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The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Panel:
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Broadcast: Weekend of December 28-29, 2013

Copyright © 2013 by Federal News Service, LLC, 1120 G Street NW, Suite 990, Washington, DC 20005-3801 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, LLC. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Transcripts Database or any other FNS product, please email info@fednews.com or call 1-202-347-1400.

ANNOUNCER: It's the 32nd annual McLaughlin Group year-end awards, 2013, part two. Here's the master of ceremonies, John McLaughlin.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Destined for political stardom in 2014. Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, who will be elected president of Egypt this year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: A handful of female Democratic candidates. They're all long shots, but they're going to get a lot of attention: Wendy Davis, running for governor of Texas; Michelle Nunn, Senator Sam Nunn's daughter, running in Georgia; and Alison Lundergan Grimes, running against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

SUSAN FERRECHIO: Ted Cruz. He filibustered against the health care law, and his predictions will prove true in 2014.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Senator Gillibrand of New York, who's really emerging as a power in New York State and in the Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The envelope, please, Susan. Thank you, Susan.
Carnac the Magnificent here, at work again.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hold it to your head, John. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You remember that? Hold it to my head.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hold it to your head.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, here we go; a little late, but still there. Now, what have we got here? Let's see. Destined for political stardom in 2014: Hasan Rouhani, Iran's seventh president, elected this summer. Rouhani's charm offensive disarmed world leaders, resulting in the softening of sanctions. It gave Iran six months of breathing room to consolidate the gains, greatly enhancing Iran's power and making Rouhani a superstar across the Shiite world.

OK, destined for political oblivion. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: QE3 is going out. And we don't know what the consequences are going to be, but they could be dramatic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Liz Cheney, capitalizing on the Cheney name in Wyoming, will not win.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: Democrat Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who will lose his seat because of the health care law.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: My guess also was Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who's now 40 points behind in the Senate race. And I suspect that she's going to have a very limited political future.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Democrats will lose the Senate in 2014. Harry Reid will lose his prominence soon thereafter. You got that, Pat? You can use it in a column.

OK, best political theater. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Tens of millions come out into the streets of Cairo and effect the overthrow of the elected government of President Morsi and the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The U.S. Congress standing up to President Obama when he wanted to use force against Syria.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I think it was the Republican government shutdown, again, the fight against the health care law. That brought a lot of attention to the Republicans, good or bad. And it was excellent theater for my personal --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Political theater. Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Since I'm involved with the tabloid newspapers, the drug and sexual exploits of the mayor of Toronto. He was --

MR. BUCHANAN: Rob Ford.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Rob Ford, who has just really blown the roof off of Canadian politics.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he going to stay on?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Are you kidding? I mean, he's going to be thrown out as fast as they can find a way to throw him out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, that's the problem.

Best political theater is Barack Obama trying to explain away his broken promise to millions of Americans that if they want to keep their health insurance under "Obamacare," they can keep it. He squirmed. He rationalized. He split infinitives and blurted excuses. All the while, his personal credibility plummeted. It was great political theater.

OK, worst political theater. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: The rollout of "Obamacare." (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Ted Cruz and his faux filibuster.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I thought Syria was the worst political theater. The president looked indecisive, and his inaction hurt him in the polls.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it was the president's statement that the American public will be able to keep their health care programs and their doctors. And nobody has quite found out yet how badly it's going to hit the willingness of doctors to get involved in this program.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These are good choices, but he worst political theater is IRS official Lois Lerner invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before Congress after she had asserted her innocence; if you have something to cover up, in which case you plead the Fifth, or you're innocent, in which case you answer questions. You can't do both.

OK, the most underreported story of 2013. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: The systematic persecution and assassination of Christians throughout North Africa, Central Africa and the Middle East. It's not being covered at all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The hunger strike at Guantanamo and the hunger strike on the National Mall of people urging Congress to pass immigration reform.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: This aspect of immigration reform, which big businesses are pushing it to lower wages.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The success of numerous state governors, such as Hickenlooper of Colorado.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pay attention to this, Mort. You're in the business. Most underreported story is the Friday, March 22nd news story in The Wall Street Journal headlined, quote, "Health Insurance" (sic/means Insurers) "Warn on Premiums," unquote. It foretold the massive premium hikes coming under "Obamacare" months before the October 1st rollout. Other news media simply ignored the warning bells insurance companies were ringing loud and clear.

