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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
YEAR-END AWARDS, PART II

HOST:
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

GUESTS:
MICHAEL BARONE
ELEANOR CLIFT
TONY BLANKLEY
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL

DATE: SATURDAY, JANUARY 5, 2002

.STX

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Destined for political stardom in 2002. Michael.

MR. BARONE: I'd say Senator Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, leading position in the Senate on Medicare, prescription drugs and other issues.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The new House Democratic whip, Nancy Pelosi. She's the first woman in either party to achieve that high a leadership rank in the Congress. And because of the narrow divide between the two parties and the elections coming up, she's bound to break through on the Sunday morning talk shows next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And she has a great personality.

MS. CLIFT: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Lindsey Graham, who will become senator next year, replacing Strom Thurmond. He's got one of the best political minds since Nixon and he's got a great winning personality. Stardom for sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting. Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Mike Bloomberg, who will bring a very good business sense and a great staff to running the city of New York.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm. That's comforting. The envelope, please, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you. Cool, huh? (Laughter.) Do you remember this?

MR. BLANKLEY: I remember Johnnie Carson doing that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sealed mayonnaise jar.

MR. O'DONNELL: Exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Under the Funk & Wagnall’s.

MR. BLANKLEY: Hermetically sealed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hermetically sealed?

MR. BLANKLEY: Under the porch.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, let's see what we have here. Destined for political stardom in 2002: The answer is Marc Racicot, the newly-appointed chairman of the Republican National Committee, provided Chairman Racicot can keep the Republican majority in the House. Otherwise the former Montana governor gets a different award -- not political stardom -- political oblivion. That's a pretty good prediction.

MR. O'DONNELL: That's a good choice.

MS. CLIFT: Gives him something to work for next year. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, destined for political oblivion. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Representative Barbara Lee, who's Nancy Pelosi's neighbor across the San Francisco Bay, the only member of the House who voted against the resolution authorizing conduct of the war. She might even have trouble in the Democratic primary, even in the leftish and, in some places, anti-American precincts of Berkeley.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The four horsemen of the apocalypse: Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, Dick Armey and Phil Gramm. Bye bye.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All destined for oblivion?

MS. CLIFT: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Saddam Hussein, for the obvious reason. But I wouldn't limit the oblivion into merely political.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wow. Biological?

MR. BLANKLEY: Could be biological, too.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Unfortunately, Mark Green, whom Mike Bloomberg beat on his way to becoming mayor of New York; a smart, able public servant who everyone in New York now believes is down for the count.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's it.

MR. O'DONNELL: Mmm-hmm.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say unfortunately?

MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah, he's a guy who belongs in government. He's a very able guy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How does it feel being in the minority? Destined for political oblivion: Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, through no fault of his own, an able and admired figure. Even though in the loop, he seems out of the loop, up against the formidable Rumsfeld, Powell, Ashcroft, Cheney, and Commander-in-Chief Bush, but without any comparable support system of his own. And the ultimate irony is, of course, that Ridge's style or the style of anyone in that position, in fact, will be eclipsed in direct proportion to the success of the fight against terrorism.

Okay, you got all that? Pretty true, huh? Do you go along with it?

MR. BARONE: Oh, it's brilliant, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You go along with it?

MS. CLIFT: No, I'm --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do not?

MS. CLIFT: No, I'm rooting for a Tom Ridge recovery.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I'm rooting too. But I'm trying to be analytic and see the reality. Okay, best political theater. Michael.

MR. BARONE: I think George W. Bush's September 20th appearance before the joint session of Congress -- what he said, the way he was greeted, members of both parties, and the presence of Tony Blair, the British prime minister.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're absolutely right. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The amateur video uncovered in the guest house in Kandahar showing a laughing bin Laden about the atrocities on 9/11, which opened the eyes of the world to what he's all about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: The pretense of bipartisanship between Republicans and Democrats after September 11th. Before the fires of the Pentagon were out, they were already plotting.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was pure political theater --

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- or impure political theater. Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: I agree with Michael. The president's speech was one of the finest ever delivered to a joint session of Congress.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I agree with Michael: Bush's spellbinding September 20th address to a joint session of Congress, nine days after September the 11th. Okay, worst political theater. Michael.

