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Glenn Beck

Is Rumsfeld Resignation a Democratic Victory?; Can GOP Recover from Thumping?; Sex Offender Receives Unusual Punishment

Aired November 08, 2006 - 19:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST: Well, it`s been a fun 24 hours, hasn`t it? Coming up, Democrats won Congress. There may be a recount in Virginia. Donald Rumsfeld has resigned today. All hell is breaking loose. We`ll find out about all of it next.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight`s episode is brought to you by Decision 2008, the one that really matters.


BECK: I can`t believe how many people are already lining up for the next election. At 1 Eastern Time today, while everybody was still wondering what a Democratic-controlled Congress would look like, the first real casualty of the election was discovered when President Bush made this announcement.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon.


BECK: Now, the president later explained this was not a political move. And that this possibly had been in the works, regardless of the outcome of the election, for at least a week.

Here`s the point tonight. Skeptics will say that this is purely a political move, and maybe it is. If that`s true, I hate it. But those who take the president at his word recognize that this could be the first groundbreaking step towards real bipartisan change. And if that`s the case, then I`m in love with it.

Here`s how I got there. First, let`s look at the skeptics. In spite of the president`s denial, this is just a political move, got it? Last week, President Bush told the Associated Press he wanted Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to remain with him until the end of his presidency, basically, guaranteeing their jobs. Bush said, "Both these men are doing fantastic jobs, and I strongly support them."

Well, if you really meant that then, what, are you just caving under pressure of the election and giving the Democrats exactly what they want?

Now, on the flip side, the Democrats are guilty of exactly the same thing, if this is what`s happening. Throughout the election campaign, you know, they promised that they would change the course in Iraq. Really?

Here`s what Howard Dean had to say yesterday.


HOWARD DEAN, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: We`re not interested in bringing everybody home tomorrow. We can`t do that. The president has made a huge mess in Iraq. We`re in the middle of a civil war. We don`t want to destabilize Iraq.


BECK: OK. I don`t remember hearing that on the campaign trail. Are the Democrats washing their hands of Iraq so they can win the White House in 2008?

Now, let`s look at the more optimistic scenario. That let`s take everybody at their word, that this is a grand gesture of bipartisanship on the part of the president and Donald Rumsfeld, and that it has been in the works for over a week. The president earlier said he just didn`t want to inject any kind of war strategy into a political season.

As the president said, Donald Rumsfeld is responsible for fighting a global war that has untold ramifications and for fundamentally changing the structure of the Pentagon. That is why I think he`s liked by about four people on the entire planet.

And yet, this guy has lasted six years on the job. If you`re going to change course and you wanted to unite both parties just to win the war, wouldn`t you think that maybe you might want to remove one of the biggest obstacles to that goal, which unfortunately, is Don Rumsfeld?

President Bush is extraordinarily loyal. But he`s also very smart, much to his critics` chagrin. He understands that it might be a good idea to let somebody who isn`t a lightning rod for controversy have a go at it. So that you can focus at winning the war in Iraq, rather than focusing on the architect of it.

So that brings me to Robert Gates. Who`s Robert Gates? He`s the guy who could be the next secretary of defense. I`ve never even heard of him. Skeptics say that he`s just another Bush crony. He`s the president of Texas University. Yada, yada, yada.

But the real story is, once you start looking into him at all, Robert Gates is a member of the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton commission on the war in Iraq. This is where it gets brilliant. That is the same commission that the Democrats have been heralding.

That makes me believe this is not a political move, and yet it is. It is a move designed to stop people who will be playing politics. How could the Democrats have a problem with Gates if he`s part of their solution?

So here`s what I know tonight. I know that there`s some Democrats out there who use the war to set themselves up for victory in `08. But there are some Republicans that will do that, as well.

There are, however, some Democrats, like Joe Lieberman, and some Republicans, like I believe, George Bush, who just want to win the war and protect the country, who want to work together and solve things. The resignation of Donald Rumsfeld could be that first step towards true bipartisan cooperation.

Now here`s what I don`t know. Will the Rumsfeld resignation be spun as purely a Democratic victory?

Mike Allen, "TIME" magazine`s White House correspondent.

How is this going to be spun, Mike?

MIKE ALLEN, CORRESPONDENT, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Glenn, I don`t know how it will be spun, but I can tell you that there`s a lot of relief inside the president`s administration about this.