You got it, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Put it in your column.

OK, most overreported story. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's necessary, but it's "Obamacare." It's day and night, day and night, on the cable channels. And it is blocking out, John, stories about what is going on in Asia, what is going on in the Middle East, what is going on in Ukraine. It's dominating everything. And I think it's overdone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: That's what I have -- overreported story, "Obamacare" website woes. It's just a website, folks. It's a law, and the law is a good and workable law --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: -- that every president has tried to get through since Teddy Roosevelt. There are problems, but it's here to stay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How unpredictable that pick is of yours.
Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: The Anthony Weiner online sex scandal. One story was enough, and we had to endure it for weeks and weeks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was good theater.

MS. FERRECHIO: (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Thanks to Mort's New York Daily News. (Laughter.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is the most overreported story except in New York City. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, he withdrew from his effort to become mayor.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, he withdrew, all right. He just withdrew a little late from a lot of things.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was trying to become mayor.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. He would have won.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most overreported story is America's economic need for more immigrants. The rationale is that we need immigrants to keep the population and workforce growing. But it turns out that the U.S. birthrate has been underestimated by 20 percent, largely due to delayed childbirth. The U.S. population is growing even without immigration. We need immigrants -- most overreported story.

You got it, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: I got it, but I don't agree with it. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, biggest government waste. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Six hundred million dollars for the "Obamacare" website.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The self-indulgent government shutdown cost $24 billion -- biggest government waste.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I agree with Pat -- HealthCare.gov. They spent almost $400 million. They're going to spend another $300 million to fix it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Farm subsidies. Too much are being paid to huge agricultural conglomerates.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These are large figures, but I'm going to give you a bigger one. The biggest government waste is the $800 million that FEMA -- what's FEMA, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Federal Emergency Management Agency. Right?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good -- paid homeowners to rebuild their homes on piers after Katrina to prevent future flooding. An audit found that almost none of the rebuilt houses incorporated the added height. The $800 million was simply pocketed.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why would you do that when you've got that big coastal insurance, John? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the $800 million?

MR. BUCHANAN: Build it right on the coast, like Novak.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Taxpayers' money.

OK, best government dollar spent. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: I will say the money spent to send the U.S. Navy to rescue all those people in the Philippines. And our guys, as usual, got there first.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well stated.
Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I would agree with that. I would add the bailout of the car companies. And the government finally sold the last shares that they had. We now have a revived and thriving car industry.
Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: National Institute of Health -- groundbreaking research; always needs more money. They've come out with great and informative news every year about health and wellness.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best government dollar spent.

MS. FERRECHIO: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That was exactly my conclusion as well -- the money that we are spending for medical research there that is not spent by anybody else in the whole world of medical research, and it does immensely important work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Watch this curveball going to come at you. You ready? The best government dollar spent was during the 16-day federal government shutdown. Only essential funds were being spent. With a federal debt now topping $17 trillion, we could use a few more shutdowns.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, John. Did you (con ?) all the right-wing --

MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor said -- (laughs) --

MS. CLIFT: Did you (con ?) all the right-wing -- (inaudible)?

MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible) -- pay them, though, for all that work? I don't know if it saved us any money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: What?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Boldest political tactic.

MR. BUCHANAN: I believe it is China's declaration of a Monroe Doctrine over the East China-South China Sea, the Yellow Sea, Straits of Taiwan, claiming all of those islands in there. Big trouble is going to come out of that claim.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The Obama administration alignment with Russian President Putin to oversee the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I thought the government shutdown was the boldest tactic. It backfired, but it was really bold.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Wendy Davis's pro-choice filibuster on the floor of the socially conservative Texas statehouse.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The boldest political tactic in 2013 was taken by Washington and Colorado voters when they became the first states in the nation to pass referendums decriminalizing recreational marijuana use, in open defiance of the federal government's prohibition of the drug. Boldest political tactic. Party on.

When we come back, more McLaughlin Group year-end awards.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, worst political scandal. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: The continuing cover-up of the Benghazi massacre, where the American people are not being told the truth about what happened and who covered it up.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, some of the attempts to tell the truth have been proved less than truthful; i.e., the "60 Minutes" fiasco. Enough said.
Worst political scandal: The NSA, National Security Agency, eavesdropping on German Chancellor Merkel's cell phone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I would say it was the lack of honesty about what would happen with the health care law. I think that's one of the reasons the president was reelected. And once we learned what was really behind it, he may not have won the election if the truth had been out there before the election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The record levels of unemployment and underemployment and the failure of our government programs to do much about it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The worst political scandal was the extent to which the Obama administration uses the NSA, the National Security Agency, Edwards Snowden's former bailiwick, to snoop on allies like France and Germany. It was an acute embarrassment to the United States and has opened new rifts between the U.S. and Europe.