MR. BARONE: I think the reporters and camera crews camped outside the apartment of Congressman Gary Condit, who some will remember, in his Adams-Morgan neighborhood in Washington.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you ever see them there?

MR. BARONE: No, I just -- but you couldn't get away from it on the news.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I've seen them there. They were camped not only in the front, but there's an alley in the back and they had camped outside the alley.

MR. BARONE: Now, John, what were you doing in that alley?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leg reporting, as is my calling. "Roll down the window of the limo. What's going on?" (Laughter.) Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, Gary Condit is a popular award-winner this year. I give it to his interview with Connie Chung on national television, which was supposed to revive his reputation. He was going to come clean, which he didn't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got the right subject but it's the wrong -- you've got the right content but the wrong category.

MR. BLANKLEY: The worst political theater was the media's effort at a Florida recount. They spent nine months winding up and then they didn't deliver the pitch.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they did deliver. Did you notice that non-story screamed across the front pages of the liberal newspapers of the country with absolutely no one paying any attention about two months ago? Yes.

MR. O'DONNELL: I agree with Eleanor. It was Gary Condit's absurdist interview with Connie Chung.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's good, but we could shoehorn Condit into every one of these categories.

MR. O'DONNELL: Not every one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The worst political theater is Dubya dancing with Ricky Martin, Ricky rocking to the salsa, that beat, with his hips in full swivel; Bush, arms akimbo, working a freaky hoedown sidestep.

Okay, worst political scandal. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Bill Clinton selling a pardon to Marc Rich.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't phrase it exactly like that. I would say it's the Bill Clinton pardon scandals.

MR. BLANKLEY: Senate Democrats trying to sneak in a 10-year farm subsidy bill before the deficits come up. Luckily it was killed in the (failing?) days of the Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst political scandal?

MR. BLANKLEY: They were going to steal, for the next 10 years, for programs that didn't need it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: I agree with Eleanor. It was the Clinton pardons -- just an abomination of presidential power.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I join the three. It was the Clinton pardons to the fugitives from justice and felons.

Okay, most underreported story of 2001. Michael.

MR. BARONE: I would say the trade issue, John. The fact is, trade negotiator Bob Zoellick negotiated a good deal in difficult circumstances in Doha over in the United Arab Emirates in November, and then the House passed by one vote trade promotion authority for the president, which has been defunct since 1994. That'll make a big difference in the world 10 years from now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Great news, too. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Underreported: The return to deficit spending after years of being in the black. And that's a path we were headed on before 9/11.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Just how ineffective and unpopular with his own party he is, Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill. If it hadn't been for bigger events, this would be one of the great flaming stories of the year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: The Russians in the replacement of an unenforceable, Byzantine tax structure with a simple flat tax on income. Compliance has skyrocketed. Revenue has skyrocketed. It's good government.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, I'm getting to like you more every time I hear pearls of wisdom like that from your lips. Great story, underreported. Also, the Bush $27 billion education bill voted out of the Senate, 87-10; a far-reaching plan to ration federal education aid to localities in order to coerce improvements in low-performing schools in those localities, the most ambitious reform since the landmark Elementary & Secondary Education Act of '65, a story buried even by the conservative press.

Okay, most overreported story of 2001. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Well, this just screams out for one answer: Gary Condit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There you go.

MS. CLIFT: A variation of that: Killer sharks. Before 9/11, you would think they were taking over the oceans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right, in August.

