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LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK
Pelosi Suffers First Defeat as new House Speaker; A Discussion of Immigration, Iraq
Aired November 19, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR, LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: Tonight the Democrats have a new leader and one thing is certain, orthodoxy isn't the Democrats' problems. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi chosen as speaker. Her nominee for majority leader loses out. What does that mean? We'll be finding out.
And we'll have complete coverage. Just one day after Congressional Democrats told General John Abizaid they want troops reduced in Iraq, General Abizaid sends more than 2200 of our Marines to Iraq. We'll have that story and I'll be talking with the slate.com columnist who coined the term Lou Dobbs Democrats to describe many of those who were victorious on October 7th. He's also the man that calls me an economic isolationist. I'll be explaining to him why I'm an independent populist.
Good evening, everybody. The Democrats this week elected their new leadership for the 110th session of Congress. That begins in January and as expected, the Democratic Party selected California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to be the first female speaker of the House of Representatives. But Pelosi's candidate for majority leader, well, it didn't go Nancy's way. Dana Bash reports.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A moment in history. Democrats unanimously elected the first woman to be speaker of the House, but with her victory also a stinging defeat. Nancy Pelosi put her prestige on the line in backing Iraq war critic and longtime friend John Murtha to be her number two majority leader. But Murtha lost to Steny Hoyer in a blowout.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER-ELECT: Steny came out a big winner today. It was a stunning victory for him. We've had our debate. We've had our disagreements in that room. Let the healing begin.
BASH: A plea for healing just 10 days after triumphantly seizing control of Congress will proof to many Democrats their new leader made a major strategic blunder even before being handed the speaker's gavel.
REP. ALLEN BOYD (D) FLORIDA: I think the caucus, Dana, is a fracture now not because of the race, but because of Speaker-Elect Pelosi's heavy involvement in the race. BASH: Some Democrats complained about strong-arm tactics like suggesting committee assignments were at stake in the vote.
REP. RON KIND (D) WISCONSIN: We're all grown-ups around here and sometimes elbows are thrown from time (ph). It shouldn't surprise too many people.
BASH: Pelosi said she had no regrets and attributed her support for Murtha to his prominence in making Iraq a central election issue.
PELOSI: To change the debate in this country in a way that I think gave us this majority in this November.
BASH: Murtha took defeat in stride and promised his focus on the war would continue.
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D) PENNSYLVANIA: My congratulations to the other leaders and look forward to working with them to redeploy our troops and to get these troops out of Iraq.
BASH: Hoyer has been Pelosi's deputy for four years, but they have been rivals. She beat him in a head-to-head leadership race back in 2001. In the end, Hoyer's feverish campaigning and fund-raising for colleagues won him a victory by a wide margin.
REP. STENY HOYER (D) MAJORITY LEADER-ELECT: In my opinion, it was not that somebody was rejected today. It was that a team that had been successful was asked to continue to do that job.
BASH (on-camera): Despite pledges of unity all around, many Democrats say the overwhelming vote against Pelosi's pick for majority leader should be a signal to her. In the words of one Democratic lawmaker, she needs to realize that she must expand her close circle of advisers and be more open to listening to fellow Democrats who are not her natural allies. Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
DOBBS: The Republicans also elected their House leadership this week the GOP choosing John Boehner to be minority leader. Boehner succeeds Dennis Hastert as the ranking GOP member in Congress. It will be certainly a Democratically controlled House when the new Congress convenes in January. Congressman Roy Blunt of Missouri will keep his post as Republican whip.
Appearing before Congress this week, General John Abizaid, the top commander for Iraq argued that more U.S. troops won't make much of a difference, but the very next day he approved sending more than 2,000 of our Marines to Iraq to shore up existing troops in the dangerous al Anbar province. Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two big ideas for a change of course in Iraq get a big thumbs down from the top U.S. military commander for the Persian Gulf region who wants no marching orders from Congress.
GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, U.S. CENTRAL COMMANDER: At this stage in the campaign, we'll need flexibility to manage our force and to help manage the Iraqi force. Force caps and specific timetables limit that flexibility.
MCINTYRE: Bad idea number one argues General John Abizaid, is the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops within four to six months advocated by some Democrats like incoming Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin.
SEN. CARL LEVIN, ARMED SERVICES COMTE VICE CHMN: That is not precipitous. It is a responsible way to change the dynamic in Iraq, to stop the march down the path to full blown civil war on which the Iraqis are now embarked.
MCINTYRE: But Abizaid insists any withdrawal now would simply make things worse.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D) CONNECTICUT: What do you believe General would be the effect on the sectarian violence in Iraq?
ABIZAID: I believe it would increase.