I was surprised, Glenn, as I did some reporting about the real enmity that there was towards Secretary Rumsfeld, even among some people who are extremely loyal. Perhaps especially among people who are extremely loyal. Of course, there`s an element in there blaming Secretary Rumsfeld so you don`t have to blame the president.

BECK: You see...

ALLEN: But people close to the president really feel he`s a poor strategy, going into Iraq too late, and it`s really the one person who rarely talks abundantly, has screwed the president.

So this was, I think as you suggested in your opening, a real effort by the president to turn the page. The president`s people told me that they`re going to use this as an opportunity, not as a defeat.

And one of the biggest letdowns for some people who`ve known the president for a long time, was he wasn`t able to do the uniting, not dividing. Here`s a chance to do it.

BECK: OK. Now there`s no way that the president could win on this in any -- at any time. He announces it today, and everybody says, "Oh, look, he`s caving into the Democrats. A win for the Democrats, blah, blah, blah."

If he would have done it a week ago, two weeks ago, they would have spun it as, "Look, he`s admitting that he made a mistake." There`s no convenient time for this.

Do you read anything into it other than there`s no convenient time, on this announcement coming today?

ALLEN: Well, I think that`s right. I think it`s clever of the president to say what you did at the top, saying, well, he didn`t want to inject this into the campaign.

But, you know, maybe he`s looking around the corner a bit, and if a change in -- at the top of the Pentagon helps make it possible for him to sell a change or an adjustment to the strategy in Iraq to the country and to Democrats, he will have won. Because at the end, he`s the one who stuck with Iraq.

And I can tell you that Republicans felt that -- both Republicans and Democrats felt that there wouldn`t be credibility on a change that started without that.

Glenn, I can tell you the president is very eager to embrace the suggestions of the Baker Commission that Mr. Gates came off of. In fact so eager to that they told us that they hope they propose something very specific, not options, so they can wrap their arms around it.

Vice President Cheney told us he wants fresh eyes on Iraq, and the president repeated that this afternoon at his news conference in the East Room.

BECK: OK. Now who is -- who is Bob Gates really? Is this a -- is this a cosmetic change, or do you think this is fundamental change? Do you know? Do you have a handle yet at this point?

ALLEN: Well, I can tell you that it`s real change in the sense that it`s someone who comes out of the Baker Commission and so is infused with what they are thinking about. He`s someone who`s a known quantity in Washington, which for good or for ill, is very helpful in getting confirmed.

Now when he was going for CIA director, there were two sitting senators now who voted against his confirmation.

BECK: Who were they?

ALLEN: I think you`ll see Senator Levin and Senator Biden.

BECK: Oh, my.

ALLEN: You`re so surprised, so surprised.

BECK: Well, what does that say to you?

ALLEN: And so I think you`ll see people root through that.

But he`s someone I think people in Washington is comfortable with. And so you`ll hear people say that it`s maybe not an exciting pick but maybe it`s a safe pick. It`s someone who will be listened to.

And just as someone said to me, that after these eight years having boring guys as an ex-president may be good. After Secretary Rumsfeld, I`ll let you fill in the noun, an -- a less-than-exciting successor might actually help the president.

Because he wants to -- he wants to make the changes that need to be made, and this is a good chance to do that.

BECK: Right. Odds out of 100 that we could actually work together, Republicans and Democrats, and fight the war better than we`ve been fighting it the last 12 months?

ALLEN: I`m not going to give you a number. But I`ll tell you today the president said he wants to work with Democrats on revising Social Security.

I talked to Democrats. They say they want to work with the president on raising the minimum wage. So they`re talking about working together.

BECK: Right.

ALLEN: But I see a conflict of interests coming.

BECK: Yes. OK, good. Mike, thanks a lot. Back in a minute.


RUMSFELD: That it`s been the highest honor of my life to serve with the talented men and women of the Department of Defense, the amazing men and women, young men and women in uniform. It`s a privilege. And their patriotism, their professionalism, their dedication, is truly an inspiration. I -- they have my respect. They will remain in my prayers.



BECK: In the 1936 election, during the heart of the Great Depression, Republicans were literally swept aside. FDR continued his reign on the White House, winning an unbelievable 98.5 percent of the electoral vote, and Congress was nearly as bad. Republicans lost so many seats that year, they ended up with just 16 Senate seats and only 20 percent of the House. That`s 88 seats. They had really hit rock bottom.

