THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; BARBARA SLAVIN, USA TODAY; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC
TAPED: FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2005
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JULY 2-3, 2005
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So long, Sandra. Sandra Day O'Connor has served on the Supreme Court for 24 years. Ronald Reagan appointed her to the court. Justice O'Connor was the first woman ever to serve on the court. On Friday, she was saluted by President Bush.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) Throughout her tenure, she has been a discerning and conscientious judge and a public servant of complete integrity. Justice O'Connor's great intellect, wisdom and personal decency have won her the esteem of her colleagues and our country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We on this panel share the president's esteem, and we will build on it in two weeks when we analyze where the court has been and where it is going.
You're ready for that challenge, are you, Pat? MR. BUCHANAN: I am prepared, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're the (beetle?). Do you think you can speak for the group in this regard?
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me say this, John. This is the most important nomination of his second term, to replace O'Connor. It's more important than Condi Rice. What is at stake is the legacy of the Warren court, the social revolution that's been imposed upon this country. She is one of the two swing votes on this court. And the president will be under extraordinary pressure from his base, his party, his people, to nominate an authentic conservative.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated, Pat. Words to live by, once again.
Now, Issue One: No Freedom for the Press.
NORMAN PEARLSTINE (editor-in-chief, Time magazine): (From videotape.) We as journalists are not above the law. It's our job to follow the law just like any other citizen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's the editor-in-chief of Time Magazine. The publisher of The New York Times takes a different view of the law and Time's capitulation. "We are deeply disappointed by Time Inc.'s decision to deliver the subpoenaed records. Our focus is now on our reporter, Judith Miller, and supporting her during this difficult time.
"Reveal your sources or go to jail." That was the order from a federal judge to two reporters, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time Magazine. Their case involves a grand jury's investigation into whether Bush administration officials broke the law by leaking to columnist Robert Novak the name of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame, possibly to embarrass her husband, Joe Wilson, a critic of the Iraq war effort.
Eight months ago, the judge ordered Cooper and Miller to name their sources to the grand jury. They both declined and appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear their case. On Wednesday, the two appeared before the original judge, who repeated his demand: "Name the sources within one week or go to jail." He also threatened huge fines against Time Magazine if Cooper's notes were not produced. Miller and Cooper both said they would accept the jail time, but Cooper could not speak for Time Magazine.
MATT COOPER (Time reporter): (From videotape.) Time has backed me repeatedly to the hilt in a very expensive, long, lengthy legal case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. I think certainly there's no shame and no dishonor in fighting all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and complying with a lawful court order, if that is what Time, in fact, chooses to do. I don't know. That's Time's decision. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The next day, as noted, his editor-in-chief said Time would comply with the court.
Question: What's the case for journalists being allowed to protect their sources from law enforcement? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, to do their work. Journalists do a tremendous service to the country. And they do have a privilege, John, but it's not an absolute privilege. And this thing was argued all the way to the Supreme Court. I believe Pearlstine did the right thing. I think the two journalists are honorable in saying personally they will go to jail. He did the right thing. You've got a court case here, and I think the prosecution is -- I think it is in the right, and I think the Supreme Court decided it rightly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That was well-stated, but I think you could have summed it up better if you had said what's at stake is accountability in government. Would you agree with that, Barbara Slavin?
MS. SLAVIN: I think it's a very disturbing decision. I think it's going to put a real chill on all of us. We're already suffering because of the issue of anonymous sources, and many of our sources are now feeling that they can't speak to us because we have to name them or under pressure to name them. This case, on top of that, is going to make it even more difficult to do the sort of work that we need to do. And I think it's unfortunate that Time decided to do this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leakers expose incompetence and wrongdoing, and leakers want to be protected as a source. Isn't that good logic for maintaining sources?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, as a general proposition. And the kind of conversations that I and most journalists have in town on a daily basis on background won't be affected by this. This is a case where a crime has been committed and it ended up in a grand jury.