MCINTYRE: Bad idea number two says the general, adding more U.S. troops to restore stability in the short term as advocated by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
ABIZAID: I do not believe that more American troops right now is the solution to the problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need less American troops?
ABIZAID: I believe that the troop levels need to stay where they are. We need to put more American capacity into Iraqi units to make them more capable in their ability to confront the sectarian problem.
MCINTYRE: Abizaid advocates essentially putting the current strategy on steroids, adding more U.S. trainers and advisers, kicking the turnover to Iraqi forces into a higher gear. He thinks the current goal of full transition to Iraqi control in 12 to 18 months can be done faster. How much faster, he doesn't know. It's a middle ground position that infuriated Senator John McCain, who could not understand how more U.S. troops wouldn't help bring the violence under control.
ABIZAID: Senator, I believe in my heart of hearts that the Iraqis must win this battle with our help. We can put in 20,000 more Americans tomorrow and achieve a temporary effect.
MCINTYRE: And a second Senate session the generals heading the CIA and DIA painted a gloomy picture, the CIA director citing formidable obstacles facing Iraq, including what he called the Iranian hand stoking violence even between rival Shia groups. And al Qaeda, which despite the loss of many leaders he says, still has a pretty deep edge. GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, DIRECTOR, CIA: We are dealing with deep historical forces. It will require patience and wisdom, as well as just power to deal with them. This will unfortunately, be a long struggle.
MCINTYRE: General Abizaid made it clear that he believes in the long run those troops, extra troops, wouldn't make a difference, and he is sticking with his strategy of keeping the current policy but turning up the speed. Lou?
DOBBS: Jamie, those troops, those additional 2200 Marines being sent to al Anbar province, we were told just months ago that the new strategy was to secure Baghdad and that cost, of course troop levels in other parts of Iraq. Is this a shift in strategy now to try to move back into al Anbar and try to secure that area that's been so resistant to U.S. and Iraqi government control?
MCINTYRE: Part of it is a reaction to what General Abizaid saw and heard from Marines in that area, about 20,000 in al Anbar who told them essentially they don't have enough troops. He told them that Baghdad continues to be the priority. He says you can't have two main priorities, but he did in response to that let go what was a force of Marines that were being held in reserve to help out in the short term. But again, he believes that they've got to secure Baghdad first and that they can't have a frontline basically in every part of the country.
DOBBS: Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon. Thank you Jamie.
President Bush in Vietnam said his visit 30 years after the Vietnam war is proof that two nations can reconcile and move beyond their past. The president was there to discuss so-called free trade. But parallels drawn between the Vietnam war and the war in Iraq dominated. Ed Henry has the report.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the Vietnam President Bush wants to highlight at the Asian Pacific economic summit -- hustle, bustle, Asia's fastest growing market for U.S. products. But it's still an awkward time for the president to visit Vietnam, evoking painful memories of another polarizing war just as he's trying to chart a new course in Iraq.
ROBERT DALLEK, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: (INAUDIBLE) is so palpable in the sense that we are now three years and eight months later with a sense of being trapped there, caught in a quagmire.
HENRY: Even before arriving here in Hanoi, the president was asked about the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, an inevitable question that may overshadow this economic summit.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Support for our troops is strong here in the United States. And it wasn't during the Vietnam era. So I see differences, I really do.
HENRY: But just last month, the president did see one similarity between the two wars. Asked about "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman's contention the recent spate of violence in Iraq may be the jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive, the president said that could be right. The 1968 Tet offensive turned Americans against the Vietnam War by undercutting President Lyndon Johnson's rosy claims about the conflict. Presidential historian Robert Dalleck, the highly respected Johnson biographer says Mr. Bush and his team are now in the same danger zone.
DALLECK: They were no longer credible. They kept saying things are going well, mission accomplished, we're making progress and after a while, people look at the realities and they don't see this progress. And it reminds them again of the kind of rhetoric and illusionary thinking that we had in Vietnam.
HENRY: Under fire, Mr. Bush has now pushed out much maligned Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and is vowing to take a close look at the upcoming report from the bipartisan Iraq study group, which may call for a drastic shift in U.S. strategy, signs perhaps that this president is starting to hear the echoes of Vietnam. Ed Henry, CNN, Hanoi.
DOBBS: President Bush wraps up his trip to Asia with a visit to Indonesia. President Bush will be back in the United States this Monday.
Coming up next here, a Texas town joins a rising number of American cities and communities taking action on their own to control illegal immigration while the Federal government does nothing. We'll have that report.
Mexico blasting the United States, saying U.S. border patrol agents in pursuit of drug smugglers have the temerity to cross the border without permission. The U.S. border patrol says they're all wet. We'll have that report.