MR. BLANKLEY: Actually, the media's reporting of the Democratic spin that the Republican tax cut helps big business. This has been reported and overreported.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Hollywood box-office grosses. Who cares how much Harry Potter made last weekend?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Eleanor's right with the shark story in August. And, in point of fact, the incidence of shark biting misbehavior in 1999 was exactly the same as in the year 2000, and it has maintained that level constantly over the years.

Okay, biggest government waste. Michael.

MR. BARONE: I'd say the tobacco money that's gone to the trial lawyers, in the hundreds of millions and billions of dollars.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Disgraceful.

MR. BARONE: For taking on cases which they were dead certain to win.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obscene. But what can you expect?

MR. BARONE: Hillary Rodham Clinton's brother got in on it, too. Interesting.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm.

MS. CLIFT: If they were so certain to win, why didn't they win a long time ago?

MR. BARONE: The laws were changed by the state legislatures so they couldn't lose.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Missile defense shield, a billion spent on a system that has yet to demonstrate that it can work. And, in fact, the Navy canceled its part of the program because it's been performing so abysmally.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, prior to its defective run, the one you quoted in a recent show, it ran very effectively before that. Correct?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. My choice for the most waste is a wonderful program being terribly abused, special education funding, which was meant for kids who really couldn't learn and is being used by middle-class kids to be more competitive in tests.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: I have to disagree with that one, having taught a few special education classes back a year ago.

MR. BLANKLEY: That was before the program became abused.

MR. O'DONNELL: Eleanor's right. It's the missile defense system. It doesn't work, and it's not the way we are now threatened.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The biggest government waste is the $15 billion bailout of the airlines, which paid millions to lobbyists -- the airlines, that is -- and gave millions in '96 campaign contributions in order to defeat the same security measures now being implemented -- which measures, if they had not been blocked, could have prevented the September 11th hijacking.

We'll be right back.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Best government dollars spent. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Improvements in precision bombing, which has increased vastly over the last 10 years since the Gulf War. And Defense Department professionals and the Clinton administration deserve some credit here.

MS. CLIFT: The Nunn-Lugar threat reduction program started under the first President Bush; Sam Nunn, Democratic senator, Richard Lugar, Republican senator. It buys up uranium and radioactive material in the old Soviet Union and finds jobs for unemployed Soviet scientists -- former Soviet scientists --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well-spent.

MS. CLIFT: -- to reduce the threat of nuclear holocaust.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. And the primary location of where that money is spent is Ukraine.

MS. CLIFT: Ukraine.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I'm looking forward to giving my report from Ukraine, which has been long-awaited. Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Best is for military pay, though goodness, they don't do it for the money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Every dollar spent at the National Institute for Health. It benefits everyone in the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The best government dollars spent: The CIA Predator, the surveillance drone, now armed and dangerous and unbelievably good at snooping.

Okay. Boldest political tactic. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Well, whether you like it or not, George W. Bush's push for a tax cut. It succeeded and it was bold. Everybody told him not to.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: President Bush's bid for amnesty for Mexican illegals, a pre-9/11 move that's been dissipated by what happened. But it was a very clever tactic to go after Hispanic votes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Very audacious.

MR. BLANKLEY: The Iraqi Intelligence Service putting out feelers to the U.S. government, offering to help in fighting terrorism in the Middle East in exchange for not going after Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Will it work?

MR. BLANKLEY: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I bet it will.

MR. O'DONNELL: Gary Condit's brilliant choice to save his political career by doing a completely unbelievable interview with Connie Chung.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, that was a faux pas. The boldest political tactic: The Chinese government impounding the U.S. EP-3 spy plane, stealing whatever secrets were left by the U.S. crew, then crating up the plane piecemeal and shipping it back to the U.S. Bold Beijing politics.

We'll be now turning our attention to the best idea of 2001.