So what did they do? The Republicans regrouped. They got back on message. They formed the Conservative Coalition. And two years later, in 1938, they picked up an unbelievable 81 House seats, along with seven seats in the Senate. A few years after that, they recaptured the majority in both houses, and the Republicans were back.

Today, after another GOP thumping, and that`s actually the word the president used, the question is whether this Republican Party can admit that they`ve got a problem, man. First thing to do is stand up and admit you have a problem. You`ve hit rock bottom.

Can you regroup, retool, reposition? Can they find themselves in a winning position back with the people that they have lost? I personally think they can. But they have to get over their arrogance, their complacency and listen to the people who put them in power in the first place.

According to yesterday`s exit polls, voters said the most important issue to them was corruption and ethics. You know, I don`t believe that they`re talking about Mark Foley or Jack Abramoff. Ask somebody if they even know who Jack Abramoff is.

I think they`re expressing the feeling of disillusionment with a party that once stood for something: stood for low spending, smaller government, tough border security. People, people -- and I`m one of them -- felt abandoned. I didn`t want to loan them my power anymore.

As the dust settles on this election, I find that I`m not angry with the party that won. I`m angry with the party that I voted for, the party that stopped representing my values.

2006 may go down in the history books, but the chapter is still being written. Is this the year that the new Democratic revolution began? Or in 1936, is it the year that will serve as a wakeup call to the party that was so desperately out of touch with its own soul?

Andrew Sullivan, he is the senior editor at the "New Republic" and the author of "The Conservative Soul".

Andrew, Republicans, it seems to me, were about big government, big spending. They ignored the border. Do you believe they bottomed out yesterday?

ANDREW SULLIVAN, SENIOR EDITOR, "NEW REPUBLIC": I don`t know, Glenn. But I know that you and I were right to be mad. And you and I were not crazy before this election...

BECK: Right.

SULLIVAN: ... to say, "Hold on a minute. What`s happened to conservatism?"

And I, like you, think they have a chance. They need to get back to understand they can balance a budget. You know, they can restrain spending. They can get real in Iraq. They can actually afford simple things like a border security and organize something like rescuing people from a hurricane. Basic government duties that they seemed to have forgotten about. Too busy building bridges to nowhere.

I think the solid center of America said, "No, we want you back to your basics." It wasn`t a left wing vote.


SULLIVAN: And it wasn`t a big liberal vote. It wasn`t a revolution. It was an attempt, it was an intervention to this president to say, "Remember what you were elected for? Remember what Republicans are supposed to be for? Now stop dealing with people like Terri Schiavo and start dealing with spending and border control."

BECK: Right. Now you and I -- you and I split in some ways, because you are a libertarian. And I`m a libertarian at heart. But I just think - - you know, I have to go back to George Washington, where he said you have to be a religious and moral people, and then you can be as libertarian as you want.

We just lost our way, ourselves. We`ve lost our soul in guiding ourselves.

SULLIVAN: Well, I think the corruption issue is also about evangelicals asking themselves, "Hey, we" -- and you saw in the exit polls the big drop in white evangelical support for Republicans. They were like, "Look, maybe -- maybe our faith is about saving our own souls rather than telling our people how to live their lives."

BECK: Yes.

SULLIVAN: "Maybe we need to get back, as Christians, to being examples, rather than bossing meddlers." And I think that`s a good thing.

It`s a great opportunity for the president and the Democrats to actually come up with common sense solutions to our problems. Or at least have a civil debate. And it`s going to be a huge debate now about what conservatism really should mean. And I think you and I are going to agree a lot about that.

BECK: Oh, yes. You know, here`s the thing. You know, so many people will -- will talk about this election, that the Republicans went too far right. No, they didn`t. They are just as right as they have been recently, but everything else fell out.

SULLIVAN: Well, they also went left.

BECK: Yes!

SULLIVAN: They increased spending, 40 percent increase in government spending was the biggest increase -- rate of increase since FDR. A huge entitlement program that John McCain voted against, they pushed through, through the night. I mean, they went left like they were big government.

And they say they`re for tax cuts. But you know what, they haven`t cut spending.

BECK: Right.

SULLIVAN: So all of these tax cuts are funded by Chinese banks.

BECK: Sure.