And the United States Navy may be ignoring a serious threat from China. We'll have that report as well. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Tonight communities all across the country are enacting legislation cracking down on illegal immigration because the Federal government refuses to do so. U.S. border patrol agents trying to enforce border security being accused now of violating Mexican sovereignty. Bill Tucker reports tonight on efforts in Farmers Ranch (ph), Texas, a suburb of Dallas, to stop the financial burden created by illegal immigration in that community. Casey Wian reports on the Mexican government's criticism of the United States over what it calls an incursion by U.S. border patrol agents into Mexican territory. We begin tonight with Bill Tucker. Bill?
BILL TUCKER, CNN: Lou, those measures passed unanimously, but they did not pass quietly.
TUCKER (voice-over): Hundreds showed up. The city council chamber of Farmers Branch, Texas, packed Monday night. While it was orderly inside, passions were loud outside and tempers ran hot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a lot of people here today fighting for justice
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no objection to them being here. I just want them to follow the law and to do what's right. And that's to become legal citizens.
TUCKER: Despite the promises of an expensive court challenge, the city council of Farmers Branch approved three separate actions unanimously. The city signed an agreement with immigration enforcement to train its police in immigration enforcement. English is now the official language of the city. And as of January 12th, landlords will face fines up to $500 if they rent to illegal aliens.
TIM O'HARE, DEPUTY MAYOR: This ordinance will benefit every single person that lives in this city now or may live in this city in the future regardless of race, color, creed or natural origin so long as they are here in the country legally.
TUCKER: Advocates for illegal aliens quickly promised a legal fight.
DOMINGO GARCIA: This is un-American, unchristian, un-Texan. We're going to fight it and we're going to go to the courts and we're going to win.
TUCKER: About two dozen cities nationally have drafted similar ordinances. And all of those cities that have adopted or considered adopting their ordinances reluctantly. They say they've been pushed to do so Lou, because the Federal government has failed to enforce immigration policy and they're the ones who pay the price.
DOBBS: Do you suppose Congress will ever wake up to the very idea that communities are forced to do this because they simply are not demanding that their laws be enforced? It's a rhetorical question, I assure you. Bill Tucker, nice job. Thank you.
Later here, I'll be joined by Janet Murguia, the head of the National Council of La Raza, Bay Buchanan, chairman of the Team America political action committee. They'll be debating the issue of illegal immigration and Federal enforcement of our immigration laws.
The Mexican government is investigating what it calls a possible incursion by U.S. border patrol agents into Mexico. Some local Mexican officials are condemning the United States, yet Mexican agents have violated U.S. sovereignty hundreds of times over the past decade. Casey Wian has our report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last Thursday, border patrol agents from Fabens (ph), Texas, and other area stations followed this pickup truck loaded with nearly a ton of marijuana. The smugglers fled into Mexico and abandoned the stolen American truck in the Rio Grande with its front wheels on the Mexican side. Border patrol agents tried to pull the vehicle back into U.S. territory. Then Mexican law enforcement agents arrived and confronted the group of 15 to 20 border patrol agents and supervisors. Guns were drawn, but no shots were fired. Mexican police dragged the vehicle out of the Rio Grande and seized all but 300 pounds of the drugs which the border patrol had already collected.
TJ BONNER, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: These are drugs that illegally enter into the United States, people who illegally entered into the United States. We had every right to chase them and to try and bring them to justice.
WIAN: Still Mexico's attorney general says it's investigating the probable incursion of North American police into Mexican territory. Mexican Federal officials tell CNN they're likely to drop the matter if they find the agents were in fact busting a drug load. However the city of Juarez is condemning the United States for violating Mexican sovereignty, though that's exactly what Mexican law enforcement officers have done more than 200 times over the past decade, in some cases protecting drug loads, not trying to apprehend them. Even so, Juarez is demanding the Mexican Federal government lodge an official complaint with the United States. Fabens, Texas is where former border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean tried to apprehend a Mexican drug smuggler last year and received lengthy prison terms for their efforts. Union officials are worried the agents involved in this latest incident could also face consequences for their efforts to try to stop a drug load. Meanwhile, the border patrol says it is investigating the case, as it does with all cross-border incursions. Lou.
DOBBS: All right. Casey, thank you very much, Casey Wian from Los Angeles.
Coming up here next, folks at the Vatican have a double standard when it comes to putting up walls. We'll have that story and explain.
Also concerns linger about communist China's massive military buildup. And this week we found out that a Chinese diesel submarine can successfully stop one of our most advanced aircraft carriers.
I'll be talking with a slate.com columnist who said many of the winners on Election Day were what he calls Lou Dobbs Democrats. Stay with us as we discuss populism and politics with Jacob Weisberg.
