The McLaughlin Group
Subject: The Republican Agenda for the 114th Congress and Beyond; the Declining Animal Population; Digital Learning
Participants: John McLaughlin, Host;
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Time: 11:30 am EST
Date: Sunday, November 30th, 2014
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Restless Republicans.
The 114th Congress commences in early January. Republican leaders say they'll pursue a bold governing agenda, while at the same time compromise with the president, ruling out new government shutdown sagas. They know that to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, the GOP nominee will need the independent vote, which, according to Gallup, now constitutes 42 percent of the electorate.
Yet not all Republicans are so ready to compromise. Looking to 2016 themselves, Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are looking to burnish their credentials with conservative activists rather than independents.
Here's what the younger Mr. Paul recently told HBO host Bill Maher.
SENATOR RAND PAUL (R-KY): (From videotape.) But why I've decided now we have to do something is I think that ISIS is now a threat to our embassy and to our consulate, and I think we do need to defend American interests. And there are lines that occasionally have to be drawn.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not just Rand Paul. Ted Cruz is ramping up his fiery conservative rhetoric. On November 10th, he tweeted that, quote, "Net neutrality is 'Obamacare' for the Internet," unquote, meaning that it is fundamentally defective.
In another press release, Mr. Cruz stated that executive amnesty by President Obama to illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States would, quote, "create a constitutional crisis that demands action by Congress to restore the separation of powers," unquote.
And then there's Marco Rubio, already popular with conservative donors. In January, Senator Rubio will release a book with a title straight out of a presidential campaign factory: "American Dream: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone."
Question: Will House Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell be able to control these presidential wannabes? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: You listed three wannabes. All three of them are in the United States Senate. John, the race for the Republican nomination, nobody's got more than 15 percent. And if you want to get the nomination, you don't worry about independents in a general election. You excite the base - the tea party, the conservatives, the activists, the libertarians.
And this is exactly what Cruz is doing. And I think it's a correct strategy as a nomination strategy. It's risky in a general election. But this race is so wide open, John, that the guy that's going to do well, the individual, I think he's got to show some real passion and fire and energy and ability to communicate. And there's no doubt I would put Cruz in the top level there. And the second one I would put behind him for (rolling ?) that route is Rand Paul. One of those two, I think, is going to get to the finals.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, the others. Storming into the Senate, freshman Republican senators like Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa are dark-horse candidates for 2016. Included with them are those outside Congress in what's sure to be a crowded field.
Other potential 2016 presidential candidates include John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Mike Pence, Rick Perry, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, John Thune, Scott Walker.
Question: Is there a frontrunner? Eleanor.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, you started off with Tom Cotton. I'd look at him for 2020. He's got a lot of good credentials - you know, Harvard, Iraq veteran. But he's just won an election, and it's his first term in the U.S. Senate. And Joni Ernst - let's see how she develops. They're not going to run in 2016.
But all that other crew - everybody's dreaming of the White House. And I think if you look at the trio that's running from the Senate - Cruz, Rubio and Rand Paul - they're all going to use the Senate floor to advance their candidacies. And I think Ted Cruz is probably going to go over to the House and do some freelancing among conservatives. I think Cruz thinks he can harness the anti-Washington sentiment in the country. He is the most disliked member of the U.S. Senate by his colleagues, by both Democrats and Republicans.
Rand Paul is a serious legislator, and I think he does have the potential of knitting together the different wings of the Republican Party. And Marco Rubio, I don't think, will run if Jeb Bush runs.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How old is -
MS. CLIFT: He's his protege. And if Jeb Bush is making noises that he's going to get in, then he would be a serious contender.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How old is Cotton?
MS. CLIFT: Oh, late 30s, early 40s.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tom, do you want to tell me more about him?
MS. CLIFT: Late 30s, early 40s. I don't know his exact age.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's not going to run in 2016, John.
MS. CLIFT: He's a young man. He's not going to run in 2016.
MR. BUCHANAN: He just got in there. He has two years -
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's not even been in the Senate a day yet.
MS. CLIFT: That's right. (Laughs.)
TOM ROGAN: But Barack Obama -
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, Barack Obama had been in the Senate two years.
MR. ROGAN: But that field is saturated with a huge amount; you know, different candidates. I think it's going to be interesting to see how Rand Paul tries to put himself more in the establishment to win over more foreign policy realists, which he's doing - (inaudible); Ted Cruz obviously trying to galvanize the conservative base. He's certainly not going to be able to be controlled by the Senate and House leadership.
And then you know, I think, when you look at Marco Rubio, he's more quiet since his immigration reform efforts failed, under the surface, trying to build relationships. And then there's, you know, a vast other field as well. So, I mean, it's going to be an interesting race, but it's something we're going to have to probably talk about again.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No clear frontrunner?