SULLIVAN: People are not stupid. They can see that.

BECK: So you -- to me at least you have to find somebody that can lead in a new direction, and that`s got to really come from almost outside of the party that maybe is John McCain, because he`s not considered, you know, as part of the Republican Party in a way? Or is it Mick Romney? Who is it?

SULLIVAN: Well -- well, I think McCain is the one who actually held the line on spending. He voted against that Medicare bill, which is going to bankrupt the next generation.

McCain also has some independent appeal. But looking at the party base, which the paradox is, because they`ve lost so many moderate Republicans in this bloodbath, really, what they`re left with is more extreme Republicans, more southern Republicans.

So I think that makes Mitt Romney more of a potential leader, which means the Republican Party has a choice to go back to the center or continue out to the extreme. I think they should come back to the center, but I think the likelihood is they`re going to go back to the extreme.

BECK: Andrew, thank you.

SULLIVAN: You`re welcome.

BECK: The election is finally over -- well, almost over. If you could indulge me though, for just a moment, I`d like to take a step back and just reflect a bit, simply cherish the memories, those shining moments from the campaign that will no longer -- no doubt just linger right here in our hearts forever.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The American people voted for a new direction to restore stability and bipartisanship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve never had anything get violent like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kickback schemes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A horny woman`s dream.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Federal criminal probes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eighty-three women assaulted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going after 16-year-old boys.

PELOSI: Today we have made history!



BECK: One of the things this election proves to me, is most people are concerned. I don`t care if you`re Republican or Democrat, about the core values like safety and family.

That`s why, when I tell this story out of Delaware, where a convicted man, who was convicted of exposing himself repeatedly to a 10-year-old was sentenced to wear a T-shirt identifying himself as a registered sex offender.

I had to talk to the guy who thought of that one, Deputy Attorney General Donald R. Roberts.

First, let`s be very, very clear. He has gone to jail for this, right?

DONALD R. ROBERTS, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, he has. He was sentenced to two months incarceration, followed by 22 months of probation.

BECK: OK. And how many times has he gone to jail for exposing himself to kids?

ROBERTS: I don`t know that he`s gone to jail in the past. In Delaware, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor and the presumptive guidelines do not necessarily call for incarceration.

BECK: But he has been arrested for this several times? He has a record, doesn`t he?

ROBERTS: He`s been arrested and convicted as far back as 1976.

BECK: Oh, my gosh. See, this is what I don`t understand. Why isn`t there -- why isn`t there -- I mean, God bless you on the T-shirt idea, because you felt like it was the only thing, right, the only thing you could do?

ROBERTS: Well, it`s the only way the community could be notified, which would comply with Megan`s Law, and you know, let the public know they`re likely to encounter a sex offender.

BECK: Why does -- why doesn`t somebody just change the law, and if you are exposing -- exposing yourself to children or you`re putting the children in jeopardy, why isn`t it just one strike you`re out, two strikes you`re out. With this guy I`ll take ten strikes and you`re out?

ROBERTS: That`s a good question. I don`t have the answer to that.

BECK: And so you have him wearing a T-shirt. He has to wear it all the time?

ROBERTS: He has to wear it business hours. He owns a business that`s held open to the public. So during business hours when unsuspecting customers may come in, he has to wear a T-shirt that in large letters says, "I`m a registered sex offender."

BECK: That`s going to be real good for his business. I can`t imagine. You know, how are you -- go ahead.

ROBERTS: One of the conditions is that he has no unsupervised contact with children. So he has an option, that he can either appear in -- do business with the shirt on, or he can stay in the office and not be seen by the public.

BECK: Wow. The ACLU has got to hate you.

ROBERTS: I`m not here to make friends.

BECK: No, I got to tell you. I`d wear that -- as a backup t-shirt, I`d wear, "The ACLU Hates Me".

What did they say? And are you going to be able to win? There`s got to be somebody filing something against you?

ROBERTS: So far I don`t know of anything that`s been filed. But it`s clear. I looked at the sex offender statutes across the country. Every court has said the purpose of Megan`s Law is to notify the public at large that they are likely to encounter a sex offender. This is not considered punishment. It`s a collateral consequence of this defendant`s own actions.

BECK: So that would be what they would be shouting at you, that this is cruel and unusual punishment?

ROBERTS: Most likely. But, again, the defendant in this case has the option of staying in his office with the T-shirt on.

