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tv   Mc Laughlin Group  PBS  April 7, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm PDT

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from washington, "the mclaughlin group," the american original. for over two decades, the sharpest
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>> i've spoken of a shining city all my political life. but i don't know in a ever quite communicated what i saw when i said it. but in my mind, it was a tall, proud city built on rocks, stronger than oceans, windswept, god blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace. that's how i saw it, and see it still. >> a shining city on a hill.
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this vision of ronald reagan has been termed american exceptionalism. french political philosopher alexis so named it two centuries ago, and at the described america's ethos as built on liberty, individualism, and populism, and an economic phthat is largely laissez-faire. is the u.s. today renewing itself, resurrecting itself so to speak? do we look like reagan on the hill, pat? >> i don't think so, john. i don't think it's morning in america right now. and i don't think many people do. we're still the greatest country on earth, greatest economy, greatest military, mighty power, but we can't defend our borders, we can't balance our budgets, we can't win our wars. our culture is an embarrassment
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if it's note a disgrace. i think our politics are very poisonous today. we're divided. i think the united states quite frankly is one every greatest nations in history, but i do believe it's in a period of decline, just like western civilization is when you see what is happening in europe. and i don't think it's pulled out of that in the last four years, and the unity that was promised both by bush and obama has not been achieved. >> eleanor, serious crimes -- longevity is up? people are living to be advanced old ages, problem today is obese tee, not underfed. is it renewing itself? listening to pat, i'm tempted to turn this slogan from the right back on him and say, love it or leave it! the republicans today i think are -- would have difficulty realitying to reagan's vision of a country teem, with people from everywhere, because they're policies on immigration
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have been really rather nativistic, and secondly, the republican mantra is somehow to blame obama for this imagined declined, and i look at robert kagan, who is a conservative thinker and writer. he advises mitt romney, he advised john mccain. he has an essay out called the myth of american decline practice president obama has been touting. but look back in history in the 50s when the russians put sputnik up. we worried that was the end of our superiority in the 60s, after vietnam war, this country didn't feel so great about itself. the 70s, when opec was knocking us around a bit, and the 80s, when we looked at japan and thought they would really take over the world. none of that came true. this is a resilient country, we're not in decline. >> robert kagan is a small book, the mother of america in decline. you can get it at the
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bookstore. great book. >> i was going to say, i think obama hasn't learned from sort of the myth of japanese exceptionalism from the 80s. and when he talks about this win the future talk, as if there's an america and we're all in it together and we can't let china beat us in solar panels or germany beat news ex ports. so all the -- stuff he talks about, laissez-faire and individual liberty, obama is using sort of nationalism and worry about america's place in the economy as an essex cues do nor damage in the form of export subsidies, more green energy subsidies some obama's idea of national american exceptionalism is that we're going to outcorporate welfare china and germ 93 is that -- >> john, there's two visions of no carrierringconnect 5760
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and to try to modernize our educational structure right now. as charles new book shows, high school diplomas no longer enough to get you out of the middle-class. and yet not everybody belongs in a four-year college. we need to more with folk between. >> okay, the u.s. mystique. >> item, manifest destiny. originally, u.s. expansion across the continent and
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expansion wise and also in exorable. item, neutralism, declaring the u.s. to be neutral not responsible for actions in wars. item, sovereignty. the u.s. has supreme, independent authority over its territory. item, war. the u.s. has the power to wage war and has been preoccupied with war for over a century. iraq, afghanistan, vietnam, korea, world war ii, world war i. so where is america today? the international stage is populated by superpowers, china, russia, india, and owing u.k., france, israel, pakistan, north korea. so how is the u.s.'