OK, best idea. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Ending the cold war with Iran. I think the effort that's being made is a good idea, and I don't believe Iran desperately wants an atom bomb. And I think it can work. And I give the president of the United States and I give John Kerry credit for making the effort against an awful lot of hostility in this town.

Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Best idea: The Democrats changing the filibuster rules in the Senate so that this president can fill court appointments and can get his people in place.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I think it's the piecemeal approach to immigration reform in the House, where they do accomplish some of the things that are really important about immigration without putting it through in a gigantic bill that few people will read, and will have further damaging consequences to the economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The Volcker rule to protect the banking system, which is at the core of our financial system.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Get this, Mort. You can use this in your paper. The best idea of 2013 is New York clothing designer Adam Harvey and his new fashion line called stealth wear. It renders the wearer invisible to the infrared cameras of drones. You can get a stealth wear burqa for $2,365. Stealth wear sweatshirts with hoodies come cheaper.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way, you can get a drone-friendly burqa for only $39.50 on eBay.

MS. CLIFT: Are you investing in this -- (inaudible)? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) He may be on to something -- drone- spotting.

OK, worst idea of 2013. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it was the decision of a person named Miley Cyrus to do something called twerking on MTV awards show. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Do you even know what twerking is, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: I've heard about it. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: OK.

Worst idea: Shutting down the government.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I would say it's the filibuster reform in the Senate, because it's just going to reform the way things operate there and weaken the body from what it's supposed to be. And it's going to hurt the Democrats when they become the minority in 2014.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I would say it would be Amazon drones. If you've seen any of those, believe me, it's a terrible idea. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The worst idea is the International Monetary Fund's proposal to confiscate 10 percent of the positive net worth of American households -- that is, your net worth including house value minus mortgage -- as a one-time tax to rebalance the world economy. Worst idea of 2013. You're with me on that, Pat, right?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yep, I'm right there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, sorry to see you go. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Jack Germond, our old colleague and panelist and cantankerous friend.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I can't improve on that. And I'm going to add someone that I know Mort has on his list, and that's James Gandolfini, who really riveted us all when he starred in "The Sopranos."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How true.

MS. CLIFT: They were taken too early. Jack wasn't too early, I guess. He was up in his 80s.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's always too early.

MS. CLIFT: It's always too early. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- is too early.

MS. CLIFT: Well, Gandolfini was definitely too early.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: Margaret Thatcher, pioneering female politician, steered Great Britain to the path to prosperity and understood that eventually you run out of other people's money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Marty Reisman, the world's greatest ever ping pong player.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you a ping ponger?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I sure am.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sorry to see you go: The freedom of Americans to buy any kind of health insurance they want, instead of being restricted to the only kind that President Obama wants and permits them to buy, and will fine them if they don't buy it.

OK, 15 minutes of fame. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old marathon bomber, who deservedly has been shut out of the news for a long time after his horrendous atrocity up there at the marathon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The sign-language interpreter at the Mandela funeral. He got his 15 minutes. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) Did a wonderful job. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: A wonderful job. Fortunately, everybody went home safe.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was there something innocent about him?

MR. BUCHANAN: He was investigated for murder.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, he wasn't qualified. He wasn't qualified.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's been doing this -- he's been doing this for quite a while, and no one said anything.

MS. CLIFT: Well, he had minimal skills.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tell me about it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was he doing one foot from the president?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I'll say Cindy Leathers. She is the person who had the online relationship with Anthony Weiner. We've already forgotten her name, but she took him out of the running. He very well might be mayor right now if not for her.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Mike Huckabee, who walked off of a personal television show created for him after just one show.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifteen minutes of fame goes to Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who was forced out while trying to cling to her desk, amid the uproar over the IRS targeting conservative groups for special harassment. Lerner is soon to be forgotten -- 15 minutes of fame.