BECK: Well, God bless you for this. At least somebody is trying to do something. Again, I -- I`d really love to have you back when you can come up with an answer on why we couldn`t give him eight strikes and you`re out.

But Donald, thank you very much.

ROBERTS: Thank you, sir.

BECK: Back in a minute.


BECK: All right, welcome to "The Real Story." This is where we try to cut through the media spin and figure out why a story is actually important to you.

Now, as we`re all painfully aware, yesterday was Election Day. Thank you that it`s over. Thank you. For the first time in 12 years, the Democrats are about to control the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate. But here`s the real story: It`s not so much that the Democrats won, but that the Republicans lost.

Now, stay with me. This is more than just semantics. For the past few weeks, I`ve been telling you that I believe people cast their vote for something, not against it. So yesterday it seems that, when Americans stepped inside that voting booth to face their decision and their conscience, they decided that the Democratic plan made more sense and voted for it. Really?

Well, you know what? Here`s the other real story. I mostly agree with them. See, what happened -- hear me out -- the Democrats didn`t win yesterday with their classically liberal agenda, but the more conservative- minded, Blue Dog Democrats or independent-thinkers, like Joe Lieberman, were appealing to voters.

The Republicans have long courted candidates with more liberal leanings in the Northeast, dare I mention Rhode Island. Where they needed a little help, they leaned on those guys. The Democrats finally started applying the same strategy.

Besides voting for candidates, voters also turned out yesterday to weigh in on the issues in the form of ballot initiatives. The people have spoken and, with very few exceptions, they have come out overwhelmingly in favor of English as the official language, strict immigration reform, and a ban against gay marriage. Now, how on Earth did the Democrats win when the majority of Americans seem in favor of classically Republican points of view?

Well, I`ll tell you. For one, the Republicans have been overspending like Democrats. I told you earlier in the show, exit polling clearly showed that primary factors in voters` decisions were corruption and ethics. To me, this is where spending and border security comes in for the Republicans.

Voters obviously didn`t think that Republicans were paying close enough attention, and voters began to wonder if the lack of attention by the Republicans on border security was because of maybe some big business was making big money on the perks of illegal immigrants through slipping through our border.

Americans could have gone with the party they knew wasn`t listening to them or take a chance on these new Blue Dog Democrats who just might hear them. The Democrats saw an opening, they picked up the ball, they ran all the way for a touchdown in Washington.

Now, while the House of Representatives is poised to have a more Democratic sensibility, it`s quite a different story with the Supreme Court, the one area where the Republicans haven`t failed the American people.

Lately, it is their promise to place conservative voices on the high court that more closely reflect the values of the regular schmoes like you and me. The real story here is that Americans have spoken up and they are bone-tired of the liberal judges legislating from the bench. That is not their job.

When a judge hands down a ruling, that decision becomes legal precedent, and that affects the rule of law that we all have to live by, even though the lefty warming up the bench is only supposed to have judicial power, not legislative. These loose-cannon judges already tried to influence the rules of eminent domain, which means they can take your House and the city can put a hotel there if it means more tax money.

Well, that issue ended up being overwhelmingly defeated nationwide through ballot initiatives. We, the people, have spoken, and we don`t really want that. When it comes to interpreting the law, that`s where the Supreme Court comes in.

Today they are facing critical arguments that actually mean something to you and me. See, it`s widely held that the last two years of every president`s term is largely spent on legacy-building. President Bush has done himself very well in appointing conservative thinkers, or at least it looks like this so far.

Now, will they actually rule the way that the president thought they would? Will they positively impact his legacy for the decades to come in favor of conservative points of view? In the end, it is the Supreme Court that will leave the most lasting impression of President Bush`s success or failure as our nation`s leader.

So, the cases: partial-birth abortion. It`s the first time since President Bush`s two new conservative appointees were seated that the court will consider the abortion issue. With Chief Justice Roberts and Samuel Alito now putting the robes on, do these guys actually -- are they going to rule the way we think they are or not? Everybody on both sides a little anxious to see where the gavel`s going to fall.

Add that to a major case involving Phillip Morris and punitive damages and a host of other hot-button issues, and you have one of the most vital, most controversial caseloads in recent memory. How is it all going to play out?

Let`s check in with Erik Jaffe. He is an appellate attorney based in Washington, D.C. He clerked for Justice Thomas.