MR. ROGAN: No clear frontrunner; and Susana Martinez as well. It's interesting. I think - New Mexico - she may be in the running.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the latest Washington Post GOP 2016 poll, done in October, put Rand Paul at 13 percent, Jeb Bush at 12 percent, which I don't think has been reflected in the conversation of this panel -
MORT ZUCKERMAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - that he's stronger than people think; and Mike Huckabee at 12 percent. No other contender tops single digits. Does any of that surprise you?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, if there is any surprise for me, it is that Mr. Bush, Governor Bush, is only at 12 percent. It seems to me he, in terms of the opportunity to win the election of presidency, is the strongest candidate that the Republicans have. And I think he will show that over the next year or so. I'm convinced -
MS. CLIFT: And he's out of step with the modern -
MR. BUCHANAN: He could be the establishment -
MS. CLIFT: - Republican Party.
MR. BUCHANAN: He could be the establishment -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I'm sure he is. But he will -
MR. BUCHANAN: - candidate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. There's too many people talking. Go ahead, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Listen, Jeb Bush could well be the establishment entry in the finals. He could well be. It's -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jeb Bush?
MR. BUCHANAN: - him or Romney or Christie. But you've got a name you just dropped out there that's important, John, and that's Mike Huckabee. Now, the social conservatives were ignored in the last election. They're enormously large in Iowa. He's very strong. I think the Jewish vote is going to move and money is going to move toward the Republicans because of the Israeli situation. Huckabee is very strong with these folks, very strong with the evangelicals.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is -
MR. BUCHANAN: And he's a conservative.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Huckabee wrestling with the decision?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's looking toward it.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. ROGAN: I don't.
MR. BUCHANAN: You know, you've seen groups getting together.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you seen -
MS. CLIFT: He wrestled with it -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you seen him speak to the subject?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, he just took a trip over to Poland and one other - what was it, the three trips, the three I's? (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean like Romney did?
MR. BUCHANAN: Iowa, Italy and Israel. That's like they used to do. But he's -
MS. CLIFT: He's wrestling with it enough to get attention to his radio show -
MR. BUCHANAN: TV show.
MS. CLIFT: - television show. And he may do well in Iowa. But I would be willing to bet Pat money that Mike Huckabee will not be the Republican nominee -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I'm not saying -
MS. CLIFT: - unless the party has totally lost their mind.
MR. ROGAN: Yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: But I think somebody's going to come out of that group - Huckabee, Rand Paul and Cruz. I think that's the populist side. Somebody there is going to be in the finals against the establishment -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is there no mention here of -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I have to totally disagree with you. The Republican Party cannot live and be outside the White House again for another eight years, which is what you have to assume if it's another Democrat who comes in. They've been out of power, so to speak, for quite a long time. And if they put up -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is the -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: - a very extreme conservative, OK, or a very strong conservative -
MR. BUCHANAN: Have you ever been to Iowa or South Carolina, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I have been, actually.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I left very quickly. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where - what is the early primary state?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primaries.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's ahead in New Hampshire?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think Christie would do well in New Hampshire.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey -
MR. BUCHANAN: His personality fitsth them very nicely. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jeb Bush, 15 percent; Christie, 12 percent.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that's what I'm telling you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Christie, 12 percent. Did you know that?
MR. BUCHANAN: I'm telling you, John, when I went into New Hampshire, Dole started off - Dole was over 50. Nobody's got more than 15 percent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know. And that produced almost nervous tremors throughout the population that Buchanan - it was totally unpredictable, the way he slashed Dole -
MS. CLIFT: Well, the Republican Party -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - in New Hampshire -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - in his ridiculous - in his ridiculous; I take that back, Pat. I'm not characterizing your run as ridiculous.
MS. CLIFT: Well -
MR. BUCHANAN: OK. (Laughs.)
MR. ROGAN: They're going to start ripping each other to shreds first.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In his audacious - audacious. How's that?
MS. CLIFT: Bob Dole eventually got the nomination -
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
MS. CLIFT: - in `96. (Laughs.) Let's remember that.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.) So they won, yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK -
MS. CLIFT: New Hampshire's not everything. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Enough of this. We're going to return to earth with this.
Issue Two: Wildlife Woe.
This Thanksgiving, you were probably glad that you weren't the turkey. Well, be glad too that you aren't a lion or a tiger or a polar bear. That's because, around the globe, animal populations of practically all kinds are in decline. So says the latest Living Planet report from the World Wildlife Fund that examined trends in more than 10,000 populations of more than 3,000 animal species.
