THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: JAMES CARNEY, ELEANOR CLIFT, CLARENCE PAGE AND MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN
TAPED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2002
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 26-27, 2002
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Requiescant in pace.
Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash in Minnesota on Friday while campaigning for reelection, with his wife and daughter, three staff members and both pilots all dead.
Wellstone was 58 years of age and one of the Senate's most liberal members. He was elected in 1990 and was universally respected for his principled idealism.
Question: How would you remember Paul Wellstone, Mort Zuckerman?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think I will remember him as one of the feistiest members in the Senate, and also a tribute to an American political system. He was liberal even by the standards of the liberal state that he represented.
But he was a man of uncommon political integrity, and he is a testimony to the very happy practice in this country of voting for the man and trusting the man, rather than just looking at a man's ideological view of life. And I think that's a wonderful part of our political system.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: He was without senatorial affectation. He was down- to-earth. He was liked by members on both sides of the aisle. And he was a reliably progressive voice who voted his conscience without worrying about what the swing voters were going to think or how might affect future ambitions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jay?
MR. CARNEY: I'll remember him by his absence -- the absence of his voice. There are so few people like Paul Wellstone in national politics today, who, A, are from that liberal end of the spectrum, and B, most importantly, who take the kind of risks he took. He was the only senator -- Democrat -- up for reelection in a tough race who voted against the president's Iraq resolution -- a very risky thing to do politically. And also then the Democratic presidential wanna-bes all voted with the president, I think a lot of them for largely political reasons. And Wellstone was cut from a different cloth, and we'll miss him for that reason.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?
MR. PAGE: Well, I remember a lot, John, and my condolences -- out to the Wellstone family, as I know all of ours do. It's very sad. Here was a man who I remember campaigning on a bus, in a populist fashion; a man who worked for Jesse Jackson back in the '80s and from that decided to run his own campaign; and who, as Jay said, voted his conscience, after a lot of agonizing, against the Iraq resolution, but at the same time was very popular among veterans in his state because he was so good on Veterans' Administration issues and was -- really believed in constituent service. So he'll be missed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that's very well stated -- all of your small eulogies. I feel as you do that he never voted against his conscience. I interviewed him several times, and it amazed me how he would not trim for political reasons at all, so that took courage, too.
Okay, the triple crown. Let us assume, for the purposes of this program, that the current Senate composition remains unchanged until Election Day, notwithstanding the tragic death of Paul Wellstone, which would render that seat vacant. We'll assume that one week from this coming Tuesday, 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and one independent are the slate, with some of those up for re-election. A GOP Senate takeover is possible. In fact, many believe plausible. If so, Republicans would then control two of the three branches of government: Congress, both Senate and White House -- Senate and House, and the White House. With that measure of political clout, what is the -- is likely to happen with the Bush legislative agenda?
To help this group along, we have on the screen a list of possible elements of the Bush dream agenda: taxes. Obviously, the president wants to make permanent his $1.35 trillion tax cut. He would like to eliminate the inheritance tax. He would like to cut capital gains. He would like to eliminate double taxation on corporate dividends. And perhaps replace the tax code with a flat tax -- a value-added tax.
Now, what do you think of that, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, I think that is certainly his dream agenda. I, myself, being a fiscal conservative, would have real difficulties with it. The political possibilities are enormously enhanced if the Republicans control both the House, the Senate and the White House. I still think that will produce a huge political firestorm. The Republicans will use the weakened economy, it seems to me, as a cover for cutting taxes. The Democrats will see a lot of areas where they think money ought to be spent, and not given away in the form of additional tax cuts.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see anything unrealistic, then, in expectation, Clarence, notwithstanding a Republican takeover of both the Senate and the House?
MR. PAGE: Well, we do have the economy, in the larger sense, to worry about, that the public does not feel that confident, unless there's a dramatic change there. Many people feel that it would be irresponsible to have a big tax cut. So, it's not going to be that easy.
MS. CLIFT: If the Republicans take back the Senate, they will do it by a seat or two. And they -- you still have to get over that 60- vote hurdle in the Senate. I think that whole agenda you put up is a non-starter, with one exception, and that's making the ending of the estate tax permanent. I think there's enough sympathy for that on the Democratic side, despite the devastating implications on the Treasury and what it would cost and who it would benefit.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Democrats took over the Senate because of the defection from the Republican ranks of Jim Jeffords. Is there a possible defection from the Republican ranks again?
MR. CARNEY: There is. There's Senator Lincoln Chafee, the most liberal member of the Republican Party, possibly, in the entire Congress. He has never -- you know, sort of said "never say never" about switching parties. I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So then it could tumble again back to the Democrats.