Most of the time we're talking to politicians who are saying rude things about each other and pushing their policy. They're not going to stop talking to us because of this. You know, if one case every 10 years comes up which results in a federal crime regarding national security and which goes to a grand jury, I don't think that's going to have a chilling effect.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the crime that's been committed here?
MR. O'DONNELL: Well, the crime is probably perjury. Valerie Plame probably does not fit the statute on covert agents. And so that's really what's at issue here. I don't think Time Magazine, as a publicly-traded company, had any real choice. They were going to be hit with very substantial fines, much higher than $1,000 a day. I don't know how you can stand by and say you're protecting stockholders if you're defying Supreme Court orders. What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails within Time Magazine are handed over to the grand jury, is the ultimate revelation, probably within the week, of who his source is. And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this, but the source for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time Magazine is going to do with the grand jury.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If any of the sources come forward and declare themselves as such, will that save Judith Miller?
MR. O'DONNELL: Well, Judith Miller is in a slightly different situation and her case is not identical to Cooper's. She's only facing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose the sources come forward.
MR. O'DONNELL: She's only facing about 100 days in jail.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose Karl Rove comes forward and says, "I was the source. I was one of them." And the other source comes forward.
MR. O'DONNELL: What's going to happen is that the prosecutor has said that the Time Magazine e-mail traffic will probably eliminate the problem for Matt Cooper. And he has also suggested it might eliminate it for Miller at the same time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can anyone answer my question? If the sources come forward, will that free Miller?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. Miller will have to testify anyhow, because he's right; it's probably a perjury case.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, then it becomes --
MR. BUCHANAN: It's a contradiction case.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The whole question becomes moot, because the sources are revealed. MR. BUCHANAN: No, it's a contradiction case.
MR. O'DONNELL: That's right.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's no longer simply a source case. John, the problem with the journalists here is the whistleblower is Wilson. He came out and blew the whistle. He was being slimed by having his wife exposed as an agent. So what these journalists are doing is not covering up a whistleblower who's bringing the truth. They're covering up someone who may have committed a serious crime.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the serious crime?
MR. O'DONNELL: The logical sequence --
MR. BUCHANAN: The serious crime is if you --
MR. BLANKLEY: It's a confidential agent.
MR. BUCHANAN: You've blown a CIA agent.
MR. BLANKLEY: If it happened --
MR. BUCHANAN: This isn't Philip Agee --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, her name had been published in a column written by one of our colleagues.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, Philip Agee --
MS. SLAVIN: Do we know what happened to Novak?
MR. BUCHANAN: Philip Agee --
MR. O'DONNELL: The logical --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute.
MR. O'DONNELL: We know what happened with Novak. The logical and only logical sequence with Novak, which is why he hasn't said a word, is that he has cooperated fully with the prosecutor and given the prosecutor his source. The prosecutor now wants to know, is that the same source that Matt Cooper had?
MR. BUCHANAN: But Novak wrote a column covering his sources. He wrote a column saying, "I asked the question. Nobody pushed this information on me. Somebody just said they'd heard this." All this stuff Novak had in his column exonerates whoever his source was. He did a great job covering his source.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's what I'm not hearing. I'm hearing from O'Donnell that he bought his way out of it by surrendering the names of Miller and Matthew Cooper. MR. O'DONNELL: Of course. There's no other logical --
MR. BUCHANAN: My guess is -- and I don't know -- my guess is Novak called the guys and said, "Here's what I'm going to say. Can I say that?" And they probably said yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's President Bush doing in this escapade? Is he involved at all?
MR. O'DONNELL: He's not involved at all, except to say that he wants to know who this is. And he really desperately wanted to know who this is, enough to appoint a special prosecutor. When he finds out it's Karl Rove, the question becomes, what does the president do then? And how many minutes are left in Karl Rove's job at the White House?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If he's a true Texan, he'd want to keep the lovely lady out of jail, would he not? Judith Miller.
MR. BLANKLEY: Which is the lovely lady?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why would he not want to pardon her?