Get this: Between 1970 and 2010, a span of 40 years, the world population of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and fish fell by 52 percent. That means that only 40 years ago the sheer number of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and fish was double what it is now. So says the report.
Freshwater species have been hit the hardest, a 76 percent decline. Marine species, like sea turtles, sharks and migratory sea birds, have declined 39 percent. Land mammals also declined by 39 percent.
And while animal populations are declining in both temperate and tropical regions, the biggest decline is in the Tropics. Latin America registered an 83 percent decline in species.
So guess what species is not in decline at all and is the culprit behind the decline of practically all wildlife: Man. Exploitation of wildlife by mankind is the number one threat to wildlife populations, exploitation through hunting and overfishing, harvesting fish faster than the ocean can replenish them.
The next-biggest threat to wildlife after exploitation, habitat degradation, man encroaching on nature by building more, by farming more, by exploiting more.
MARCO LAMBERTINI (director-general, World Wildlife Fund International): (From videotape.) Our footprint on the planet is increasing; continues to rise. And that means that we are cutting trees faster than they can regrow. We are catching fish faster than they can reproduce. We are (making ?) more CO2 than oceans and forests can absorb.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In brief, the report says that humanity's demand on planet earth is more than earth has.
Question: In view of this catastrophic situation, what about going vegan? Would that reduce the strain on wildlife population? I ask you, Tom.
MR. ROGAN: I don't think the issue is about going vegan. I think the issue, though, is having a broader cognizance across the country, both Democrat, Republican, independent, that there are real issues beyond global warming. And the environment doesn't end there.
So from my perspective, my brother and my uncle work for a group called Ocean Alliance that does a lot of stuff, especially on the oceans. And one of the things they're always telling me is it's not just about whales, dolphins and sharks. It's about the food chain. If you are putting mercury into the oceans, it's passing up through the fish into mammals, and then it's things that we're consuming. So there are real tangible things.
The declining figures we're looking at are huge. But in the public domain, this sort of fetish that it's all global warming, it all ends there, I think, is profoundly counterproductive. So I think what we need is more of a public dialogue to say look at these issues and look at - that doesn't have to be partisan. That is a clear issue that we see statistical data -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think you're knocking or underrating vegans.
Do you know - are you vegan?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I am a vegan, yes. And I -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You are?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. I'm in a national movement to save animals just by becoming a vegan.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wonderful.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I wish that -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I've been a vegan for six years now, and I recommend it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What has it done, do you think, to your interest or your personality?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's made me once more into the most dynamic (carrot ?) you've ever encountered in your life.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I lost 40 pounds in the process, frankly, and I feel terrific.
MR. BUCHANAN: But, you know - if everybody becomes -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I'll tell you who's really happy. My tailor is really happy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: "Diet for a Small Planet" was published - I don't know - 20, 30 years ago. So there are benefits if we lessened our reliance on meat. But reading the report that's put out by the World Wildlife Fund makes you cry. I mean, there are more elephants that are poached than are born; to create sanctuaries for orphaned elephants.
MR. BUCHANAN: But the -
MS. CLIFT: You have overfishing. There's -
MR. BUCHANAN: It is non-scientific.
MS. CLIFT: - government - excuse me. There's government regulation that can come into play here. And there are lots of good people around the world -
MR. BUCHANAN: It is - John, this report -
MS. CLIFT: - working on these issues.
MR. BUCHANAN: - is not scientific at all. It's signed by - backed by all the members. This is a propaganda piece. They don't know if it's -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK.
MR. BUCHANAN: There's no doubt there's a problem. Look what's happening in Brazil. They're cutting down the rain forest and all that.
MS. CLIFT: Yes. That's a problem.
MR. BUCHANAN: But this thing is propaganda.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, thanks for putting onto that. We're going to ruminate on that.
MS. CLIFT: Right, right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've given out the alert.
Issue Three: So Long, Teacher.
It's a brave new world. Digital learning - the use of computer technology platforms for education - is rapidly changing the way Americans are taught. In schools and colleges across the nation, the blackboard is giving way to the tablet. Is it new?
Here's what digital learning advocate Mimi Ito said four years ago.
MIMI ITO (digital learning advocate): (From videotape.) I think that there are incredibly important functions for schools. What we're saying, by valuing informal learning, it's not that we should abandon formal learning, but that we should get those working together in a much more coordinated way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Today, four years later, the computer-led informality transformation of education has taken hold. These middle school students type out answers to a question on touch screens. Teacher Kate Lewis instantly knows if her students understand the material.