MR. BARONE: George W. Bush's statement on September 11th, echoed by many others, left, right and center, that we must go after the states that harbor and sponsor terrorism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Federalizing airport security workers.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Unambiguously, Michael is right. It's declaring war to the death against terrorism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: The president's Social Security Commission suggesting ways to create an option for 2 percent of Social Security going into personal accounts.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The best idea is Field Marshal Rumsfeld pressing into service anti-Taliban Afghans and Afghan dissident warlords to do the ground fighting, showing the world it's Muslim versus Muslim, not just the U.S. versus Muslim Taliban -- strategically brilliant, jointly executed by the CIA, the U.S. military and the U.S. diplomats.

Okay. Worst idea of 2001. Michael.

MR. BARONE: The idea that we should not bomb during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Don Rumsfeld and President Bush slapped that down correctly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The administration canceling holiday tours of the White House, at the same time advising other Americans to carry on their lives as normal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Confusing message.

MS. CLIFT: Confusing message, and I think totally unnecessary. You go through a metal detector to get into the White House. They can search people. They can take all sorts of precautions. Unnecessary.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Senator Daschle's decision to kill the economic stimulus package -- bad policy because it is going to prolong the recession or delay the recovery; bad politics because it gives Republicans an argument, should the economy not get better.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: The worst idea was flying airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the hope of provoking a successful Islamic war against the West.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Worst idea, as stated earlier, Gary Condit agreeing to do an interview with Connie Chung in a pathetic attempt at damage control.

Okay. Sorry to see you go. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Rudolph Giuliani, who is quite possibly the best mayor in American history.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's indisputable. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I don't think he's going to be gone. I think we're going to see a lot of him.

MR. BARONE: Well, yeah.

MS. CLIFT: George Harrison, the silent Beatle.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm.

MR. BLANKLEY: Friend and colleague Barbara Olson, who was killed in the plane that went into the Pentagon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So sad. Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: The great congressman, Joe Moakley, who gave a lifetime of service to Massachusetts and the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also very sad. Sorry to see you go: The Mir space station, the once-proud flagship of the Soviet Union's space program, 15 years in orbit, creaky but still strong; had to be forced back to earth in March, practically blown up, but refused to leave the orbit. Sorry to see you go, Mir.

Okay. Fifteen minutes of fame. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Well, I think it's the Levy family, who were victims of a tragedy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Terrible tragedy. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Linda Chavez, nominated to be secretary of Labor, had to withdraw her name over a controversy of hiring household help, undocumented help, and not paying taxes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifteen minutes of fame.

MR. BLANKLEY: Gary Condit's loyal staff that went on Larry King Live once and were never heard from again.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Tony beat me to it. That's my pick, absolutely. They delivered the weakest possible performance on television, and thankfully disappeared.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about this 15 minutes of fame: Denise Rich, Clinton donor who raised enough money, some say, to buy her billionaire fugitive ex-husband a midnight pardon.

Okay. Best spin of the year. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Well, the idea that the September 11th attackers hijacked Islam.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: That President Bush and not Dick Cheney is running the show.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Best spin of the year.

MR. BLANKLEY: That Bill Clinton really wanted to go to Harlem for his office because of his close connection with the black community, when, in fact, he only did that after he was forced to move up there because he couldn't get the real estate down in mid-Manhattan.

MR. O'DONNELL: Mmm-hmm. That Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer secured emergency funding for New York when, in fact, that funding was absolutely inevitable. And if they hadn't shown up to work that day, it would have happened anyway.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pure spin. Tolerable spin?

MR. O'DONNELL: Sure. Everyone does it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best spin of the year: The Islamic press, that reported that no evidence exists to show bin Laden linked to the September 11 attacks and going so far as to ascribe those horrors to a Zionist conspiracy; best evil spin of the year.

Okay. The most honest person of the year. Michael.

MR. BARONE: I'll go with Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who says things like, "Repeal the corporate income tax," which no economist thinks is a good tax, but is a political untouchable.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Budget Director Mitch Daniels, who announced in a speech at the National Press Club that the country would have to go into deficit spending and red ink beginning early next year and continuing until at least 2005.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. Were his knuckles rapped for that?