MR. O'DONNELL: Oh, that's premature. There's nothing --
MR. BUCHANAN: That's a little premature, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is it premature?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: After she's sentenced.
MR. O'DONNELL: She's not going to be convicted of anything, first of all. It's a contempt citation.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's going to interfere with the Supreme Court and a federal judge is going to send her to jail, and he's going to let her out? He would look like he's covering up a crime.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Other pardons are for far more important, significant --
MS. SLAVIN: Not journalists.
MR. BUCHANAN: Not in a contempt of court, which he's --
MR. O'DONNELL: The president doesn't believe in shield rules.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, let's agree that he could pardon her, could he not?
MR. O'DONNELL: I don't think so, not --
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would that be bad politics? It would be bad politics or good politics?
MR. BUCHANAN: It would look like he's covering up the source, who is one of his aides.
MR. BLANKLEY: Plus the fact that it wouldn't win him a lot of points with most of the journalists in town, because she's not the most popular journalist in town.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what does that mean? She was the first -- she was on the --
MR. BLANKLEY: You asked the politics of it. He wouldn't be buying himself a whole lot of credit with the Washington press corps.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's very popular with me. She did the pilot of this program and she did the first few programs.
MR. O'DONNELL: Look, what the prosecutor is looking for now is corroboration on what Novak surely has already testified his source to be. That corroboration probably exists in the Time e-mails that indicate that it's Karl Rove.
MR. BUCHANAN: Those two people can probably say, "Smith told me," and Smith probably told an FBI agent, "I didn't do it."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Do we need a federal shield law for reporters?
MS. SLAVIN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat Buchanan. MR. BUCHANAN: I think you need a limited shield law, but it would not cover this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Barbara.
MS. SLAVIN: Yeah, I think we do. And I think it should cover this. I think reporters need to be able to tell their sources that they will be guaranteed and that they will not be revealed, no matter what.
MR. BUCHANAN: Even if they're committing crimes?
MR. BLANKLEY: That's the limitation on the privilege, just as a lawyer --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is the question of the greater good and the lesser good. There's the question of the greater evil and the lesser of two evils, you know?
MR. BLANKLEY: But even a lawyer --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And that comes into play, the proportionality. What do you gain by it? What you gain by it is accountability from the federal government. You expose corruption. That's what leakers do.
MR. BUCHANAN: You mean, journalists --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're going to chill the leakers.
MR. BUCHANAN: Journalists can cover up crimes, John?
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me get into this. Lawyer-client privilege --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You could take an action, just as you can in killing in self-defense. So, too, you can argue through the principle of proportionality and all the other good principles that the Jesuits trained you in.
MR. BLANKLEY: Look at the other privileges. Even lawyer-client privilege has a limitation.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
MR. BLANKLEY: He can't be participating in a crime. I'm in favor of a privilege for journalists, but not regarding criminality.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say to those states that have shield laws? How many states are there?
MR. BLANKLEY: All but -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many states have shield laws?
MR. O'DONNELL: Forty-nine.
MR. BLANKLEY: It's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.
MR. BLANKLEY: It's 49 plus D.C. Let me tell you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that? What do you think of that?
MR. BLANKLEY: I'll tell you what I think of that. That all happened after a Supreme Court decision. We kind of wandered around about chilling effect on journalism, so all the states rushed to legislate so they wouldn't have to have any litigation in the future.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So they're all in the bag. Is that it?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I didn't say that at all. I said they followed a Supreme Court opinion.
MR. O'DONNELL: There should be a federal shield law that is not an absolute privilege for reporters but allows for a proper balancing of interests of the value of the information, the seriousness of the information, versus the value of keeping the source secret.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, see, that's exactly right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is misbehavior on the part of the press in using unnamed sources and keeping them secret.
MR. O'DONNELL: Sure, there is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is. But that can be corrected. It is important to have a federal shield law for the obvious overriding good that's involved in having one, and that is the exposure of corruption and incompetence.