DOBBS: New evidence of the challenge to the United States from communist China. The U.S. Navy is trying now to downplay as best it can, a confrontation between a Chinese submarine and the "USS Kitty Hawk." The commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet insists that communist China is not a military threat. Christine Romans reports.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Chinese military band playing for the crew of the "USS Juno," 400 American sailors getting ready for joint exercises with the communist Chinese. For the cameras, the U.S. Navy promising friendship and cooperation.
ADM. GARY ROUGHEAD, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET: It is very important that as two professional and capable navies that we work together.
ROMANS: This barely two weeks after a Chinese assault class diesel powered submarine like this one, stalked the "USS Kitty Hawk" surfacing the Navy says close to the carrier group before finally being spotted by Navy aircraft. The commander of the Pacific fleet says China is not a threat, but says he would like to know more about its submarine capabilities. Joint exercises the Navy says are vital to preventing any misunderstanding.
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN": The problem is not understanding or misunderstanding. It is just that the Chinese have a very aggressive behavior. It is clear that the United States has a misperception of the relationship.
DEREK CHOLLET, CTR. FOR STRATEGIC & INTL STUDIES: There's a definite pattern looking back over the last say 15 years of incidents like this and the concern is always that something like this can easily spin out of control.
ROMANS: It was nearly six years ago that aggressive behavior like this led to a midair collision with a U.S. EP-3 surveillance plane, the 24-member American crew held by the Chinese for nearly two weeks. These joint exercises were meant to rebuild those strained military ties.
ROMANS: The U.S. finds itself in a familiar diplomatic tangle with the Chinese. U.S. commanders confirm the "Kitty Hawk" incident, but a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry this week wouldn't even admit that it took place.
DOBBS: That's very communist Chinese-like, isn't it?
ROMANS: Sure is.
DOBBS: And the U.S. Navy isn't doing much better on the incident. Thank you very much. Christine Romans.
Time now for some of your thoughts. Jose in California, I'm a Mexican and American citizen. I was born in Mexico. But I think that every country has a right to protect its boundaries! Mexico has not been able to create decent jobs and opportunities for its own people due to corruption by its government officials. Kathleen in Texas, I absolutely support cities passing ordinances such as Farmers Branch. If the Federal government refuses to control the flood of illegal immigrants, then we should take control of the situation one city at a time.
And John in North Carolina, Lou, your commentary was right on the mark. It's high time the middle class took back the country. I'm not sure if the Democrats understand that yet or not. If they're marching to a different drummer, they'll be out on their ears in 2008. Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com. We love hearing from you. Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book "War on the Middle Class."
Coming up next I'll be talking with a slate.com columnist who coined the term Lou Dobbs Democrats, thinks I'm an economic nationalist. I'll explain to Jacob Weisberg why I'm actually an independent populist. And we may soon know which one of these people will not be presiding in a Capitol Hill office.
And the Vatican weighing in on proposals to build a border fence to protect the country from illegal immigration, drugs and possibly terrorists. We'll tell you why that is simple. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Jacob Weisberg of slate.com recently wrote a column calling many of the Democrats who won on November 7th "Lou Dobbs Democrats". In his article he says that I'm not an independent populist, but rather an economic nationalist. He says, quote, "The leading economic nationalist today is probably Lou Dobbs, who natters," as he put it, "on against free trade, outsourcing, globalization and immigration..."
I talked with Jacob Weisberg and we started by talking about why he describes my position on illegal immigration, outsourcing, offshoring and so-called free trade as something called economic nationalism.
JACOB WEISBERG, EDITOR, SLATE.COM: Well, I mean this really as a descriptive term. An economic populist is someone who tends to blame the rich for problems. An economic nationalist tends to blame foreigners or foreign countries. You do both. I think you're a populist and a nationalist.
DOBBS: Well, thank you very much for expanding my world.
The truth is I don't blame the poor of the world. I don't believe I ever have on this broadcast. What I have blamed are the idiot elites in government and in business in this country who put our middle class in direct competition with the poor in those countries.
And I've certainly blamed fully and frequently the CEOs in this country who are making in a day what it takes two parents, if a household is fortunate enough to have two parents in it, all year for both of them to earn.
I think I blame pretty squarely the elites in this country, the wealthy, the CEOs, senior executives, who would do that.
WEISBERG: Well, where I think you're most wrong is to think that free trade hurts the middle class. There are people in specific affected industries who are certainly losers from trade in a very specific way. But overall, it helps everyone. And that's the economic logic of free trade, is both sides win. I make a deal with you and we're both better off.
The problem is the specific industry, you may lose out to foreign competition. And we haven't done enough to help the people who have been the losers from not only free trade and globalization, but from technology gains and so forth.
DOBBS: So what you're really saying -- I'll put a metaphor together -- what you're really saying we should serve up our middle class. Some of them will be cannon fodder in the free trade contest, but we will bring bandages for their wounds and try to carry out triage.