KATE LEWIS (middle school teacher): (From videotape.) I can deal with a problem a lot faster than before. And it also allows me to change my instruction based on the students' needs.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Teacher Lewis says digital platforms like the ones her students use saves valuable classroom time.
Question: Does the digital learning revolution risk developing a generation of digitally adept but socially inept drones? Tom Rogan.
MR. ROGAN: I think there are risks if there is an overreliance on technology. I think the key, though, is that you have education reform that allows you to have the best teachers rising to the top, the worst teachers being removed from the system, forcibly if necessary, but at the same time fostering an intellectual curiosity on the part of students that, whatever their individual interests, they can - I'll use just one final example.
One thing that troubles me in the United States versus the U.K. is that when you go to college here, you have to take things like math and physics, whatever, regardless of your major. In the United Kingdom, when you go to college, you focus on this particular area that you're interested in. And that happens actually when you're about 16. So it stimulates early personal interest.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor -
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, I went into a classroom recently, and there were about 50 students there. And the teacher was in the back of the room. He was seated. And all of the students were looking at their television - not the television.
MS. CLIFT: Their tablet.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: IPad.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Their tablets, their screens.
MS. CLIFT: This is called -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they had actually screens on the desk.
MS. CLIFT: OK.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I said to the teacher, how long does this go on? And she said, oh, they can stay there for the whole period, and we might have a couple of minutes' discussion. Well, what is that? What has happened to the teacher?
MS. CLIFT: The teacher -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The teacher is the one who inspires people to learn.
MS. CLIFT: The teacher is still involved. This is called blended learning, and it's a combination of technologies because we live in a technological world. And it's an effort to get technology to everybody, not just the people who can afford it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think you're whitewashing -
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. In Florida, Jeb Bush created a digital learning council. This is one of his big issues. And in Florida, you don't graduate high school unless you pass one course that's online, so you know how to operate online. This is not taking over. This is teaching people to live in the world as it is. And it's sharing the goodies of technology with everybody across the digital divide. This is a good thing.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: In my judgment, it's going to dramatically expand the capacity to teach both people in elementary school and especially in high school, because you will have the material presented in the most (appealing ?) way. And I've seen this, OK, in a number of private schools where they do this. It's a huge plus in terms of the way people learn and in terms of the way teaching is done.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's making a buck?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know who's making a buck, but I'll tell you who is getting a lot more out of their college - high school education than they ever did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do the teachers say about it in their general assemblies - teachers unions?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They love it.
MS. CLIFT: They love it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They love it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They love it?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me -
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why, because they can offload work?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, it's not because - they know they're getting a better - they're doing a better job of -
MR. BUCHANAN: John -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean a better teaching job -
MS. CLIFT: Teaching -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - with all this apparatus?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's much better. OK, this is extremely well-organized and well-thought-out presentation online.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If I asked you who had the principal interest - influence on you, who taught you, would you think of a machine or would you think of a human being?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Of course, because I never had machines, if I may say so.
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But if you had machines, it would have been machines, right?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I don't know. I think - I'll bet you for some of the courses it would have been dramatically better -
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: - on machines.
MR. BUCHANAN: John -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think that the teacher is there to evolve - to evolve - I'll throw this at you -
MS. CLIFT: It doesn't -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - to evolve emotion and love of learning?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me agree with you. I think the machines replace, in many cases, books. We learned enormous amounts out of books, what you read, studied. But I agree with you about the teacher. But the machines - there's no doubt they're an asset and an advantage, mainly beneficial, though, to folks that know how to use them and handle them, so the meritocracy, those folks - it's going to increase the divide between folks that don't use them and folks that do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have five seconds.
MR. ROGAN: Yeah. You must be able to foster social skills, because you will never be able -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. ROGAN: - to enter the workforce, learn, build social - not just about business; social relationships.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. ROGAN: That is critical. So we cannot have the drone situation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Thanks, But No Thanks.
It's a time of war and of terrorism, suicide bombings, vicious beheadings, bloody civil wars, global alliances gone cold, deadly epidemics, rising cybercrime, mass shootings, chronic underemployment, surging deficits, mounting personal debt, stagnant wages, a shrinking middle class, long, scorching summers and frigid, endless winters.
Question: With all of this misery, what can possibly be left for Americans to be thankful for? I ask you -
MR. ROGAN: Tom Rogan.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - Tom.
MR. ROGAN: An American citizen. I think, actually, that's my point. As someone who grew up abroad - and I mean this genuinely - it sounds cheesy; maybe it is, but it's true - the United States is still the best place in the world to live, with the most opportunities.
We need much more of an opportunity culture. We know that, based on income inequality. But at the same time, in terms of opportunities to pursue your own interests, the benefit of a free society, a free press, open, tolerant society where everyone comes together, I know this Thanksgiving I'm very happy to be here and I'm happy to be a citizen.