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position today? are we number one, or are we one of nine? are we the u.n. enforcer? are we the world's c.i.a.? do we stop others from becoming number one? the nuclear warhea matter? question, in the light of this mystique, how would you describe president barack obama's foreign policy for the u.s.? eleanor? >> i would call it pragmatic idealism. he picks his spots. he is certainly not a dove when it comes to military engagement. he took on libya, and strikes in yemen, and the drone strikes have set a whole new pattern of military engagement. but because military power and economic power are so intertwined, i think there is a sense that we are -- we are the lone superpower, but there are other emerging powers out there who are really beating us out
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when it comes to -- the economy, which is why i would say that obama's right to worry about being competitive about everything, from solar panels to getting people educated with brainpower. >> you could call him an interventionist? >> sure. i don't disa agree. i think president obama has done a pretty good job in foreign policy. but take the longview. the united states end of world war ii, we had 12 men million under arms, put together a might eye nato alliance, defeated the soviet empire and world the world. since then we're coming odds every iraq, afghanistan, reducing in korea, coming odds every europe. we're government a 10% of gdp budget deficit. and the attacks are being made not only entitlements but on the military. the united states is in retreat, take a looking the european countries with gretyl fires. britain and france and the eu, they're disintegrating as countries. they've got none has a -- to enable them to survive.
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they're all being invaded. the eu is disintegrating. [overlapping speakers] >> why is amazing? >> hearing pat buchanan worrying about us being less of an empire around the world! [overlapping speakers] >> in 1991, instead of -- >> don't you understand? >> but obama is -- hopefully libya will be the end of it. hopefully he will be selective. i do worry thinks foreign policy already the same with bush's, where we won't take this neutrality but the world's policeman thing. as long as you don't have a nuclear weapon. if you do, we leave it to yourself. >> when he is responsible for is enhancing the world's global trading system. so we have gatt, we have the world trade organization. this global trade system is keeping others going and renewing ourselves. you agree with that? that's a huge achievement. >> we are in a global economy,
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and economically i think -- both parties -- >> and he handles that well. >> he handled it well. you don't hear complaints even from obama's worst critics about his foreign policy. because they -- >> john -- >> even he doesn't -- [overlapping speakers] >> half of your industry in the last 20 years was loss, exported because of free trade! [overlapping speakers] >> brazil -- >> american creation. that's what they are! >> we created:'s right! >> that's not all obama's fault! >> the republican party st. >> would like to make is seem that way. to go become to reagan's shining city on the hill, much of the world still looks to us to come in and fix problems. and i think look at syria. i think there's still pressure to go in there and save the syrian people. obama has resisted. so you've got to pick your spots. but i think it's still correct that the world looks to america
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as the policeman. >> it's not only hard power, it's soft power. america has soft power. you understand that? >> john, we're hated in the islamic world because of these interventions, and bombings and killings. it has done nothing for us, and you've got the rise of islamism, all in these areas which we supposed to liberate. >> exit question is had america done more to spread peace and prosperity than any other power in human history yes or no. >> undeniably. >> i'm not go to dispute that, but whenwoman took office he took came offer ace administration and invaded two muslim countries, and the islamic world really did hate us. and he's done some fence mending, but you've got to get long with the rest of the world, especially when they are more than -- them than of us. yes, and mostly as an example, a shining city. >> hey, i'm not going to sit here and deny we're the best. but we make mistakes too. that's what -- we're got to
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remember. and unfortunately, we too often learn from the previous mistakes, how do make the next ones, and i think this is why -- a time when we need to be more cautious about our involvement, with other countries, while the world at the same time is looking to us for the answers. >> the answer is yes, washington, d.c. national mall recently was the site of an a semblance that named itself "reason rally." 20,000 athiest showed up to celebrate non-believerhood. reason. this several described woodstock for athiests was co- organized by david silverman, the president of american athiests, an organization that protects the civil rights of athiests. his president urging athiests to come out of the closet? >> the message is that if you can come out you can come out.