Erik, first off, do you anticipate the court being as conservative as some hope it is or others might fear it is?

ERIK JAFFE, APPELLATE ATTORNEY: No, I don`t really anticipate that. You know, what people frequently misunderstand is, when someone says a judge is conservative, that means they`re judicially conservative. It doesn`t necessarily mean that they`re politically conservative.

And outcomes of a judicial conservative`s approach to law often depends upon what statutes and what laws are being passed. If you have a liberal Congress passing liberal laws, a conservative court could easily uphold those.

BECK: OK, but, you know what, let`s go through this way, and you tell me how you think the Supreme Court is going to rule and what it`s going to mean to us. Let`s start with the abortion issue. Roe v. Wade, that`s not in danger here, is it?

JAFFE: I don`t that`s realistically in play, not at this point. It`s a much narrower question.

BECK: And, well, the question actually is on partial-birth abortion, right?

JAFFE: Yes, but the really interesting part about that case is, what kind of deference do you give to Congress when they make findings of facts that the court might otherwise disagree with, which comes up in all kinds of cases, but happens to be at issue here in the abortion case?

BECK: OK, so how do you see us -- what laws do you see being ruled on, on partial-birth abortion? Do you think that`s going away or...

JAFFE: Well, it`s hard to say. I mean, I sort of think that there`s a 50-50 chance in this one. It`s really up in the air, precisely because the issue is really a procedural issue about what deference one gives to Congress and not as much about the political issue of abortion. And giving deference to Congress affects all kinds of laws; that will have a much bigger impact than whatever the court says about abortion specifically.

BECK: That could affect, like, what else besides?

JAFFE: It could affect laws on violence against women, for example. A few years ago, in the Morrison case, the court said that we`re not going to necessarily give as much deference to Congress`s fact-finding, because they didn`t really find as many facts as they should have, and they struck that law down. If the court now says, "We`re going to defer to Congress`s fact-finding," well, all of a sudden it`s thrown back to Congress`s lap.

BECK: OK. Let me go to affirmative action. There`s a case with high schools and affirmative action in Seattle. What is this one about?

JAFFE: Well, that case is about whether or not the concept of diversity as a value unto itself, having a diverse experience in educational situations, is going to be considered a compelling interest that can outweigh our general antipathy towards racial-based classifications.

And I think it`s an important case because a lot of people really doubt whether, while diversity is certainly an important factor, one wonders whether it`s compelling. And it should also answer the question about whether or not, if it is a compelling interest, states and localities will have to pursue it consistently in order to get away with using that to trump our opposition to racial classification.

BECK: OK, so will this affect -- there was a law passed yesterday in Michigan that says -- they voted affirmative action down in Michigan. Could this case affect that?

JAFFE: No, no, it shouldn`t affect that, because, again, we`re just asking whether or not a state can choose to advance affirmative action goals, notwithstanding the Constitution. If a state chooses not to advance those goals, this case would have nothing to do with that.

BECK: All right, and punitive damages. This one`s against Phillip Morris, and it`s $80 million in punitive damages per case, right?

JAFFE: Well, yes. It`s a staggering multiplier relative to the actual damages that were found by the individual litigant, and that`s just a tremendous leap forward.

BECK: This would actually, if they say that`s OK, you don`t have to cap punitive damages, every company on Planet Earth, or at least that does business here in America, would be shaking in their boots that you could be put out of business like that.

JAFFE: Well, they`re never going to say that you`re not going to cap it at all. What they`re going to say is, really, supposedly sort of horrendous behavior will justify these really big awards. And then the question will be, how bad does the behavior have to be? I think if they say this is OK, it opens up a whole can of worms that they may well regret opening up.

BECK: OK. Erik, thanks a lot.

That is "The Real Story" tonight. If you`d like to read more about this or if you found a real story on your own, please, tell us about it. Go and visit and click on the "Real Story" button.




BECK: The next two years is just going to be positioning for the `08 election. And in many ways, that is not just going to be the Democrats doing that. The Democrats are going to be doing that a lot, but you have to remember, in the Senate, 10 percent of the Senate is going to be running for president. So you got 10 percent that`s all they`re going to be doing is positioning to be the next leader of the free world. Sad, isn`t it?

Mike, you know who gets screwed with that? You and me. And Mike in Ohio. Hey, Mike...