OK, best spin of the year. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: As the Egyptian army is slaughtering hundreds of Muslims, John Kerry comes to town and says I want to congratulate you on restoring democracy. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, mine is in the same vein -- the people's coup in Egypt. The administration found other names to call it, so they didn't want to call it a coup because they would then have to cut off aid, which they eventually did anyway. But it was a coup that had popular support.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I thought it was the way Hillary Clinton managed to shed any blame for the Benghazi attack before testimony in Congress, then later, by just making it appear as though she had absolutely nothing to do with it. And what difference does it make anyway?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The Washington Redskins football coach, Mike Shanahan, who said to the press what I'm trying to do is to be as honest as I can, and I don't normally do that.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best spin of the year is President Obama's spin that only substandard insurance policies are being canceled due to the Affordable Care Act and that only a small percentage of Americans are affected. Best spin of the year. Nice try, Barry.

OK, the most honest person of the year. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm going to give it to Mark O'Mara and Don West, the two individuals who bravely and courageously defended George Zimmerman and did a great job in the Trayvon Martin trial and stood up against a lot of heat and some hatred.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I'm going to give it to Elizabeth Warren, who points out that the banks that were too big and failed, basically, in `08 are still too big. She speaks truth to power, and she's captured the imagination of certainly the left wing of the Democratic Party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: Rabbi Noah Muroff of New Haven, Connecticut. He bought a desk on Craig's List. He found $100,000 in it, and he returned it to the owner right away.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who is the most remarkable politician in Europe.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most honest person of the year is Pope Benedict, not Pope Francis; Benedict's candid admission in February that, quote, "my strengths are no longer suited to the Petrine ministry," unquote. He was the first pope to vacate the Vatican voluntarily since 1294 A.D., 719 years ago -- the most honest person of the year.

OK, the most overrated. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hillary Rodham Clinton, who's being widely hailed as one of the greatest secretaries of state ever and a sure shot to win the Democratic nomination. Don't believe it, John. She is vulnerable.

MS. CLIFT: Otherwise Pat would have been all over for, if it weren't for that.

Most overrated: The IRS scandal -- never went anywhere.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: Chris Christie. Everyone's playing to him as the Republican nominee in 2016, but I think he won't win over the base.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most overrated is Barack Obama's Hispanic support. In the past 12 months, no demographic group has lost faith in Obama so dramatically, since November of last year. Obama's job approval rating among Hispanics has fallen by 23 percent. Hispanic support for Obama, most overrated.

OK, the most underrated. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bashar Assad. John, I think last year on one of our shows I predicted he'd be gone in a couple of weeks. He is there. He is holding on. It now looks like he may be the probable winner in this horrible civil war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Senator Patty Murray, who's been -- she was the proverbial mom in tennis shoes. She was half of the team that negotiated the budget agreement. She also headed up the Democratic Senate election campaign committee. She's really coming into her own -- powerful, smart, determined.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: Scott Brown, who's been written off because he lost his Senate seat in Massachusetts. I think we may see him again, winning in New Hampshire.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: John Boehner, the speaker of the House, has done a great job with the Republican majority in the House.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most underrated is the Republican Party throughout 2013. Pundits proclaimed the inevitable demise of the GOP until October. That is like the phoenix rising from the ashes. The Republicans are on the ascendance and will remain so through the November 2014 elections, fewer than 12 months away.

OK, macro-prediction. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I think we could have a real military clash between North and South Korea as a possibility with their crazed 30- year-old leader, who just had his uncle executed and who is moving vessels and troops and planes down to the disputed area.

And I don't know how we get out of this claim by the communist Chinese about all this territory where they're in dispute with Japan and Vietnam and the Philippines and South Korea. They're claiming all those islands, putting in identification zones. I don't know how you avoid some kind of (confrontation ?) that draws in the United States.

MS. CLIFT: I'm staying home with my head under the covers, Pat, listening to you. (Laughs.) You do have a knack for delivering these apocalyptic visions.

MR. BUCHANAN: Some come true. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Name the last one that came true.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have an apocalypse?

MS. CLIFT: Mine is that it's going to be a fascinating political year, because you have seven incumbent Republican senators who the Republicans need if they're going to have any chance to take over the Senate, and they've got tea party challengers. You're going to see the empire really striking back, the establishment Republicans trying to crush the tea party movement. John Boehner started it with his response on the budget agreement.