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and if you can't come out, at least you'll know you're ÷vsoon be able to come out of the closet to your family. >> of the 535 members in both chambers of the u.s. congress, currently there is one, that is one, declared athiest. his name is fortney hillman stalk, jr. aka pete stalk. he is a democrat from california, who has served consecutively since 1973, 40 years. he is now in his 20th term. his district the 13th is alameda county, california's bay area. congressman stalk wins the election every two years with a bowls mandate. if not a landslide. in the last election, 2010, he was . >> % of the vote. question, the secular coalition for america claims that 28
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athiests are in the u.s. congress, though a coalition does not name names. were are those athiests all still in the closet except for one? >> i think that americans realize we don't really have the ability to hold our politicians accountable. in congress you get the districts where you win with 73%. and so for a lot of americans, one thing that does keep them accountable is the idea that there are repercussions for your actions. i think that a lot of people think if you don't believe in an after life, if you don't believe in eternal implications, for what you do, if you could just get away with ripping people off and as long as you don't get caught you're fine, i don't think somebody would trust somebody that didn't believe in after life with so much power. >> you think you have to -- athiest to believe in an after life. >> yes. >> i don't think do you. and morality with atheism.
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>> you could be moral and excepted as truly moral person and athiest, correct? >> yet. we need to talk about public perceptions. it's till strong enough force -- >> are you sure. >> if you want to talk about why we don't see more outs of the closet athiests in congress, yes, because you lose votes -- >> you thiofuran admitted athiest, you come out of the closet you're not going to be reelected. >> what is important is that it's coming out of the closet in recent years i believe because of christopher hitch ins and other bestselling authors, writing about it boldly. people say, you don't -- you don't break into flame if you are an athiest some of especially young people ñrbecom chic to say you're an athiest. >> my late husband was a athiest. >> publicly so? >> publicly. >> tom told me he was an athiest, in a group like this. >> but he didn't want his mother to live who played the
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organ in the catholic church every morning. there are some people that you feel more comfortable. i think there's a -- a false assumption that if you go to church and you profess a religion, you're somehow -- you get a pass when it comes to morals and ethics, when in fact you can go to a website called happy athiest forum.com and they're saying that athiests need to change their image and they're seen ago a gloomy bunch when they believe you should built a hospital in sid of church and help peep in the here and now. >> isn't that a public -- political group? >> no, they're not political. but i went to a number of events with tom, humanist events, lot of former learningee in t aris stands for the american religious vare. it works with a sample of more
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than 54,000 american adults. is says traditional religions in u.s. have lost a sizable number of a 28- year period, 1990 to 2008. so here's the snapshot of where our religious bodies stand as they percent of the u.s. total adult population. methodists comprise 5% of the u.s. adult population. 2.1%. episcopalian, 1.1%. and the catholic church, immigrants sustained membership. but the u.s. church still fell to 25.1% of the population. the survey also found that those with no stated religious preference grew from 8.2% in to by the way, many catholic
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hispanic immigrants joined the u.s. catholic population. but the catholic population nevertheless dropped 1.1% despite the hispanic influx. you want to speak to that? >> you're seeing not just hispanics, but africans, immigrants populating our churches now in a faster rate than the old school families whose younger folks are drifting away from organized ring. this is given the church a new life in america and it's affecting a lot of our perceptions of future america. >> if it weren't for imgrant, the catholic church would have lost one-fourth of its membership in the last half century. catholics are 25% of the population, john. but only one-fourth of them attend church regularly. one in every 10 americans is a catholic. used to be the dominant force in america. they're 12% of it. protestants, who are 99% of the country, are now at 50% and
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falling. athiests about 16%. >> people are shopping around everywhere, changing religions, looking for choice. it's like -- in starbucks. [overlapping speakers] >> i think you'll see the catholic numbers turn around. you go to mass, st. mary's, go to st. bernadette's or st. johns and you see a lot of families like mine with three, four, five, six, seven, eight kids. >> exit question, when will america have its first out of the closet athiest president? give me the year. pat buchanan. >> after 2050, after mid century. >> after the demographics change, and i think religious identification, is not -- >> when? >> after 2050. i'll go for 2080. i won't be around to be accountable. >> by 2080, everybody will be named carney or mohammed. so i don't think -- has to