CALLER: Hey, how are you doing?

BECK: Good.

CALLER: Hey, I was calling to ask you a favor: Can I get some dance music?

BECK: Well, you got to give me a reason first.

CALLER: Well, the frickin` election is over. Come on, everybody dance!

BECK: Everybody dance!


BECK: All right. You might know my next guest from her roll as Jerri Blank, Comedy Central`s series "Strangers With Candy." In it, she played a runaway high school dropout by sexual former prostitute, ex-drug addict, convicted felon, who decides to return home and finish her high school at the age of 46.

Amy Sedaris is the author of a new book out now, "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence."

Hello, Amy, how are you?

AMY SEDARIS, "I LIKE YOU: HOSPITALITY UNDER THE INFLUENCE": Hey, how are you? Thanks for having me on your show.

BECK: I know, it`s a privilege, isn`t it?

SEDARIS: It is. You did you that really well, ex-prostitute junkie, 47. You did that really well. It`s like you knew it all.

BECK: I know, it`s almost weird, and I haven`t even seen the show.



BECK: So you wrote a book. I`m a guy who...

SEDARIS: You are? No one told me I would be talking to a guy.

BECK: No, it`s weird. Weird, isn`t it? I`m a guy who -- I have people over. And I swear to you, there comes a point where I just say, you know, "Leave, will you?"

SEDARIS: That`s really good that you can do that.

BECK: Really?

SEDARIS: Yes, because nothing`s wrong with saying, "It`s time for you to go." Because if they don`t know it`s time to go, then this is a pattern, and you can talk to them like that.

BECK: OK. So that`s what I should say, not leave, "It`s time for you to go"?

SEDARIS: "It`s time for to you go," or, "You`ve overstayed your visit."

BECK: Would you really recommend that? Have you ever said that to anybody?

SEDARIS: Yes, I did.

BECK: Really?

SEDARIS: Yes, because they should know. And that`s why, I mean, you can abuse someone like that, you know what I mean? They should already know. Everyone else has left.

BECK: Right. No, but, I mean, what if it`s like a couple, you have a couple over, and there`s...


SEDARIS: OK, then, "You both need to leave." Or you leave, and your wife stays, yes.

BECK: Right, right. So you don`t have any hints. You don`t leave any hints for anybody?

SEDARIS: No, I think it`s pretty obvious what -- and, you know, sometimes if you have that fear, then you can give a cutoff, you know, 2:00 to 2:30, for the party, you know? And then they should know. And if it`s gone past that hour, then...

BECK: OK, so now I also have a problem because I`m a recovering alcoholic.

SEDARIS: Perfect! How many years?

BECK: Twelve.

SEDARIS: Oh, wow. And do you have like an angel pin and stuff?

BECK: No, don`t have a -- or the chip or anything.

SEDARIS: Oh, you don`t have a chip? Did you go to AA?

BECK: Yes.


BECK: I mean, I had chips, but I stopped collecting them.


BECK: Anyway, they`re always hanging...


SEDARIS: Wow, OK, well, good for you.

BECK: So I`m a recovering alcoholic and a Mormon.


SEDARIS: Bring a book. Well, you wouldn`t be at my party then, let me tell you that much.

BECK: So if I invite people over, what do I do?

SEDARIS: Yes, that`s a double whammy. Maybe get it to-go? Well, you know, I don`t rely on alcohol and drugs to make my parties. I really don`t. That`s why, if I say dinner is at 7:00, it`s at 7:00. And then everyone can eat. And then, you know, afterwards, if they want a cocktail or whatever, that`s fine.

But I think it`s obnoxious when someone gets drunk at a party, because they think they`re the life of the party, but they really ruin it. They get drunk. They thrown watermelon on the floor, and then you end up dating them for two years, you know?

BECK: Yes, I have heard that you actually like alcoholics at your party because you like to push the booze on them.

SEDARIS: Who told that you? No, I don`t do that! Booze is expensive. I don`t put all my money into that.

BECK: Sure. Sure.

SEDARIS: Oh, yes, no...

BECK: So you`re also not the person that would come over to somebody else`s house and put bogus drugs in their bathroom cabinet?

SEDARIS: Oh, I would do that, or slap an eviction notice on their door without them knowing it and play little jokes on them. Well, you know, it`s fun to plant something when you go to someone`s house. I mean, you definitely have to do that. Yes, yes, no, you`ve got to do stuff like that.