MR. CARNEY: It could tumble again, but he may be reluctant to do it, because you never want to be the second act in that kind of drama, and he may not benefit the way Jeffords has in Vermont, in his home state.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is his complaint? What is his complaint against --
MR. CARNEY: He feels like he hasn't been treated well by the Republican leadership, that he's isolated.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Because he's too moderate for the tastes of Trent Lott?
MR. CARNEY: Because he's too moderate, too liberal. He tends to vote with the Democrats on a lot of issues that matter to the Republicans.
You know, one thing that will make a difference, a huge difference, is that when you talk about Republicans controlling two branches of government, the third branch is the Judiciary, and a Republican majority in the Senate would ensure that the president is able to get his nominees through, conservative nominees, and possibly take over the third branch of government.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to whip through these because it gives us a clearer idea of what could be in store, in part or reasonably close to whole, of what lies ahead if the Republicans do take over with their Bush dream agenda.
Here we have the nationwide limits on medical malpractice claims; that is, tort reform; and $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, tying into that tort reform.
Create a Homeland Security Department. I think we all agree that that Homeland Security Department may even see the light of the day before the end of this year if there is, in fact, an upcoming session; correct? A lame-duck session.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. CARNEY: It would if the Republicans are able to take control because of the seat in Missouri.
MS. CLIFT: Well, and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see tort reform coming up?
MS. CLIFT: Oh, that's such and "oldie but goodie" for the Republicans. And again, I don't think they're going to get 60 votes in the Senate for that. And if you don't have --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking about the super-majority that is sometimes --
MS. CLIFT: Exactly. But you know, what the Republicans are trying to do now is create this sense of inevitability about the election. And I think we're feeding into that as well. But there are still 10 days left here. We've got the sniper behind us, we've got -- the war resolution is voted on; people may start paying attention to issues where Democrats have an advantage.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, lest you feel that --
MS. CLIFT: So the dream list may get foiled. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lest you feel that the design of the composition of this particular program, the subject matter, is my flacking for the Republicans, I want you to know --
MS. CLIFT: Okay.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I want you to know that it could work the other way. Namely, the presentation of an all-Republican government, legislative and White House, could frighten people.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: However, chances are it would help Republicans because of turnout. When Republican see what we're seeing here today -- and I'm going to advance the Bush dream agenda -- it might bring their "salivation level" up higher than the "chill-down-the-spine level" of the Democrats. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: I think it's a scary Halloween agenda! (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It certainly brought your salivation level up, John!
MR. PAGE: That's right -- that's right --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Expedite judicial nominations, subsidize drug costs for Medicare patients. Those two are within reach, are they not?
Let's see that next slide.
Proposed incentives to keep companies at home; Social Security privatization, in part; and a run at ANWR -- that is another effort to get the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge available for the much-needed oil in this country to relieve our overdependence upon Mideast oil.
What about those two slides taken together?
Do you have thoughts on that, Jay?
MR. CARNEY: Well, we talked about the judicial nominations, which I think are in some ways the biggest and most important long- term deal -- effect that an all-Republican government would have.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Including those of the Supreme Court, possibly up to two members retiring, correct?
MR. CARNEY: Two members retiring, I think it's very likely in the next two years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So then the Bush reach moves right into the future, doesn't it?
MR. CARNEY: Right into the future. Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion across the country I think would be in jeopardy. And that might motivate some Democratic voters in 2004. So I think those are the most serious issues.
Environmental issues, not just ANWR, I think will be on the table because a lot of anti-regulatory measures would probably be put forward and passed in the Senate --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We see a couple of those coming up on this slide right now, in fact: fuel mileage requirements made rational. A -- let's see, do we have the right slide there? Proposing -- let's see, Superfund -- there we go. Then the fuel mileage requirements made rational, Superfund, Kyoto global warming, and the Cabinet shake-up.
The Cabinet shake-up may appeal to a lot of Republicans that vote. They might like to see ourselves rid of a team, an economic team that is not providing the support that the president needs to move forward his --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I would say that the likelihood of that, that is the shake-up on the economic side of the administration --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Paul's going to stay?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know. I would just -- I think the likelihood of that is very strong, particularly if the Democrats win, not if the Republicans win. I think there is a great deal of unease about the economic leadership in this country under the current staffing at the Cabinet level and at the White House level.
MS. CLIFT: You know, John, when you say making fuel standards more rational, I assume you mean burn as much oil and fuel as you want. The agenda you put there -- drilling in ANWR, plus privatization of Social Security accounts -- are not really widely popular with a lot of voters. And that, I think, is the danger if the Republicans do take over, that they overreach and they pull a Gingrich and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think the privatization of Social Security will be held until 2004 at the earliest.