And on the Democratic side of the ledger, you do have a movement building on increasing the minimum wage, pointing out inequality. So it's kind of a fascinating political clash of two very different visions next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: I agree with you on minimum wage. That's going to be a real big and hot topic that Republicans are going to be pressured on. But I think, overall, with the whole health care crisis right now, because it's in crisis mode with the insurance debacle, I think Republicans will have the ball handed to them in 2014 and have a real opportunity to take over Congress and position themselves well. But I don't think they'll be able to win in 2016. I think we'll just end up with a Democratic White House and a Congress that's run by the Republicans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think we're going to have a very, very low rate of growth next year in the national economy, including a very low rate of expenditures by corporate America to replace plant and equipment. This is going to force the Congress to do something they don't want to do, which is pass another major stimulus program to make sure the economy doesn't completely go down.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My macro is better than these other macros. Are you ready?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I'm ready.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Get some ideas of how --

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm bracing himself.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- how macro this is. My macro-prediction is that small will be big in 2014. The dominant trend will be decentralization, including consumer shifts to local companies over global brands, and the devolution in politics; e.g., fragmentation of broad-based political parties into smaller, more cohesive political movements, marking the start of a worldwide long-term backlash against globalization.

MR. BUCHANAN: The rise of ethno-nationalism. Exactly right, John.

MS. CLIFT: So micro is macro is what you're saying? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: OK.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Micro is macro.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think that's certainly true in corporate America. It's absolutely compressing into smaller units that have much more effective ability to reach a particularly defined market.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this have anything to do with globalization?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, John. Look, Catalonia is seceding from Spain, and you've got -- Scotland's going to have a vote this year whether to cede from Britain. You see Brussels may be breaking up, northern Italy breaking down, secessionism in the United States.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you move this forward? It's what you said earlier, right?

MS. FERRECHIO: Yes, I think so. But, then again, we have the health care law, you know, going the opposite direction.

MS. CLIFT: You can't put globalization back in the bottle. I'm sorry. It's going to -- that's not going to stop. And some good things --

MR. BUCHANAN: Tell us -- (inaudible). (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: There are losers, but it's done some good things. And --

MR. BUCHANAN: But that's not the trend anymore. Globalization is moving backwards.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are the good things that globalization has accomplished?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's brought in a lot of sophisticated products at costs that we could not manage. And so it's, in effect, improved --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look at China, John. China is a result of globalization at our expense.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, yes, at our expense. But we haven't been able to be competitive with China on a lot of levels. It's going to force American business, which is going to try to be competitive, to really do something to get costs under control.

MR. BUCHANAN: To get competitive, American business will move overseas, Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't believe that. That's --

MR. BUCHANAN: They've been doing it for 20 years.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't disagree. They're not --

MS. CLIFT: They've started to come back.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: They're coming back, right, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about fragmentation of political parties?

MS. FERRECHIO: Well, I think --

MS. CLIFT: Well, the tea party, if they had any courage, they would split off and become a separate party. They don't really like the Republicans.

MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible.) There has been fragmentation.

MR. BUCHANAN: Perot tried that in the `90s, and another guy did too, and it didn't work out very well.

MS. FERRECHIO: The tea party has been -- has split off, you know. They're not in their own place on the ballot, though they are in some places. But they have effectively split the party.

MS. CLIFT: They're destroying the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the emotion behind the backlash to globalization?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's because it's just too big for most people to absorb. It just seems to overwhelm life on a lot of levels, in this country, anyhow. And so people are pulling back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it also national -- is it also national interest?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, it's --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: To some extent, it is. It all depends how you define national interest. The fact is, we have got to get our economy running again. And we have not succeeded --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's loss of identity by people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, New Year's resolution. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Get myself in good physical shape to do a book tour for my new book on Richard Nixon, "The Greatest Comeback."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: There will be plenty more slings and arrows directed at "Obamacare," which I will cheerfully return. And, like Pat, I hope to get to my memoir while there's still a publishing industry. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The Congress is going to introduce and pass another stimulus program to deal with the weak economy next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: My goal is to track down some people who really like the health care law and write their stories.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Our New Year's resolution here at the McLaughlin Group is to give you, the viewers, a ringside seat at the great American carnival show known as Washington, D.C., complete with freaks, curiosity, sideshows, the world's (fattest egos ?), amazing feats of daring, stunning displays of excess, and the ultra-rare occasional specimen of good public policy. Stay tuned.

Happy New Year. Bye-bye.

(C) 2013 Federal News Service

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