BECK: No, I haven`t done that.

SEDARIS: Oh, OK, well, you should try it at the next party, maybe holiday party.

BECK: Right, OK. And the idea -- this is my favorite idea from the book.


BECK: The marbles?

SEDARIS: Yes. Well, if you put some marbles or pennies in your medicine chest, and then, you know, so when someone is going through your medicine chest, you know, and then they open it, and then it`s going to hit the porcelain sink and make a huge noise, and everyone`s going to know who your junkie friend is.

BECK: You were actually -- you`re actually a regular on Letterman.


BECK: And you`re like the stand-in. When somebody cancels, they just call up, "Hey, get here."

SEDARIS: Which I love, yes.

BECK: And you do love that?

SEDARIS: I love that.

BECK: Would you be willing to be that -- because we have guests cancel on us from time to time. Could you do that for us? But it would be different. It`s not like Letterman.

SEDARIS: Oh, yes, right.

BECK: I mean, like, for instance, like today, if we had a guest cancel, I`d say, "Amy, talk to me about Rumsfeld." And then you`d go...

SEDARIS: Absolutely not, that`s not a possibility.


SEDARIS: No, no, just based on what happened between us last night, I wouldn`t do it.


BECK: I don`t think that`s -- OK. The name of the book is "I Like You," and I don`t think she does.

SEDARIS: I do, very much.

BECK: No, I don`t think so. Time to check in now with Nancy Grace, see what she`s got coming up on the show tonight -- Nancy?

NANCY GRACE, HOST: Another bomb shell today. Cover girl Anna Nicole Smith in a court of law over eviction, paternity proceedings, and the possible exhumation of her son`s body. Is that even legal?

And, Glenn, tonight, a firefighter mom disappears, seemingly vanishing into thin air and leaving behind three children, including a 6-month-old left home alone. Tonight, we follow the trail.

BECK: Don`t forget. You can check out Nancy at 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. Eastern.


BECK: Oh, all right, there was plenty of gloat-fest and pity-party e- mails in reaction to the election. Steve in Tampa writes, "Put any spin on it you want. The people have spoken. We hate George W. Bush, and the only thing worse than a conservative is a hypocrite, Mark Foley, Tom DeLay, Ted Haggard. People are sick of the conservatives telling everybody else how to live their lives and then doing those disgusting things."

Steve, allow me to build a little bridge building with you, all right? I agree. People are sick of conservatives being hypocrites. But do you know who`s most annoyed about it? Conservatives! I don`t want anyone supposedly representing what I stand for making an idiot of themselves and being a slime ball, mostly because it indirectly affects me and, in my mind, America. Every time a scandal breaks out, it`s another distraction from the ideas that I think are vital to this country.

And that`s why, when somebody does something wrong, I want them dealt with. But was that the reason for the election results? Maybe. Maybe partially. I think it was bigger than that.

Terrell in Texas writes, "OK, you have the better pulse on the nation than I have. I guess that because I live in Texas where conservatives are abundant and my view of the nation is skewed. I`m just so amazed that so many in the nation can be so stupid. As far as me believing that anyone is really going to read this, I don`t care. This is my place to vent."

I`m there for you, brother. I understand the pity party, Terrell. But tomorrow, we move on from politics as much as we possibly can and get back to being just Americans.

Next up, Frank in Washington. "Glenn, I watched Bush`s press conference. Do you have any idea at all what he was talking about with that inside joke?"

Yes, you know, that was a weird moment there. Let me show you the clip of the press conference.


JOURNALIST: Does Nancy Pelosi look much like Bob Bullock to you?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That`s an inside joke. I`m not commenting on it.


BECK: Probably a really good thing not to comment on that. It`s not an inside joke when you say it in a presidential press conference. But as far as I can tell, the joke is that Nancy Pelosi looks like this guy. That is former Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Texas Bob Bullock, who passed away in `99. Do you see the resemblance? Me, personally, I don`t.

Politically, when Bush was in Texas, he worked closely with Democratic Bullock. And I`m sure that`s going to work really, really well with Pelosi. Right.

We`ll see you tomorrow on the radio program. We`ll more on Rumsfeld and his resignation, what it means. And then back here tomorrow night. See you then, you sick freak.