WEISBERG: Not at all.
DOBBS: Here's the reality, though. And just see where -- as we look at the facts of this -- and that's all I'm interested in here, the facts. How many trade deficits have we run since the day Congress ceded its Constitutional authority to the president of the United States on trade in 1976? How many consecutive trade deficits?
WEISBERG: I'm not sure I have the answer to that quiz question.
DOBBS: I'm sorry. I shouldn't put it as a question. I don't mean to do that at all.
It's 30 consecutive years. Over the course of the past ten, we've run up $5 trillion in trade debt. We've lost $4 million manufacturing jobs in this country in the past six. We've lost three thousand -- three million middle class jobs to outsourcing. We have allowed our elites to put our middle class in direct competition with the cheapest labor in the world.
WEISBERG: Running a trade deficit, as opposed to running a significant fiscal deficit over time, isn't necessarily bad. We now exist in a globalized world. A very large number of middle class jobs are dependent on exporting. And we have jobs in this country that come when Toyota starts a plant here and decides to employ 30,000 people to build cars in the U.S. If you cut yourself off from globalization, you make everybody poor.
DOBBS: See, you're starting to sound -- and this is what bothers me. You're starting to sound like a Bush administration economic spokesman. I don't mean to insult you.
WEISBERG: That's not the first time I've been accused. But go on. DOBBS: It's almost like -- because this administration has tried to define me as an economic isolationist, a protectionist because I want mutual, reciprocal, balanced trade. I want to see the United States export as much as it imports. I want to see those jobs created by exports.
Instead, what we're witnessing is a rising dependency in this country, not only on foreign oil, which is very focused, but we have is a great dependency in this country on everything from consumer electronic, computers, technology, equipment to the clothing we wear on foreign producers. We can't even clothe ourselves in this country.
WEISBERG: My point is that everything you would do would make food more expensive, would make clothes more expensive, would make toys more expensive. And you would make all those people worse off.
DOBBS: Wait, I'm lost. What would I do?
WEISBERG: Well, if for example, you pulled out of NAFTA or didn't pass another trade agreement...
DOBBS: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute.
I've never said I would pull out of NAFTA. I have said I would reshape it and reform it. I never said that I would put up a single tariff.
What I have said is that no free trade agreement would exist unless it were free trade. This is faith-based economics you and I are watching and all of us are feeling it in this country.
So that Wal-Mart can become the third largest export market for China's exports is absurd, while inflation is riding in this country, while a pair of sneakers that cost $4 to build is being sold for $70 in this country. There are some huge disconnects.
Meanwhile, we've had stagnant wages for 30 years in this country. This is not an economy that is benefiting all America.
WEISBERG: Well, for one thing, if you have stagnant wages -- and I agree that's a very serious problem -- and cheaper goods, people are doing better, not worse, because they're making the same amount of money and goods cost them less.
But that's only part of the argument for free trade. It's that these jobs depend on...
DOBBS: Do you really suggest that this is free trade that's being practiced by this administration?
WEISBERG: I do. Absolutely.
Well, I'm not a defender of the administration. But I think all these trade agreements... (CROSSTALK)
WEISBERG: ... the World Trade organization, free trade with Vietnam, all of these things will make us better off and they will make the countries we deal with better off. It's happening all the time. It's happening...
DOBBS: Do you know that the U.S. trade representative's office has said -- on two separate occasions, once with its trade representative and the second with the deputy trade representative -- acknowledged that each one of our free trade agreements has resulted and will result in higher surpluses for our trading partners in every instance?
So when you talk about bilateral trade, the cumulative effect is an ever increasing deficit. We're approaching...
WEISBERG: But these aren't deals that say we'll buy as much as we sell. These are deals that say we're going to have free trade, and if we're competitive, you'll buy from us and you'll sell to us.
DOBBS: Yes. It says all of that. And what we've seen is the outsourcing of three million jobs, 14 million more in jeopardy right now. We have seen wages stagnate, not rise, prosperity not expand across the society but narrow. $30,000, do you know how many people make less than $30,000 in this country?
Half. Half the people. And when I hear orthodoxies, whether on the left or on the right, and I'm not going to suggest that you're on either one, but the idea of not looking at the facts completely confounds me.
WEISBERG: But what are the facts? I mean, I'm not a defender of Bush economic policy. But 4.4 unemployment is hardly an economic crisis.
DOBBS: I can't find a trade agreement carved by this administration or the previous that makes any sense on any basis whatsoever for the economic interests of this United States whatsoever.
And by the way, I am an independent populist, not an economic nationalist.
Jacob, I enjoy talking with you. Come on back soon. And we'll take this up.