MR. BUCHANAN: John -
MR. ROGAN: And it's a great and special place to be.
MR. BUCHANAN: Amen to that, John. Let me say, from the day I was born, John, 1938 till 1950, 12 years, 100 million people were killed in World War II, all the way from France, all the way to Russia. Then a billion people went behind the Iron Curtain under Stalin and China under Mao Zedong. Millions and millions perished.
Now we've got a lot of problems going on, but none of them horrors of that magnitude. We left the bloodiest century in all of history, the 20th century; a lot of problems now, but I must say, if you take the freedom of all those people in China and Eastern Europe and everywhere, even decolonialism in Asia, prosperity, on balance it's a far better world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, China's economy has gone flat. Is that something that we should be thankful for on this Thanksgiving?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Not really. In the first place, if I may say, I call it thank-you giving, because, as an immigrant to this country, it's been an absolutely wonderful experience for me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you miss Canada?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't miss Canada, I have to say, but I -
MR. BUCHANAN: Did you come across the Rio Grande too? (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That would have taken a real trip, I'll tell you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that this provides me an opportunity to salute the Canadians who watch this show. We have a very substantial audience all over Canada.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I get contacts from them on a huge number - in huge numbers.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think even the president of Canada watches this show.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There's a problem here. We don't have a president.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Prime minister?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have a prime minister.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He watches this show.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I would hope so.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a friend of yours.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: As it happens, he is a friend of mine.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he not tell you he watched you on TV?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He not only did not tell me; he hasn't given me the slightest hint that he watches the show. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He did not? Mort, I've met the man. (Laughter.) How can that be?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, you're witnessing a fit of self-control on my part.
MR. BUCHANAN: You can be thankful for that, John. You can be thankful you met the prime minister of Canada. There you go.
MS. CLIFT: If I could interrupt this little Canadian maple-leaf tete-a-tete - (laughs) - I just wanted to add, I think we all ought to be grateful that we're still here debating issues after, what, some 30 years, John?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thirty-seven.
MR. BUCHANAN: Thirty-two years.
MS. CLIFT: And we haven't solved a whole lot of them. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: Thirty-two.
MR. ROGAN: And I'm very honest that all of you have been so kind to me, having been on this show.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have no reason to boast. You slipped out of here for five years. You worked for Reagan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Four leaves of absence only, John - just four.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Four leaves of absence?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah - three presidential runs and Reagan.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) - when you were able to boost your intelligence here on the show?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's probably about 24 years out of the 32. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, the Republican field is wide open, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: You know, there's still time to get in. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What were you going to say?
MR. ROGAN: As someone who grew up in London, England watching on CNBC with my father, it's great to be on the set with John McLaughlin this Thanksgiving.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, great.
MR. ROGAN: So that's a nice little -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's hope that CNBC has the wisdom to have carried us. Is there anything else to be left on this before we let it go -
MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't you tell us what you're -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - (since you're dying ?) right before our eyes?
MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't you tell us what you're thankful for?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is the most upwardly mobile society ever, OK. And those of us who are immigrants really appreciate that. And it's the most open society. People are just very friendly, very courteous, warm. They're open to talent. They're open to friendship. It doesn't get any better.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: The Congress of the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike, are going to go after any kind of Iranian deal that comes down. They're going to try to impose sanctions on Iran, whether they get a deal or they don't get a deal, or whether they extend the current negotiations.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the Republicans have been yelling and screaming about how President Obama has exceeded his authority and he's acting like a king. But when the new Congress comes in in January, they will give this president fast-track authority to conclude a huge trade deal that he can negotiate on his own without having - going back to Congress. Because the Republicans want that, they're willing to let the king have his way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Republicans, of course, as usual, Eleanor, are the devils in our midst.
MR. ROGAN: On that positive note, I think, in the coming weeks, people should expect greatly increased tensions between China and India, and India and Pakistan, in the border regions.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm hmm.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, how learned.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The continued erosion of wages in America amongst American working families, OK, is going to be a huge issue going forward and is going to force the government to do something to try and stimulate the economy, because the number of people who are getting - whose wages are going down is just extraordinary. It's not for the top level, but for the -
MR. BUCHANAN: How does amnesty for illegals help that?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict, despite the tragic setback in the Mohave Desert, Richard Branson will persevere in his quest to make outer space accessible to tourism, although on a timetable that is somewhat lengthier than he hoped. And notice we said accessible, not affordable, as for the fee. You got that, Pat?
Happy Thanksgiving weekend.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bye-bye.