MS. CLIFT: Or '05, 2005! (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Final exit question. Make it very fast, please. We're way over.
The exit question is: Will the Republicans take over the Senate?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. CARNEY: No.
MR. PAGE: Thanks to your frightening Democrats and their base --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MR. PAGE: -- because of Social Security privatization, the judicial appointments, for heaven's sakes, John -- ANWR -- I think there's going to be a groundswell --
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. PAGE: -- especially in Florida, some other key states where the Democratic base rises late, like on the last weekend, and you may have done a great service for the Democratic Party, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you think this is going to energize the Democratic base more than the Republican base. So it's three against you and me, Mort, two, that the Republicans will not take over the Senate.
When we come back: What's the most important lesson that we've learned from the sniper assassin?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Sniper terror.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND, POLICE CHIEF CHARLES A. MOOSE: (From videotape.) I, too, want to tell you that my heart goes out to the victims and the families of these shootings.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just two men, and the incredible pain, suffering and havoc they've wrought. Thursday's arrest of the 41-year-old Washington-area sniper, and his 17-year-old accomplice ended the torment that had paralyzed this region for three long weeks. The bloody spree -- 13 victims, 10 dead -- sparked an unprecedented manhunt. Over 1,000 state, local and federal investigators were involved, including state and local police, the FBI, ATF, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Army RC-7 reconnaissance aircraft.
In the sniper's wake: devastated families and friends, school closings, traffic gridlock, persistent, tangible fear.
Question: Like the July 4th Los Angeles airport shootings by Mohamed al Hadayet, an Egyptian, these sniper shootings appear to be the work of a freelance Muslim radical, unconnected to any terrorist network. Should we be alarmed that ordinary Muslims may be taking up bin Laden's call for a Jihad against any American at any place?
MR. CARNEY: I think we have to wait and see. We don't know what John Muhammad's motivations were. There's some talk among people he knew that he was upset after 9/11, would sympathize with the hijackers, but we don't know that that was his motivation. He had a wide history of problems in his marriages, problems -- run-ins with the law, --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But he was --
MR. CARNEY: -- a failed business, but we -- but you're right --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He changed his name -- to Muhammad.
MR. CARNEY: Well, that doesn't make him a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But he worked at the mosques --
MR. CARNEY: -- a terrorist. That's true.
MR. PAGE: Yeah, I think Jay's hitting on something. Though, you know, there's really closer similarities to Timothy McVeigh, another Gulf War veteran, who also, if you ask his old army buddies, will talk about how disgruntled he was over America's foreign policy, et cetera.
Muhammad became a Muslim, evidently, because of the same underlying psychopathic problems that he had, not the other way around. In other words, it was his personal insanity, if you will, that appears to have led him toward the path of defending al Qaeda and murder, as opposed to the other way around.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There's just a small part of the Muslim population that sort of buys into this militant extremism, or the Wahibism, and he may have been a part of it, we don't know. That part of the Muslim community is, it seems to me, a real area of concern in this country and around the world. But the bulk of them are not of that view, and I just don't know enough about it. We --
MS. CLIFT: I don't think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I want -- just want to add this point, Eleanor. I'd like your response to this. Bin Laden had issued his fatwa, his religious decree, which calls for the killing of Americans anywhere, any time. And this sniper worked at the mosque, and I'm just wondering whether it is not felt, in certain radical circles, at the mosque, that this is the way to go.
MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, I don't think his race or his religion had anything to do with this. I think this guy is a random psycho loser.
Now what he did may give ideas to foreign terrorist groups, but he left a note saying, "I am God." No self-respecting Muslim would declare themselves God. And he identified with Nation of Islam, which really is not in simpatico with the other Muslim movements. So I think we really are wrong here if we converge everything.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well --
MS. CLIFT: But the lesson that foreign terrorist groups may get from this is that you don't have to be especially skilled to pull this off and that maybe you can recruit in this country and find sympathetic people. And I think there are some dangers there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you think is the most important lesson of this grim episode?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well --
MS. CLIFT: I think generalizing is very dangerous. I think this is a bizarre individual, and I don't think we necessarily expect a follow-up --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shall I help you?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want me to help you? You want me to help you?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, before you help me, let me just give you my views. (Laughter.) Look, I think it just shows how vulnerable --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excellent.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- a civilized society is to one man or two people with --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: With no infrastructure.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- right -- who could paralyze everything. And it was a cumulative thing. By the time you got through the thing, nobody was going anywhere.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could you see this happening in 10 states or 20 states simultaneously, engineered -- synchronously, engineered by the al Qaeda?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Not only could I see it, but I have to tell you, our intelligence services can see it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Going after soft targets with low-tech -- it could paralyze this country. That is the risk. That's why we cannot --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. If we allow that this level of vulnerability that Mort has described, in parvo, on a small scale -- I mean, we said nothing about potential suicide bombing --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if that's the truth, what about the necessity for citizen mobilization?