MS. CLIFT: I don't know. He's telling the truth.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. What would you have done if you were Karl Rove or Dubya?

MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't have passed that tax cut if I had a conscience. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We used that bite, by the way. We were the only program to have done so, I believe.

MR. BLANKLEY: Admiral Stufflebeem, the spokesman at the Pentagon, who was impeccable in his description of facts regarding the war -- extraordinarily careful man.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're a rooter for Stufflebeem.

MR. BLANKLEY: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wow, good. Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: I'd really like to take a pass on this round. But since I can't and I have to play --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Somebody from "West Wing"?

MR. O'DONNELL: No, no -- closer. I will have to cite the most honest person I know, my perfect daughter, seven-year-old Elizabeth Buckley Harrold O'Donnell, who remains the most honest person I know so far.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I've met her here on this set -- wonderful young lady. The most honest person of the year: Donald Rumsfeld; says what he means, says what he can tell you, says what he won't tell you -- no double-talk, no evasion, straight talk all the way.

Okay. The most overrated. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Colleges and universities in this country as havens of free thought and free speech. In fact, since September 11th, university and college administrators have been penalizing people, a few of them for speaking out against the American war effort; more often, people who spoke in favor of the U.S.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Make sure you talk to Lynne Cheney, if you have not done so, on this subject matter. She's excellent on it, and she participated in a brilliant program which happens to be called "John McLaughlin One on One." Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Overrated: The Democratic Party of New York; despite a 5-to-1 registration, could not deliver a Democratic mayor in the city.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: The media's effect on public opinion when it comes to something that matters. It doesn't matter what the media did. The American public came to the right judgment about the war on terrorism. It didn't matter what was appearing on television.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: The combat readiness of the Taliban and the al Qaeda. They were said to be powerful enough to keep the American forces fighting for the better part of a year. We saw how strong they were.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Related is this most overrated story: Osama bin Laden's estimate of the backing that he would get from the rest of the Muslim world.

Okay. The most underrated. Michael.

MR. BARONE: George W. Bush during most of the year, but no more.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: General Tommy Franks, the architect of the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan. When the war was going slow at the beginning, people were calling for his resignation. He, I think, has proven himself.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I remember that. I think I read a column to that effect by Robert Novak.

MS. CLIFT: That's not where I got the idea, John. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, saying what you --

MS. CLIFT: Oh, calling for his --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not calling for it, but saying there were a lot of problems.

MR. BLANKLEY: Chairman Dan Burton, who is as tough on the Republican administration as he was on the Democratic administration. He's a fearless congressional investigator.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Mike Bloomberg, who everyone in New York marked as a loser when he started running for mayor. None of the New York pundits had it figured out. They never understood how strong his candidacy was.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excellent pick. The most underrated, I believe, is Richard Riordan, Republican maverick, former mayor of Los Angeles, historically underrated by his own party, now with his eye on Gray Davis's job as governor of California. Riordan will be the next governor of California.

We'll be right back with New Year's resolutions.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New Year's resolutions. Michael.

MR. BARONE: Not to spend too much time surfing the Internet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Not to interrupt Tony Blankley and Michael Barone any more than they interrupt me.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm.

MR. BARONE: Oooh!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: To try to dress more colorfully, if possible.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good. No limits, Tony. Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: To try to muster the courage to go back into the stock market.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My New Year's resolution is double-barreled: First, to do my share to stimulate the economy -- i.e., spend lavishly, especially on my lovely wife; and second, to lay off Bill Clinton in 2002, unless provoked, and then all bets are off.

Happy New Year. Bye bye.

(End of regular program.)

(Begin PBS segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Macro-predictions. Michael, what do you have for us?

MR. BARONE: Well, I think we're going to see great strides towards victory in the war against terrorism, including regime change in Iraq. That means the end of Saddam Hussein and his regime.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you know how that's going to be effected?