WEISBERG: OK. Thanks for having me on.
DOBBS: And do me a favor. Think about the facts. The facts are...
WEISBERG: I don't think I've neglected to think about the facts, Lou. DOBBS: OK. Let's organize them correctly.
Jacob, thank you very much.
DOBBS: Still ahead here tonight, the head of the National Council of La Raza and the chairman of Team America join me to debate whether towns and cities across the country should be enforcing federal immigration laws.
And one person in the freshman class photo here doesn't belong. We'll tell you perhaps not who, but why.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: A senior Vatican official this week condemned the proposed building of a fence on our border with Mexico, describing it as inhuman. Cardinal Renato Martino made those comments following Pope Benedict's message calling for nations to help immigrants integrate.
Also at the Vatican, a group of bishops from the Americas condemned that fence plan as unlikely to resolve immigration issues between the United States and Mexico.
Those statements, by the way, coming from the Vatican, which, as you can see in these pictures is protected by -- that's right, a wall. The Vatican's wall was built to keep intruders out of the city to protect the pope. Parts of the wall were built as far back as the ninth century, but the bulk of that wall was completed over the last century.
In this country small towns are taking a stand, fighting illegal immigration on their own because the federal government refuses to enforce our immigration laws, failing for that matter, to secure our borders at all.
I talked with Janet Murguia, the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, and Bay Buchanan, the chairman of Team America Political Action Committee, a committee fighting against illegal immigration, fighting for border security.
I began by asking both why there is so much resistance to the idea that illegal aliens should not have rights of citizenship in this country.
JANET MURGUIA, PRESIDENT, LA RAZA: Well, I think what you're seeing in these localities is frustration with the lack of a comprehensive solution to this. And I think that's what's happening. We can't solve this problem locality by locality. Everyone is frustrated. DOBBS: When do you think in Washington, D.C. will figure that out?
MURGUIA: I think there's a renewed interest in coming together now and making sure that we can find a consensus on solving this problem.
DOBBS: Bay Buchanan?
BAY BUCHANAN, CHMN. TEAM AMERICA PAC: There is a consensus across the country, LOU. It's quite clear why those townships are taking action, also some states taking tough action. And that's because they have had it. The people in those districts have said, look, Washington's doing nothing, it's up to you all to do something. They've taken some tough action.
The key here is Washington has failed the people of this country. They know it. They want their borders secured. They want their laws enforced. It's a simple thing. It's a Constitutional responsibility of the people here in this town. And they have failed, Washington, and I believe the principle reason -- one of the principal reasons why you saw so many people frustrated and angry on election day.
DOBBS: Well, I'm frustrated and I'm a little angry about something. And that's the Vatican holding forth on U.S. policy. I've about had a belly full of bishops, cardinals and the Vatican telling the United States what it can or cannot or should or should not do. And I don't care what religion it is.
But let just tell you, the fact that the Vatican called a fence along that border an inhuman program.
MURGUIA: They're looking at it from a human rights standpoint, as they have done for many years. And the Catholic...
DOBBS: What about the human rights of 50 million Mexicans who are impoverished by a corrupt government?
MURGUIA: We're talking about the issues that affects the United States here today as well .
DOBBS: Those people are being shipped by the Mexican government to the United States.
MURGUIA: Obviously, but it's...
DOBBS: Bay, it's your turn.
BUCHANAN: It's not the business of the Vatican, unless, of course, they want to send some of that precious art of theirs over here to help pay for that ten percent of the Mexicans that we are now taking care of and the next ten percent that they want us to take care of.
That fence is there -- should be there because it's in the interest of Americans. And that is what the job of our government, is to take care of this country, its problems, its concerns. And this America is very clear. They want that border secure, or you wouldn't have seen Hillary Clinton voting for a fence.
MURGUIA: You know, I think the elections really reflected a repudiation of the fact that the messages sent around immigration that were demonizing immigrants...
MATTHEWS: Demonizing immigrants?
MURGUIA: well, look at the candidates who ran on the hard rhetoric against immigrants. It was hard rhetoric. Randy Graf, you know, on the border.
BUCHANAN: Yes, can I...
MURGUIA: Just let me finish.
J.D Hayworth, also on the border. You could go to Hostettler in Indiana.
DOBBS: What about Kyle in Arizona?
MURGUIA: Yes, Kyle is another example.
BUCHANAN: Let's introduce a little honesty into debate.
MURGUIA: ... his rhetoric was different than I think what we saw with Randy Graf and J.D. Hayworth.
MURGUIA: And I would argue that that -- people who want to create a wedge issue around this, who aren't looking for a comprehensive solution are going to have a backlash. And we saw that in this election.
