrine known as birthright citizenship. Birthright citizenship means that anyone born inside the United States or a territory of the United States, like Puerto Rico or Guam, will automatically become citizens of the United States. Birthright citizenship applies even if both parents are illegal immigrants. As long as the child is born in the U.S., the illegal status of the parents does not matter.
Supporters cite the U.S. Constitution, in particular the 14th Amendment, which dates back to 1866, just after the Civil War. Quote: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside," unquote.
Critics argue that the 14th Amendment was intended to apply to newly freed slaves, not children of illegal aliens. Their solution -- REP. LAMAR SMITH (R-TX): (From videotape.) I think that at least one parent should be in the country legally before we automatically make all the children instant citizens.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fourteen states are looking to make that solution a reality. Lawmakers from five states unveiled measured this week to deny birthright citizenship to children born without at least one parent that is either a legal citizen or legal resident.
Nine other states will soon follow suit. The total list: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.
The goal is not to change the 14th Amendment in state legislatures. The intent behind the state measures is to spur a legal challenge that will be resolved before the United States Supreme Court.
Question: As a practical matter, how can individual states deny birthright citizenship to infants? Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, look, the -- after the 14th Amendment, there were Indians born in the United States who were not citizens. They had to be legislated. People have always understood that to deal with slaves and their children who have been in this country. The states are challenging the Supreme Court decision, John, which has been basically wrongly interpreted, the 14th Amendment.
This is an enormous issue. Three hundred (thousand) to 400,000 anchor babies are born every year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anchor.
MR. BUCHANAN: Anchor babies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Meaning what?
MR. BUCHANAN: They anchor a whole family of illegal aliens in the United States when the baby is born. Secondly, there is maternity tourism going on on the West Coast -- $15,000 to get women into the United States when they're pregnant. They have the baby here. The baby is lined up to go to college in California.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you hear that?
MS. TETT: I do hear it, yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see that as an abuse, what Pat's describing? MS. TETT: I think there is certainly a problem with incentives right now. But I will just say that doing it on a state-by-state basis is very problematic.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you like the idea of bringing it to the Supreme Court.
MR. BUCHANAN: It will go to the Supreme Court.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What will the court decide, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: The anchor babies that he's talking about -- it takes -- they have to -- the baby has to reach maturity before they can start bringing in the family, so your --
MR. BUCHANAN: They stay here.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, well --
MR. BUCHANAN: They're here.
MS. CLIFT: To bring in the whole family, you're pretending that there are hordes of people coming in when one little baby is born.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, they stay here.
MS. CLIFT: This is a minuscule --
MR. BUCHANAN: You are --
MS. CLIFT: It's a minuscule percentage. And this country was founded by immigrants who were driven out of other countries, and the courts have interpreted --
MS. CROWLEY: Legally.
MS. CLIFT: The courts have --
MS. CROWLEY: They came here legally, Eleanor. There's a huge difference.
MS. CLIFT: And the people who have been in this country have led --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CLIFT: -- good lives. And the incentive behind this legislation is so mean-spirited. If you want to talk about Republican realignment --
MS. CROWLEY: Mean-spirited? Look, we are -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's that?
MS. TETT: It's -- (inaudible) -- impression of America about tolerance and inclusion in the world.
MS. CROWLEY: No, I'll tell you, the United States is a nation of laws, not of men. That's what the Constitution is all about. And to have these people -- not every illegal immigrant is a good person, Eleanor. We've got a lot of illegals --
MS. CLIFT: Most are.
MS. CROWLEY: Look, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, can we get a little scholarship in here? The Supreme Court in 1898, U.S. versus Wong Kim Ark, the court upheld the right to citizenship of a baby born to Chinese immigrants. In a 1982 decision, the court's majority reaffirmed this view.
So is it a done deal?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, John. That's a Supreme Court decision, you're right, but they had to decide. In other words, it was not automatic, the 14th Amendment. This dealt with legislation, the Chinese Exclusion Act.
MS. CROWLEY: And when the states are challenging the 14th Amendment, when they're challenging the federal government's supremacy on this issue, obviously it's going to end up in the Supreme Court.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sudan will vote to break itself in half this coming week, and it will not be non-violent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wow.
MS. CLIFT: Bill Daley, as the new chief of staff, reportedly wants a woman as the next press secretary. And Karen Finney, a long- time Democratic operative, apparently has the inside track. Pat knows her well.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting. Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: OPEC will not increase production anytime soon, pushing gasoline to over $4 per gallon. And I think that's going to seriously damage both the economy and Obama's political fortunes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gillian.
MS. TETT: The markets are going to get more and more nervous in Greece about the Eurozone crisis, and that nervousness is going to increasingly affect municipal markets, and potentially even the debt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the birds and the fish, I predict that the world will not end on May 21, 2011 or within calendar year 2011.