Issue Two: Iran, I Won.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (Iranian president-elect): (From videotape.) Concerning the United States, the policy of the Islamic republic has been announced repeatedly. Our people today, with confidence and self-belief, must set on the path of development, because on this path, they do not have any apparent need for the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president of Iran last weekend. The 49-year-old was finishing his third year as mayor of Tehran. In the campaign, he ran as a populist, blasting corruption, blasting unemployment. He has a Ph.D. in civil engineering, which he taught at Tehran University, lives in a modest home, and above all, he is a layman, not a mullah.
While in college, Ahmadinejad supported the ousting of the American-backed shah. Revolutionaries then took 52 American hostages, November 1979, and held them for 444 days. They were freed on the day of President Reagan's inauguration.
On Thursday, five of the hostages said that they think Ahmadinejad was one of their captors. Here's one.
RET. ARMY COL. CHARLES SCOTT: (From videotape.) When I spotted him, I stopped dead in my tracks and said to my wife, "I know that guy. He was one of them."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Iranian government strongly denies Ahmadinejad's involvement. And a former FBI photo expert challenged the hostages' claim.
GERRY RICHARDS (former FBI photo expert): (From videotape.) From what we can see right here today, it's more likely than not that they are not the same people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Bush administration questioned the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's election before the hostage-taking allegations were made, which may have the effect of setting the stage for a confrontation over Iran's nuclear program. Ahmadinejad is sticking with Iran policy.
PRESIDENT-ELECT AHMADINEJAD: (From videotape.) Taking into consideration our national interests, and while fulfilling the rights of the Iranian nation to use peaceful nuclear technology, we will continue the current dialogue. But confidence-building must be mutual.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is it a hopeful sign that the new president is saying that we should continue the dialogue on nuclear energy? Barbara.
MS. SLAVIN: Well, it's a hopeful sign. But you have to understand that he is not a very powerful individual. The most powerful individual in Iran remains Supreme Leader Ali Khameini. If Rafsanjani, who was the main competitor here, had won, we might have seen a sort of balance-of-power issue. We might have seen Rafsanjani and the people who support him trying to take some more power away from the supreme leader, increase the power of the presidency and of the elected officials.
With this gentleman, I'm afraid what we're going to see is a monolith. We're going to see the supreme leader's office, the legislature, the presidency, the courts, all in the hands of the most conservative factions in Iran.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he'll be rolled.
MS. SLAVIN: He'll be rolled. He may not have very much to say about foreign policy, because that has been under the supreme leader. Now, as far as these nuclear negotiations are concerned, those have been going on with three European countries over the past year. They've been going on under the leadership of Ali Khameini.
The key question is, does he replace some of the negotiators? Are some of these people going to be replaced after they've spent the last year or so getting to know the Europeans? They're fairly urbane. They're people who've lived abroad. One of them was an ambassador to Germany for a number of years.
So will the new president have any say in terms of that personnel lineup? If he does, then we may see a change in policy. Otherwise I don't think we will.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've been to Iran five times.
MS. SLAVIN: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Congratulations on your piece on Rafsanjani, which was the best interview of him that I think any journalist has seen.
MS. SLAVIN: Thank you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But is there something about this new man that suggests to you that he might not be rollable?
MS. SLAVIN: I still find it hard to believe. I mean, first of all --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's very outspoken.
MS. SLAVIN: Yeah. Iran --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also, there is the strong vote that he got which took, I think, all journalists by storm. You were over there. I was over there recently myself, and Rafsanjani was A-1. And the only people near him were the police chief and Moin. MS. SLAVIN: It was a protest vote against Rafsanjani, who's considered to be corrupt. He's considered to have stolen a great deal of money; his family. Now, that was not a positive vote for this gentleman, in my view. And he is someone who has always been at the lower rungs. He has been a henchman. You made reference to the fact perhaps he was in the hostage crisis, perhaps not. If he was, he was certainly not one of the leaders. I know, because I know the names of the leaders. He was one of the lower flunkies. Will he now suddenly assume great power? I doubt it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, hold on, Pat. Rumsfeld speaks. Rumsfeld characterized Ahmadinejad as a, quote, "young fellow," and then went on.