MR. PAGE: Thank you, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that the other big --
MR. PAGE: Absolutely. Absolutely. Those are -- the two big lessons to me that come out of this are, number one, don't overdo profiling, because you see all this parade of profilers we saw on cable TV and all, for the last three weeks, proved to be wrong on almost every major count, including the race. They were right about the gender. You know, age, et cetera --
MS. CLIFT: Where is the white van? (Chuckles.)
MR. PAGE: The other thing is, it was ordinary citizens -- it wasn't fancy spy planes --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. PAGE: -- it was ordinary citizens who -- on the phone, who really cracked this case.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should that mobilization be taken as seriously as though this were a fighting war? Full mobilization? Systematic, at all levels?
MR. PAGE: Well, I think I call this --
MR. CARNEY: You have to be careful with that, John, because we don't -- we are vulnerable because we are free, and we should not sacrifice our freedoms because we are vulnerable.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I am not calling for that. You can have a mobilization with no sacrifice of your purest freedoms.
MR. CARNEY: It sounds a little bit like the now-abandoned TIPS program that the Bush administration was pushing, where you had neighbor snitching on neighbor.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What I like is the infrequently enforced CAPPS program, C-A-P-P-S. Do you know what that is?
MR. CARNEY: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't you check that out and put it in Time magazine? (Laughter.)
Exit: Are these sniper victims just as much victims of terrorism as those who died on 9/11 and, therefore, deserve the same monetary compensation as the others received? Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: At this point, it's just a domestic issue of somebody who might have been in touch with --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say no?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Therefore, no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do we say?
MS. CLIFT: One random psycho against an organized attack by al Qaeda doesn't match up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?
MR. CARNEY: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No.
MR. PAGE: Not appropriate at this time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I say yes because I think they are linked to the al Qaeda through the Fatah -- the fatwa.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Fatwa.
MR. PAGE: Fatwa.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Deadlier than ever.
While America's eyes and ears were focused on the sniper, the worldwide terror campaign of al Qaeda and its cohorts raged. In the month of October alone:
October 2, Philippines. An open-air market bomb kills four, including a Green Beret. Abu Sayyaf linked, a group tied to al Qaeda.
October 6, Gulf of Aden, off the Yemen coast. French oil tanker hit by bomb-laden boat kills one in a USS Cole-like terrorist act. Al Qaeda linked.
October 8, Kuwait. Shooting attack on U.S. military training site kills one Marine, wounds a second. Al Qaeda linked.
October 12, Indonesia. Bali resort bombs kill more than 190, mostly tourists, including three Americans. Al Qaeda's main ally in Southeast Asia, Jemaah Islamiyah, suspected.
October 16, Pakistan. Package bombs mailed to Karachi government offices wound nine. Muslim extremists named.
October 17, Philippines. Department store twin bomb blasts kill seven, wound 152. Al Qaeda linked; Abu Sayyaf named.
October 18, Philippines. Manila bus bombing kills three, wounds 20. Al Qaeda's Jemaah Islamiyah suspected.
October 20, Philippines. Bomb-rigged bicycle kills one, wounds 18, desecrating a holy Roman Catholic shrine. Abu Sayyaf linked.
CIA DIRECTOR GEORGE TENET: (From videotape.) The threat environment we find ourselves in today is as bad as it was last summer, the summer before 9/11.
It is serious. They have reconstituted. They're coming after us. They want to execute attacks. You see it in Bali. You see it in Kuwait. They plan in multiple theaters of operation. They intend to strike this homeland again.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Thursday, the FBI issued a new warning that al Qaeda may be planning attacks on the nation's public transit systems; in particular, railroads.
Question: Do these worldwide and at-home attacks, plus the CIA director's grim assessment that we are no safer today than before, than the summer before 9/11, demonstrate that it is too soon to divert our attention from al Qaeda in order to attack Iraq, and that instead, we need to redirect our efforts against al Qaeda?
I ask you, Mort. Quickly.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No. Absolutely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Going after Iraq when al Qaeda is dispersed around the world is a misplacement of resources.
MR. CARNEY: Limited resources, we have to choose our targets carefully.