BUCHANAN: Janet, we need to introduce a little honesty into this debate, Lou. The key here is -- Randy Graf she's mentioned a couple times. Her opponent -- his opponent, a her, I might add, basically took Randy's position on immigration, ran tough on immigration. She demographically was better positioned because she was a social liberal. And then she took Randy's position. Then there were four propositions statewide in Arizona. All of them passed tough on immigration. All passed over 70 percent.
The people in Arizona made their voice very, very clear. They want tough immigration. They want a secure border. They want the laws enforced.
MURGUIA: These elections repudiated...
BUCHANAN: They did not.
MURGUIA: ... the politics of division and of fear... BUCHANAN: Oh my gosh.
MURGUIA: ... around this issue. They did.
BUCHANAN: All they did was insult George Bush.
MURGUIA: ... you saw a backlash. You saw a backlash among Hispanic voters. If you want to continue down this path...
DOBBS: Are you saying that Hispanics focus on only this one issue?
MURGUIA: I'm saying it was a motivator for them.
MURGUIA: They care about every issue. But need a comprehensive solution. We have a task next year to do it.
BUCHANAN: What we want is honesty, and we want our government to do their job. First do the job that they've been told that they are to do. And that is enforce the laws of the land...
MURGUIA: We're all for honesty.
DOBBS: Janet, Bay, we've a pledge of honesty. That's the basis upon which you'll build to the next discussion.
Thank you both.
MURGUIA: You need to be about honesty, and honesty's what can support comprehensive solutions...
BUCHANAN: Honesty is the facts. We'll believe it when we see it.
DOBBS: Janet Murguia, Bay Buchanan.
Thank you both.
DOBBS: Coming up next, your tax dollars paying for a Washington orientation for new House members. And one of these people doesn't belong. One of these people owes you money. Stay with us.
DOBBS: One too many freshmen House members in this year's class photo. We may know as early as Monday who has to go. Among some 50 new representatives, two of them, Democrat Christine Jennings, Republican Vern Buchanan, still don't know who won.
As it stands now, Buchanan leads in that race by just under 400 votes. A recount of absentee ballots is under way right now. No paper trail on the e-voting machines used, of course. If the final tallies are disputed this whole mess -- you got it -- it ends up in court in Florida.
I'm joined now by the country's very best political analyst, Hank Sheinkopf. He's a Democratic strategist. Errol Louis of the "New York Daily News", Diana West of the "Washington Times."
Thank you all for being here.
Let's turn first to Iraq. John Abizaid, the general in command at CentCom, says we don't need more troops, we're going to just proceed with this strategy. And then the next day, 22 hundred more of our Marines are on their way to Al Anbar province.
What do you make of it?
HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I make of it that Senator Levin, who's going to head the Armed Services Committee of the Senate, hasn't yet interceded. And he will, once he takes office -- once he takes that role com January. He's been pretty clear. He did an interview on this station this past week, and no withdrawal immediately, but look for withdrawal over time period to be named.
DOBBS: And to begin within four to six weeks, Errol, the idea that we have got this dispute about timetables and moving quickly, serving notice on the Iraq government, what do you make of it?
ERROL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Well, this week I think it's incredible how, in the very week that President Bush is visiting Vietnam, one of the main changes in military doctrine, the Powell Doctrine that came out of that experience, seems like the lesson wasn't learned. Overwhelming force, he couldn't have been more clear about it, Powell.
The need for more troops, I think, which McCain is almost alone in calling for at this point. Either you go in big or you go home. That's really kind of what the situation is, and we're getting the worst of both worlds. There's no frank admission that there aren't enough troops on the ground to accomplish the mission as stated, and yet there's this reluctance to figure out what to do if you're not going to go forward.
The question of retreat is only a matter of time.
DOBBS: Do you agree, Diana?
DIANA WEST, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES": I do agree. I do agree, although I think that we have gone in perhaps with enough force, but I don't think we've ever used it in an overwhelming way. I think we've been waging a PC war against a very...
DOBBS: We do everything PC in this country. Why should we be different there?
WEST: Exactly. But I think you cannot project power if you are not prepared to be politically incorrect and actually destroy the means of an opposing military force, whether it's guerrillas, whether they're Shiites, whether they're Shiite armies that support the current government, or whether they're Sunni insurgents, as we call them.
DOBBS: Are we caught on a precipice of history, Hank, in which we have really very few good choice choices? A bad choice, a worse choice and the worst of all choices?
SHEINKOPF: We are in a very difficult position. It is true strategically, as my colleagues here have said this afternoon, first rule of thumb, blot out your enemy and forbid that enemy to grow. That's good Sun Tzu. It's good political strategy. It's good military strategy.
We didn't do that. They fought this war on the cheap, and they're paying the price. And Rumsfeld, the architect of that cheap fight, is now gone.