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happen before the growing catholic bubble takes over the population. >> 2074. how much election year but sometime around there. but one thing, a church attendance is going up among the more educated folks. this is interesting demographi a shocker -- the president of guatemala, a central american country, has proposed an extremely controversial agenda item for the upcoming summit, drug legalization! drugs and drug violence are plaguing much of central and south america. so listen carefully. the president of guatemala has proposed a regional court to try drug traffickers and to decriminalize the transport and consumption of drugs p getting economic compensation from the united states for drugs seized
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said, "for every kiel of cocaine seby the consumer countries." the u.s. has a "responsibility" the planet, legalizing drug use is a phony issue itself and some say outlandish for a u.s. president running for re- election. the u.s. state department said the u.s. is "willing to listen" to a drug legalization debate at the summit, but that "for us, frankly, legalization iliza solution. the u.s. war on drugs is going on since 1971. first declared by someone pat buchanan worked for, president richard m. nixon, who resigned
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from offers later. has the war on drugs been swept under the rug and it is a failure? >> yes. what is happening in mexico, mexico is at war of these cartels, latin america, all of these areas have really been huge amounts of criminality because of the demand in the united states for drugs. we're criminalized an awful lot of people in this country. but you have horrendous alternatives. you legalize drugs and have a significant parts of society be destroyed, you fight the war on it, and you create all these criminals. you got -- as i wrote, milton solution, malice solution. milton freeman says legalize them and forget is. he says kill everybody, the drug dealers and drug users, he solved it. but we're not going to do either one. i think we'll limp along, but eventually my guess is people who say legalize are going to win. >> i put in there the nation resigns, smirking on my part. but what is the reconsideration going on of war today?
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>> i think watergate, what the people are looking at is -- there was no quick -- something was done wrong at watergate. but what was it a -- by the people who wanted to overthrow nixon after his victory? >> who two that be? [overlapping speakers] >> the mondale mafia? >> and -- i have a lot of respect for him. >> lot of good things. >> great. >> wiretapping people and criminalizing -- using -- >> forget drugs. >> can i say about that? >> i'll vote over-the-counter allergy medicines like sudafed. how far is this going? >> we legalize alcohol thanks be to god is legal in this country but it's much word than marijuana. >> we're talking about heroin. >> so marijuana, i think, legalizing it, descrimmagizing and it is a no-brainer >> that i think you definitely need drastic reform.
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i saw a number today that a thousand people a week are dying in mexico because of drug violence. >> so you want -- >> maintain the penalties against -- >> no, [overlapping speakers] >> you have to change -- >> represents the younger generation, and i think he probably represents the future on. >> they're all potheads! >> i mean we were very hard- line on drugs, and it's not working. >> it's not working at all. >> you're not going to destroy any more people. >> who want to -- [overlapping speakers] >> who wants to go -- >> every time put to a vote, it gets more support. especially legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. >> the district of columbia permit that within the district. >> step by step. i know, i can run through the states if you want. but the fact is step by step, we're moving in that direction. we'll see legalization for medicinal purpose, then more legalization of marijuana as people come more comfortable with that, you'll see these other harder drugs become regulated because that's what
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we're talking about here. cigarettes are more addictive than heroin. and i can speak to that at least to the. >> what do you prediction? >> there will be no war with iran, before november, before january as a matter of fact, because obama and the u.s. military don't want it. >> eleanor? >> president obama will take the opening suggest by george clooney and press the chinese to put pressure on the government in khartoum to stop shelling in the south and get that oil flowing. >> thank you, george clooney. >> the pressure from inside syria and from corners in the u.s. for the u.s. to involve on behalf the syrian rebels will grow but obama will no dot it in part because china and russia don't want it? >> by the time extreme court rules on obama carrawell see public a resolve prize as people see more settle they like. 92 commander in chief obama will advance to withdrawal deadline of u.s. troops in afghanistan by a minimum of 12
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months. that's by december 2013. bye-bye. happy easter!
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