DEFENSE SECRETARY DONALD RUMSFELD: (From videotape.) He is no friend of democracy. He is no friend of freedom. He is a person who is very much supportive of the current ayatollahs, who are telling the people of that country how to live their lives.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The British government's response to Ahmadinejad's win was less unbuttoned.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: (From videotape.) We expect Iran to honor its obligations. And we have tried to find a way through the impasse over nuclear capability, and we've done it in good faith, working with France and Germany and with the support of the United States. We'll continue to do it. But we need a willing partner on the other side.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Blair went on to say that we should watch him closely. That's as close as he got to criticizing this new president. Which approach is more constructive, Rumsfeld or Blair's? I ask you, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: We should deal with this character. I don't care how thuggish he is. Look, Nixon went and dealt with Mao Zedong, who 20 years before was murdering American prisoners. We just had the guy from North Vietnam in the White House. They were murdering American POWs.
This guy may be a thug. He's a hardliner. But, look, Iran has a vital interest in not getting into a confrontation and war with us, and we've got a vital interest in trying to see that they don't get nuclear weapons. You can talk to these people, criminals and others. We've been doing it for a long, long time. And I think we ought to be open to communication with this guy.
And frankly, politically it is not bad. "The worse, the better" is an old revolutionary slogan. These right-wingers over there -- and he's a red-stater for the Iranians -- are going to make themselves very, very unpopular because they've got it all now, and that system can't run. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They hate the mullahs. He's also a layman. He's not a mullah.
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, I think there's one -- I agree, obviously he should talk. There's no point in not talking with people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you say to Rumsfeld?
MR. BLANKLEY: I didn't hear every --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear what he said?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. Look, the truth is that this helps clarify, for a lot of muddle-headed people, that there's not going to be any reasonable expectation of getting an accord. You know, if he turns out to have been a terrorist, that'll be another piece of evidence.
The fact is that when people were thinking that Rafsanjani was going to come in and he was a moderate, people could start thinking maybe there was a chance. I think the reality is that we're facing a hard, tough administration in Iran and they're not likely to give up their nuclear capacity. And the sooner the Europeans understand that, the sooner we can have a common policy to try to fight that.
MS. SLAVIN: Tony's hit on it here, because he is a neoconservative in the Iranian context. And what he's doing is strengthening our neoconservatives. Any tendency in the Bush administration to reach out and engage, now it will be very easy for them to say, "Oh, no, we don't deal with people like that. Oh, no, we don't deal with hostage-holders," whether he was or he wasn't.
So I'm afraid what we see here is a giant excuse being given to the Bush administration, not that it needed it, not to engage with Iran, to leave it to the Europeans and to have a full expectation that the Europeans will fail.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we listen to what he said? And he read this, so he's obviously thought it through. And he's well-trained. He's got a Ph.D. in civil engineering and he teaches at the university. Okay, he said this: "Taking into consideration our national interests, and while fulfilling the rights of the Iranian nation to use peaceful nuclear technology, we will continue the current dialogue. But confidence-building must be mutual." Isn't that quite civilized?
MR. O'DONNELL: That's a very, very reasonable statement. I agree with Pat that you've got to approach this thing in a completely open way now. And why not approach it with a high expectation of him? Why not approach it optimistically? Tactically it's the same thing. The strategic discussion ends up being exactly the same. But, you know, why start giving them the back of your hand, you know, from the first minute, as this administration is inclined to do?
MR. BUCHANAN: It is good news that he is saying that, look, and Iran is saying he was not involved in the hostage-taking. They seem to be trying to make that point. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They don't want him to have been.
MR. BUCHANAN: They were saying, in effect, "You can deal with us" when they say that.
MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah.
