• With: Dan Henninger, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Bret Stephens, Michael Mukasey

    GIGOT: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

    MUKASEY: Right.

    GIGOT: Abu Zubaydah.

    MUKASEY: Abu Zubaydah and Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, the architect of the Cole attempt.

    GIGOT: Right.

    MUKASEY: We got troves of information from all three. We arrested Hambali, Ramzi bin Al Shibh, a whole array, a whole rogues gallery of terrorists who were prepared to carry off attacks. Mike McConnell, the director of --


    GIGOT: Former national director of intelligence.

    MUKASEY: Correct. Said that there are people walking around today who would not be walking around today if those techniques had not been used.

    GIGOT: All right. Judge Mukasey, this debate is not going to end, but thanks for being here very much.

    When we come back, Paul Ryan takes on the religious left after 90 Georgetown professors attack his budget proposal as going against Catholic social teaching. Would Jesus Christ really have favored big government?



    REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WISC., CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: Since we meet here today at America's first Catholic university, I feel it is important to discuss how, as a Catholic in public life, my own personal thinking on these issues has been guided by my understanding of the church's social teaching. Simply put, I don't believe the preferential option for the poor means a preferential option for big government.


    GIGOT: That was the House budget committee chairman, Paul Ryan, last week delivering an address at Georgetown University. The Wisconsin Republican has come under fire from some Catholics on the left who claimed the blue print goes against the church's social teaching. Ninety Georgetown faculty and administrators sent a letter to Ryan in advance of the appearance that read, in part, "We would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few."

    Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger, and columnist, Mary Anastasia O'Grady.

    Dan, we'll put it on the table, we are all Catholics here, grew up with Catholic social teaching.


    GIGOT: To my mind, the news is not so much Jesuits or Georgetown faculty by conservatives. That is an old story. The news is that Ryan is willing to mix it up in return. Why is the debate important?

    HENNINGER: The debate is important for -- I tell you, Paul, it is important for reasons that both Ryan's critics and Paul Ryan cite, both that letter and his talk said the same thing. One in six Americans are in poverty. Now, the Great Society started in 1965, creating programs to address poverty.

    GIGOT: Lyndon Johnson.

    HENNINGER: Lyndon Johnson.

    GIGOT: Expansion of government.

    HENNINGER: 50 years later, one in six Americans are in poverty? After spending trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars. Now Ryan is saying, first, we need accountability over why that has happened. Second, the three main programs -- two main programs were created then, Medicare and Medicaid, adding in Social Security, the three major entitlements, the costs are so large that they drain money away from other programs for the poor.

    GIGOT: Right.

    HENNINGER: And Paul Ryan is saying we have to look at this and start making some decisions about where that is going. And that's what he's asking his critics to come and talk to him about.

    GIGOT: This is what the late Senator, a Democrat, and a Catholic, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, used to make the case to me that -- he said, Democrats should reform entitlements for seniors and Medicare and Social Security because, as Dan said, they are growing a huge wedge in the federal government. They will soak up, if trends continue, almost all the spending there is, the money there is, and there would be no money left for child care, for example, or education, or transportation, much less defense -- good liberal purposes.

    MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY: But, Paul, why are you talking about facts?


    Facts are not what the left has used to grow the government to what it is right now.

    GIGOT: That's one my big flaws.


    O'GRADY: Really, you have to stop that.

    Paul Ryan is freaking these guys out because he is taking their language and using it against them. He talks about how government dissolves the common good of society, how it dishonors the dignity of the human person. They think they own that language. And they think that language justifies big government. And he is saying, no, what you have done with this big government has actually undermined the things that Catholic teaching is supposed to be about. And that is why they are upset about it. If Paul Ryan, God forbid, gets the morale high ground, which they think they own, they will have to go back to the facts. And the facts will not support their position.

    GIGOT: Important point, a lot of Republicans and conservatives tend to shrink, at least in my experience, from moral arguments. Look at my failing here, brining -- talking practical points in fact.


    But if -- so you leave them a monopoly on the moral rhetoric, which is very power of in politics, on the left. Ryan is saying, I will meet you on that same battlefield.

    HENNINGER: Well, he has created a phrase, which is the immorality of debt. And, in fact, Pope Benedict himself apparently said that if you live with debt that begins do impede the government's ability to provide basic services, then you are living in untrue -- Benedict is obviously talking about Europe.

    GIGOT: Right.