MR. BARONE: Well, I don't think it's going to be effected just by negotiation; let's put it that way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you've been predicting April as the strike month.

MR. BARONE: I think it might make sense militarily. This goes beyond my depth of military knowledge, but it might make sense militarily to go in before the summer.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if we do, we'll probably go in alone. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, when you say "go in," you mean with massive ground troops? Do you mean bombing? I mean, what is this little military scenario you have in mind?

MR. BARONE: We know a lot about precision bombing. We know a lot about a lot of people in Iraq --

MS. CLIFT: Precision bombing of?

MR. BARONE: Of a lot of facilities. We also know that there are a lot of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I urge the panelists -- I started this; I should not have done it. I set a bad example. I acknowledge it.

MS. CLIFT: Change of subject.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I apologize and I'm repentant. Now --

MS. CLIFT: Change of subject.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- can we have a purpose of amendment? We will have no more of this until we get through our macro-predictions.

MS. CLIFT: Right. Change of subject that will irritate them just as much. Democrats will take back the House and keep the Senate, and Karl Rove and President Bush will have to triangulate from the White House from a different direction, just the way President Clinton and Dick Morris did in the last administration.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. I'll restrain myself on that one -- (inaudible) -- the economy is going to -- (inaudible) -- and now everything seems to be bullish in the economist community. But go ahead.

MR. BLANKLEY: My macro-prediction is that bio-engineering/cloning issues are going to be forced, by the movement of technology, to be seriously dealt with next year; that politicians who want to put it off indefinitely, who want to (temporize?), are going to be forced to confront the reality that the technology is here. And my guess is that when the dust settles, we'll be moving forward with cloning for bio-engineering/therapeutic purposes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you can go beyond that into a true macro-prediction and say that religion versus science is going to be the issue that will dominate this decade at least, if not the century, and it will be a tortured, difficult fight. What do you think of that? That's not my macro-prediction, by the way. I'm not using up my macro-prediction.

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know ultimately that they become in conflict. I think ultimately --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, come, come, come.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- the same way the Christian church resolved its relationship with science, I think it can continue to do so.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's going to be a terrible blood-letting as far as the (fight?) is concerned.

MR. O'DONNELL: And science will always win. The best-performing stock markets in the world will be in Russia.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The macro-prediction from this chair is that an international criminal court will come into existence before the end of 2001, with 60 countries signing on, claiming global jurisdiction. And in the foreseeable future, it will displace the Hague. What do you think of those apples? And will we have to join it? And is the whole idea as bad as we think? I think most of us --

MS. CLIFT: I think it's a good idea, but the Clinton administration was opposed and I know the Bush administration is opposed. So the U.S. will have no part of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Clinton administration was opposed.

MS. CLIFT: Yes, they were opposed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think sensible people universally are opposed to this idea?

MS. CLIFT: No, I don't. You've got 60 countries getting involved. There are a lot of sensible people out there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but which countries? Dominica.

MS. CLIFT: The Europeans are involved.

MR. BARONE: The answer is that sensible people are opposed to this. And the idea that 60 countries -- you can find 60 countries around the globe, many of these bloody dictatorships and everything, and they're going to come up with cockamamie ideas like, you know, "We're going to sue criminal jurisdiction over United States polluters" or something like that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Iran will inch its way back into the international community. How do you like that? Do you want to talk about that? Or McDonald's will be in Kabul by the end of the year.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think Iran is schizophrenic right now. Part of it is going to move back in, and the clerics are not prepared to do that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about McDonald's?

MR. O'DONNELL: McDonald's is not going to be there this year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It won't be?

MR. O'DONNELL: No, it won't make it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Do you want to place a bet on that?

MS. CLIFT: But before the decade is out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Talk to me privately after the show.

MS. CLIFT: Okay.

(End of PBS segment.)


END