MR. PAGE: Right. Go for al Qaeda first.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go for al Qaeda first.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has the market hit a real bottom, or is it a false bottom?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a false positive. We have not hit the bottom.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: It's a big bottom -- I think there's still a way to go. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jay?
MR. CARNEY: Markets go up, markets go down. I have no idea.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?
MR. PAGE: It's a false negative -- going up! (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is it's a real bottom.
Next week: Group final election picks on the Senate, the House, the governors and the state legislatures.
END OF REGULAR SEGMENT PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: OED -- Oxford English debased.
"Carjacking," "road rage," "shock jock," "arm candy," "supermodel," "yada yada," "up to 11." These terms can now be found in the once revered "Oxford English Dictionary," the OED. Three thousand-five hundred new words and phrases have been added to the 2002 abridged edition.
"BLT," "the Force," "the Dark Side," "Jedi," "Klingon," "Warp- drive," "Beam us up, Scotty," "instant messaging," "phat," "badass," "spinmeister," "deep throat," and finally, "POTUS," an acronym for "president of the United States."
OED policy is to include terms that have been found in a minimum of five sources over a period of five years. So how does the OED defend these churlish neologisms? The English language is in flux, explain OED editors.
Question: Blair's New Britain -- it has one of the highest violent crime rates in the West, despite the strictest gun control. The royalty has disgraced itself. Hoof-and-mouth disease and mad cow and other freakish afflictions are devastating the land. And now the British can't keep the OED safe from debasement and faddishness. Is it not abundantly clear that United Kingdom standards are in plunging and irreversible decline? I ask you, Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, since the dictionary -- the largest single contributor to the original dictionary was a brilliant man who was in insane asylum for about the last 30 years of his life, I think this sort of continues in the grand tradition. I don't think it debases "The Oxford English Dictionary." (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: No --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you ever heard of a man by the name of Eric Partridge?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I have not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wrote "A Dictionary of Slang."
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And in his somewhat antique prose in the introduction to that, he said that that's supposed to be a companion volume to "The Oxford English Dictionary."
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So why don't they just put it in the "Dictionary of Slang"?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, you know, you have an elitist view --
MS. CLIFT: I think it's fine to reflect language as it is spoken.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh!
MS. CLIFT: Otherwise, we'd be saying "hence" and "wherefore" and --
MR. PAGE: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, why don't we wait to see it will endure? For example, when was the last time you heard the word "groovy"?
MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, can't they take it out -- (inaudible) --
MR. CARNEY: I use it all the time! (Laughter.) John, John --
MR. PAGE: Are you feeling groovy, John?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Groovy! Groovy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happened to that?
MR. PAGE: Don't forget words --
MR. CARNEY: The English language is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These words are going to disappear.
MR. CARNEY: No, not -- certainly not all of them. Most of them will in fact --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will "badass" disappear?
MR. CARNEY: Never.
MR. PAGE: Never. Never. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And by the way, what's "up to 11"?
MR. CARNEY: "Up to 11," I believe, is a reference to a fabulous movie called "This Is Spinal Tap" --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MR. CARNEY: -- a mockumentary about a band where a guy says his amplifier has a volume control that -- (using a British accent) -- "goes up to 11, man!" (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, fine. But that's so esoteric that you don't even know what it means.
MR. CARNEY: I do know what it means.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You barely know what it means. You don't know what it means.
MR. PAGE: You got to be under 35 --
(Cross talk, laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You had --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: You don't know what it means, I think, is the point. (Laughter.)
MR. CARNEY: You're showing your age, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't they wait 20 or 30 years?
MR. CARNEY: Because the English language is an organism that is constantly evolving and growing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think "yada yada" is going to stay?
MS. CLIFT: Actually, I feel pretty groovy now that I know what "up to 11" means. (Laughs.)
MR. CARNEY: What with Nickelodeon showing constant "Seinfeld" reruns, yes. "Yada yada" will endure --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They've taken some of these new terms from technology, but Betamax -- Betamaxes don't even exist anymore. Is Betamax going to be part of their dictionary?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know. I don't think so. But "yada yada" should be.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think?
MR. PAGE: No question about it, as long as those "Seinfeld" reruns keep going on. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you're -- who -- do you want to see all of this, these vulgarisms in there?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I trust the number of people from insane asylums who are contributing to the OED today. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to see them? Yes or no.
MS. CLIFT: I'm okay with that. I'm fine. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to see them?
MR. CARNEY: I'm with it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to see them?
MR. PAGE: I'm cool with it and all that jazz. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Answer: None of you should want to see them; we should preserve our standards.
MR. CARNEY: What are you? French? (Laughter.) ####