MS. SLAVIN: There's one footnote to this, which is, if he had really been there or important in it, it would have been something that would have been put on his resume. (Laughter.) He would have advertised it. I was there --
MR. BUCHANAN: That would have been a real vote-getter in downtown Tehran. (Laughs.)
MS. SLAVIN: -- in 2000. In 1999 I interviewed some of the former hostage-holders. They're proud of it. It's something they talk about it. So it's a little odd. The whole story is odd. Why should it just come out now?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The EU three. Who comprises the EU three?
MS. SLAVIN: Britain, Germany, France.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the United States wants the EU three, this administration, to succeed?
MS. SLAVIN: I think they want them to continue a process for a while, at least until things hopefully improve in Iraq.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If they make a pariah, if they're successful, which I'm drawing upon Rumsfeld's words to illustrate, is that because they want to kill the opportunity for them to proceed with civilian nuclear electricity? And they want that, even though they have lots of oil, because they want to sell their oil, because that's the principal source of their income, and they're also into petrochemicals, as you well know, which is also quite lucrative. So my question is, doesn't all that make sense from the point of view of carrying on negotiations and joining the EU wholeheartedly?
MS. SLAVIN: I think the administration will be careful not to have any daylight with the EU three for a while. And really, the onus is now on Iran in a way; well, not yet. Sorry. The Europeans are going to present a package to the Iranians the end of July, beginning of August; their offer of civilian nuclear technology, trade, other assistance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And enrichment, up to a point in the cycle.
MS. SLAVIN: No enrichment, no.
MR. BUCHANAN: Nope. It goes. MS. SLAVIN: They will say, "We will guarantee" --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In point of fact, that's moot, because the deal has been cut with Putin to supply the enriched uranium.
MS. SLAVIN: That's right. That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shouldn't that pacify the United States, so to speak, for a while, for a year?
MS. SLAVIN: But the Iranians insist they want to have some sort of capacity.
MR. BUCHANAN: They want to enrich themselves.
MS. SLAVIN: They want to have the fuel cycle.
MR. BUCHANAN: They will not give that up.
MS. SLAVIN: So it's up to the Iranians to say, "We won't accept." If they don't accept, then we go to the Security Council.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: High Court predictions. Who's it going to be to succeed O'Connor? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the real battle is going to be, John, whether the president of the United States goes with a moderate to get a broad base there or whether he goes with a conservative.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know this.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think Michael Luttig of the fourth circuit is a tremendously respected, strict constructionist. It would be a great battle, and I think he would go right through. They might have to use the nuclear option. But I think the president has got to do that. Otherwise his political base will be demoralized.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Barbara, have you given this thought?
MS. SLAVIN: I have to confess, foreign policy is my area. I have no clue. And I am in mourning for Sandra Day O'Connor.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You knew her?
MS. SLAVIN: Didn't know her personally, but I think she did a terrific job on the court. And I think she will really be missed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A wonderful lady. Do you have any thoughts on who will succeed Sandra?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think it's pretty likely to be Luttig. That's the best bet. And if it's Gonzales or someone like him, that'll be -- Bush will have a break with his conservative base as bad as his father's was when he broke the "no new taxes" pledge. It's a real crisis moment if the president doesn't go with a solid conservative.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The conservative-liberal balance in the court is important. But what engages me is the equilibrium between states' rights and Washington's rights. Okay? Now, over the course of this court, particularly in the last half -- that is, the last decade -- the last half of Rehnquist's reign, the court has pitched in favor of Washington over the states. Do you believe that to be the case? And does it worry you, since you spend a lot of your time in California and you've been vaunting California, if not lobbying for it on this program?
MR. O'DONNELL: I don't yet need any medical marijuana, so I'm not worried about it that much. But --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That is --
MR. O'DONNELL: This appointment is not --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a shift towards Washington.
MR. O'DONNELL: It's not up to the president. It's up to John McCain. It's up to the gang of seven Republicans, led by John McCain in the Senate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Happy 4th. Bye-bye!