What happens when we leave is really the issue, not to the people who live in the region, but to the United States of America. That is the real story, and does that mitigate against our ability to use force as a moral weapon throughout the world?
WEST: I don't think it was fought on the cheap. I think, for me, the point where we really lost the war is when the decision was made not to shoot looters in Baghdad back in 2003. That showed we did not have a serious sense of purpose in actually eliminating chaos. And the enemies saw that. And they knew we were not going to hurt them unless we absolutely had to. And I think that we have seen chaos just grow.
DOBBS: I think we probably all have our favorite second guess that we can apply to this, but the idea that we would not disarm those militias at the outset is, to me, the incipient point of the madness in this conduct of the post-major military operations in Iraq.
This week, the Democrats made history. The first woman in history to be -- and I've got to turn this question to you, Diana. You've got to be very proud that Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House. Women all over the country have to be. It's an historic occasion.
WEST: I'm absolutely thrilled to bits.
No, what I found fascinating was that this coronation that lasted about 15 minutes, and then we had a melee. It was an absolute free for all yesterday. And...
DOBBS: You mean with the contest between Murtha and Steny Hoyer?
WEST: Yes, with the contest it got so ugly and so fast, and seemed to just represent all kinds of overreaching. DOBBS: DO you agree?
LOUIS: And she lost. I mean, that's the main message. She had a revolt within the ranks, really. She didn't count those votes properly. She held the vote not knowing the outcome of it, which is a violation of the first rule of politics.
WEST: My favorite point was James Moran, who was counting votes for Murtha after the votes came out for Mr. Hoyer, said something like, there are Congressmen here who can't be trusted.
DOBBS: Imagine that.
SHEINKOPF: Bad move, she doesn't look good. This was not set up to have Murtha take a hit. I mean, it was just badly done. You can't control the House if you're not in the control of the House.
DOBBS: Now, let me give you the minority opinion here. I happen to think that this was one of the most encouraging signs I've seen.
American people voted for change, and instead of the orthodoxy and the lockstep, which we're used to from the House as controlled by the Republicans, we've seen a leadership in the House -- the new House -- that is not an orthodoxy. I take hope from that, rather than take a problem from it.
LOUIS: It could be a return to the days when the barons of the House really sort of ruled their little fiefdoms. And that's what we saw: people carving out little fiefdoms.
DOBBS: I don't trust those lockstep deals.
We'll be back with our panel in just a moment.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Republican National Committee has some new leadership. Diana West, writing this week, said, "Equating what he called border security only with harshness only, Mr. Martinez" -- Mel Martinez, who is taking over the RNC -- "referred to Republican electoral losses and said: It's not about bashing people; it's about presenting a hopeful face."
Well, what it means is that Martinez is bashing those very Republicans who are border security first, and that constitutes a large hunk of the party. And to me, that is not presenting a hopeful face to many in his own party.
DOBBS: Well, these Republicans have put everybody back in place they had before, haven't they? LOUIS: Look, Mel Martinez is going to be the chief vote counter. He's going to be the chief architect of a Republican return to power in the Senate, if it's ever going to happen any time soon. And he has counted up the situation and he has decided, I think, like many people in politics, that when you have 12 million illegal immigrants here, which is the equivalent of the state of Arizona plus the state of Iowa, plus the state of Kansas, that you have to tread lightly in how you deal with them.
DOBBS: Why would you have to tread lightly? They're illegal. They can't vote. The fact is that people who employ them are breaking the law. Treading lightly is just another word for pandering.
LOUIS: Well, if politicians pander, I think, you know, we'll find out about it. And that indeed might be what's happening.
DOBBS: But your point being?
LOUIS: My point being you're not going to find anybody from either party turning into a front and center, national level, political person when it comes to how to deal with...
DOBBS: You mean talking about the common good and the national interest? Not one of them is going to have the guts?
LOUIS: Not simply border security, but also what to do about amnesty, what to do about the 12 million.
DOBBS: One of the things to do is to put to it the secondary place that it belongs. And that is behind national security, and that is to secure those borders and secure those ports straightaway and quit playing games.
SHEINKOPF: Democrats can only hope that it continues to reform in that way, because the conservative wing of that party will be very upset, and the others will be fighting each other. That's real good for Democrats.
DOBBS: What isn't good for Democrats is they now have power, they have a voice and they have responsibility going into 2008.
How are they going to handle it, Hank?
SHEINKOPF: Well, I once said on this program that they would do nothing and I was right. And I'll say it again. Do you know why?
Controversial issues tend not to win midterm elections, and midterm elections for them will be 2008.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Errol.
Thank you, Diana.
Thank you very much.
And we thank you for being with us tonight. For all of us here, thanks for watching.
Good night from New York.
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